This video is an allegory for what Trump is doing to the GOP.
First things first. All you guys who support Donald Trump and believe he is a “true, reliable, ideological conservative”, whatever that means, raise your hands. Don’t be shy, now.
That’s what I thought. That was to demonstrate to my brothers on the right that if they think they can convince Trump supporters to bolt for a “true conservative” like (say) Rubio they’ll find no purchase telling folks what they already know.
Incidentally, isn’t the GOP full of “true conservatives”? Like Mitch “Turtle Face” McConnell, or Paul “Budget Deal” Ryan? Or…take your pick.
Oh, you get the idea. Republicans, like Democrats, are party-first, and only a fraction of the membership in either party are philosophical conservatives or philosophical progressives. Everybody else is in it for themselves and for the party. Politicians believe, or are soon taught to believe, the party is—should be, must be—the centerpiece of elections, and not the candidates themselves. Why? Because parties are what do the work, not individuals. Candidates are members of parties in a biological sense, like your arm is a member of your body.
This is the natural consequence of a party system in a democracy. That’s why it’s not a surprise to hear Donald Trump, and even Bernie Sanders, being called “populists” by party supporters.
Now that’s hilarious. I’ve said this before, but screaming Populist! at a politician in a democracy is like yelling Driver! at the man behind the wheel of a car. Direct elections of leaders are, by definition and by design, populist. What else would you call a year-long process where the citizenry is bewitched, bothered, and bewildered and then asked to decide which of two men will be best at a job neither has any experience at?
Candidates trying to be popular with the populace. That’s what, if anything, populism must mean. And that’s what all national or state-wide elections in a democracy are: populism. Not populist are elections in small constituencies, where the electors know the measure of the men vying for office, and where all (or most) know the functions, powers, and limitations of those offices. Those contests in which the principle of subsidiarity are heeded are the only ones that can’t be charged with populism.
Yet we do hear stalwart party members, in or out of office, calling Trump, and to some extent Sanders, a populist. Why? Simply because, to a party member, a populist is a candidate who is not party first. Pundits like George Will tell the world that Donald Trump isn’t a true Republican, and that Trump “relishes wrecking the GOP“.
What Will and his confreres don’t realize, saturated as they are in party-based democracy, and convinced no political system is superior, is that men like Trump don’t care about party. This is why early on, and from time to time afterward, Trump threatened to run as an independent. This is why there are rumors by Sanders supporters that Bernie should run as an independent. Sanders’s deep support comes from people who also don’t give a flip for party.
Will’s charge, therefore, is true: Trump is indifferent about the GOP, seeing it only as a mechanism, a tool which he can use. Trump does not see himself as a tool for the party. Hence he is called a populist.
There is a slight paradox with the voters here. Many voters on the right use terms of opprobrium like “RINO” and “no true Republican” applied to party members who they (the voters) think are not acting like conservatives. The voters thus appear to put party above ideology. There is undoubtedly some truth in this, but the attitude stems mostly from voters believing the propaganda the Republican party puts out about it being conservative, and from the voters discovering, much to their shock and dismay, that Republican politicians’ true loyalty is to the party and not to ideology.
This is why so many are rebelling. Conservatives have suffered one defeat after another and for a long time. Many of these defeats were via cowardly surrender of the Republican party. They don’t fight. At least, that’s what the voters think. Actually, they do fight. But only for the party’s existence, and not for the ideas which the party says it stands for.
That’s why when you hear a pundit say Trump will wreck the GOP, Trump’s supporters cheer.
Update From Rush:
And we’re also back reminding everybody that the establishments of both parties continue to be in denial, and maybe they’re not. Maybe they know by now how fully opposed they are and they just got their backs up and they’re going, “Well, screw you. We’re still gonna get what we want. You’re the serfs. We’re the elites. We run the show. Screw you. You may have some temporary victories here, but we’re gonna get this done no matter how and no matter where, whether you’re looking or not, we’re gonna get it done.” That’s their attitude.
Their attitude is not, “You know what? The American people really don’t want this. We better modify this.” That’s not it at all. That doesn’t permeate the establishment mind. If you don’t support what they want, you have to be taken care of, you have to be defeated, you have to be rendered irrelevant, you have to be cast aside, whatever. It’s that polarizing an issue and nothing’s changed on it.