This column from The Washington Post of all places is excellent.
Let’s make one thing very clear, what the author asserts in the attached article is not necessarily what we think is best. We believe in a small government. Extremely small government. Trump does not believe in small government. Fiscally speaking we believe in many of the “conservative” issues that have defined “conservatism” over the last 35 years or so, particularly the need, the absolute need, to roll back entitlements and other government social welfare programs. Trump does not seem to see this as important at all. We are also for a much leaner military. Trump is obviously not for this.
But, as the author points out, there is a sizable group of Americans who agree with Trump on these issues and not with us. And they voted for Trump. These folks are a mix of what were once called “Reagan Democrats” along with some new “Trump Democrats” in addition to many Republicans for whom taxes and the reform of the welfare state mean little and who indeed may rely, currently, on the welfare state. (Like many Democrats.)
Cultural issues are of serious importance to these people. They don’t want to apologize for their country. Trump understands this. These folks felt like Obama held them in contempt (he did) and they have not forgotten this. When Hillary dismissed them as “deplorables” that was the last straw.
I saw this group rising up in the summer of 2016. It is this group, based in the Midwest, that handed the presidency to Donald J Trump. In concert with this group of voters Trump was able to pick the electoral college key that had befuddled GOP presidential candidates for a generation. Suddenly Pennsylvania was in play, along with Michigan and other states in the middle of the country. This made all the difference. The Midwest was the difference.
And it doesn’t look like these parts of the country are going anywhere for the president. Now the Dems have to figure out how to win the Midwest. And as we all know, Democrats don’t like to spend much time in “flyover” country.
The GOP is becoming a new animal. This annoys many who wielded power within the old GOP, and understandably. Overnight their world has changed. We at AC2 NEWS see Trump as pretty much the inevitable result of a GOP that squandered its chance to make the case for fiscal responsibility and small government during the Bush II years. We are not surprised by Trump’s rise and the rise of the new voter coalition(s) in the party. The GOP had stagnated and then fought the TEA Party which was committed to the principles of small government, the principles the GOP said it was committed to but actually was not, with everything it had. The Bush GOP refused to reform. As such as the TEA Party receded (though it made some solid gains, many of which still remain) it got it’s clock cleaned by Trump who unlike the TEA Party wasn’t committed to the principles of small government generally speaking. The GOP brought Trump on themselves. They wouldn’t change so the party changed without them.
In 2011 I returned to journalism at my hometown newspaper. I resumed column writing, and readers who had followed me earlier soon remarked on the rather noticeable departure from the columns of my youth. I no longer always espoused boilerplate right-wing dogma, and even gave occasional credit to President Barack Obama and the Clintons.
When Trump entered the presidential field, I gravitated to him immediately. In January 2016, I wrote a column recounting a conversation with a friend in politics who wondered which candidate would win the GOP nomination. “Trump,” I replied. “Trump’s not really a conservative,” came the response. “What’s that got to do with it?” I asked.
I recognized Trump was reaching Americans who had tuned out politicians who seemed — and were — polished, predictable and programmed. They were voters who cared less about old labels of left and right and more about finding someone who would address issues important to their lives. I realized I was one of those voters…
…In his book, Frum cites Trump’s derogatory comments about Megyn Kelly, an unnamed reporter calling Trump “the meanest man I ever met” and his own conclusion that those who work for Trump “must accept that he reserves the right to embarrass or denigrate them at any moment for any reason, or for no reason at all, just impulsive whim.”
Well, it bothers me too how Trump sometimes speaks to and about others, but he’s not exactly breaking new ground here — in my own lifetime, Republican Richard M. Nixon and Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson could each have given him a run for his money. So I’ve sometimes wondered if what seems most cruel to many longtime conservative pundits and party stalwarts is that Trump so suddenly, almost without warning, wrestled the Republican Party from their grasp. Sadly, their conservatism was unable to win in 2008 or 2012, and most certainly would have lost again in 2016. The Trump coalition, new and full of energy, is the future of the GOP.
It is indeed likely the future of the GOP. Is that good for friends of liberty and for those of us who are against crony capitalism? At best we can say that there will be opportunities. But there will be losses also. The Omnibus which was signed by the president should not have been signed. It was classic big government on par with any of the nonsense Obama pulled, at least when taken as a whole. But we recognize, with the author of the attached article, that we are in a new political era, with new calculations. Some people just can’t come to terms with this. We suggest that they try or be passed by.