Saturday, April 9, 2016

Can Trumpism Survive Trump?

If Mr. Donald Trump has founded or midwifed a political movement, it would behoove observers of the political scene to consider the issue of whether this movement has legs, so to speak. Can Trumpism survive Trump? It seems rather likely at this point that the combined forces of Moderate Republicanism and Beltway conservatism will find some devious way of denying Trump the Republican nomination for president. Will other players in the political field seek to inherit the mantle of "The Donald" and make  mild populist Nationalism a regular faction in or out of the Republican Party? Pat Buchanan, the Paleo-Conservative journalist and ex-Nixon aide thinks so. In a recent column, Pat expressed confidence that Trump has begun a new political movement.  Back in the 90's Pat gave the establishment a little scare, hitting upon  themes such as the need for tariffs to protect industry, America Firstism, and opposition to the brown-wave from Mexico. These themes were taken up by Trump twenty years later. Of course, there are some differences between the two movements. Buchanan is a conservative Catholic culture warrior and Trump, a very nominal twice-divorced Presbyterian who has mostly stayed away from religious issues.

  I think it likely that from now on, there will be a Republican running in the presidential primary every four years who will repeat the Trump themes. It will be just too tempting for an ambitious up-and-coming politician to ignore the solid 30% to 40% of the Republican electorate who are attracted to the new populist-nationalist paradigm. What may be less likely, in my opinion, is that there will be large numbers of people who will want to run for senator, congressman or state legislator on a Trump-ite basis. Still, its too early to tell and we may end up with a Republican party with three factions rather than the two we have had since Goldwater. 

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