Donald Trump’s Heterodoxies Are No Problem With GOP Base

Donald TrumpI listened to a little bit of the most recent Republican debate. And Ted Cruz used the same attack on Donald Trump again and again: that he sounded like Hillary Clinton. But I thought the attacks fell flat. It seems to me that Republicans hate Hillary Clinton because she’s Hillary Clinton; but they don’t think that every idea she has is a bad one. And that’s especially true on foreign policy because she’s well known as a hawk. People like Cruz (and honestly, Marco Rubio too), the Republican catechism is so well known, that they don’t realize it is more or less meaningless to most actual Republicans.

The one bit that stands out is Trump’s claim that he will work a deal that will make everyone in the Middle East happy. To Ted Cruz, this is ridiculous. The United States will stand behind Israel no matter what. If they start dropping atomic bombs on Iran and Saudi Arabia, we will stand with them. This is just Christian Nationalism nonsense. And although there is a good percentage of the Republican Party that believes this stuff, most Republicans (like most Americans) would just like to see the Israel-Palestine conflict worked out. There really are very few people who think, “Israel, right or wrong!”

It makes me think back to being a kid and forced to go to catechism. The Catholic Church doesn’t want its members to be coming to mass out of habit. They want the congregation to understand what it is that the church actually stands for. This whole Republican nominating contest has show that the Republicans really do need the same thing. Because it appears that Republicans don’t much believe in anything other than that “those people” are bad. It’s not surprising, given that for the last 50 years, Republicans have by and large used racist demagoguery to get elected. And it has been so successful that they haven’t even had to justify their ever more exclusive economic policies. But still, you would have thought they would have paid more attention.

Hillary ClintonBut it does lead us to the point where the Republican Party establishment can’t counter someone like Donald Trump by comparing hims policies to Hillary Clinton’s policies. Because the base doesn’t care. They hate Hillary Clinton. They don’t hate Hillary Clinton policies. It’s just like they hate Obamacare, but not Obamacare policies. I’ve noted this many times before. It’s amazing how popular universal healthcare is with Republican voters. It is only when they told that it is not something their side believes in that they have a problem with it. As it is, Obamacare is as conservative a law as you could have that would actually improve the healthcare situation. So why do conservatives hate it? Because they were told to.

During the debate, Ted Cruz attacked Donald Trump for being for the individual mandate. But I think it was just eight years ago that the Republican candidate for president was in favor of the individual mandate. The policies mean nothing to the Republican voters. What matters is that Hillary Clinton is not on their team. And Donald Trump is. Otherwise, who cares? The Republican Party has gone off the rails when it comes to economic matters. Hillary Clinton’s economic policies are far more popular among Republicans than those of Cruz and Rubio.

These candidates — and the whole Republican Party establishment — are fooling themselves if they think Trump’s heterodoxies will hurt him in the Republican primary. Most Republicans don’t even know they are heterodoxies. And the Republican Party establishment ought to be glad that they don’t. Otherwise, they might start voting Democratic.

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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 “Donald Trump’s Heterodoxies Are No Problem With GOP Base

  1. Correct. The only way a “sounds like Hillary” insult could stick is if it meant “sound like a girl” — Trump could probably use it on the others, actually. People who like Trump like his sexism and racism,; basically just his cruelty. The only policies his supporters care about are “the wall” and pogroms against Muslims.

    I went to catechism class! I don’t remember a word of it, but I remember it was harmless, and I liked any excuse to get out of the house.

    • Yeah. Here’s Trump’s negotiation.

      Trump: You pay for the 10′ wall!
      Nieto: No.
      Trump: You pay for the 20′ wall!
      Nieto: No.
      Trump: You pay for the 30′ wall!
      Nieto: No.

      The kind of people who support Trump just think that the world has to do what we say because we are the USA. But they are sadly mistaken. Even with our giant military, the US against the world would end in a powerful US defeat.

      • We’ve always been terrible at colonialism; we prefer paying some local goon to do it for us. Part of that is successful colonial empires employ soldiers with a vested interest in the occupation; a chance to move up the class ranks. We only give that opportunity to officers. So our grunts don’t especially care about the grand plan; divide and conquer means little to them, they’d rather shoot anything that moves.

        We have a military which can blow the hell up anywhere in the world, but is useless for achieving specific policy goals.

  2. “It makes me think back to being a kid and forced to go to catechism.”

    When I was a kid, we were one of only a few Protestant families in an otherwise all-Catholic neighborhood. I still remember one Saturday morning when my brother and I were out in the driveway playing “marbles” when a couple of our playmates walked by all dressed up for school. “It’s Saturday!” we reminded them. “Oh, we’re going to catechism,” they replied. “Catechism? What’s that?” I asked. There was a pause, then Suzanne, my current crush, looked at me with amazement and said solemnly, “You mean you haven’t been confirmed?” I’ve never felt so unclean in my life. (Luckily, I was “saved” shortly thereafter.) ;)

    • Yes, well my parents were more of the “now and then” kind of Catholics. But I did get confirmed. I’m with James. I didn’t understand anything about Christianity until I studied it as an adult. Even as a child, I thought it was total nonsense.

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