The hysterical angst of the Republican Establishment concerning the rise of Trump is glorious to observe. Of course, the interesting thing is their complete lack of self-awareness, their lack of understanding that they themselves are responsible for the predicament they find themselves in.
One reason is that the GOP has been complicit in the demographic changes that have put them “in between a rock and a hard place,” politically speaking. On the one hand, Republicans look at America’s growing colored population and see the need to appeal to that demographic. On the other hand, the GOP base of support is conservative White Americans, particularly Right-of-center White men. To pander to minorities runs the risk of alienating the base; to secure the base runs the risk of alienating the coloreds. Up to this point, the GOP strategy has been to pander to the colored minorities, while throwing “bones” to the base in the form of phony “implicit Whiteness” and “dog whistling” rhetoric with no real-life political consequences. Heretofore, the GOP has mastered feinting Right during the primaries, running centrist in the general election, and, in the rare cases of GOP Presidential victories (since Ronnie Raygun, we have had only the two failed Bush men being elected), governing from the Left. Base anger has been silenced by “they have nowhere else to go” “lesser of two evils” electoral considerations.
But now, the rise of Trump is an ill wind blowing in the direction of the GOP elites: the base is starting to awaken and will not be forever willing to “vote for lesser of two evils” and support anti-White Leftist Republican candidates.
But there is something else. The problem with Trump is seemingly not only his ideology of Right-wing populism (real or fake), it is also because the Republican Establishment – with some justification – see Trump as an ill-informed, vulgar, obnoxious, childish buffoon, with no self-control and an embarrassing lack of gravitas. Very well, but in response to those concerns I have two words: Pat Buchanan.
Like Trump, Buchanan ran for President as a Right-wing populist Republican. In fact, there is considerable overlap in overt ideology between the two men’s campaigns. While lacking Trump’s “alpha jerk-boy” charisma, Buchanan has certain advantages that you would think would endear him to the GOP elites: Buchanan is a well-informed, articulate, religious man, with strong Establishment connections, and prior political experience in previous Republican administrations. Buchanan has always been an “inside-the-Beltway” man, and is not an obnoxious buffoon.
And how did the GOP elites deal with the more polished and political Buchanan? With the same disdain and hysteria that they now reserve for “Der Trumpening.” The Elite made it clear that they would never accept Buchanan as the nominee, they panicked over his early successes, they sabotaged his campaign (as I recall, they even prevented him from being on the ballot in some states), etc. So, the case of Buchanan proves that the problem with Trump is not so much his repellent personal aspects, but his core of right-wing populism. Anything that appeals to Whites is anathema to the GOP, which is of course self-destructive given the nature of the GOP base (it is not for nothing that Sam Francis labeled the GOP “the Stupid Party”).
The point is that the GOP lost anyway with Bush and Dole in 1992 and 1996. While it is understandable that the incumbent would be favored in 1992, there was no excuse for favoring the “living mummy” “civil rights Republican” Dole over Buchanan in 1996. Favoring Buchanan would have solidified the GOP base and could have put the party in the direction of a Right-wing populist track that could have genuinely benefited White Americans.
But, no. The elites sabotaged Buchanan and they suppressed Right-wing populism for several electoral cycles. Now it has erupted in a more “virulent” form with Donald Trump. Instead of learning their lesson and understanding that the base cannot be taken for granted, instead of understanding that they need candidates that appeal to the base, the GOP elites are hell-bent on sabotaging Trump and suppressing Right-wing populism for another couple of electoral cycles.
They may succeed, but they are playing with fire. Who will come after Trump? Who will be the next Right-wing populist? As even worthless and weak Whites become more aggressive out of sheer desperation, who will they turn to next? Someone more extreme and firebrand-populist compared to Trump to the same degree Trump is compared to Buchanan?
It won’t be “the fire next time,” but it may well be “the Nazi next time.” The GOP elites had better hope that their country clubs are well fortified indeed.
Introduction to The Populist Moment
Americké prezidentské volby 2020 — zhodnocení dosavadního vývoje
On Right-Wing Primal Urges (or, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Debating with Yourself over Politics in the Wee Hours of the Morning, and Forgot to Ask)
Bidet Said Something
The Fall of the Neoliberal Order
Koronavirus a jak změní svět
They Can’t Help Themselves:
From Mar-a-Lago to Dark Brandon
A Tale of Two Speeches, Part 2