NATIONALIST POPULISM IS NOT NATIONAL SOCIALISM, NOR IS IT COMMUNISM
Well that’s what they’re calling the Trump phenomenon now – “nationalist populism”, and no, a fair number of them don’t mean it in a good way. You are all well aware that the “wahr”, as our good friend Vassar Bushmills likes to emphasize the gritty struggle, has entered a new phase, with establishment, non-establishment, conservative, “intellectual” conservative, neo-conservative and all sorts of pundits and players entering the fray in the intra-partisan bickering over who is qualified, who is electable, who is genuine, who is “looking out for us” and who is a …….demagogue. Just go to National Review, American Spectator and Breitbart, and the Blaze, PJ Media and a few sundry others to bone up if you haven’t already.
Guess what? The conversation is all about Donald J. Trump. Isn’t that remarkable? And there is so much that bears remarking on in the evolution of this “wahr” that it won’t all get remarked on in this short little rant we’re putting out here today. And it would not be a difficult task to point out the inconsistencies and the simplistic rationalizations for much of the intramural fear-mongering. But the issue of whether or not Trump is who’s needed at the top of the ticket and in the Oval Office apparently can not wait to be decided by the people, at the polls, because it’s an “all hands on deck” thing now with his detractors. And yes, there are things about his persona and his campaign and his evolution as a Republican candidate for president that beg for some serious dectractin’, but what we are concerned about today is the issue of his popular appeal.
He went from, in the estimation of those most vociferous in speaking out against him now, before a single vote has been cast in a single primary or caucus anywhere in the nation, a novelty to a shaker-upper to a cagey operator to a very serious candidate to now, as his misunderestimators scramble to save us all from certain disaster should he prevail, a “demagogue”. The word “demagogue” has a definite negative connotation to it, but it also imputes to the wearer of that mantle a certain amount of power, often quite a LOT of power. And it also infers that the demagogue himself is a crafty little so-and-so, because he is able to get people to believe in his supposed cause, or purpose.
So just so we’re clear, here’s the little hangup we have with all those who apparently are now on a mission to MAKE AMERICA SAFE FROM DONALD TRUMP AGAIN, to borrow a slogan.
If they thought he was unserious at the outset, if they thought he was in it just to promote his brand, if they thought he just needed a little publicity in between seasons of The Apprentice, if they thought, as some estimated, that he was just an advance man for Jeb Bush, and they said all this and more, and they were wrong about all that, how are they all of a sudden so righteously right that he’s the greatest threat to republican democracy since Adolf Hitler?
Does he want to be dictator? Don’t we all. But it is hard to believe that he is a dunce, a clown, a buffoon or unserious or anything else, to have played the pre-primary season so well as to have such a commanding lead in most of the polls. He may be crass, crude, narcissistic and all that, but he apparently has enough organizational skills, or ability to engage those operators capable of organizing things for him, to stage all these massive campaign rallies and photo ops and to get the approval, if not the outright endorsement, of enough ‘serious’ people, to maintain a national campaign. It may not last, he could still implode, either in the primaries or in the fall campaign, but he is obviously something more than a shiny object, if one pays attention to not only his supporters, but purely objective or uncommitted commentators.
No, the angst being expressed by many self-described conservatives these days is as much reflected in their characterization of his supporters as it is of him. The meme is that he is appealing to the baser instincts of the …..rabble…..the folk…the…..populus.
Some have been reduced to calling his followers racists, ‘white nationalists’and other epithets, mostly having to do with lack of education and lack of sufficient grounding in classical, textbook conservatism.
Rush Limbaugh, as seemingly a neutral observer, has described the new trend as a “national populist” push, and some now deathly opposed to Trump have used the populist, nationalist themes as epithets. For our part, we have never understood what the devil is wrong with being “of the people”. Primarily because this whole thing got started a few millenia ago when the “demos” thing took off and propelled itself into a “cracy” and became refined in terms of republicanism and such. Every once in a while we look back at the Preamble to reassure ourselves that, yes, it was
us we us who ordained and established the Constitution.
Does the fact that Donald Trump wears a hat that says “Make America Great Again” and spouts a lot of rhetoric about using the facilities of the US Government to pursue and achieve goals of returning this country to the industrial and commercial juggernaut that it was a scant few decades ago make him a ‘National Socialist’? We don’t think so. Do his rough prescriptions for border security and immigration controls make him an Aryan supremacist? Get real. He’s not even being attacked by Black Lives Matter or Cornel West and who gives a rat’s patoot what CAIR thinks.
At the other end of the spectrum, if the Reaganites truly believe that we defeated the communists in the 80’s, then Trump’s non-derogatory remarks about the Russian leader don’t make him a commie-lover, either. Yes, we can go back in Trump’s past and retrieve item after item where he appeared to be the consummate liberal. But we can just as easily recall George W. Bush’s famous remark that he looked Putin in the eye and saw someone he could deal with. Jeb? Hello, Jeb? Are you there, Jeb?
So. In the end, there are enough oxen around to be gored if one wants to do some goring.
But if the illuminati, if the hoity toits, not you and me and the hound over there but the ones who have the microphones and the Senior Editor titles and the long list of conservative bona fides attached to their names, if they feel that the straits are so dire that they must go full bore ANTI-somebody, then ipso facto, they should be up to going full bore FOR somebody, wouldn’t you think? Really, now, if you want to say we can’t just let the people out there sort it out because they are too much under the spell of this populist demagogue who isn’t a real conservative, then you ought to be able to tell us who IS. Not only that, but you ought to be able to tell those capable of saving America according to conservative principles how to do it, as our resident ‘How To’ guy, Cold Warrior, admonished you recently.
Because you see, We The People are patriots. Some call that nationalism. And when the populus becomes nationalistic, it means they put their country first. We Constitutional Conservatives do it out of an enlightened (we profess) self-interest. We don’t do it for conservatism’s sake, we do it for our own. If that makes us bad people, so be it and rave on. But you’d better come out with both barrels blazing for Rafael “Ted” Cruz, because there ain’t no other darn conservatives in the race. The People
have spoken are speaking.
****************************** “A Time For Choosing” ***********************************