Is Donald Trump a Conservative?

One of the raps against Donald Trump frequently trotted out by some of his conservative critics, often supporters of one of the more traditional conservative candidates, is that he is not really a conservative. Some even call him a liberal. Yet despite this charge, Trump continues to gain the support of prominent conservatives whose conservative credentials it is difficult to impugn.

For example, Trump recently garnered the support of former congressman Virgil Goode, who was the 2012 Presidential nominee of the Constitution Party. It’s hard to question the conservative credentials of a Constitution Party Presidential nominee. He has also landed the endorsement (or virtual endorsement) of prominent conservative scholar William Lind. Lind is a leading theorist of the concept of Fourth Generation warfare, and is arguably the primary person responsible for the increased recognition of the phenomenon of cultural Marxism that besets our modern discourse. Trump has also been endorsed by longtime conservative movement stalwart, Phyllis Schlafly, whose conservative credentials need no elaboration.  I could go on, but this should suffice to illustrate my contention. 

So is Trump a conservative, and if not, why is he racking up support from notable conservatives and continuing to dominate polls of potential Republican Party voters? Well, the answer is both yes and no. It depends on what you mean by conservative, but I believe Trump is a conservative in the most meaningful sense.

I attempted to explain Trump’s politics in a couple of past essays. His politics are really not as inscrutable as some believe. They just don’t fit tidily into our current Red and Blue boxes. Briefly, the key to understanding Trump’s politics is to focus on his economic nationalism. This has been a part of his rhetoric since he first became a public figure in the 1980s and is undoubtedly authentic. But Trump appears to view this as a common sense, tough minded position, not an ideological one. It is important to recognize that Trump is not an ideologue. His focus is on getting things done, and he is results-oriented. While he has long flirted with politics, he has not historically immersed himself in the conservative milieu, nor the liberal milieu for that matter. He has clearly tailored some of his current positions to fit the base of the party whose nomination he is seeking, such as gun control and abortion, but he has never donned the mantle of purist crusader for laissez-faire economics or government-slashing spending hawk because those positions would conflict with his economic nationalism and his focus on outcomes rather than pure principle.

Consider, for example, Trump’s past support of universal health care, a position often raised by his conservative critics. This was not likely a position he arrived at based on an ideological commitment to liberalism because that wouldn’t fit the known pattern. Rather it likely was an extension of his patriotic economic nationalism, something along the lines of “A great country like America can have a great health care system that takes care of all its citizens.” Remember that before the Affordable Care Act, universal coverage per se polled well. People just don’t seem to like the details when you attach a name to it, like HillaryCare or ObamaCare. The point being that Trump’s position on universal health care was likely not evidence of an ideological liberal disposition, but rather a roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-it-done outcome based approach. What the conservative box checkers need to understand is that a lot of the electorate is similarly non-ideological. They may lean one way or the other and viscerally identify with the Blue Team or the Red Team, but they are not dogmatic ideologues.

Trump’s positions and rhetoric place him firmly in the category of Middle American Radical (MAR), as are many of his supporters. He just happens to also be a billionaire. MARs are a well described and relatively large demographic. It’s curious that so many journalist and pundits have missed this relationship and are still struggling to characterize Trump. Liberal columnist Ezra Klein was one of the first to pick up on Trump’s particular policy mix in this article he wrote for Vox, about which I thought at the time, “In other words, what (late conservative columnist) Sam Francis was saying 20 years ago.” Liberal John Judis expanded on the idea in this essay for the National Journal. Judis cannot resist a little PC finger wagging, but beyond that it is an insightful piece. Of interest, I was informed by someone who was familiar with the relationship that John Judis and Sam Francis were friends despite their political differences, so this may be a reason for Judis’ insights.

As a MAR, his conservative critics are correct that Trump is not your typical cookie cutter “three-legs-of-the-stool” modern conservative ideologue, but the problem for them is that what modern conservatism has become is generally a mishmash of policy positions that are often internally contradictory and as a whole have very little to do with actually conserving anything. The MAR position of opposition to mass immigration and opposition to international “free” trade deals, for example, both of which Trump has seized upon with great success, are more conservative in actual effect, in the most basic sense of the word, than is any amount of babbling about the “invisible hand” of the marketplace and cutting marginal tax rates. Trump’s supporters sense this. “Make America Great Again,” is an inherently conservative, reactionary really, sentiment. It speaks of loss for the worse and a need to restore.

As Russell Kirk reminded us, conservatism is not an ideology or hodgepodge of policy issues. Rather, it is a disposition, the desire to conserve what is or else restore something that has been lost. The angry masses in Flyover Country who are supporting Trump look around and see middle class manufacturing jobs going south of the border or overseas and their neighborhoods changing from mass immigration, more people they and their children and their children’s children will have to compete with for jobs, and they want it to stop. Contrast this to Rep. Paul Ryan’s foolish statement that Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration “is not conservatism.” Well, actually, yes it is. What is not conservatism is throwing open the doors of your country to masses of new dissimilar immigrants, including groups that are known to be hostile to us. Only a muddle-headed modern conservative ideologue could miss which one of these positions expresses a truly conservative sentiment.

