Friday, January 22, 2016

Does this signal an unbridgeable schism in the Republican Party?

The conservative magazine, National Review, has published a very long, multi-authored piece ranting against the candidacy of Donald Trump. In general, the various authors oppose the billionaire real estate magnate because he is not, in their views, a real conservative, and some question his character. He is likened to a Hitler or a Mussolini.

The problem with this line of attack from this group of conservative writers and thinkers is that Donald Trump’s supporters are not readers or thoughtful or in an intellectual sense conservatives. His increasingly large base likes Trump’s “give ‘em hell” style. They like his appeals to prejudice. They love Mr. Trump’s off-the-cuff unconventionality. None of them gives a damn what National Review thinks.

This sort of right-wing populism in the Republican Party goes back to 1964, when Strom Thurmond and several other racist Democrats became Republicans. It took a few decades, but eventually all of the white South became Republicans.

The vast majority of white, southern Republicans are not conservatives. They are populists who feed off of prejudice. Thurmond and other racists knew that 50 years ago. Trump seems to know that, today.

The big question is, if the Republican Party nominates a populist like Trump as president, will the religious and pro-business conservatives break away? And if they do, will it really matter? 

Here is a sampling of the conservative arguments in the NR piece againt Trump:

When conservatives desperately needed allies in the fight against big government, Donald Trump didn’t stand on the sidelines. He consistently advocated that your money be spent, that your government grow, and that your Constitution be ignored. … If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, there will once again be no opposition to an ever-expanding government.
—Glenn Beck

He’s effectively vowing to be an American Mussolini, concentrating power in the Trump White House and governing by fiat. It’s a vision to make the last 16 years of executive abuse of power seem modest.
—David Boaz

Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination a few months ago, Trump … was too distracted publicly raising money for liberals such as the Clintons; championing Planned Parenthood, tax increases, and single-payer health coverage; and demonstrating his allegiance to the Democratic party.
—L. Brent Bozell

The man has demonstrated an emotional immaturity bordering on personality disorder, and it ought to disqualify him from being a mayor, to say nothing of a commander-in-chief. Trump has made a career out of egotism, while conservatism implies a certain modesty about government. 
—Mona Charen

He doesn’t know the Constitution, history, law, political philosophy, nuclear strategy, diplomacy, defense, economics beyond real estate, or even, despite his low-level-mafioso comportment, how ordinary people live. 
—Mark Helprin

Trump’s brawling, blustery, mean-spirited public persona serves to associate conservatives with all the negative stereotypes that liberals have for decades attached to their opponents on the right. 
—Michael Medved

Trump’s vitriolic—and often racist and sexist—language about immigrants, women, the disabled, and others ought to concern anyone who believes that all persons, not just the “winners” of the moment, are created in God’s image.
—Russell Moore

Trump has made a living out of preying on and bullying society’s most vulnerable, with the help of government. He isn’t an outsider, but rather an unelected politician of the worst kind. He admits that he’s bought off elected officials in order get his way and to openly abuse the system.
—Katie Pavlich

The actual track record of crowd pleasers, whether Juan PerĂ³n in Argentina, Obama in America, or Hitler in Germany, is very sobering, if not painfully depressing. … A shoot-from-the-hip, bombastic showoff is the last thing we need or can afford.
—Thomas Sowell

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