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What is the appeal of the Republican Party to the skeptics of Trumpism?

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What is the appeal of the Republican Party to the skeptics of Trumpism

Recently, I had shared a very generic comment on several political social media threads, advocating that their should be room for assorted conservative-leaning political views in conservative news outlets and publications. Several staunch (and relatively newly-minted) Trump supporters took this position to mean that the current President’s political position is not good enough for me, and that I am essentially advocating for “resistance” within the party. Indeed, overtime some of these supporters have shifted in their own views from thinking that so long as particular conservative positions were met by the administration and the administration embraced the conservative values and fought off progressive attacks they would be happy to becoming firmly convinced that the positions the current administration takes, the fights its chooses, and the methods at its disposal are the only truly conservative views, positions, and methods that exist, and that anything divergent from these expression is either completely unrealistic or undermining the achievements of administration.

That was quite fascinating, because it revealed a great deal about the mindset of the core of the Republican party apparatus and activists at this particular moment in time. It’s worthwhile to take a moment away from the fora where any exploration of this situation is bound to deteriorate into accusations of fascism, totalitarianism, and so forth, and reflect on this mindset – and whether it may have a point. The issue here, of course, is that at least some of such voices are firmly convinced that all other voices within the conservative movement have failed – first, in substance, many of the leading conservatives considered more “moderate” have been intellectual frauds, not true to conservative values. They may also be  political traitors, as likely to aligned with the Democrats as with the right-wingers within their own party. Second, same subset of the Republicans who eschews anything but “Trumpism” at this point as illegitimate and having no place within the party, is concerned that all previous generations of Republicans with other views do not have the fighting skills to respond alternative to the progressive attacks, both in Congress, and throughout the nation.

As we have discussed, however, culturally, it will take people with both deep knowledge of conservatism and creative response tactics, that go beyond name-calling and outright mockery, to outwit a sprawling and blossoming progressive Cultural Apparatus.  The Trumpism proponents, in other words, by focusing on only one type of attack that can be successfully launched, as they see it, are actually limiting their battlefields to the hardcore political realm – where they have already actually lost a few battles, and may be losing more as experienced  Republican lawmakers in Congress announce their retirement one after another, with at least some of them hardline and very respected conservatives.

Admittedly, progressive “Resistance”, sophomoric and harmful to the nation as it is, may actually backfire politically in the upcoming elections, as independents, who may have benefited from the administration’s actual policy come out to support the lawmakers that are getting something done. However, Trumpism as an ideology is a rather confused lot. President Trump’s administration has moved on from its initial hard nationalist position towards a traditional Republican administration, at least in the domestic realm, which is what appears to be on everyone’s minds these days. The foreign policy, on the other hand, is a mish-mash, driven as much by inexperience, as by any ideology or foreign policy vision – and has seen abject failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. But that is for separate discussion. President Trump himself is swayed by various voices in his administration, and how he is going to be swayed depends on who is there to sway him, as well as on a host of other factors, that may not be replicable with anyone else.

The more interesting question, then, is not whether the Trumpists are right or wrong to welcome or block certain ideas or alternative voices, including, potentially the ones that they know nothing about, because those voices are a reaction to both the failures of pre-Trumpists, and skeptics of the excesses of the movement. The real issue here is who are the Trumpists themselves, what do they actually stand for, and how long will they outlast the end of the Trump administration’s tenure? It is extremely difficult to try to block out other people, when the person you have build your own outlook around does not have his own adherent views on anything, and essentially acts in concert with many of traditional Republicans of various degrees of conservatives.

If during the campaign of 2016, the Trumpian lot more or less identified itself with the Bannon faction, as the Bannonites have more or less lost their influence, and Steve Bannon himself lost the support of most donors, as well as the administration, they have to contend with the fact that Trump’s advisers now range from essentially liberal Jared & Ivanka, to assorted members of Congress of various degrees of conservatives, to Stephen Miller, the only remaining outpost of Bannonism – for now. With most of the foreign policy, excepting Israel, some aspects of the Iran policy, and counterterrorism, wandering in the wilderness, the Trump supporters are now faced with essentially having a position of “My president, right or wrong – and whatever he decides at the moment is right”.

