Let’s take a brief survey of some Trump proposals, such that they exist in coherent form. He projects that the Republican Party will become a “worker’s party.” Those who have described themselves as “worker’s parties” have some things in common here in the United States. They (1) pursue strong social safety nets, (2) want heavy investment in infrastructure, (3) protectionism for American workers, (4) minimum wage laws, (5) take on an anti-imperial foreign policy stance, and (6) rail against the rich and/or elite.
As for Trump, he has warned that Social Security, for example, is essentially off the table. He has lamented the fact that we have spent money rebuilding countries when it could have been better spent here fixing roads, bridges and airports. All trade deals are bad because they hurt American workers. His minimum wage stance is all over the map, so its hard to get a grasp here. He threatens NATO and other alliances. And he rails about the monied interests (he admits he does it) pulling the strings. This is a man who wants to cut defense spending, but that he will make the military stronger.
If we throw in the fact that Trump has threatened to silence opposition by changing libel laws, or that he has expelled certain news outlets from covering him, the signs become more ominous. And the Republican primary process evokes memories of the internecine battles in socialist groups.
Most importantly, Trump has wisely used class grievance without calling for the outright revolution espoused by radical socialists, or even Bernie Sanders. It is highly doubtful that such a dolt as Trump is consciously aware of what he is doing, only that he latched his star to a theme and is running with it.
In many ways, Trump’s vision of the GOP mirrors that of some European movements. The most obvious is France’s National Front that derives its greatest support from rural, blue collar people with a deep suspicion of immigration policies. They don’t like France being beholden to institutions like the European Union. Like Trump, they also have no love for small government.
In Europe, they call this welfare chauvinism- they want to strengthen or keep the social safety nets, but just make sure it gets to the right people, or “their people.”
In the US, there is one party that absolutely mirrors Trump’s agenda- the Traditionalist Worker’s Party. Many have characterized it as a white supremacist, neo-Nazi group. One would think that Trump would steer clear of such a toxic group, but his campaign’s links to white supremacist groups is a hodgepodge of “We didn’t knows” or “I didn’t hear what they said” statements- no disavowal, but no acceptance; let’s move on.
Trump’s attack on the rich, for example, is paying dividends. A Rand survey found that 51% of GOP voters believe the rich do not pay enough in taxes. A poll by GBA Strategies found that 53% of Republicans favor a special 50% tax bracket for those making greater than $1 million. And polls by Gallup and ABC found that Republicans believe the rich and corporations should pay more taxes. Not only is this contrary to facts, but also to true conservative principles and the vision of Reagan/Kemp/Ryan.
On domestic issues, the UKIP, which was instrumental in the Brexit vote, is, like Trump, strongly for the social welfare system that Britain has built over the years. Considering Trump’s apparent love of a single-payer system, the similarities are striking.
What has scared Europeans in the past of similar fiscally liberal/socially conservative movements is their attachment to nationalist policies. It is much easier in Europe for two reasons. First, Europe is unlike the United States whose demography is an amalgamation of nationalities, although there are the hyphenated groups. In Europe, there are the British in Britain, Germans in Germany, etc. When you have a largely homogenous society, it is much easier to appeal to nationalist tendencies.
Second, the United States has a 200-year tradition of a two-party system. Third party electoral success is not heard of here. Those that do develop are eventually swallowed up in some form by the two parties. In Europe, because of the parliamentary system, it is much easier for minority and often nationalist parties to gain political clout and force the formation of coalition governments.
Trump’s agenda, such that it exists, certainly has elements of socialism and his rhetoric is nationalist. Of course and hopefully, he would never take the GOP down the path to Nazism. But the similarities are striking when it comes to his vision. One would hope other people realize this, but the signs are not that hopeful.
Pew Research has found that greater than 50% of young people believe that “hate speech” should not be protected by the First Amendment. Harvard found that 47% of Americans age 18-29 believe food, shelter and health care are “rights” that should be guaranteed by the government. Put another way, close to half of all those in the millenial category believe they have a claim on the labor and earnings of others. Greater than 50% of these people do not support capitalism. Our Founding Fathers are seen as bigoted, elite slave owners. Believing that fundamental rights are bestowed by our Creator is verboten outside religious circles. America is not a melting pot into a unique class called “Americans,” and instead a nation of hyphenated peoples. It is rare to find an American flag on a college campus. Noting that one can overcome poverty in a two-parent household is equated with hate speech. Even sexual differences are being obliterated to the point where a male who “identifies” as being a female can use the ladies room to urinate.
The America that liberal academia has created laid the seeds for inevitable backlash and the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Unfortunately, he is the last person one wants carrying the banner of conservatism into an important election. Trump is no fascist, but he certainly is a socialist/nationalist. Does that make him a Nazi? Its doubtful; it just makes him unqualified to be President of the United States.