Trump Movement Transcends Trump
August 25, 2017
Do you equal-opportunity Trump haters ever listen to yourselves? You sometimes remind me of the people in those movies who live the same day over and over.
You must wake up every day — wholly oblivious to your behavior the day before — gleefully imagining how you could dismantle Trump with a single tweet, a doleful column or a brief television critique. Even if your criticisms sound new to you, most of us were here yesterday — and during the days, weeks and months leading up to yesterday. What you are offering is not profound.
Sometimes the absurdity reaches comical proportions. You figuratively subject Trump to rapid machine-gun fire every day and then lay your weapons down, walk over to the camera and castigate Trump for bleeding.
Yes, some of Trump’s abrasions are self-inflicted, but anyone under ceaseless fire like him would be hard-pressed not to overreact from time to time.
The news media — almost all on the left and too many on the right — make every news cycle about Trump. It’s not about North Korea’s nuclear weapons, Afghanistan, immigration, health care or radical Islam. It’s about Trump. Every story is centered on him.
And don’t tell me this is only because Trump makes everything about himself. Oh, yes, he personalizes things, but we’re not talking about him; we’re talking about you. You make it about him — and about yourselves and your moral superiority for condemning him as a Neanderthal every five minutes.
We get it. Republican Trump supporters disgrace themselves. After all, according to many of you, Trump would have no support among conservative commentators and media figures if they listened to their consciences. No, they’ve all sold out.
Apparently, I can’t be a constitutional conservative and support Trump, so I must be doing it for ratings on a show I don’t have or Twitter likes, though I’ve yet to figure out how to monetize my betrayal.
But enough about me. How about people who do have shows and make their living through commentary? Well, I know a lot of them personally, and I don’t know any who support Trump because they think it will enhance their ratings. It’s not that they don’t try to get ratings. But they don’t support Trump as a means to that end.
Go ahead and laugh. But your automatic assumption that such conservative support for Trump must be political prostitution possibly reflects a hint of narrow arrogance. Trump is so manifestly egregious there could be no logical reason a bona fide conservative could support him. Right?
Let me respectfully suggest that Trump hasn’t changed in office. He is the same person we saw on the campaign trail and the same person the American people elected as their 45th president. He was every bit as brash, unfiltered and unorthodox as he is now, so the next time you rush to your computer or microphone to declare his instability or unfitness for office, remember that the American people knowingly elected him as just that guy. Therefore, when you are impugning him, you might as well be (and often are) impugning them.
Now let me further shock you. They didn’t elect Trump because they thought he was some panacea or some perfect cult hero. Yes, there are some Trump supporters who appear to be cultlike in their support, but I dare say that even most of them view Trump less as someone who is perfect and more as one who is in the foxhole with them trying to fight the forces determined to dismantle America as founded, piece by piece.
I acknowledge Trump’s uniqueness and that he may have been the only one who could have satisfied the grass roots in 2016. But I think the Trump movement transcends Trump. It preceded him but coalesced in him and will survive him. You won’t eradicate the Trump movement by removing Trump — assuming that’s your endgame.
You complain that Trump’s peculiar mix of policy hodgepodge under the Republican banner is destroying the conservative and Republican brands. I used to be more sympathetic to that argument. But the problem is that Republicans have not been able (and often haven’t seemed willing) to fight back against this leftist juggernaut that represents an existential threat to all we hold sacred. So many of them would haughtily scoff at the mere suggestion that we face existential threats in that context.
Conceding that Trump is no conservative ideologue by any stretch and still clinging to my self-identification as a Reagan and Ted Cruz conservative, I think we have a far better chance of thwarting the leftist agenda and recapturing lost territory under someone like Trump — as opposed to some well-mannered, leftist-appeasing centrist — who is willing and determined to fight.
You can be sure that the calculating left will be just as militant no matter who is in power. In fact, if members of some sordid bipartisan coalition are able to claim Trump’s political scalp based on the stuff they’re now throwing against the wall against him, there’s no telling how emboldened the left will become. If you can live with that, it might be time for you to quit moralizing to us.
You might be deluding yourself if you think Trump will implode. You can read the polls and think he’s finished or conclude that the latest tweetstorm is the final nail. But you will be wrong.
Some of you should quit worrying so much about conflating ideologies. The rise of so-called populist nationalism would have far less traction if the right showed much greater solidarity in standing up for the American idea, which is not about ethnicity, race, gender or diversity but about liberty, equal opportunity, a strong and unashamed America, and the rule of law. Advocating all these noble principles in theory alone will no longer be sufficient. We must get in the fight.
I love pure constitutional conservatism, perhaps as much as anyone, but way too many people who don’t love it are pretending they do and using Trump as a scapegoat to cover for their failure to fight for the principles and policies they profess to champion.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t legitimately criticize Trump when he deserves it or that you abandon your principles. But please take your blinders off and get off your high horse.
If those of you who can’t quit salivating over your next Trump dump would spend just a fourth of that time registering outrage over the stuff regularly spewing from the left — including the mainstream media — maybe you would do your part in helping to close the void that was filled by Donald Trump. Until our side recognizes the gravity of our situation and unifies to fight against the left with the same commitment the left brings to this fight, you can be sure that at least a strong plurality of the political right will continue to rally around unorthodox figures who at least have the brass to fight back.