The proclivity to embrace increasingly shrill and crazy candidates for the down ticket, however, is a passing fad, because it’s at odds with the President’s own increasingly traditional positioning on most matters, including, with the exception of tweets, and interpersonal relationships, most policy matters. Trump has made somewhat of truce with his former primary opponents and other critics – and that’s a good thing, because many of them have been steering him in the direction of the best positions his administration has taken so far. For that reason, the tendency of some of the Trump, supporters who were late to the game, to bash Trump’s former opponents as failures makes about as much political sense as progressive “Resistance” to a legitimate president. The administration is composed not just of Trump, but all of his advisers, everyone who executes his policies – and everyone who is focused on getting the job done. While political donors and activists are stuck on ax grinding, the people in power are settling in towards governance, and moving past old election gripes until such time as they become relevant again. In other words, President Trump is leaving a good portion of his own base behind, not in terms of election promises, but in terms of his administration’s political maturity and advancement.

So what does it mean for Republicans and ex-Republicans who’ve been turned off by excesses of Trumpism, or by the worst of Trump supporters, or by the seeming transformation of the party? The answer is simple – it means patience. For all President Trump’s personal shortcomings, the administration is taking many positions that any of the other REpublican candidates would have taken  – much to my relief. That means that the party is not being destroyed by factionalism, and that, surprisingly and imperceptibly, it is actually unifying – and increasingly around a more conservative platform, to the joy of many people. Those who have not quite yet moved on from the initial bitterness and infighting, will be forced to do so sooner or later – first, because the administration needs all the allies it can get; second, if they want to party to grow, rather than to shrink, they will have to sooner or later find a way to rebuild the burned bridges to the well-meaning critics (not the Resistors, obviously), and third, because “this too shall pass”. Inevitably, as the administration s hifts in a more traditional direction, input from experienced individuals who share the same ultimate visioned will be more welcomed, and after the administration is over, it is the people who have contributed to making it a success, not the people who have tried to turn it into a failure that will enjoy popular support and run for higher office. The room at the table for voices who want to be at that table is only a matter of time, and the most shrill and hostile voices, will eventually be outnumbered, because, let’s face it, when the only thing you stand for is reactionism to everything you don’t like, anyone who is working towards something constructive, will find a way to build around your corner of bitterness and upwards.

In other words, the State of the Union is strong, and the State of the Republican Party, though weakened by decades of poor candidates and unprepared members, will get stronger.  We are in a good shape, and the restoration of the Party of Ideas is officially on.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ed

    February 1, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    You are dreaming.

    Your post ASSUMES that “all conservatives will fall into line and join the TrumpTrain”. Wrong.

    Your post ASSUMES that conservatives will “come back” to the GOP because “they have no other choice”. Wrong. Trump and Priebus took care to burn all bridges in Cleveland in 2016 when they openly bragged about not wanting conservatives in “Their Party” anymore.

    Your post ASSUMES that ‘conservative’ == ‘Republican’. Wrong. “Republican” now stands more for “Trumpism” and all the lack of morality, lack of decency, lack of responsibility that that implies. There is a new party coming on-line – the Federalist Party. Many former Republicans (including myself) have left the GOP behind and have no intent to return.

    If the GOP can so easily and casually reject the conservative values in their own platform, I have no more in common with them or any more use for them. I will even vote against them (possibly for some of the less radical Democrats) until the Federalists come fully on-line with candidates.

    Your post is one expecting conservative Christians to ignore our principles and “support” (ie: approve of, lend aid to) Trump and his various illegal / unethical activities. That will not happen.

    The GOP was warned that alenating their base was a bad move during the Cleveland Convention. They ignored their base in their zeal and eagerness to get Trump elected. Now thay can pay the price – failure at the polls.

