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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Populism and Conservatism

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Keep the faith.  Even when the storm is at its worst, there is always a path to liberty.  As with the Sea of Galilee where the disciples faithlessly worried they were headed for destruction, we were never promised the ride would be without storms and strife.  We were promised that by divine providence we would be led to the other side.  Sometimes, the journey is not what we expect, or what we think would be a path that is survivable.

The Republican Party has been complaining for a very long time that we need a candidate who can grab hold of a variety of voters, appeal to groups we can't seem to be able to reach, and someone with a strong voice who is willing to grab the horns of the Democrat Party bull and slam it into the ground.  Now, they have a candidate in Donald Trump who resembles all of that, and they are frothing at the mouth in hate, fear, and anger.

There's an old saying.  "When you are stuck with lemons, make lemonade."  The GOP, conservatives included, do not seem to understand the opportunity Mr. Trump is providing.  He's appealing to voters the Republicans have been missing out on.  Why would they wish to lose out on that opportunity?

I am not a flag-waving fan of Mr. Trump.  When I write about him, I really don't have a lot of positive things to say about him, but as a professional writer and radio host with the hopes of gaining national attention, I recognize that it is my job to inform, educate and enlighten, so I tell my readers and listeners why Mr. Trump has been doing well.  Spending all my time hammering away at someone is counter-productive.  We have to remember who our audience is.  No matter how much I have problems with someone like Ted Cruz, or Donald Trump, it is my job to inform.  The question is not supposed to be about how I think they are wrong.  I am supposed to look at the facts.  What does the supporters and detractors of any particular candidate think, and how does that apply to the current political environment?  And, while it may seem reasonable to consider that Trump's popularity may theoretically be the end of the Republican Party, the true pundit seeks how the situation can actually be used to the advantage of conservatism.  We live in a new world, thanks to Barack Obama, and it may take a powerful personality to get this all ironed out.

The fact is, Americans feel like something is wrong, and right-of-center voters are angry at the GOP because they gave the Republican Party the House, and the Senate, and yet the socialist goosestep march of the Obama administration continued forward as if the Congress belonged to the Democrats.  All of the political analysis in the world will not change the fact that voters are sick of business as usual by a political class they see as a single unit regardless of party affiliation.  To them, Trump represents something new, a populist candidate that has the ruling class nervous because he is outside the system.  At this point, disrupting the system is more important than putting into office the perfect conservative candidate, to these voters who I believe are speaking loud and clear.

Rather than unite under the opportunity, the GOP is busy spewing poisonous venom at the Trump campaign, and in truth, it is not Mr. Trump who is destroying the Republican Party, it is the GOP establishment who is refusing to adjust as needed to take advantage of what the voters are demanding.

Conservative ideas and solutions are not lost if Mr. Trump gains the White House.  But, if the GOP refuses to unite behind whoever wins, including Mr. Trump, we would be handing the White House over to Hillary Clinton.

The 2016 Republican Primary has been a rollercoaster ride that, if anything, has revealed that the American voters are angry, and that they are willing to be vigilant in bringing down a system they believe to be outside the best interest of the country.

When I worked for a municipality, the building official had an interesting piece of art on the wall.  It was an image of something similar to Thor's Hammer, and it read underneath, "If it doesn't fit, get a bigger hammer."  For many, Donald Trump is that bigger hammer.

Failing to provide an effective strategy against the failed agenda of the leftist Democrats, the Republican establishment can no longer be trusted, as far as the voter is concerned.  We have used the establishment's pathway to the White House, and it failed.  Their unwillingness to stand and fight for the voters have the voters seeking help from somebody else.

The GOP and the media is now saying we are going to have a brokered (contested) convention in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention as if they have fallen for all of the liberal left "hate" rhetoric about Mr. Trump.  But, Trump's rise is because of anger among the voters that the elites keep monkeying with everything.  What do you think will happen if the GOP says through a brokered convention, "Nope, Trump is not acceptable, and we are going to use the convention to dislodge him from our ranks."  The GOP might as well give the presidency to Hillary Clinton, right now.

They say Trump can't beat Hillary.  They said he couldn't beat the 17 Republican candidates, yet, here he is.  So, why should we even believe them when it comes to the polls, or Trump's chances against Hillary, when he has already beaten the odds?

The Republican voters are tired of the antics of the party leaders.  The GOP establishment was a part of passing $19 trillion of debt, they were a part of allowing the immigration nightmare getting as bad as it has, they were a part of allowing marriage to be redefined across the nation, they were a part of allowing Obamacare to become law despite the lack of constitutional authority, and they have been telling us what can win and then have been losing.

The support for Donald Trump by his supporters has little to do with conservatism, and everything to do with breaking up the monopoly being held in government by the ruling class of elitists.

I am not saying Trump is the best path to take, but it is the path the voters have chosen, and if the party was to spit on the populism surrounding Trump, the voters would revolt.

Face it.  When it comes to the presidency, we aren't going to get the traditional constitutional conservative we want.  We never do.  Trump is hardly anything close to that, and I have my own personal concerns. . . but I believe that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is something worse, and I believe the games the party elites are playing could very well put Hillary Clinton into the White House.

