Donald Trump has done in one evening what Paleocons, the “liberty movement,” and countless others have never been able to do. That is, repudiate the legacy of George W. Bush and the Iraq War and continue to play a leading role in shaping the consciousness of the Right. In doing so, he brings an end to “movement conservative” consciousness and points towards the future of the American Right.
The Iraq War was the end, and beginning for a lot of the American right. It represented the height of Neoconservative influence on America, which culminated in the disastrous war in Iraq. It was also at the forefront of our own editor, Richard Spencer’s, growing political consciousness at the time. David Frum, bellowed from the pages of National Review about “unpatriotic conservatives”:
There is, however, a fringe attached to the conservative world that cannot overcome its despair and alienation. The resentments are too intense, the bitterness too unappeasable. Only the boldest of them as yet explicitly acknowledge their wish to see the United States defeated in the War on Terror. But they are thinking about defeat, and wishing for it, and they will take pleasure in it if it should happen.
Today, though, it’s the Neocons who are on the defensive. Over at Commentary, Noah Rothman waxes neurotically about forces that would “destroy” conservatism. And he’s right.
Conservatism, at least as it’s sold by Conservatism, Inc., is on life support. Its racket has been exposed by Trump from the debate halls to the voting booths. During the last GOP debate, Trump complained about an audience that was stacked with donors. A claim largely supported later on.
The GOP’s donor class has long been at war with its voters. It feeds on the twin opiates of cheap labor and corporate homogeneity that have been as big as big of culprits in the decline of the historic American nation as anything else. Donald Trump knows a bad deal when he sees one, and he’s just exposed the biggest con. Conservatism, Inc. (Perhaps that should just be Con. Inc. from now on!)
One of the reasons Trump has been able to expose these charlatans is that he is not of them. They can’t silence him because their organs are not his outlets. Pat Buchanan and others, despite their valiant stands, still made their names known through at least nominally “movement” channels. Being silenced by National Review essentially made someone an un-person on the right. Not so anymore.
The rise of Trump has gone right along with the rise of the internet. The internet has allowed for a greater network effect and voice amplification of “alt-right” views then a million magazines in the past could have ever accomplished. Donald Trump mirrors that success through his own “cult of celebrity.”
In an age that thrives on information, any information, however trivial, becomes news. Celebrity culture adapts itself nicely to this milieu which can, in turn, feed off of thousands of activities birthed daily by a class that are essentially walking information generators. However dubious and banal said information turns out to be.
The news must flow. The Donald knows that.
Now, instead of feuds with Rosie O’Donnell or some other spat at the Oscars or some other non-event, Trump is using his impressive personal branding to sell nationalism. He uses it to magnify the plight of millions of Americans, mostly white, who have been left behind. He uses it to argue for a less bellicose policy towards Russia, unlike every other GOP candidate who seems to want a world burned to a cinder.
And most importantly, especially for identitarians, he is signal-boosting the crisis in Europe. Trump says that his “German friends no longer know where they are” and that “France isn’t what it was, nor Paris.” He’s said that Europe is headed towards “revolutions” and that if immigration is not controlled it will be the “end of Europe.”
These sort of statements would be unimaginable from a plain Jane candidate birthed from the brow of Bill Kristol. Trump scares Conservatism Inc. because he spells their doom. They know that they no longer have the power to shape the narrative (and fleece the pocketbooks) of millions of white Americans.
Lindsey Graham has recently chimed in saying:
This man accused George W. Bush of being a liar and suggested he should be impeached. This man embraces [Russian President Vladimir] Putin as a friend. The market in the Republican primary for people who believe that Putin’s a good guy and W. is a liar is pretty damn small.
No, Miss Lindsey, the market for truth-telling in your cocktail parties is what’s small. The Iraq war and its destabilizing effects have gotten us where we are today. With Europe, our ancestral homeland, a tinderbox and our people at home even more confused, and angry about what has been done to them.
Frum concluded his piece years ago saying:
War is a great clarifier. It forces people to take sides. The paleoconservatives have chosen — and the rest of us must choose too. In a time of danger, they have turned their backs on their country. Now we turn our backs on them.
He’s right. It’s time again for choosing. Politics ultimately divides along the friend/enemy distinction. We’ve made our choice, it’s for our people and our identity.
So yes, we take delight in conservatism’s coming crack-up. For our people, it can’t come soon enough!