It would be foolish for conservatives to ignore a demographic momentum that does not favor conservatism. While many celebrate the latest victory by a non-conservative on the national stage, it is this victory in itself that should leverage some caution with many of the celebrants.
When the GOP gave primary voters a choice between several conservative presidential contestants and Donald Trump, it was The Donald whose scepter was raised in the end. Indeed, in a charging herd of pachyderms it could be said that Mr. Trump protected the left flank. And yet this leftward position was used as a springboard from which to attain the top rung of America’s historically most conservative party.
In a Democrat Party election exercise that by design favored the Clinton royal family, the most energetic portion of that long lost party was in the camp of the neo-Marxist Bernie Sanders. Hillary may very well have ended up the victor of her party’s primary process on an even playing field, but the youth, the next generation of economically illiterate voters, favored Karl Sanders in huge numbers despite party insistence, machinations and propaganda.
Finally, the popular vote in the presidential election went to the most progressive big party candidate remaining in the field.
At the end of it all we cannot say that Mr. Trump will not govern with some conservative principles and I have been impressed with some of his appointments and comments since those sad moments in which he called Ted Cruz a liar, Ted’s wife an ugly addict, and his father a communist conspirator and political assassin. At least now we have a positive trend. Whatever Trump’s conservative positions might be at this particular point in time they seem to have been arrived at through whim rather than philosophy.
Trump’s voting coalition was cobbled together in much the same way a windstorm throws debris on my front porch. Many traditional democrats voted Donald in an effort to stem the loss of American jobs. Many conservatives felt the tide of the party was sweeping too far leftward because of entrenched establishment party operatives and preferred a non-political candidate that at least had one foot outside the party’s corral. Many millions more felt a vote had to be cast for Trump because his loss would mean a corrupt career politician with no morals, ethics or honor would assume the highest office in the land. Finally, alt-righters voted for Donald because they have shit for brains.
What resulted was a coalition of evangelical Christians who stood beside Neo-nazis who stood beside union workers who stood beside libertarians who in turn stood beside many nervous looking conservatives peering out of the corner of their rapidly blinking eyes. It was a tent just big enough to produce a victory.
We must be a ‘big tent’ party say those strategists closely aligned to the party. But what big tents might provide in terms of the ability to enfold a larger divergence of opinion, by definition, it would also necessarily be willing to sell off chunks of its founding principles.
For instance, a cohesive and coherent conservative party cannot promote both free markets and protectionism; the former having provided for more created wealth in the history of mankind than under any other type of system, while the latter has helped enslave the impoverished for centuries. The two positions are mutually exclusive and should not be part of the same big tent.
The message of conservatism should be the selling point, not a position we are willing to parcel off in order to attract more voters. When we do this we end up with a larger party led by candidates with no investment in conservative courses of action. I give you Donald Trump. And before him Mitt Romney. And before him the (now) six times elected senator from Arizona, John McCain.
Republicans in general and conservatives in specific are not good at selling their wares. In a world where conservatism and free markets produce wealth and high living standards, socialism the world over produces poverty and shortages. Yet the vacant fields message of socialism sells while the full cupboards of free market capitalism are found wanting to more and more voters.
Satellite imagery of the Korean peninsula displays to the world the inability of a socialist north to light up the landscape. While South Korea is bright and visibly prosperous from space, the depth of northern darkness is not the result of just a shortage of electricity, though that is an issue. Along with their inability to produce the electricity there is also insufficient infrastructure to transport it if it were ever generated. There is also insufficient manufacturing ability to produce electrical devices and components that would use the electricity if it could be produced (it cannot) and transported (it cannot,) and not least, it suffers a horribly impoverished people lacking the basic wealth to consume the electricity, if it were produced (it isn’t,) transported (it isn’t either) and if devices were available (they’re not.)
In America spoiled consumers place night lights in cramped hallways to avoid kicking cats and table legs on our late night journeys to rooms wonderfully blessed with indoor plumbing. On the Korean peninsula those same night lights, if that miracle were even available north of the DMZ, would more likely be used to look for what the cat might be eating so it could be enjoyed over a fire kindled with the table legs. It beats eating tree bark.
On the other side of the world, in Venezuela, a country sitting atop some of the world’s largest energy reserves, the people do not enjoy ample food, medicine or toilet paper. Or energy. Gasoline is rationed and brownouts circulate the country. Meanwhile, political opponents are prevented from leaving paradise or are jailed while state controlled broadcasters proclaim the national wonder.
This is what socialism sells and what, increasingly, American voters are willing to buy. The only difference is that today’s socialists or, as Bernie describes the movement, the “democratic socialists” sell their wares from a perch of economic success erected with the ideas and innovations that their political corner could never produce.
Ms. Clinton’s shrill pitch carried a long way having been buoyed by the $150 million she and Bill reaped by selling off the US State Department. She left the White House dead broke in 2001 but managed to enter the 2016 presidential race with a purse well fattened with graft. No wonder she hates capitalism. But compared to the now mouldering Fidel Castro she was a mere piker. The now horizontal former Cuban leader left this world a billionaire though his people, living in the soft glow of a socialist state, shared little more than poverty together.
The central ideas of conservatism need not be tossed aside in order to attract the ignorant. Rather conservatism must be sold completely and vigorously so that the ignorant might become informed.