We are a nation of limited government and a free market system, and Trump may be a lot of things, but he is not a communist like Sanders or Clinton.  We know it is free enterprise, not crony capitalism, that has made America great in the past and can make her great again in the future. And if a President Trump heads in the wrong direction, and I am figuring that often he will, then we have to be responsible enough as citizens to make enough noise to change it.  It doesn't matter who it is.  It's never a good idea to sit back and trust who's in the White House.  It is even worse to open the doors of government to a person who has a hate for the American System, and truthfully, Hillary Clinton hates America as it was founded, just as Barack Obama does.

Because we can't seem to win elections with the establishment's strategies in place, and we can't seem to convince a truly conservative candidate to take the helm, we have to accept what we have.  After being told he could never do well, Donald Trump is winning the race while driving along the populist lane.  His supporters have valid grievances with the parties, and the establishment system.  They have had it with a corrupt system of politics, and they think Mr. Trump is the answer.

Will a Trump presidency expand government power?  Probably.  Federal power expanded under every president during my lifetime.  But, under a Hillary Clinton presidency that power will expand beyond recognition, as our national security dwindles into nothing.

Though I must qualify that I don't believe Trump is the next Reagan, the links between Trump and Reagan are unmistakable.  The anger and fear we hear about Trump was attributed to Reagan as well.  And like Trump, Reagan understood the importance of channeling populism with a deep commitment to principle.  Reagan never spoke to groups.  He spoke to Americans.  All Americans.  “Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of this administration, so help me God,” he promised. The reality is that the leadership of the Republican Party has refused to face that today's working Americans feel their elected officials don’t hear them, because the politicians are too busy fundraising or working on projects they think will be best for getting them reelected.

Populism has fueled Donald Trump’s candidacy, and he knows it.  He uses it when he points out that our country’s politicians are corrupt.  They have made bad deals and they have forgotten the people.  There needs to be a change, says Trump, and his supporters agree.

Apparently, populism, conservatism, and the establishment's ideas are not enough individually, but if we were to unite the conservatives with the populist momentum Trump has established, Hillary Clinton can be beaten.  If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, he will need to lead an effort that is not only populist, but one that resembles a conservative agenda. If he shows us that he truly wishes to be the conservative we have figured he is not, conservative support will increase.

Mr. Trump has been talking about what conservatives are concerned about.  Immigration.  Islam.  Obamacare.  Common Core.  And he is attracting voters that normally aren't involved.  It is an incredible achievement, and if the Republican establishment purposely derails the Trump campaign with shenanigans, the reality is it will be they, not Trump, that will slip the noose around the neck of the GOP.

Trump’s optimism for making America great again is appreciated, and believed by his supporters.  Nobody expects his lack of political experience to stop him, though we understand his sometimes flawed articulation of his ideas because of that inexperience in the political realm.  He has verbalized his intentions (without necessarily giving us the details many political pundits crave), and he has earned the trust of many voters.  He has the lead, and he has emerged as the likely Republican nominee.  Who do the the ruling elitists think they are to tell the voters they can't have what they want?  Sure, the voters can be fooled, and screw it up.  The two elections of President Obama are evidence of that.  And we do have checks and balances in place to protect us from being a pure democracy.  But, does the political class who claims to hold the conventional wisdom of political thought, and believe they are the keepers of the keys of liberty have the right to tell the voters, "You're stupid.  Your vote means nothing.  The choice is ours"?

Populism can be dangerous.  We are not a true democracy.  We should not be governed by mob-rule.  But, should the fear of such a thing give the political class the right to tell the voters their voice means nothing at all?

Having said that, we must then ask, is someone like Donald Trump capable of conservative policies?  And if not, are we strong enough in our resolve to call him on his mistakes, and redirect a President Trump in the right direction?

My rule of thumb in this election has been simple.  Aside from Scott Walker, I really never had a favorite.  However, the worst Republican is still better than Hillary Clinton.  The problem is, not everybody sees that as being a true statement.  There are those who believe that Trump is something worse than Hillary Clinton.  Most of those people, however, are a part of the establishment, and have their own secret agenda.  Can they be trusted to dictate to us what to do?

Trump may be a lot of things, but is he truly worse than Hillary Clinton?

I don't believe so.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary


JASmius said...

Trump and Hillary are two sides of the same coin. The difference is, Hillary, ironically, is being honest about her party affiliation. Trump isn't even that candid.

Neither should be supported, neither should be voted for. Period.

JASmius said...

BTW, you know that "progressive infiltration" of the GOP you're always talking about? Here it is, from today's "Morning Jolt":

"The #NeverTrump crowd believes that voting for Trump is selling their souls, reducing themselves to the humiliating subservience of Chris Christie. They’ve seen religious leaders compare Trump to King David, Senator Jeff Sessions endorse the guy who hired illegal immigrants for construction jobs and off-the-cuff endorsed expanding the H-1B visa program, journalistic institutions turn themselves into propaganda outlets for him, and the media turn themselves into an all-Trump, all-the-time frenzy of alternating adulation and denunciation. (“Nothing too hard, Mika.”) The allegedly conservative party is now ready to sign on to the guy who defends Planned Parenthood, opposes entitlement reform, speaks warmly of Vladimir Putin, boasts he’ll be able to get the military to violate the law, won’t rip up the Iranian nuclear deal, mocks Carly Fiorina’s appearance, and lies constantly, obviously, and shamelessly. Trump corrupts everything he touches, and one plurality in the party can’t believe the other plurality is eager to give him the powers of the presidency and authority over the FBI, Department of Justice, and IRS.

"And despite the overwhelming hype, he’s won 37% of the cast votes so far."

I guess the GOP isn't conservative - anymore.