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Donald Trump, Mainstream Conservative

It’s been said that societies elect the governments they deserve. That’s certainly the case with the American Right and Donald Trump. In spite of this, many Republicans have been beside themselves about the man for the past 12 months. According to his critics, the former reality-TV star is a gross departure from the conservative tradition. They couldn’t be more wrong.

A group of Trump disparagers were so discontented with their nominee that they vowed to found their own rump organization, the Renegade Party, in hopes of finding a Republican politician willing to commit seppuku on their behalf. Never mind that the Libertarian Party was in the process of nominating two former governors for their ticket.

In fairness to the Renegades, perhaps they were deterred by the fact that the Libertarians also featured James Weeks, a candidate for the party chair’s office who stripped down to his underwear [1] before announcing he was no longer interested in the position. But according to Trump’s Republican critics, he is even more ridiculous than Weeks. He is, so they say, a constant flip-flopper who is psychologically authoritarian, ignorant of policy, inveterately dishonest, and insufficiently adherent to conservative orthodoxy.

Aside from the fallacious armchair psychoanalysis, it’s hard to argue with any of these characterizations. Nonetheless, Donald Trump is very much within the spirit of the conservative movement—if not its letter. The idea that this might be true is infuriating to many of his detractors. But the leadership of #NeverTrump has been doing anything but contemplating just how that might be the case.

change_me

One explanation for Trump’s success that’s been tossed around is that the entire campaign is nothing more than a nefarious plot hatched by Hillary and Bill Clinton. “Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy @HillaryClinton. Continuing this path will put her in the White House,” Jeb Bush asserted in a December tweet [2].

Others have asserted that Trump’s primary victories were a deliberate creation of nefarious liberal journalists [3] who knew he’d lose in the general election and thought his loss might be devastating enough to also bring down many down-ballot Republicans. Never mind that the voluminous media coverage that Trump has received has been overwhelmingly negative [4], more than enough to crush the maladroit Republicans who typically run for president. Yet instead of hurting him, the controversies surrounding Trump only helped his appeal to the conservative grassroots.

There’s a very good reason that this is the case: The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.

They can wake up in the morning and read email newsletters filled with nonsense from the likes of Dick Morris along with false promises of “secret cancer cures [5].” As they make their breakfast, they can flip through websites utterly devoid of reporting and data analysis predicting that Democrats are on the run and Hillary Clinton is sure to be indicted. During the work day, they can turn on the radio and listen to Christian nationalists like Bryan Fischer tell them how the Founding Fathers intended to provide religious freedom only to Christians [6].

As ridiculous as Trump’s temporary Muslim ban is, it’s actually moderate compared with what Fischer would like to do to adherents of the “Ebola virus of culture [7].” In his ideal world, America would ban the construction of mosques across the country, make Trump’s temporary ban permanent, and also forever bar Muslims from serving in the military.

Fischer and Trump are not alone in their desire to illegally target Muslims. Fischer’s preferred candidate, Ted Cruz, has proposed that law-enforcement officers conduct perpetual campaigns to “patrol and secure [8]” Muslim neighborhoods in a sort of secret-police arrangement. Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has repeatedly said that liberal Christians [9] and Muslims [10] do not deserve religious freedom as well. Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney wants to bring back HUAC [11].

The more one examines Trump’s positions (or at least the ones that haven’t changed the same day), the more one finds that they are completely within the mainstream of the American Right. The reality is that Donald Trump is not an aberration; he is an apotheosis.

One of the most persistent right-wing claims against Trump has been that he is better described as a nationalist than a conservative. The accusation has no power against him, however, since he has freely admitted to it [12], knowing as he did that the majority of Republican voters and the nation as a whole have never been particularly interested in constitutional conservatism. The data points [13] on this subject have been out there [14] for years [15], but since most conservative political operatives have almost no grasp of political science, none of them seems to have been aware of this. The accusation is likewise impuissant due to the fact that politicians, including the sainted Ronald Reagan, have always spoken of making their country great [16].

But usually, instead of arguing with him on the issues, #NeverTrumpers challenge him on process questions or criticize him because his supporters are on the fringe. Conservatives cannot support Trump, the argument goes, because some of his backers are outright racists. And indeed it is true that some of the most enthusiastic Trump advocates are white nationalists as well.

