3/3/2016 - PKT, Los Angeles, writes ...
Nationalism and Populism Propel Trump
I feel sorry for conservatives in a way. They've cried and whined for the past eight years waiting for an opportunity to put a "true" conservative in the White House and who emerges? Donald Trump who is anything but a conservative or evangelical or small government or any other thing that once were benchmark conservative qualities. A year ago he would be labeled a RINO. Now he is leading the pack. Why?
I think in large part it's because the GOP establishment didn't really understand the party's base. They assumed they were all in ideological lock step but they forgot that a large part of the base is composed of Reagan Democrats, Dixiecrats, libertarians and populists. These voters are not necessarily small government ideologues as they strongly support Social Security and Medicare and as polls show aren't opposed to healthcare reform as long as it helps them. They are also nativist, sometimes racist and protectionist. Trump has managed to hit all those themes leaving the GOP establishment stunned and wondering what happened to the conservative base.
Like it or not what will emerge from this is a new Republican party or perhaps another party that in many ways would be closer to William Jennings Bryan populism than Goldwater conservatism.
[Editors' Note: Unfortunately we have to agree with practically every point here.]
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