Why would so many Republicans be drawn to a man who until recently was supportive of all abortions and gay marriage, and still supports land-grabbing for private companies, tax increases on the wealthy, and single-payer healthcare? In fact, this is a man who has never fought for any conservative cause until running for president.
This is a question that befuddles many in the conservative intelligentsia. I’m not flummoxed by this paradox because I suspect most of his supporters feel the same sense of exasperation expressed in so many of my columns and so much of the material here at Conservative Review.
Sure, there are other people who are more conservative than Trump in theory. But where the heck has that gotten us? What has this much-vaunted professional conservative movement done for us? It’s not about how conservative you are; it’s about what you are willing to fight for and whether you will rise to the occasion at the appropriate time. As I noted last week, the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade stands as a testament to the failure of this movement. What good is an intellectual conservative if he will not do what it takes to fight for those principles and utterly defeat our confident political enemies?
To that end, we need more than an intellectual conservative who will check the right boxes on the typical Republican issues. We need a revolutionary to fundamentally restore our republic.
The rationale for a Trump candidacy goes something like this: granted that Trump might only be a five on the scale of 1-10 in terms of conservatism, but unlike the other guy, who might register as an eight or nine but win nothing for us, at least Trump will fight and win for the level five he believes in. Moreover, not all issues are created equal and immigration stands at the nexus of every issue. If our open border policies are not reined in, Democrats will secure a permanent electoral majority, thereby rendering every other conservative policy priority moot.
This is an argument that resonates deeply with me given my observations of the political landscape, the failures of the modern-day conservative movement, and commitment to the immigration issue. This is the very rationale I would use to justify a vote for Trump.
In comes Donald Trump and declares the following to “Morning Joe” on the left-wing cable network:
I’ve always had a great relationship with Harry Reid and frankly if I weren’t running for office I’d be able to deal with [Pelosi], I’d be able to deal with Reid, I’d be able to deal with anybody.”
It’s important to go along. It’s wonderful to say that you’re a maverick and you’re going to close up the country and all the things. But you’ve got to get somebody to go along with you. We have a lot of people, we have a system,
Does this sound like a man who will burn down this irremediably corrupt system?
As we noted last week, the entrenched parasites within the bureaucracies and the bipartisan liberals in Congress are not pragmatic dealers in the mold of Trump’s business associates. They will fight until the last man standing to implement their policies. They will proverbially (or possibly, quite literally) lay down on the tracks to prevent deportations and stop Trump from barring Muslim immigrants and fixing birthright citizenship—assuming he is sincerely committed to those priorities.
When it comes to the core priorities that have endeared Trump to the base, there can be nothing about which to make a deal and nobody with whom to get along. The only way to enact these priorities is to marshal public support and use the bully pulpit to defeat Pelosi, Reid, the GOP establishment, the non-profits, and the vipers within the executive agencies that will leave no stone unturned in blocking these policies and launching a dehumanization campaign against their supporters. We got a sense of what such a political fight would look like when the media elites practically compared Trump to Hitler when he called for a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration.
Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official, makes this point incisively through the prism of his experience at DOJ:
It’s easy to assume Trump’s bombast and authoritarian nature would enable him to reverse quickly the policies of the last seven years at Justice. But such a belief in Trump is mistaken, and understandable, when you have never served as a federal employee inside the leviathan …
It’s one thing to boast of deals in the private sector, its quite another to transfer that bravado to government policy.
This is the point I’ve made over the years when interviewing congressional candidates for endorsements, especially career businessmen. The public sector is owned by the Left—lock, stock, and barrel. You have to blow up their bunkers in order to root out the rotgut and transform them into tools for constitutional governance. There is no middle ground because they will never compromise one inch, particularly on an issue like immigration.
Trump owes the conservative base an answer to the following question: If he feels compelled to work with the likes of Pelosi, Reid, and Schumer, how is he going to deal with the fifth columnist, career bureaucrats in his own administration? If Trump is not anchored in ideology and love for the Constitution, and is now, evidently, not anchored to a desire to burn down the system but to work with it, what should give us confidence he will be different than any insipid GOP politician?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.