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The Trump Chastisement

Confessions of a chastened conservative

An extraordinary article by Rusty Reno, who says he believes Trump is a dangerous figure, but who admits that the rise of Trump has taught him about his own errors of judgment. Trump, says Reno, reveals that the Republican Party is no real friend of Main Street and traditional American values. Excerpts:

In the last couple of years, it has become obvious that this acceptance has real-world consequences. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious freedom bill in Arizona, as did Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas. This week, South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard in South Dakota vetoed a bill designed to stymie the most radical efforts of transgender activists. And, of course, there was the national spectacle of outrage over the Indiana religious freedom law. These setbacks did not come about because of left-wing outrage. It was the result of key elements of the Republican establishment joining forces with Democrats to support the agenda of the Human Rights Campaign.

Trump has said nothing about gay rights to indicate he would do otherwise. But his habit of ignoring political correctness—and in some instances fighting back and winning—seems to inspire frustrated voters. They feel defenseless against the relentless re-characterizations of their concerns as moral failings—xenophobia, racism, populist rancor, gullibility, and more. They may not regard Trump as someone who agrees with them on every issue. But they’re gratified that he is not cowed.

Moreover, voters seem to be making a connection. The same corporate titans who champion the free flow of labor, capital, and goods are the ones who strong-arm Republican governors to conform to the dictates of political correctness. His supporters like Trump because he threatens today’s economic elites, who are also our cultural elites, promising to bring them to heel just as often as he promises to strong-arm the Mexican government.

Boy, is that ever true. Reno goes on to say that for a long time he was indifferent to the immigration debate, and that he bought the GOP globalist free trade dogma, not noticing how these economic upheavals affected working class people. And he confesses that he has always been against political correctness, but he did not fully appreciate how it humiliates people who disagree. More:

In each instance Trump’s successes at the polls have forced me to acknowledge a degree of blindness. A great number of people in America no longer feel at home, a greater number than I imagined. They’ve been pushed aside by our global economy. A liberalized immigration regime has changed their hometowns. When they express their sense of loss, liberals denounce them as racists, which is equivalent to saying that they have no moral standing in our society. Increasingly, conservative leaders let those charges go unanswered or even agree. Then, when they cheer the idea of making America great again, they’re written off as crude nationalists rather than recognized as fellow citizens who want to do something.

Read the whole thing. It’s important.

A reader who teaches politics at a major university e-mailed this morning to say:

There is no chance I’ll vote for Trump, if only because I think at least a modicum of virtue is a prerequisite to be President.  I’m perhaps less apocalyptic about the whole thing than you are, because I can imagine a likely scenario that is not so bad in my eyes: Hillary beats Trump badly, and the Republican party is finally forced to do some serious soul-searching and to recast itself in a way that makes it of broader appeal.  Some good might come of that.

It’s a thought.




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