So perhaps it is not a surprise that Yglesias yesterday came up with probably the most luminous discussion of Trump and the GOP crisis: Donald Trump ditched free market ideology for nationalism — and it's working Vox March 1, 2016. This is an essay which should be read and digested by all serious students of the 2016 Campaign.
The central thesis is right at the start:
Trump…is winning because he understands that nationalism is more important to real-world conservative politics than free market dogma, and he offers what conservatives care about: a populist nationalism that is inflected with conservative policy commitments but by no means limited to them.(VDARE.com emphasis)
Trump is winning because he understands that the 2016 race is about the very definition of America itself. For candidates like Rubio…it's about embracing a new, more diverse, more tolerant country. For Trumpers, it's precisely the opposite. They want to …fight vigorously for the traditional notion of Americanness, at home and abroad, even if it means jettisoning some of the GOP donor class's ideological bugaboos.
…what is Trump's agenda? A revived and unapologetic American nationalismYglesias runs through what this means in several policy areas including
• On immigration, what really needs to be said.Greatly to our delight, Yglesias stresses the importance of Trump’s war on Christmas comments
The crux of the matter…is about culture and identity rather than religion or policy… These are American traditions rather than Christian ones, but they are traditions of the subset of Americans who either practice Christian faith or hail from families that historically did…Strongly recommended for your reading pleasure is Yglesias’ scathing but perceptive excoriation of the Republican Establishment which
That is Trump in a nutshell: a candidate for the people who don't agree that all this hope and change has been for the better
…has chosen as its champion literally the single human being in all of conservative politics least suited to co-opting the sentiments of Trumpism….He notes a small problem
The Rubio gambit, in short, is that Republicans should surrender to Obama-era cultural change, that they ought to embrace it and simply position their party as having a tax-cutting, spending-hating, free-trading, war-fighting ideology that Americans of all skin tones and musical tastes can learn to love.
… Rubio reflects an impulse by conservative leaders to flatten the lines of cultural conflict.
…many Americans are old, white, uncool, and perhaps even retrograde in their cultural and racial views — they want a party to represent them more than they want a party that adheres rigorously to the dogma of capital gains tax cuts and entitlement reform.In essence, the argument is that Trump has adopted the course laid out by James Kirkpatrick here last December in Whither the American Right: Cruz And “Movement Conservatism”—Or Trump And National Conservatism?
Concluding, Yglesias wonders about the fanatical obstinacy of the GOP elite
Many fairly conventional Republicans could have offered something to such voters, particularly if the party establishment were willing to concede a little flexibility on at least some areas of economic policy. But the establishment offered instead Jeb Bush of the childhood in Venezuela and the Mexican wife, and then the Gang of Eight member with cool boots.He does not offer a reason for this suicidal behavior so I will: ADD. A vast infusion of Big Donor money has seduced the Inside the Beltway GOPers and dissolved their links to the people who sent them there. And they do not want to give it up.
Is it any wonder Trump is winning?
Congratulate Matthew Yglesias.