Along with all of my fellow true conservatives, I’ve been disturbed by the rise of Trump and what it means for the future of the conservative movement. As I’ve written about before, he represents everything that we’ve been fighting against for the past 8+ years.
If he wins the nomination it would be a repudiation of all of the principles and policies we believe in. Fortunately I think his campaign ended last night with a 2nd place finish in Iowa.
But regardless of where he finishes, I actually believe Trump’s campaign has done more good than harm for the conservative movement for a very simple reason.
He’s forced us to define who we are and what we stand for.
He’s exposing the two divides in the GOP that I’m going to explain in a minute. If he didn’t run for president, these divides would have continued to fester and build up until they would’ve exploded like a volcano. At least now we’re having a healthy debate about what it means to be a conservative, before the party blows up.
There are two divides in the GOP today: One is between the GOP establishment and the conservatives all across the country outside of DC. The other is among those conservatives.
On the one hand you have intellectual conservatives, who understand conservative ideas, policies, and principles, and want a smaller gov’t. On the other hand you have emotional conservatives, aka Trump voters, who don’t really know much about the issues or understand them for the most part, but know they want to return to the way America used to be when things were simpler and we all had shared, traditional values.
These conservatives don’t care so much about small gov’t, they’re actually ok with big gov’t. All they care about is who’s in charge of that gov’t representing the US, and what the power of that gov’t is used for. If it’s used to turn America into the kind of country they want it to be- one with less immigration, a strong foreign policy, and lower taxes, then they don’t care how big the federal govt is, as long as it’s being used to do the things they want it to do.
In other words, as long as America is represented by someone they can relate to and identify with, and someone they trust, and is addressing their fears and desires, the actual policies and size of gov’t don’t matter to them.
Conservatives should be thanking Trump
Once Trump drops out, we should all send him thank you cards, but not for the reasons we’ve been told by his supporters about why we should be grateful for his presence in this race. It’s not because he says what everyone’s thinking, or because he fights the MSM and democrats and wins.
It’s because he’s drawn a bright red line in the sand between all the conservatives who stand for conservative principles and all the “cultural conservatives” who either don’t know anything about those principles or don’t care about them. They just want the country returned to the way it was when things were clearer and their lives were easier, and they don’t care how it’s done, whether it’s via big gov’t and a strong man like Trump or not.
Trump has made it really easy to identify who the intellectual conservatives are and who the fake conservatives are. He’s provided the perfect litmus test for conservatism and conservatives. If you stand with Trump, you aren’t a conservative, you’re a populist, a nationalist, or anything else you wanna call yourself.
If you stand against Trump as National Review did, you are a conservative. It really is that simple, even though people like Rush don’t wanna make it that simple, because by muddying the waters when it comes to defining conservatism they can avoid taking a side in this fight. But by not taking sides, Rush and others are putting their own selfish interests above what’s best for the country, and they should be called out for it.
After this primary season is over, either the GOP will exist in a new form, a purified form that’s actually based on conservative principles, or it won’t exist at all. We’re gonna find out once and for all if there’s ever gonna be a 2nd party that stands for the conservatives in america and opposes the liberals, or if there will be two parties, one liberal and one moderately liberal, who will dominate the country, leaving no voice of representation for conservatives.
Who is “The Silent Majority”?
There’s another way these “cultural conservatives” could be described. As of today I’m coining the term “Bill O’Reilly Republicans”.
O’Reilly describes himself as an independent who votes Republican, but isn’t really a small-gov’t conservative. He’s a traditionalist, someone who believes in traditional values and in what America used to be before the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s. In other words, he wants America to return to the way it was before liberals took over the media, academia, and the political system.
The thing is, he doesn’t care how this is done, because that’s his goal, and he’ll use whatever means is necessary to achieve it, or support any candidate for president who will as well.
That’s the big and fundamental difference between an intellectual conservative and an O’Reilly Republican, aka a Donald Trump voter. The former’s ideology has as its goal the reduction in size of the federal gov’t and returning power back to the states and the people, so they can have the freedom to do with it whatever they want, even if said conservatives don’t agree with those decisions. For these conservatives, the federal gov’t isn’t a means to an end, it IS the end.
The latter’s goal is to make America into a country they wanna live in, a country that they’re comfortable with and where the gov’t is looking out for them. For these people, it doesn’t matter if the federal gov’t is big or small, and it doesn’t matter who runs it, as long as it works to meet their goal and to reverse all the trends created by liberal policies that have made America unrecognizable to them.
O’Reilly Republicans view the gov’t as a tool that they can use to help improve their lives, which have declined morally, financially, and psychologically. They want gov’t benefits to be taken away from minorities and other protected groups and given to them, cause they believe they deserve it more than members of these groups. In fact I recently watched someone interview Trump supporters, and one of them said this almost word for word.
They view immigration, both legal and illegal, and foreign trade as evils that contaminate and dilute American culture and our way of life. These aren’t necessarily religious people, but they’re much more likely to identify as or at least identify with Christians than any other religion or culture.
Given this background and perspective, is it any wonder they’re voting for Trump?
Now it should be clear to everyone why it doesn’t matter what Trump does or says, and why he can get away with anything.
What all the political class and pundits still don’t get is that for many of these people, it’s not about Trump, or at least not all about him. It’s about what he represents and stands for.
In their minds he’s fighting for all the things they want which I’ve described in this diary. More importantly, he’s the only one fighting for them.
They could care less about conservatism, the Constitution, or the principles and ideals that Reagan stood for. They care primarily about themselves and their families, and what’s in their best interests.
So Trump could literally say anything and they’d still vote for him because in their minds they have no choice. Even if they didn’t like him personally, most of em would still vote for him because of what he represents. He’s on their team, and none of the other candidates are in their eyes.
What will these voters do if Trump loses and drops out? Your guess is as good as mine.
But at least now we know how big of a split there is in the GOP between these O’Reilly Republicans and intellectual conservatives. For that we can thank Donald Trump.