With the rise of Trump, this election has taken on a meta dimension that it otherwise wouldn’t have had. Partisan stakeholders always attempt to cast every Presidential election as a crossroads, perhaps the starkest in history, but in truth we only really have a choice between Elitist Globalist Neoliberal A and Elitist Globalist Neoliberal B. Trump represents something truly unique in recent elections. He offers a real choice between the elitist post-national consensus embraced by the Establishment of both parties, and a patriotic economic nationalism that truly challenges this elite consensus.

So yes, Trump is a conservative in the sense that really matters. He wants to conserve and restore the nation state of America and not stand by as it turns into just another post-national administrative unit ruled by a globalist power elite. Virgil Goode, William Lind, and Phyllis Schlafly and many other conservative luminaries clearly get this. The conservative box checkers who are ticking off Trump’s fidelity to some laundry list of policy positions are missing the forest for the trees. They are on the verge of losing their country while they hand-wring about eminent domain.favicon

19 thoughts on “Is Donald Trump a Conservative?”

  1. I think this is a good discussion we need to have. Firstly, to enunciate that which is important to us and secondly to declare what is NOT conservatism. If we’re going by what Conservatism Inc. says, Trump is not a conservative.

    Conservatism as defined by the GOP-RINO-Chamber of Commerce axis of evil means that you champion corporate America (who funds you) regardless of how disastrous that is for America as a whole. That means low corporate taxes, lots of cheap, foreign workers to lower wage rates for your own countrymen and no tariffs on cheap chink crap being imported. The Conservatism Inc. version also means kow-towing to Israel and their hit squad in America, AIPAC. This is necessary to get their many shekels of campaign money (or, prevent those shekels going to a rival). This must be earned not simply by often genuflecting, but also displaying a willingness to vote for huge amounts of $ to be given to “our strongest ally” and to spend American blood and bones to fight Israel’s enemies for them and/or change the Middle East into modern secular states with high teen pregnancy rates, drug use and tranny “rights”. The only other universal principle of Conservatism Inc. is the desire to find at least one country to bomb per week. There must always be some small, weak (or, perceived to be) country we can safely bomb or attack – and, if they’re enemies of or disliked by Israel, so much the better.

    Conservatism should conserve or safeguard things. Start with the family unit – that means real conservatism is against abortion, feminism and faggotry. Conservatism should conserve America – the white, european, Christian republic that has been hijacked since the 1960’s by jewish bolsheviks. Conservatism means allowing only those who will contribute to this paradigm to immigrate to our country (lots of whites in Zimbabwe and South Africa that are clearly being persecuted and not wanted there that would make America a better place, perhaps some yazidis/ME Christians and eastern europeans). Conservatism should conserve America’s economic opportunities for Americans by supporting free enterprise and fair trade, not the so-called “free trade” championed by Conservatism Inc. for the last 40 years that is destroying the middle class. Conservatism should conserve Americans’ right of association. If I do not want to hire, rent to, sell to or otherwise associate with dindus (dindu nuffin!), that’s my own business. We should conserve the social contract between law-enforcement and public, keeping in mind that law-enforcement must often do distasteful things to preserve civilization. While we are not necessarily against one ethnic group (oy vey!) using racism to create monopolies (everyone does that to some extent) in infotainment, society must have the right to censor that infotainment to prevent it becoming a weapon against society at large. Since finance and law are necessary for the security of the nation, that one group will not be allowed to create monopolies on society’s dime. Likewise, the “education” system needs to be purged of the various evils afflicting it, beginning with the jew-bolsheviks now controlling it. Once they are “reassigned” to productive tasks (sweeping and mopping floors), we can purge education at all levels of “womyn’s studies”, “aff-am studies muhfuggah”, trans-sexual studies, affirmative action coordinators, minority participation directors, etc.

    That’s enough to go on for now. More can be added. Does Trump more closely align with Conservatism Inc. or real conservatism as outlined here? Clearly, Trump has attacked “political correctness” which we know as cultural-marxism. Trump has (rightly) denounced the illegal alien problem that afflicts America as well as stating (truthfully) that the current immigrants are low quality (rapists, killers) or are admitted solely to disadvantage Americans. Trump has stated that mooslim immigration should be halted until such time (probably never) arrives that we can guarantee these people will not be a danger to our society. Trump has correctly noted that terrible trade deals that were created solely for the benefit of corporate America and to the detriment of middle class America. These and other statements by Trump indicate he has more in common with true conservatives than Conservatism Inc.

