America is facing some dark times. Not because of an imminent threat from an evil nation or state and not even because we are a nation at war and losing the lives of hundreds or even thousands of young men and women. We are living in darkness because our system of government is truly in peril. The results of the elections that took place on Tuesday have proven to be more than just problematic. They are systemic and pandemic.
Constitutional conservatism is on life support.
To say it isn’t is disingenuous at best. In my state, Louisiana, a democrat’s only chance of getting elected statewide is to run as a “conservative.” Be for guns, for family, and anti-abortion, at least on a personal level. They must be pro military, mention patriotism and their love of Louisiana. To win, however, the democrat must be ambiguous about taxes or tax policy. This is the blueprint and only hope for a Louisiana democrat. As a republican, it's the same but less explanation is required as it is mostly assumed that if you’re a republican, you’re “conservative.” Results, history, governing and policy decisions have proven that what is “assumed” is definitely not reality.
This is the exact case with the GOP aparatus and with the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. It can never be argued again that the “establishment” of the Republican party dominates and controls the party and its direction. Even with the nomination of Trump, the establishment acquiesced to support Trump knowing that, with Trump, you’ll get someone who’s malleable should he win. If he loses, the GOP can continue being the party of oposision.
Candidates like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio who became conservative and libertarian heroes eventually bowed the knee to become a part of the establishment and no amount of rhetoric that sounds conservative or liberty minded can overcome throwing in with the establishment, be it support for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or being a part of the “gang of 8.”
p>During the primary season, while Trump was destroying establishment types like Bush, Christie, Graham, Kasich, and, eventually Rubio, the establishment kept shifting its support to the “next-man-up,” hoping that the bombastic Trump would commit the final political hara-kiri. Although this never happened, the establishment had a greater concern: Sen. Ted Cruz.
Late into the primary season, the establishment was faced with an ominous decision: support Trump or be destroyed by Cruz, the only constitutional conservative in the race. For decades, the establishment or beltway republicans have told us that if we wanted to win we needed a liberal republican at best as seen with the nominations of Dole, McCain, Bush, and Romney. Well, did they get what they were asking for. They got a New York liberal, democrat, Clinton donor as their nominee.
With Trump positioning himself as the “outsider” and the “non-politician,” it may be difficult to see the fingerprints of the establishment considering that everything Trump says makes himself look like the very thing that is his greatest appeal. He’s a businessman, he’s successful, he’s not a part of the system. Although it’s unclear of how successful of a businessman he is, he has definitely been a part of the funding mechanism of the system for well over 2 decades. Over 90% of his giving to political parties, candidates, and causes have been establishment in nature with less than 10% given to conservatives or conservative causes. It appears that even his involvement with the Tea Party was an involvement with an industry that captured an ideology as its greatest selling point and marketability.
When the average person thinks about the phrase conservative, they think about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Mark Levin, but they still probably cannot espouse the principles or define the movement. Conservatism has become an industry. Something to sell to the American people to get elected but never something to actually govern by. Conservatism is the best and most direct route to power but a guaranteed way to lose that power is to govern as a conservative or to offer policy ideas that are conservative in nature. Most Americans who identify as conservative, identify with a personality that claims to be conservative while at the same time are unable to explain or define what being a conservative means or teach another person how to become a conservative. This last statement is my reason for absolute pessimism.
The movement that became an industry
The Tea Party was a movement that was supposed to be about educating people about the Constitution, the founding of America and its Original Principles. The movement, in retrospect, became a movement, morphed into an industry to achieve political power. Not for, of and by the people but by a group of people that wanted a seat at the table and a spot to belly up to the trough in D.C. Trump, being the shrewd business man that he is, recognized this and quickly became the champion for this cause and has himself just days away from becoming the next President of the United States. Can and will he close the deal? We shall see. So what becomes of the conservative movement? Where do conservatives now go?
Last night was the final major primary night of this election cycle. After Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) managed to win reelection yet again, it has become clear that the elites within the party can stab conservatives in the back on a daily basis and still win reelection with a 100-percent success rate. Aside from two anomalous redistricting circumstances in Virginia and North Carolina, not a single incumbent Republican has been defeated, except for one of our own: Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.
This is not the year of the outsider; this is the year of the entrenchment of the establishment.
This is the great danger of a Trump presidency: the establishment. Who won’t he work with? Who won’t he make deals with? What will guide him? Who will advise him? Conservatives? I don’t think so. He’ll settle in on the anti-conservative sentiment that the establishment will require of him and the final nails on the coffin will vanquish the conservative movement into the annals of American political history. The movement that had leaders, values, ideas and an activist base is now an industry of stars, careers, merchandise and a customer base.
Aside from a local victory on a school board or city council, the victory of the occasional state representative or state senator, conservative ideas cannot win because they’ve been industrialized. Conservative ideas will not be considered because they’ve become merchandised. Conservative leaders will not get elected because they’ll always be running against stars and celebrities. Conservative voters aren’t the base of any political party because the parties have made membership into their clubs antithetical to what conservatives believe in.
There is only one answer. There is only one hope.
Read de Tocqueville to discover this truth. Read the writings of the Founders to learn of the solution. Research history for yourself and know the way out of this. Do it for yourself. We don’t make it out. We don’t survive this. You can disagree with me, but the type of virtue, character and faith required to turn this ship, is found in a majority of Americans. It isn’t taught in a majority of our schools. It isn’t preached in a majority of our churches. We’ve accepted the defining of our nation as one unrecognizable from the one intended at the founding. We’ve allowed government to be our savior, our provider, and our protector in every generation since the Civil War. We’ll never overcome the corporatism and cronyism of the federal leviathan and even more difficult now as floods of foreign nationals and foreign monies come streaming across our borders. Our nation is lawless, ignoring the rule of law. We are a nation of men. The constitution is ignored and elected officials do whatever they want knowing the We the People can do nothing to stop them. Money is the god of this nation and what it commands the government does.
Will we as conservatives continue to work, strive and believe that the aforementioned diagnosis isn’t terminal or beyond repair? Sure we will. But the work we do from here on had better be with eyes wide open and we had better understand that bringing this government back under the constraints of the constitution is impossible. National populism has replaced conservatism at the establishment table. The establishment is willing to work with this new found toy but at the end of the day, the establishment is all too excited about pushing conservatives to the kiddie table and altogether out of the realm of public discourse and electability. Fight on conservatives. Fight on. It promises to get worse from here.