Trump the ‘anti-progressive’

Candidate Trump’s alleged lack of conservative bona fides became a raison d’être for the #NeverTrump faction of the Republican party. Yet President Trump’s actions in office bear all the hallmarks of a conservative presidency.

Frank Cannon at explains the seeming contradiction: Trump is not a conservative, but rather is an “anti-progressive.”

Cannon notes the disapproval among “elite conservatives” of Trump’s in-your-face attacks on “long-standing institutions” --- “academia, the media, entertainment, legal and judicial” – that “once stood above politics” but have “now surrendered to progressives’ relentless push to turn every area of civil society into a propaganda arm for their politics.”

Conservatives before Trump, says Cannon, “generally accommodated to this progressive framework,” and considered attacks against those institutions as “beyond the pale,” but Trump is different:

In this respect, Trump is no conservative. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Trump never claimed to be a student of Russell Kirk or William F. Buckley. But as the president’s actions have shown, he is at war with the progressives who have co-opted American civil society -- and is willing to go further than any previous conservative to defeat them.

Instead of “conservative,” the president would be more accurately described as a radical “anti-progressive.”

Cannon says the difference is that while conservatives may be “willing to attack progressives” they are “doomed to fail” because they are unwilling to attack the institutions that progressives have corrupted:

But, like the progressives, Trump doesn’t play by these ridiculous rules designed to keep conservatives stuck in a perpetual state of losing -- a made-for-CNN version of the undefeated Harlem Globetrotters versus the winless Washington Generals. Trump instead seeks to fight and delegitimize any institution the Left has captured, and rebuild it from the ground up.

Cannon emphasizes that Trump’s attacks are not on “our nation’s bedrock institutions themselves,” but rather on their “progressive capture” and politicization. Thus, Trump is not attacking the media so much as their “bias,” not attacking the NFL so much as their “disrespect,” and not attacking the FBI or the judiciary so much as their “manipulation” for progressive ends, says Cannon.

The progressives have even corrupted the language for their own ends. Thus, a subset of illegal immigrants is “sanctified” as “Dreamers” when the reality, as Victor Davis Hanson at, points out, is that

Of the so-called “Dreamers,” about 5 percent graduated from college; about 20 percent dropped out of high school, and about one in a thousand served in the military.

While that analysis never gets through the media fog, the “crass and imprecise” (in Cannon’s view) Trump turns their own words back on the progressives when he says “Americans are dreamers too.”

In the age of Trump, the anti-progressive, we have a president “willing to get in the mud, break a few rules,” and “do whatever it takes to win.” The Marquess of Queensberry rules of the #NeverTrump conservatives no longer apply.