Yet it’s odd that conservative intellectuals have suddenly become concerned with racism. Literally for decades, smart liberals like Sam Tanenhaus, Frank Rich, and Jonathan Chait have been trying to get conservatives to notice that racism and anti-intellectualism were rampant within many corners of the Right. These critics were denounced as haters and frauds peddling lies. After Trump’s smashing victories, a small percentage of conservatives have finally admitted the lefties were right [17].

Before that, a handful of right-leaning intellectuals like Rod Dreher, Reihan Salam, and David Frum did see the writing on the wall and speak out—resulting in them being dismissed as “RINOS” or becoming non-persons to fellow travelers who had worked with them for decades. Donald Trump has followed in those footsteps as well, repeatedly threatening journalists and politicians for questioning him. He’s far better at this game than his critics, though. Jeb Bush can certainly attest to that, having been transmogrified repeatedly into a beaten dog during televised debates.

Ah, but what of Trump’s famously mercurial and vociferous temperament? Surely that sets him apart from his most ardent opponents. Well, not all of them. Take radio host Glenn Beck, for instance.

Despite his long and self-admitted [18] record of mental instability, Beck became one of the most prominent faces of #NeverTrump, even after he mashed his own face into a bowl of Cheetos [19] in a bizarre attempt to mock the real-estate tycoon’s famously orange visage.

The #NeverTrumpers should never have allowed Beck within a hundred miles of National Review’s “Against Trump” issue. And yet there he was [20], despite his past claims that demonic forces [21] were trying to keep his Blaze television channel off America’s cable systems, that President Obama would soon begin putting conservatives into concentration camps [22], and that God had “ordained” Ted Cruz [23] to become the president.

In the end, the voluminous attacks against Donald Trump from the right didn’t amount to much, and not just because conservatives have long been far less numerous than they’d long believed. The attacks didn’t work because they were so obviously hypocritical.

The time to stop Trump was in the 1990s, when the movement’s intellectuals were busy prostrating themselves before Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as they sought to remake the GOP into a party for white Christians. The time to stop Trump was during the George W. Bush administration, when Republicans swallowed the nonsense that deposing secular dictators was a great way to promote moderate Islam. The time to stop Trump was in 2009, when Sarah Palin was dumbing down conservatism into an alternative lifestyle that glorified anti-intellectualism. The time to stop Donald Trump was in 2013, when Ted Cruz was opportunistically telling Republican voters that obstreperousness was the equivalent of conservative philosophy.

2016 was far too late to stop the Trump Train.

Having failed to persuade a single politician to die for their sins, the #NeverTrump elites announced they would be putting forward David French, a staff writer at National Review who was generally unknown even to political junkies. But even that effort collapsed upon itself after the French candidacy was greeted with nearly universal bewilderment and derision.

Matters were made even worse after a video emerged of French saying that he would vote for Donald Trump [24] if the billionaire got the Republican nod. Last week, French made it official by announcing he would not make the run.

It was a wise decision. It would have been a far wiser, however, if conservatives (including myself) had tried to meet the needs of the middle rather than stoking the flames of populism. We didn’t. Now they’re burning down our house.

Matthew Sheffield is a journalist currently working on a book about the future of the conservative movement to be published this summer. He is a former columnist for the Washington Times, the creator of NewsBusters and the former managing editor of the Washington Examiner. You can follow him on Twitter [25].

49 Comments (Open | Close)

49 Comments To "Donald Trump, Mainstream Conservative"

#1 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 10, 2016 @ 2:37 am

Earth to Matt: It’s the economy, stupid.

#2 Comment By KD On June 10, 2016 @ 7:46 am

I think if we break it down into winners and losers, it safe to say that the Conservative Movement is completely clueless about the real nature of politics, and has nothing valuable to say strategically or tactically as far as the question of winning elections.

Is it possible that getting rid of the entire class of “conservative intelligentsia” might significantly decrease the parasitic load on right-wing movements in this Country?

I imagine the vacuum created might ultimately give rise to a class of people who understood the nature of politics and who might be able to put together an electorally successful package?

The real reason conservatives hate Trump is that he is successful, that he is winning, and that scares them.

#3 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 10, 2016 @ 8:08 am

And, by the way, the left commits the same mistake lamenting about the lack of “no-brainer” denouncements of KKK support by “Donald the Racist”. I wonder whether they understand that KKK is just a relic of the past. Most people outside their circles do. If Trump didn’t denounce the support of AB, it would be a reason to worry (though in my case I would still be supporting him). But KKK is just an abbreviation from a long-dead past, some other reality, that is gone with the wind immediately when spoken. While Trump himself is addressing real issues, mostly economic or economy-concerned ones. Not always properly and coherently, but he’s doing it. That’s why Democrats are likely to lose this fall, much like the GOP establishment did last year.

#4 Comment By KevinS On June 10, 2016 @ 8:16 am

Absolutely nailed it. Bravo!

#5 Comment By c matt On June 10, 2016 @ 10:48 am

He is, so they say, a constant flip-flopper who is psychologically authoritarian, ignorant of policy, inveterately dishonest, and insufficiently adherent to conservative orthodoxy.

When you put it that way, it makes him sound like a Bush II clone.

#6 Comment By Brad On June 10, 2016 @ 10:51 am

Shorter Matt: Elites should purge those icky social cons and elect a new base.

#7 Comment By LouisM On June 10, 2016 @ 11:09 am

Its not the entire Republican Party nor the entire Conservative Party that is blind, deaf and dumb allowing their own vision to supercede the voting citizenry (ie their constituents).

In its simplest form the Republican Party was too inbred by GBI and GBII toward big govt / neocon foreign wars / pro-immigration(ie liberalism light). The Conservative Party was to inbred with evangelicals on abortion and gay marriage.

The 8 years of Obama saw not just massive big govt and corruption but also massive Marxist anarchists in key positions of power pulling the levers of power in the IRS, Justice Department, Department of Education, Department of Land Mgmt, Department of Health, etc. People expected it would lead to jobs after the financial crash. It didn’t.

Instead it led to precious college campus snowflakes and radical feminists using federal law and TITLE9 to rule a fascist anarchy of education. It led to redirecting money from seniors healthcare to healthcare for immigrants and poor minorities. It led to the working class being unfairly getting jobs and driving down wages due to uncontrolled immigration. It led to a overt and covert and sometimes violent assault on Christians of all denominations as racists, prejudiced bigots.

Large segments of the population felt a growing weight of intolerance, prejudice, bias, bigotry and marginalization weighing upon their backs and upon their family. if Trump proves competent as President then it will be a plus. If he proves incompetent then its a neutral because people voting for Trump want the left put back in their box where Reagan and Eisenhower once beat them back and took away their power. Trump may not be an expert in govt but he does know all the structural edifices of power and of democrats. Trump can purge Bush and Clinton and Obama legacies from the Federal Govt and dismantle the levers of power that provide the democrats with a foundation to execute Marxists ideologies. This is what people are voting for Trump to do.

#8 Comment By Mark On June 10, 2016 @ 11:37 am

“The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.”

Indeed. Neil Postman was so prescient and prophetic in this regard.

When I read this, the thought flashed through my mind that Trump and the Republicans is somewhat like Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns.

#9 Comment By MVH On June 10, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

Absolutely nailed it. The Republicans are losing a lot of their party members/voters as they have played to the extremists in their midst. I left. Can’t see myself as a member of this party in its current configuration.

#10 Comment By JR On June 10, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

This is an excellent read, and one of the best “guest”(?) writers I’ve read in a while on TAC.

My favorite bit was this:

“There’s a very good reason that this is the case: The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.”

In a time in which no one can even define what “conservative” means…how can one cast-out Trump as an apostate?

“…I am shocked, Shocked, to find non-conservatism going on in here!”

#11 Comment By The Other Sands On June 10, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

YES. Now listen to the deadenders here still not get it.

#12 Comment By Johann On June 10, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

Ditto Fran Macadam. I really think most political and media people believe the government rhetoric that the economy is doing great, even though the percent of people in the workforce vs people of workforce age is at its lowest percent since women began entering the workforce in a big way. Add to that the fact that median household income has been declining since 2000 and there you go. That’s how you get Trump. A lot of that has been caused by mass immigration of low skilled workers into our nation that already has a surplus of low skilled workers.

#13 Comment By Tracy On June 10, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

Perfect.

#14 Comment By Bob K. On June 10, 2016 @ 5:15 pm

Ditto Johann and Fran Macadam.

The American economy began slowly sinking and the middle class started to disappear with NAFTA. Big industries like Automobile manufacturing to Mexico where wages were lower.

After that putting the rest of our industrial base up for sale to China helped speed our decline up. We also allowed Japan to dump its electronic products and automobiles on our home market at prices lower than we could make them.

That wasn’t enough; then we had to open our border with Mexico to bring in people who would work for a pittance in the industries that remained while qualifying for Food Stamps and Medicaid and other welfare programs.

And it is still going on with the use of “temporary non immigrant” visas to bring in Tech workers from Asia to compete with those who are left.

#15 Comment By hashtag_agitated On June 10, 2016 @ 6:13 pm

My beef has not been with the conservative movement per se but more specifically with the Republican party.

Bush I – “no new taxes” >> raises taxes >> bye bye…voted for Perot next round

Bush II – OK finally…limited government after 8 years of Clinton, right? >> spend spend spend, new gubmint programs galore >> stopped voting in 2000 as I felt there was no substantive difference between the parties. From that point on for me it became a battle between our hostile ruling elites and the common man. But how to fight it?

Vote for McCain? Romney? Please. I saw nothing in them that suggested revolutionary change was possible.

All of these people, the GOP, the neo-cons, NRO, the MSM, etc…they are all insiders. Sure the Left sets the narrative and the Right dutifully plays the role of opposition. But come on, it’s us vs all of them, left and right.

I will probably vote for the first time in 16 yrs (for Trump). Perhaps he’ll be a disaster. But I believe there is at least a chance we may be able to begin undermining the ruling elite’s stranglehold on the narrative, policy, etc. We’ll see…it may be that there is finally enough cohesion among the people to push back. Exciting times…

#16 Comment By Champster On June 10, 2016 @ 7:04 pm

“It would have been a far wiser, however, if conservatives (including myself) had tried to meet the needs of the middle rather than stoking the flames of populism. We didn’t. Now they’re burning down our house.”

I suppose their is a way Matt could be more wrong…but I cant think of it.

#17 Comment By Ryan On June 10, 2016 @ 7:54 pm

For everyone saying it’s purely economic: why the racism then? Why can’t you have a candidate who plays to the economic fears without the racism?

Also: workforce participation is going down? You don’t say! Couldn’t have anything to do with boomers retiring, right? Must be that marxist in the White House…

#18 Comment By Junior On June 10, 2016 @ 8:30 pm

It is a referendum on Globalization. Period.

People have had enough of the Globalist lie that globalization benefits Americans. Get a clue, Sheffield. It’s crystal clear that you either STILL have absolutely no idea what this is all about OR you’re trying to distract people from the truth.

#19 Comment By Glaivester On June 10, 2016 @ 9:52 pm

The problem is that the conservative movement has talked a good game, but has totally ignored the concerns of its voters, particularly on immigration, racial socialism, and trade.

Matt apparently thinks that the solution is that the GOP ought to stop even pretending to care about the concerns of its base.

That’s called not getting it.

Really, what he is trying to say is that the GOP doesn’t need to change anything about its policies, it just needs to get its voters to shut up and get in line. Really, any time someone says that the GOP got into this predicament by stoking racial resentment rather than by not dealing with its voters’ racial concerns, he is really saying that all that the white working class needs is more lectures about how racist it is, and that its concerns need not be addressed.

#20 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 10, 2016 @ 11:17 pm

Ryan,

Because there is no racism in Trump’s position outside leftist fiction about the latter. But even if there were, such abstract things will *always* be outweighed by the economy. Sorry for the reality.

#21 Comment By Nelson On June 11, 2016 @ 3:20 am

For what it’s worth, globalization has lifted more people out of poverty than any other program in history. It is a good thing according to theory and the results, globally speaking, are wonderful. The problem is the gains weren’t equally distributed. When people attack globalism it’s because they themselves might feel uncomfortable, but instead of seeing the big picture, they fall back on what they think is common sense (but it doesn’t work, see Smoot Hawley). The only real way forward is to completely embrace globalism but make sure the gains are distributed to more people.

#22 Comment By Ragnvaldr On June 11, 2016 @ 3:51 am

Buchanan’s prediction of the US imploding by 2025 was and is spot on.

I’m excited that we have such fine candidates from both political parties to help it along. What Con Inc, and the leftist have succeeded in creating is a culture of nothing and a nation that is not worth saving.

#23 Comment By Andrew Zook On June 11, 2016 @ 7:02 am

“There’s a very good reason that this is the case: The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.”…
Soooo true. And that kind of “conservatism” does nobody any good, especially those of us who are actually, conservative in many ways. As a family man, job-holding, home owning, and religious (and working at being more conservative in that area); Very little of what modern “conservatives” have to offer or have done in the last 15-20yrs has helped me or my family in anyway, at all. And then they choose the Donald… It seems like some of the “conservatives” I know, despise actual, thoughtful conserving and community building; and instead seem very enamored with instability, chaos, destructive/isolating modernism, fanaticism, hyperbole, rashness, dissensions, and macho bravado etc (and prudence, honesty, humility, patience… all despised with gusto)

#24 Comment By Bob K. On June 11, 2016 @ 9:32 am

At Ryan:

Populism and Nationalism, yes. Economics, certainly. Appearance of unfairness through the Judges membership in La Raza organizations, yes.

But Racism? No.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel is the immigrant son of Mexicans of Caucasian Spanish heritage. For the most part these people still control Mexico and rule over Mestizo and Native American populations there.

It is in the economic interests of this Mexican Ruling Class to continue the existing open border policies which Trump has promised to end.

#25 Comment By Johann On June 11, 2016 @ 9:40 am

Ryan, boomers are actually working longer. That’s not the main reason for the decrease in workforce participation.

[26]

#26 Comment By Nexialist On June 11, 2016 @ 10:43 am

Establishment conservatism saw a declining middle class as irrelevant. “Anti intellectual” Sarah Palin did not.

#27 Comment By It’s Not About Trump On June 11, 2016 @ 11:48 am

Look around, for heaven’s sake. The same thing is happening in many European countries and for roughly the same reasons.

Trump himself hardly even matters. This isn’t about Trump. It’s about voters disgusted with the corruption, criminality, and incompetence of elites, “Establishments”, and economic and cultural “globalism”.

The GOP didn’t instill this in voters. What the GOP did was try to fob us off rather than effectively address it. And they’ve been coopting the insurgents we’ve been electing – a well-intentioned “Tea Party” candidate shows up for work in Washington and the next thing you know he’s voting for tax breaks for Wall Street, for H1-B visas, for deficit budgets, for more war, going on junkets to Israel, and talking about “path to citizenship”.

#28 Comment By Blair On June 11, 2016 @ 11:56 am

This article essentially presents a slippery slope argument that is fallacious. Conservatism is not a relative ideal, it has a specific set of beliefs about the world that you either have or you don’t, and Trump doesn’t share most of them.

It’s a bit like asking if a woman is “chaste”. There is leeway – you can probably wear a short skirt and show cleavage. But if you’re giving head to strangers in nightclub bathrooms, at some point you have to say the label doesn’t apply. By that standard, Trump is offering bukkake parties. There’s no way he’s a conservative, which, although it doesn’t matter to a lot of very foolish voters, certainly matters to me.

#29 Comment By panda On June 11, 2016 @ 12:39 pm

“Bush II – OK finally…limited government after 8 years of Clinton, right? >> spend spend spend, new gubmint programs galore >> stopped voting in 2000 as I felt there was no substantive difference between the parties….But I believe there is at least a chance we may be able to begin undermining the ruling elite’s stranglehold on the narrative, policy, etc.”

I don’t know how to break it to you, but your fascination with “limited government” is really, really, really, really, not evidence of you being a man of the people. The “ruling elite” would want nothing more than “reform” big gubmint programs like Social Security and Medicare. It’s us the hoi polloi that are unhappy abou that.

#30 Comment By Jen On June 11, 2016 @ 1:03 pm

This trajectory has been obvious ever since McCain chose Sarah “Real America” Palin for his running mate and the GOP leaders egged on the Tea Party. What’s shocking is that the GOP is surprised by the result.

Did they really not see this coming? Or did they just think they could control the rubes?

#31 Comment By Glaivester On June 11, 2016 @ 3:19 pm

I think that “Andrew Jackson” [27]:

There seems to be an implicit assumption running through this that it is the duty of the GOP establishment to keep some sort of lid on the monsters that make up the GOP vote. This disgusts me.

This line of thinking, embraced by all manner of modern pharisees from the left to elite Republicans, is really really astonishing in the degree to which it worships power. “The disgusting rabble, what monsters! If it weren’t for their ignorance we could have had a nice orderly election between Jeb! and Hillary. But I guess that’s what the GOP deserves for appealing to those voters in the first place! How lowbrow!”

#32 Comment By David Havelka On June 11, 2016 @ 3:58 pm

Reading this reminds me of Goldwater’s campaign slogan, “A CHOICE, Not an Echo”…when liberal Republicanism represented by Rockefeller was merely an watered down liberalism. So Matt repeats all the Liberal Ivory Tower opinions about Trump for us to wade through. Ultimately, BOOOORNING!!!

Sorry, Matt, we heard it all before, the white working folk that mainly vote Republican” are all racist, unintellctual, idiots who don’t know that exporting of their jobs and importing of cheap foreign labor to displace them is actually GOOD for them.

Thanks for nothing Matt.

#33 Comment By Colm J On June 11, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

Smug moralistic attacks on Trumpists like this one never get around to addressing, much less explaining, why Clinton, who has never seen a war she didn’t like, is considered the moderate candidate, and Trump, a comparatively much less bellicose figure, is depicted as a dangerous extremist.

#34 Comment By NorEastern On June 11, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

Trump. A fit of extreme anger. The nuclear codes. Is anyone 100% positive that event will never occur?

#35 Comment By Krusty On June 11, 2016 @ 11:27 pm

“Also: workforce participation is going down? You don’t say! Couldn’t have anything to do with boomers retiring, right? Must be that marxist in the White House…”

This must be a copypaste on a Millenial site.
The entity described as the workforce excludes retirees. Thus, the answer to Ryan’s question:

No.

#36 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 12, 2016 @ 12:06 am

1. The article is a series of whines without merit. You apparently are unaware of what a conservative or else one would not include Mr. Trump in the category. He is more conservative now tan he has been, but he is not what one would call a traditional conservative. There are very few of them left. Such conservatives are on the fringes, I include myself in that group. And what is telling that you ave no clue what a conservative is that you are referring to his opponents, who generally have defected the party as conservatives. They are not. They have occasional conservative ideas(?), but there is not much in their advocacy that reflects a conservative position, especially on foreign policy.

2. Assuming, you ave a concrete view of the “American Right”, you present no support of disengagement. And supposing there is a monolith of American Right that beats to some lock step drum — you have presented nothing in the way of how they have become disengaged. But I can certainly guess, that what you mean is that many people, including a large number of democrats, even those who are silent, don’t approve of what the liberals and democrats have been proposing. And that is what you mean by disengaged. They don’t agree. And forever with liberals disagreement means, out of touch, disconnected, fanciful, etc. So in all cases on all issues of disagreement, the liberal charges disengaged or out of touch reality as opposed to the actual — they reject what I proffered or they simply disagree. Your circular analysis of course begs your question. No the evidence is the opposite — the right is engaged:

1. The people have routinely sought to make it clear the understanding of marriage for the public square a man and woman — referendum after referendum routinely made that clear in most of the states that had. In response liberals stormed court houses, sought sympathetic like minded and active judges to over turn an issue that was up for debate on the status of marriage and decided. That does not sound like a disengaged populous to me. Just the opposite.

The response to those decisions by the churched and unchurched seems to be skeptical. If the political process is a sign of engagement, it’s clear that Mr. Trump, and those of other parties, such you reference are engaged and they are engaged against what liberals have thus far wrought in leadership. So clearly, the right as you reference is involved. Your disagreement does not their disengagement make. The record is clear — the right is not engaged.

3. Clearly the response to the increased use of force overseas has resulted in no small manner has been a resounding call for rejecting the same. The response to Syria was definitive engagement against the measure.

4. I am unclear if you have noticed the response to the IRS presses against conservative organizations, but the reponse in my view doesn’t want for any lack of response.

5. One need not even mention the NRA response to restricting gun ownership any further.

6. Sen Sanders supporters are echoing the same concerns about the relationship between corporate interests being so in bed with elected officials and benefitting citizens of the US less and less. I would say the relentless name calling of the right and supporters of Mr. trump reflects any kind of disengagement.

7. That millions of people who have shunned the political system are so disengaged that they are joining the Republican Party by the millions. Clearly they are actively engaged.

8. I think it says something that men using women’s restrooms because has caused quite a negative backlash, not only in circles of the right but in the country in general.

There may be lots of evidence that people don’t agree with the liberal and democratic agenda that you may embrace. But disagreement – does not disengaged from humanity make.

#37 Comment By red man group On June 12, 2016 @ 12:43 am

“For everyone saying it’s purely economic: why the racism then?”

What racism?

It’s hardly racist to say we ought to secure our borders, deport illegals, stop Muslims coming in, and stop foreigners from coming here to compete with us for work. That’s just common sense, and there are Americans of all races who agree with Trump on that.

You might say Trump obliquely accused that Latino judge of racism (and he belongs to a La Raza affiliate of some kind, so maybe he is), but I haven’t heard anything Trump say anything racist. Maybe you heard something I didn’t. Or maybe you’re repeating what soon-to-be-former House Speaker Paul Ryan said as though it was true.

