Trump Will Not Rupture the Republican Party

Donald TrumpBruce Bartlett wrote an interesting article last week, Will Donald Trump Crack-up the Republican/Tea Party Alliance? He speculated that Trump could cause a rupture between the two parts of the Republican Party: the social conservatives and the business interests. But as usual, the article is filled with Barlett’s cognitive dissonance. There are just some things he really wants to believe like the idea that the Tea Party ever had much support for economic conservatism. It was always overwhelmingly about about social issues. If it cared about mortgage relief, it was only because “those people” were getting it. The libertarian rhetoric to come out of the Tea Party was only the result of what Bartlett admits was astroturfing.

The other thing that he seems to miss is that Donald Trump does not represent a conflict within the party. In fact, he bridges the two sides of the party. He’s a big business guy who will provide just the kind of policies the business community wants, and he provides plenty of red meat to the social conservatives, without offering much in terms of substance on policy. That is pretty much the definition of the traditional Republican Party. So how is it that he represents such a threat?

Bruce BartlettAs far as I can tell, the reason that the “establishment” side of the Republican Party doesn’t like Donald Trump is because they don’t think he will win in a general election. Their outrage concerning his comments about Mexican immigrants is purely political: they think it is bad among swing voters. But when it comes to his policy positions, we hear nothing from the party establishment. Are they against his immigration policy on its own terms (not on how it looks outside the party)? Are they against his ideas on taxes or social programs? The only policy I know of that they seem to have any problem with is his opposition to privatizing or “block granting” Social Security.

The whole thing brings me back to a quote I read from a liberal blogger a long time ago. He had once been a Republican. He said (more or less), “The hardest thing about being a Republican was never being able to say what you actually believe.” Yeah, it’s not pleasant holding views that are repugnant to the vast majority of people. And this is what the Republican “establishment” doesn’t like about Trump: he is explicit about many of the traditional dog whistles. Does anyone really think that Bush’s Willie Horton ad was about furlough programs? Clearly, Trump is too smart to go after African Americans, but he is doing the same thing about more acceptable targets of hate.

So I don’t see Trump causing any harm to the Republican Party. If any harm is done, it will be by the Republican “establishment” and its desire to destroy Trump, even though he is in no way an outlier in the party. The truth is that I don’t see what the big deal is about Trump. If he weren’t running for president, the remaining candidates would still have been all over Planned Parenthood and voodoo economics. The problem isn’t Trump but the party itself. Sure Trump demagogues the Tea Party. But so do the other candidates.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Trump Will Not Rupture the Republican Party

  1. He could run as an independent – he might be just delusional enough to think that’s a good idea. I hope he does this.

    • Hard to say. I’m guessing he’ll do whatever keeps him in the news more. Whether it be running as an indie, or pulling out of every state race right before the primary so he can claim “I didn’t even run, but I got more votes than those lesser mortals.”

      • I don’t see an independent candidacy. He would only be drawing from Republicans and that just wouldn’t do. I suspect his support would drop to nothing. But it is hard to make predictions about him.

    • As I discuss in an article coming out later this week: I hope he wins the nomination. He is by far the least vile of the Republicans running for president.

      • Yeah — his disgusting factor is right there for all too see. Rather than seeming like Mr. Rogers and proposing policies which harm almost everyone, he’s an loud-and-proud racist/sexist who probably would be less toxic in office than some Koch puppet like Walker.

        This garbage does have effects, though. I’ve seen recently on other websites trolls who feel empowered to Fight PC, because their little hero is doing so.

        It’s like Reagan. Clinton actually hurt broke poor people more than Reagan dared, but Reagan laid the groundwork with his “welfare Cadillac” stuff.

        • I’ll have to think about that. I think it might be roughly correct to say that Reagan hurt the middle class and Clinton hurt the poor. Looking back what really angers me is how they all congratulated themselves on how welfare reformed “worked” even though it was clear even then that the poor were getting jobs because the economy was great. Truly vile people.

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