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Democrats

2020 hopefuls lurching leftward to appeal to radical progressive base

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2020 hopefuls lurching leftward to appeal to radical progressive base

The great primary evolution is already starting. We saw it in 2016 as every Republican candidate tried to “evolve” their views to cater to the conservative base. No evolution was more striking than candidate Trump’s, who went from supporting gun bans and partial birth abortion as a younger man to being one of the most conservative candidates during the primaries.

We’re seeing it now with the Democratic candidates and potential candidates as they try to plant their ideological flags as far to the left as possible. Former Trump pollster John Mclaughlin gave his opinion on the leftward lurch of the field, focusing on Elizabeth Warren, Cory “Spartacus” Booker, and Kamala Harris. Each has attempted to paint themselves as the radical progressive the primary-voting base desires. All of them were much more moderate in the past. Warren was even a Republican in the 1990s.

The thing that makes this trend most disturbing is that the “far left” of the past is nothing compared to the radical progressivism of today’s Democratic base. By the time the primaries really heat up, most if not all will be full-blown socialists.


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Foreign Affairs

NY Times invokes Martin Luther King Jr. to attack Israel

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NY Times invokes Martin Luther King Jr to attack Israel

When a nation the size of New Jersey is surrounded by enemies and is the subject of incessant condemnation from the United Nations, it’s natural to assume thoughtful people will take a complete look at its circumstances before deciding which side of a contentious debate to support. This is why many Americans still choose to support the nation of Israel despite mainstream media’s efforts to frame it as evil.

Unfortunately, the debate is so complex, most Americans form their perspectives based on very limited data. Passions are so strong on both sides that it often comes down to which side’s message is loudest in the ears of those deciding who to support. The Israel-Palestine debate has been ongoing since the tiny nation was first formed and ramped up greatly following the attacks on Israel in 1967 that resulted in necessary expansion.

Today, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights are all considered “occupied” territories by a majority around the world, at least among those who are paying attention. Despite clear evidence that the very existence of Israel would be threatened if these lands were “returned” to the Palestinians, most of the world calls for the two-state solution as the path to peace.

On top of the disputed lands, the way that Israel maintains peace within its own lands is labeled as oppression against Palestinians living there. The core of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement’s message is that the Palestinian people are being persecuted. To support this premise, an activist at the NY Times is invoking Martin Luther King Jr and his opposition to the Vietnam War as the roadmap by which BDS activists should muster their own courage and build more support to fight the nation of Israel.

Time to Break the Silence on Palestine

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/19/opinion/sunday/martin-luther-king-palestine-israel.htmlReading King’s speech at Riverside more than 50 years later, I am left with little doubt that his teachings and message require us to speak out passionately against the human rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, despite the risks and despite the complexity of the issues. King argued, when speaking of Vietnam, that even “when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict,” we must not be mesmerized by uncertainty. “We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

To be clear, King was opposed to a war that resulted in the deaths of 1,350,000 people, which is nearly the same amount of Arabs living in Israel currently. King was opposed to a war in which no Americans were attacked prior to us getting involved. Israel is attacked regularly from multiple groups in and out of the nation who support the Palestinian movement. King was opposed to a war that took focus and resources away from his cause.

As he said, “We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.”

To be fair, the author of the NY Times article, Michelle Alexander, was using his anti-war speech to demonstrate the courage King displayed as inspiration for the courage she feels BDS supporters need today. Had she left it there, then there wouldn’t be much of a need to respond. However, she continued in the article to speculate King may not have been happy with Israel back then. Worse, she implied that he could have been a supporter of the BDS movement today.

This opinion is beyond questionable. King’s motivations for not wanting to outwardly support Israel’s actions following the Six Day War were for the sake of his movement, not based on personal feelings on the matter. It made sense to not take a side in a debate in which many of his supporters of African or Middle Eastern descent may have objected.

