Donald Trump: Last Chance For Conservatism—Or First Sign Of White Identity Politics? Maybe Both
August 30, 2015, 06:25 PM
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Trump unstumped: The Donald now has the largest lead of any Republican this election cycle, according to a recent poll showing the real estate developer is beating his nearest competitor (Ben Carson) by sixteen points [Trump lead grows; Clinton slips: poll, AFP, August 27, 2015]. He has displaced Scott Walker to take the lead in Iowa and, perhaps even more telling, has reversed his unfavorability ratings there in an unprecedented way. [This Iowa poll shows just how amazing Donald Trump’s rise has been, by Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, August 30, 2015]. The Beltway Right is unleashing a desperate attack against him, warning that he “is antithetical to the modern conservative movement” (true!) [The anti-Trump angst grows, by Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, August 30, 2015].

 

But the truth is that Trump represents a last chance for “conservatism” to remain relevant in American politics. And the borderline hysterical reaction against him reveals the embarrassing fact that political victory, or even influence, is less important to many Conservatism Inc. types than being seen as respectable in the eyes of elite liberal opinion.

 

Indeed, the problem with Trump seems to be that he may actually serve the interests of the Republican base—something deemed unacceptable inside the Beltway.

 

Thus Redstate co-founder (and notorious plagiarist) Ben Domenech writes that Trump is a threat to the “classically liberal” American right that “synthesizes populist tendencies and directs such frustrations towards the cause of limited government.” Trump, he intones, represents a turn towards “white identity politics” instead of “freedom,” and a possible regression to the populist European Right, which must be avoided. After all, “in rare places like Hungary, we see what happens when the populist-right actually wins, and it isn’t pretty” [Are Republicans for Freedom or White Identity Politics, The Federalist, August 21, 2015].

 

Perhaps Domenech is angry that Hungary’s Viktor Orban actually built a fence, instead of lying to voters like our Republican leaders do. But Domenech’s larger concern is that the American Right may reorient itself towards expressing the “narrow” interests of whites “in opposition to the interests of other ethnic groups… in a marked departure from the expansive view of the freedoms of a common humanity.”

 

Until the nation-breaking 1965 Immigration Act, of course, “whites” would have been called “Americans.”

 

And there’s an obvious air of unreality to all of this. To Domenech’s first point, what glorious victories for “limited government” has the American conservative movement actually achieved? The intrusion of the federal government into daily life and the constant growth of state power has not been restricted or even significantly slowed despite a half century of effort and repeated Republican victories.

 

This growth in government power and the collapse of local authority has been justified on the grounds of promoting multiculturalism and fighting supposed white racism. Domenech seems to suggest that instead of combatting hostile Leftist identity politics with identity politics from the Right, conservatives should limit themselves to mutterings about “classical liberalism.” But these appear increasingly disconnected from reality. Much as when the Beltway Right talks about Christianity, classical liberal principles are only invoked when it is time to explain to the pawns why they aren’t allowed to actually expect forceful or successful political action from their political representatives.

 

As you’ve probably already guessed, National Review’s Kevin Williamson [Email him] is making this case even more explicitly. Incredibly, he couples it with sneers at the rise of the Sweden Democrats, now the most popular party in Sweden and the only democratic opposition to a forthrightly authoritarian government seemingly obsessed by the desire to replace its own people [Anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats now the biggest party, according to poll, by Richard Orange, Telegraph, August 20, 2015]

 

Williamson writes:

As with the case of Donald Trump in the United States, the Sweden Democrats illustrate that when responsible parties will not confront the issue of uncontrolled immigration, then irresponsible parties will…

 

[T]here is a large overlap between those who put immigration restriction at the center of their agenda and those who oppose free trade, and they share the assumption that economic interactions with foreigners absent government guidance toward the “national interest” is necessarily destructive. It is not that there is no such thing as the national interest: We have an intense and necessary interest in what’s going on in Pyongyang at the moment, and what happens in Syria, whether our borders are secure, whether our banking regulations put us at a global disadvantage. But there isn’t a legitimate national interest in having boffins in Washington stand between a fellow in Pittsburgh who wants to buy a pair of sneakers and a guy in Mindanao who wants to sell them to him. [National Fronts, National Review, August 23, 2015]

But if the nation-state is regarded as a legitimate institution, issues such as good jobs, quality of life, trade deficits, and self-sufficiency are more important than simply achieving a low cost of labor. Such issues are at least as “legitimate” as what’s happening overseas.