  2. Trump’s conservatism is compromised. On some things he has done well and is moving the country in the correct direction. On others he is marginal. For example real conservatism does not want to change the demographic character of the United States through massive immigration (legal or illegal). Real conservatism does not want to give away rights by expanding the power of the state to interfere with the daily lives of families. Real conservatism does not want to create new “rights” out of whole cloth for degenerates and perverts to hide behind.

    Real conservatism is not a global ideology bent on cramming itself down the throats of the rest of the
    world by offering a one-size fits all solution to society. It is content to let other countries govern their own affairs and arrive at their own solutions and reserves the right to do the same. Conservatives want to be free of global/universalizing ideologies in general. The loyalty of conservatives is not to a state or to an ideology but to God, family, and nation. Real conservatism is based on the idea of conserving and strengthening existing webs of relationships: Man with God, Man with Family, Man with Neighbors, Man with Creation. Man with Himself. Conservatism is the idea that maintaining these webs means that each individual must cultivate virtue at home and in his neighborhood by exemplifying it himself. Conservatism is the idea that desires, appetites, and passions must be bridled and controlled for the good of a man himself and the good of his family and neighbors. All things not are permissible for the conservative man even if they may be legal.

    And, contrary to Trump’s life, conservatives are not for the unlimited accumulation of wealth and power. Conservatives believe that both wealth and power are tools and not ends. Their single-minded pursuit is a failure of character.

    Conservatives understand that family is the fundamental unit of society, rather than individuals and a
    nation of atomized individuals not linked to family or neighborhood is both a cause and result of the zombification of Western Civilization. Families exist going forward and backward in time.

    Individuals divided from families exist in both a temporal and moral vacuum, neither building on the achievements of past generations nor preparing for the challenges of future ones. Neither chosen childlessness nor profligate promiscuity can hold fast to the past and the future at the same time. Trump’s personal life and family life are not above reproach. Indeed, his public carrying on with Marla Maples was an awful testament to his failure to understand the vital importance of family and those who decried Bill Clinton for his actions should be uncomfortable with this aspect of Trump. Nevertheless, he appears to be a loving father of his children and interested in their welfare and well-being which is to be commended.

    Trump deviates from many conservative ideas and ideals. He is not a ‘pure’ candidate. But conservatives and conservatism are also pragmatic and understand that despite Trump’s failings, and they are many, he is pushing in the correct direction for his country even if he has failed in some ways in his personal life.

  3. Why are we asking if Trump conservative? We should be asking if the Koch brothers are conservative? Those on the right keep telling me, the Koch brothers are conservative. Well… The Kochs support open borders, abortion, free trade, and gay marriage. Trump isn’t trying to destroy America like the Koch brothers are.

  4. Is the GOP conservative? Is National Review conservative? Is ((((Jonah)))) ((((Goldberg)))) conservative?

  5. Asking if Trump is a “conservative” is the wrong question. The real question is whether Trump is the person America needs to try to head off the impending demographic and cultural destruction. The answer to that is “Yes.”

    I’ve been trying to get across to the sloping brows over at Free Republic that it’s more important for someone to be right on these issues of national sovereignty (immigration, trade, Muslim refugees, etc.) than it is that somebody fits a pre-ordained “checklist” of political positions so they can be called a “true” conservative. “Isms” stifle thought.

  6. “They are on the verge of losing their country while they hand-wring about eminent domain.”

    A Constitution isn’t any good without a country to go with it.

  7. No, but that’s to his credit. Conservatism has completely failed to stop the left for over a hundred years now. What, they want another chance? How many more are we going to give them?

  8. This is a true counter-revolution, and the neocons know it. Their precious agenda is being threatened. And now we see that these RINOs and neocons are beginning to edge over to the liberals for mutual support. And that should tell you who these people really are. Trump is snatching the cover from the Treason Lobby. They’re standing naked for all to see.

  9. Our constitution was the product of a specific people in a specific place at a specific time. As a descendant of these amazing people, I believe this document is worth saving. The ones who want it destroyed are not of my culture or civilization. Their agenda is different. They cannot be trusted.

  10. Two things Trumpskis can’t do – explain away his liberal record, or show where he advance Conservative ideals. He donated to Hillary and Bill, many liberals, Planned Parenthood, and sued to take private property for his casino. He favored the Kelo decision, and said he had more in common with liberals. Trump is all talk.

  11. The RAD Left leftard fascists support a lying murdering criminal Killary who is at best a tremendous incompetent but most likely is a hateful, evil pathological liar narcissistic sociopath who will say/do anything to consolidate power. Her mental, ideological, and psychological similarities to Adolph Hitler are uncanny. Her stupid foolish non-critical thinking amoral useful idiot minions rival her persona.

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