Is Trump Building A New Conservatism?

If Sanders is waking up the nationalist socialists on the Democratic side, it is hard to say what Trump's long term goal for conservatism is or if he even has one. Trump has challenged the status quo and the Republican establishment. While the political left knows they are the defenders of the bureaucratic state.

The right is now trying to sift through on what conservativism means or what it means to be a Republican. The Tea Party attacks the alliances of big corporation and big government and wants a return to a smaller government and respect for the Constitution. The movement began in 2009 when CNBC Rick Santelli ranted about how government was aiding those homeowners who defaulted on loans while those who paid their mortgages were left holding the bag. From there, the Tea Party movement began, and while the movement has seen their reputation shredded by the media with gross misrepresentation, the idea behind the movement has not died. It is mostly a decentralized organization that has morphed in many different directions.

As I have written in the past, the right is torn between its libertarian wing and its most traditional wing, but there is a new fusion that is occurring among the two allowed to fuse. There is also an inclusive club that threatens that fusion.

Trump has made immigration, protectionism and bad manners a focal point of his campaign as he is telling Americans that America will be a patsy no more under him. His attacks on Mexico and China's trade policies are mirror images of socialist Bernie Sanders and even his immigration discussion is not much different on what Bernie is saying on the campaign trail. While Trump talks of tax reforms and cutting government spending, he is not going to reform the entitlement program but keep it as is. Nor is he the only one on this score as Mike Huckabee has said similar things about entitlement and oftentimes sounds like a big government conservative.

Trump may not be creating a new movement or understand fully what his political agenda is leading to but a few of his supporters do. Ann Coulter has made it clear that for her, the litmus test is immigration restrictions starting with building the wall and deportation. Her political strategy is what a black conservative friend of mine, Vernon Robinson, noted, “the search for one more white voters.” In an era in which Hispanics and Asians are playing greater roles in battle ground states, Coulter doesn’t believe that the Republicans can make inroads within the minority communities and want the GOP to double down on white voters outreach.

While Coulter is right that GOP can’t outbid the Democrats on the immigration issue, they can succeed in getting enough minorities to win key battleground states by emphasizing other issues. To have a strategy simply drive up white voters is a long term losing strategy. The last time that Republicans won more than 60% of the White voters in the past forty years was the 1984 election in which Reagan won 64% and many Republicans in 2014 manage to get enough minority voters like Cory Gardner did to win Colorado. (Gardner in his Senate race in Colorado and Scott Walker in Wisconsin actually underperform among white voters than the GOP did nationally but got enough of the Democratic base including minorities to win.)

As I will show in a future article, Trump has opened the door to a Republican compromise on immigration but his trade policy runs counter to Republican and conservative support for free trade. Republicans and conservatives do agree on many issues including the size of government and the need to reform taxes. Immigration is an issue as much about tactics as ideas but there are dividing lines as Trump doesn’t just reach out to conservatives but has managed to make inroads into all Republican groups. Trump's challenge to conservatives is that he may be building a more populist and less free market conservative party, and Trump’s own background is that of crony capitalists, something he admitted in the first GOP debate.

The real issue is how do we build a new conservative majority? The Coulter/Session is to drive up white voters and worry less about appealing to minorities whereas others are attempting to preach conservative values to expand upon minority support for conservative ideas. Trump's success is that he speaks to the guy or gal who sits at the end of the bar and whose life is not working. They drink to forget that their income is stagnant and bemoan a future that looks bleaker by the day but the question that remains is how do we reach that guy and move the conservative movement forward? How do we promote a liberty agenda, and can a man who spent his life as a crony capitalist be trusted with that liberty agenda and fight crony capitalism that supports the political class?


© 2015 TexasGOPVote  | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy