Nation First, Conservatism Second
If you read nothing else today, make it this brilliant column by Michael Brendan Dougherty, who says the late far-right nationalist writer Sam Francis wrote the script for Donald Trump’s campaign 20 years ago, for Pat Buchanan, but Buchanan was too much a Republican Party man to follow it. Excerpts:
To simplify Francis’ theory: There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too.
More, about how globalism and the free-market economics promoted by the GOP really has devastated the people Francis talks about:
The political left treats this as a made-up problem, a scapegoating by Applebee’s-eating, megachurch rubes who think they are losing their “jerbs.” Remember, Republicans and Democrats have still been getting elected all this time.
But the response of the predominantly-white class that Francis was writing about has mostly been one of personal despair. And thus we see them dying in middle age of drug overdose, alcoholism, or obesity at rates that far outpace those of even poorer blacks and Hispanics. Their rate of suicide is sky high too. Living in Washington D.C., however, with an endless two decade real-estate boom, and a free-lunch economy paid for by special interests, most of the people in the conservative movement hardly know that some Americans think America needs to be made great again.
What so frightens the conservative movement about Trump’s success is that he reveals just how thin the support for their ideas really is. His campaign is a rebuke to their institutions. It says the Republican Party doesn’t need all these think tanks, all this supposed policy expertise. It says look at these people calling themselves libertarians and conservatives, the ones in tassel-loafers and bow ties. Have they made you more free? Have their endless policy papers and studies and books conserved anything for you? These people are worthless. They are defunct. You don’t need them, and you’re better off without them.
And the most frightening thing of all — as Francis’ advice shows — is that the underlying trend has been around for at least 20 years, just waiting for the right man to come along and take advantage.
Read the whole thing. You won’t see the GOP race the same way again.
You should also look at Sam Francis’s original 1996 essay in Chronicles. Trump may not get the nomination, and if he does, he may not become the next president. But in light of Francis’s column, it’s hard to see how Republican politics ever really return to normal after Trump.