#38 Comment By Pacific moderate On June 12, 2016 @ 3:29 am

Excellent read. I’d add that the non-stop demonization of the “enemies” of the right (e.g. Obama derangement syndrome), not to mention the longstanding demonization of government itself, is unlikely to bring forth standard bearers well-suited to governing or leading much of anything.

#39 Comment By Ebenezer_Arvigenius On June 12, 2016 @ 4:06 am

This must be a copypaste on a Millenial site.
The entity described as the workforce excludes retirees. Thus, the answer to Ryan’s question:

The workforce excludes retirees but the civilian noninstitutional population does not. As a result, the numerator is unaffected but the denominator goes down.

Thus when you have more hale retirees, the workforce participation rate goes down.

#40 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 12, 2016 @ 12:22 pm

Nelson,

For what it’s worth, globalization has lifted more people out of poverty than any other program in history.

Right. At the expense of the working class back home.

NorEastern,

Trump. A fit of extreme anger. The nuclear codes. Is anyone 100% positive that event will never occur?

Many more percent positive than in the case of a lass who caused the Libyan catastrophe and contemplated Gaddafi’s death with a pure, childish bloodlust.

#41 Comment By AnneGG On June 12, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

[28]

Secure our borders. Create jobs in America. Implement a foreign policy informed by American interests.

#42 Comment By CharleyCarp On June 12, 2016 @ 11:34 pm

Some people are using “racism” as a synonym for “bigotry.” It’s probably not a proper usage, but I, for one, think that the moral and political difference between the terms is so trivial that people who insist on making that point (though probably correct as a matter of usage) appear to be engaging in misdirection.

I guess I don’t care whether Trump is a bigot, or is just trying to appeal to bigots. Actually, I guess I don’t care if he’s inadvertently appealing to bigots — any of these strike me as the wrong direction to be going.

Trump, and his supporters above, talk alot about winning. Winning is certainly a necessary condition, but, and this is the real problem with contemporary conservatism, it is far from sufficient to accomplish policy goals. You don’t just have to win: you also have to govern a nation where something like half — more or less, depending on the issue — of people disagree strongly with you. Maybe some folks are seeing some sort of aptitude for that in Trump. I’m not.

#43 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 13, 2016 @ 10:09 am

CharleyCarp,

Clinton, with all her AA policy and Wall Street adherence, got even less aptitude for such things. So, we’ve got two evils. And one of them – Trump – may happen no to be an evil at all. So, there is an arsenic jar and a jar with something unknown and not apparently smelling like poison. Your choice.

#44 Comment By Anonne On June 13, 2016 @ 12:25 pm

@EliteCommInc.:

You apparently are unaware of what a conservative or else one would not include Mr. Trump in the category.

The article is correct in that the many and perhaps even most people who identify themselves as conservatives are not particularly conservative when it comes to the actual ideals. In that vein, Trump is very much a mainstream conservative.

#45 Comment By William Springer On June 13, 2016 @ 2:08 pm

Alex (the one that likes Ike): Your argument is common amongst Trump supporters and something I would like to discuss. Generally…we know what Hillary’s policies are and we disagree with them. Trump has said many things and we can’t be certain of his exact policy, but it might be better than Hillary (i.e., Hillary is a certain negative 10 while Trump is unknown and there is a chance it could be higher).

The problem here is that it seems you compare Hillary with other somewhat mainstream politicians and their policies. Your arsenic for Hillary and perhaps poison for Trump indicate you actually think Trump’s worst possible outcome is comparable to Hillary’s worst possible outcome. Relatively, she is worse than many other politicians and their policies. But in terms of ideas of anyone anywhere, she is pretty darn good. I liken this to needing emergency surgery and having to choose between a doctor who has failed 30% of the time and a physical therapist who (of course) never has performed surgery ever or even gone to medical school. You have known bad chances under the doctor and a much greater range (slightly better to much worse) under the non-doctor.