It is becoming increasing common in the BDS movement to point solely towards the actions of the Israeli government while ignoring the reasons for these actions. They often talk about homes being bulldozed, but they ignore the fact that punitive demolitions are a result of terrorist attacks. I am not in favor of these demolitions, but I would never hide the facts to support my claims. The BDS movement realizes calling out Israel for bulldozing Palestinian homes is most effective if the reasons are never mentioned.

As pro-BDS articles go, this one was strikingly coherent. This is a bigger problem than the unhinged hate articles we often see from BDS supporters. It’s easy to see how this one-sided portrayal in a publication as strong as the NY Times that invokes an icon like Martin Luther King Jr can garner support for the movement from those who would otherwise never consider it. The article is very careful to cut off cries of antisemitism and is written for rational thinkers rather than emotional feelers.

But therein lies the problem. It invokes King and his famous speech knowing full well few will actually read it. If they take the time to read or hear it, they’ll wonder what any of that has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The NY Times is betting on the easy odds that nobody’s going to take the time.

None of the seven reasons King gives for opposing the Vietnam War could be applied to Israel. Invoking the speech and insinuating he would have been a BDS supporter is a disingenuous attempt to equate his righteous activism to the BDS movement itself.


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Media

PolitiFact demonstrates pure partisanship declaring Trump’s physical barrier claims as “Mostly False”

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PolitiFact demonstrates pure partisanship declaring Trumps physical barrier claims Mostly False

Pulitzer Prize winning fact checking agency PolitiFact has been accused of leaning dozens if not hundreds of their fact checks to favor the Democratic perspective on most issues. In one of the most egregious examples of partisan hacking, they declared a statement made by President Trump during his televised address to the nation as “Mostly False.”

Here’s the statement: Senator Charles Schumer “repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president.”

This is undeniably 100% true. It’s demonstrable that Schumer and many Democrats have supported physical barriers along the border in the recent past. Their support for changed sharply once then-candidate Trump started talking about needing a border wall, so technically speaking that portion of President Trump’s statement wasn’t entirely true. He said their support changed after he was elected, but it started changing a few months after he first entered the race.

Here’s a graph from Cato Institute that shows support from Democrats at over 40% in October, 2015, when it still seemed far fetched that he would win the nomination, let alone the general election. From that point, it took a nose dive.

Democratic Support for Border Wall

The portion of the PolitiFact article in which the author tries to justify the “Mostly False” rating attempts to distinguish between the differences in security barriers proposed by the President and accepted by Democrats in the past.

Did Democrats reverse border wall position after Donald Trump was elected?

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2019/jan/09/donald-trump/trump-democrats-reverse-border-wall-position/Schumer, along with tens of other Democrats including former President Barack Obama, voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized building a fence along about 700 miles of the border between the United States and Mexico. That’s the majority of the barrier in place today along the southern border.

However, the fence was mocked as a “nothing wall” by Trump in the past and was far less ambitious, both politically and physically, than the wall Trump wants to build now.

This logical gymnastics is farcical when we read the statement that is allegedly “Mostly False.” The President did not suggest nor has he ever believed the Democrats supported the type of wall he’s requesting. That’s why he was very specific in stating Schumer and the Democrats “repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past” instead of saying they supported his wall. This is important because for a fact-checker, the details are important.

They have repeatedly judged against conservatives for the tiniest nuance in their statements to attack. But when the statement is properly worded, as the President’s was, this fact checker decided to dig into intent rather than fact checking the statement itself. He penalized the statement as being false because he reconstructed what the President said as meaning something different. This is convenient selective inference on their part. But they’re completely unbiased. Just ask them.

When even the “trusted” fact checkers are willing to abandon ethics and call an obviously true statement false for the sake of political expediency, it’s no wonder so many Americans are frustrated with the entire mainstream media mechanism.

This is why we humbly request you support us with a donation so we can try to counterbalance the horrid leftism present in mainstream media.


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