Trump, the Republican Party, and the Future of Conservatism

The Republican Party hierarchy commenced the current primary season with two overriding objectives 1) make certain no constitutional conservative would win the nomination; and 2) nominate someone considered to be an ideological moderate.  They have succeeded in many ways far beyond what they could have imagined.

The last conservative standing, Ted Cruz, was recently vanquished in Indiana.  The presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, while certainly not the first choice of the party insiders, is more than just a moderate, he is the most liberal nominee in the party’s history.  Nonetheless, as he has been a member of the Ruling Class for his entire adult life, Trump will eventually be acceptable to the party elites, as their first allegiance is to themselves and the Party.  However, the far more important goal of denying the nomination to anyone in the conservative wing of the party was a resounding albeit a pyrrhic victory.

Since the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term, the Republican Party hierarchy has subtly and at times overtly (the Tea Party) denigrated and deliberately diminished the influence of the conservative movement within their ranks.  Despite the fact that conservatives are by far the largest faction within the party, this strategy has been successful, as there has been no one of the stature of Ronald Reagan to assume the mantle of both leader of the movement and the Party.  Over the past 28 years, by manipulating the nominating process, controlling political contributions and colluding with the media, the party elites have made certain that no genuine conservative could win the presidency.  Conservatives, as they have nowhere else to go, have been viewed solely as voting machine fodder to be harvested every two years.

Among the ways the party hierarchy stacks the deck against any constitutional conservative winning the presidential nomination is by manipulating the primary process.  The most insidious is by making certain, in the first three weeks of the process, that virtually all the states most favorable to a conservative candidate conduct open primaries (anyone can vote) and assign delegates on a proportional basis.  As there are always a number of conservatives running, this strategy assures that no single conservative could come out with a significant lead, leaving the middle-of-the-road candidates to do well in the Midwest and Northeast which, not coincidentally, are states generally favorable to moderates and who allocate delegates on essentially winner take all formulas.

The schedule for the three-week period between February 20th and March 15 of this year:

 

           Open Primary

      Proportional Delegates

South Carolina

                      X

                   

Alabama

                      X                                        

                       X

Arkansas

                      X

                       X

Georgia

                      X

                       X

Kentucky

                      X

                       X

Louisiana

                      X

                       X

Mississippi

                      X

                       X

North Carolina

                      X

                       X

Oklahoma

                      

                       X

Tennessee

                      X

                       X

Texas

                      X

                       X

Virginia

                      X

                       X

 

Republican conservative presidential candidates are also the least able to tap into the significant reservoir of Republican deep pocket contributors, as these benefactors are incestuously in bed with the party elites.  Invariably conservatives are underfunded and unable to compete in all the states on anywhere near an equal footing with the preferred candidates, thus placing them at a further disadvantage as they must rely overwhelmingly on grass roots donations.

The conventional wisdom is that the media is biased against any Republican, the reality is that they are biased against conservative Republicans.  This reality is highlighted during any presidential campaign season as the moderate candidates are assured of not only more coverage but much more positive coverage than any conservative, as the media, de facto members of the Ruling Class (as are the Republican Party elites), fear a constitutional conservative may actually rein in the runaway government upon which they all rely.  This cabal includes Fox News and some self-proclaimed conservative websites and publications.

In 2016, the largest field of candidates in the party’s history, combined with these previously successful tactics, produced results far beyond what the Establishment anticipated.  This coalescing of circumstance and strategy eventuated in an unexpected beneficiary: Donald Trump.  Thus he has, despite capturing just 42% of the all votes cast, won the Republican nomination.

Based on his history and current stated positions on a myriad of issues, Donald Trump is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.  He is the epitome of a Northeast Liberal.  If he wins the general election, the Republican Party will become essentially what the Democratic Party of the 1990’s was under Bill Clinton.   One that has fully embraced liberal social policies and the concept of bigger but more “efficient” government.  There will effectively be one ruling party, as only marginal differences will exist between the Democrats and the Republicans.   The conservative movement will be cast into the wilderness, marginalized and ignored by the Ruling Class, as there will be no vehicle, i.e. political party, in which they can hope to assume power or exert influence.