Reinstituting torture under Bush II was the first time I started to realize that constitutional protections and limitations really only go so far and there are times when even democratic governments (and populations) can make policies to trample everyone. There are definite realities where Trump’s policies could (1) isolate us internationally (backing out of Asia and allowing arms race, balking at NATO obligations, backing out of written treaties, more or less directly insulting our allies by walking out of Iran deal, etc.), (2) destroy us economically (he stated he will renegotiate every trade deal and that Apple will make iPhones here….is this true? The trade sanctions would be astronomical and lead to ridiculous costs of everything and huge unemployment) and (3) divide the nation even further (registering Muslims was his suggestion, that is a terrible start), and (4) lead to incredibly unexpected results (stating a judge can’t be impartial solely due to their ethnicity implies banning significant percentages of judges from different cases every day…no woman, Muslim, certain Christian sects, or African-American could be an impartial judge on a rape case against an African-American, under that logic). None of these are close to certain or likely, but this list is also not exhaustive of possible negative outcomes. While it is possible to debate the likelihood of these downsides, I am not sure how feasible it is to precisely gauge that risk; what odds would you have given that Bush II would put torture back as an official US condoned policy, for example (I certainly would have said negligible to zero). Regardless, these downsides exist under Trump that would not exist under most politicians with stated platforms where we truly understood their policies, plans and goals.

In a way the election reminds me of Pascal’s Wager but without the huge upside and only the downside. If you vote for Hillary and Trump’s unorthodox and bellicose ways wasn’t indicative of his policies, then you get a minor negative payout (say, -100 for Hillary compared to plus 500 for Trump). But if Trump is as bad as possible, the results are much worse than would ever be expected from someone more mainstream (let’s say potentially -20,000 for things described above, with all numbers representing relative value).

Understanding the numbers are just randomly assigned (but assuming you understand the idea generally), your trade under the current terrible choice is to trade certain -100 for potential ranging payout ranging from +500 to negative -10,000. Perhaps you would argue that Trump’s upside is greater, but its hard to see upside equalling the downsides described above. So Trump’s upside could be +2,000. But the downside is significantly worse.

You admit, though, that you don’t really have a sense prior to the election on what this would be….he may or may not be better than Hillary, so you prefer the unknown bottle to Hillary’s arsenic. But when comparing the potential downsides, Trump would be something like 1,000 years of torture relative to Hillary’s arsenic. Your choice is to roll the dice for a slight upside for the country while taking the chance of the huge downside. That is not a risk I want to take and am intrigued to hear your thought process to reach that choice.

#46 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On June 13, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

William Springer,

Let’s start with summing up the FP part of your speech. You disagree with my suggestion that Trump is less likely to start some new Libya-style venture than Clinton, and then immediately proceed with criticizing him for his relatively isolationist stance. Does it look like a coherent criticism?

#47 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 14, 2016 @ 11:31 am

“The article is correct in that the many and perhaps even most people who identify themselves as conservatives are not particularly conservative when it comes to the actual ideals. In that vein, Trump is very much a mainstream conservative.”

Hence my point. Its a meaningless foundation. One in my view needs to explicate the terms or qualities that one claims people identify with. Now I get it in some general reference, maybe there’s a room. But in article making an arc to identity, this delineation is demanded to make the case.

Suppose one identifies themselves as frogs and most people identify themselves as frogs. Making a case that people are frogs requires going beyond the condition, that most people say that are so one must be.

Because on examination, one may discover that even if most people fit said condition, it may very well be that that one so signified does not.

Further it is important because as I think is accurate here, one can assign attributes to conservatives that are in fact not conservative at all.

For example, the group that is demanding that Mr. Trump is not conservative most likely aren’t conservatives either. I could hardly call anyone who’s foreign policy agenda ‘regime change’ minus any provocation by force a conservative. Expanding powers of government to enforce a form of subpolice state in the name of security that actually is expensive, and unduly costly minus any data to support the expense or effect is not a conservative ethic.

Supporting debts the government cannot pay, excusing malfeasance in the and among the financial power sectors, worse actually rewarding, encouraging and subsidizing careless behavior — not conservative. Subborning the use of immigrant legal and illegal labor to undermine the US economy and its citizenry is not a conservative ethic.

So I remain where I came in on this discussion.

#48 Comment By sunrise On June 14, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

The current Republican party has pushed me away because it has abandoned ideals and principles for dog-whistle slogans and inability to recognize that some policies which are politically correct to the right don’t work.

I wish there was an alternative where conservatives were pro-science, focused on what works, had the courage and principles of the founders of America as stated in the Declaration of Independence and espoused the ideals of the famous Statue of Liberty poem.

Instead the current group is more interested in power than in doing what’s correct, to pandering to fear rather than calling America to courageously live up to our ideals, to refusing to accept reality and so forth.

I hope that changes someday.

#49 Comment By Peter On July 31, 2016 @ 1:47 am

Yikes! I hope you have a different writing style for a book length essay. I found this impossible to finish at article length!