 

Moreover, what we are witnessing in both the United States and in Europe is nothing less than a civilizational crisis, enabled and defended by the so-called “responsible” parties. In this context, for a self-described conservative to mention an “intense” national interest in Pyongyang or Syria isn’t just misguided; it’s obscene.

 

And yet so much of the Beltway Right commentary on Trump is simply an extended whine that the Donald is somehow making the GOP look bad.

 

Thus National Review Editor Rich Lowry [Email him] sniffs: “Trump is such a forceful communicator that he comes off as some sort of throwback alpha male, whereas Bush is such an earnest wonk he looks and sounds like a sensitive dad from a contemporary sitcom” [The GOP Field That Failed, Politico, August 26, 2015].

 

Is being an alpha male supposed to be a bad thing? Well, perhaps to Lowry.

 

Meanwhile, George Will [Email him] worries that Trump will lead to a focus on the white vote instead of the minority vote, which is supposedly a necessity because the share of the electorate that is white is shrinking. Of course, as he admits, even Romney was unable to win many minority voters: “Minorities generally detected Republican ambivalence, even animus, about them. This was before Trump began receiving rapturous receptions because he obliterates inhibitions about venting hostility” [The havoc that Trump wreaks – on his own party, Washington Post, August 26, 2015].

 

But if this is the case, then what is the point of pursuing the minority vote? Wouldn’t it make more sense to mobilize the white vote?

 

No one seems to want to answer this question. Instead, the underlying motivation for the hostility against Trump is, quite clearly, a gut hostility towards his (white) supporters.

 

Thus, Robert Tracinski [Email him] can snark at The Federalist about “single-issue anti-immigration fanatics, Archie Bunker types, [and] outright racists” among Trump’s supporters in a piece urging conservatives to get behind another candidate [Who Are Donald Trump’s Supporters? August 26, 2015].

 

Unfortunately for Conservatism Inc., this snarking won’t help when even a candidate like Jeb Bush has to get those white voters to turn out for the general election. Every Republican campaign will have to rely on “dog whistling” to some extent, and even GOP candidates who try to avoid race altogether will find theat their positions do quickly take on racial overtones.

 

Trump matters because he is connecting the largely symbolic rhetoric of the GOP with actual appeals to the concrete interests of grassroots white conservatives on immigration, trade, and jobs. Politics is about who, not what. Trump’s strategy of mobilizing voters behind an explicitly nationalist agenda may prove harder to contain than Conservatism Inc. expects [What’s the secret to Donald Trump’s appeal? Nationalism by Ezra Dulis, Breitbart, August 7, 2015].

 

The hard truth: the legacy of William F. Buckley is failure. Because of the massive demographic shift that American cuckservatives enabled when they purged men like Sam Francis, Pat Buchanan, and Peter Brimelow, the future of American politics is, like Francis predicted, ethnopolitics.

 

The Left is already practicing this, and as the Obama Administration shows, is becoming quite successful. Republicans either need to adopt or find themselves replaced and irrelevant in the emerging post-America. If they had wanted to talk only about “classical liberalism,” they should have stopped Third World immigration a few decades ago.

 

Trump offers a compromise position with his patriotic vision of renewed American greatness. But Conservatism Inc. may honestly prefer to remain Politically Correct and lose rather than be “offensive” and win. In effect, they may prefer running out the clock on Anglo-America in order to squeeze out consultants’ fees and board directorships for a few more election cycles.

 

In that case, ultimately, the dreaded specter of “white nationalism” will move from the margins to the mainstream as the only alternative to a permanent Leftist (and anti-white) regime.

 

And, as New York Times slightly-better-than-token-conservative columnist Ross Douthat recently implied, the Beltway Right will only have itself to blame.

 

James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.