If Trump loses in the general election, the recriminations and turmoil within the Republican Party will be volcanic.  As the titular head of the party, Trump will lash out at everyone regardless of the long term impact on the party.  The brunt of the blame and the scapegoat for the loss will be the conservative movement and its offshoot the Tea Party, as Trump and his allies will claim they were insufficiently enthusiastic about the party’s nominee and too insistent on the importance of social issues and the Constitution.   The party elites and Trump will persist in marginalizing conservatism as being arcane, extreme and unworkable.  Under the influence of Donald Trump, the Party, as it veers further to the left, will lose its mooring and begin a long slide into oblivion.

Over the past three decades conservatives have been loyal to and have worked tirelessly within the Party, whether at the grass roots level turning out the vote for the mid-term election cycles or dutifully voting for moderate presidential candidates.  However, regardless of whether Trump wins or loses in November, the 2016 primary season and the nomination of Donald Trump will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as a vast number of conservatives are coming to the realization that it is time for the conservative movement to stop being the battered spouse.  The heroic campaign of Ted Cruz against overwhelming odds and grotesque personal attacks is the last hurrah for conservatism within the Republican Party. 

Conservatism is not dead or dying.  It is alive and well in the hearts of a vast plurality of men and women who know that constitutional conservatism can and will rescue this nation and place it again on a path of individual freedom, limited government and prosperity.  But it has become painfully clear that it can only do so as a viable independent political entity.  The oft expressed stratagem of working within the party to promote conservatism and assume leadership is no longer even remotely doable. 

The time has come to convene a meeting or convention of prominent conservative elected politicians, academics and pundits from around the country and begin the process of forming a new conservative party rather than rush headfirst into a suicidal third party candidacy to oppose Trump this November.  A tactic that would cause the conservative movement to lose an enormous amount of credibility.

The Republican Party, founded in 1854, had as its underlying foundation opposition to the two national parties on the issue of abolishing slavery.  The Whig Party was ambivalent and the Democratic Party condoned slavery.  Today a new party must be formed in opposition to the two national parties on the issue of a massive and oppressive central government.  The Republican Party is ambivalent and the Democratic Party fully embraces statism.  As the Republican Party, within a few short years, replaced a feckless Whig Party a new conservative party can replace a feckless Republican Party.

The Republican Party hierarchy commenced the current primary season with two overriding objectives 1) make certain no constitutional conservative would win the nomination; and 2) nominate someone considered to be an ideological moderate.  They have succeeded in many ways far beyond what they could have imagined.

The last conservative standing, Ted Cruz, was recently vanquished in Indiana.  The presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, while certainly not the first choice of the party insiders, is more than just a moderate, he is the most liberal nominee in the party’s history.  Nonetheless, as he has been a member of the Ruling Class for his entire adult life, Trump will eventually be acceptable to the party elites, as their first allegiance is to themselves and the Party.  However, the far more important goal of denying the nomination to anyone in the conservative wing of the party was a resounding albeit a pyrrhic victory.

Since the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term, the Republican Party hierarchy has subtly and at times overtly (the Tea Party) denigrated and deliberately diminished the influence of the conservative movement within their ranks.  Despite the fact that conservatives are by far the largest faction within the party, this strategy has been successful, as there has been no one of the stature of Ronald Reagan to assume the mantle of both leader of the movement and the Party.  Over the past 28 years, by manipulating the nominating process, controlling political contributions and colluding with the media, the party elites have made certain that no genuine conservative could win the presidency.  Conservatives, as they have nowhere else to go, have been viewed solely as voting machine fodder to be harvested every two years.

Among the ways the party hierarchy stacks the deck against any constitutional conservative winning the presidential nomination is by manipulating the primary process.  The most insidious is by making certain, in the first three weeks of the process, that virtually all the states most favorable to a conservative candidate conduct open primaries (anyone can vote) and assign delegates on a proportional basis.  As there are always a number of conservatives running, this strategy assures that no single conservative could come out with a significant lead, leaving the middle-of-the-road candidates to do well in the Midwest and Northeast which, not coincidentally, are states generally favorable to moderates and who allocate delegates on essentially winner take all formulas.

The schedule for the three-week period between February 20th and March 15 of this year:

 

           Open Primary

      Proportional Delegates

South Carolina

                      X

                   

Alabama

                      X                                        

                       X

Arkansas

                      X

                       X

Georgia

                      X

                       X

Kentucky

                      X

                       X

Louisiana

                      X

                       X

Mississippi

                      X

                       X

North Carolina

                      X

                       X

Oklahoma

                      

                       X

Tennessee

                      X

                       X

Texas

                      X

                       X

Virginia

                      X

                       X

 

Republican conservative presidential candidates are also the least able to tap into the significant reservoir of Republican deep pocket contributors, as these benefactors are incestuously in bed with the party elites.  Invariably conservatives are underfunded and unable to compete in all the states on anywhere near an equal footing with the preferred candidates, thus placing them at a further disadvantage as they must rely overwhelmingly on grass roots donations.

The conventional wisdom is that the media is biased against any Republican, the reality is that they are biased against conservative Republicans.  This reality is highlighted during any presidential campaign season as the moderate candidates are assured of not only more coverage but much more positive coverage than any conservative, as the media, de facto members of the Ruling Class (as are the Republican Party elites), fear a constitutional conservative may actually rein in the runaway government upon which they all rely.  This cabal includes Fox News and some self-proclaimed conservative websites and publications.

In 2016, the largest field of candidates in the party’s history, combined with these previously successful tactics, produced results far beyond what the Establishment anticipated.  This coalescing of circumstance and strategy eventuated in an unexpected beneficiary: Donald Trump.  Thus he has, despite capturing just 42% of the all votes cast, won the Republican nomination.

Based on his history and current stated positions on a myriad of issues, Donald Trump is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.  He is the epitome of a Northeast Liberal.  If he wins the general election, the Republican Party will become essentially what the Democratic Party of the 1990’s was under Bill Clinton.   One that has fully embraced liberal social policies and the concept of bigger but more “efficient” government.  There will effectively be one ruling party, as only marginal differences will exist between the Democrats and the Republicans.   The conservative movement will be cast into the wilderness, marginalized and ignored by the Ruling Class, as there will be no vehicle, i.e. political party, in which they can hope to assume power or exert influence.

If Trump loses in the general election, the recriminations and turmoil within the Republican Party will be volcanic.  As the titular head of the party, Trump will lash out at everyone regardless of the long term impact on the party.  The brunt of the blame and the scapegoat for the loss will be the conservative movement and its offshoot the Tea Party, as Trump and his allies will claim they were insufficiently enthusiastic about the party’s nominee and too insistent on the importance of social issues and the Constitution.   The party elites and Trump will persist in marginalizing conservatism as being arcane, extreme and unworkable.  Under the influence of Donald Trump, the Party, as it veers further to the left, will lose its mooring and begin a long slide into oblivion.

Over the past three decades conservatives have been loyal to and have worked tirelessly within the Party, whether at the grass roots level turning out the vote for the mid-term election cycles or dutifully voting for moderate presidential candidates.  However, regardless of whether Trump wins or loses in November, the 2016 primary season and the nomination of Donald Trump will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as a vast number of conservatives are coming to the realization that it is time for the conservative movement to stop being the battered spouse.  The heroic campaign of Ted Cruz against overwhelming odds and grotesque personal attacks is the last hurrah for conservatism within the Republican Party. 

Conservatism is not dead or dying.  It is alive and well in the hearts of a vast plurality of men and women who know that constitutional conservatism can and will rescue this nation and place it again on a path of individual freedom, limited government and prosperity.  But it has become painfully clear that it can only do so as a viable independent political entity.  The oft expressed stratagem of working within the party to promote conservatism and assume leadership is no longer even remotely doable. 

The time has come to convene a meeting or convention of prominent conservative elected politicians, academics and pundits from around the country and begin the process of forming a new conservative party rather than rush headfirst into a suicidal third party candidacy to oppose Trump this November.  A tactic that would cause the conservative movement to lose an enormous amount of credibility.

The Republican Party, founded in 1854, had as its underlying foundation opposition to the two national parties on the issue of abolishing slavery.  The Whig Party was ambivalent and the Democratic Party condoned slavery.  Today a new party must be formed in opposition to the two national parties on the issue of a massive and oppressive central government.  The Republican Party is ambivalent and the Democratic Party fully embraces statism.  As the Republican Party, within a few short years, replaced a feckless Whig Party a new conservative party can replace a feckless Republican Party.