Having been an obvious conservative and Republican for decades, people ask me about Donald Trump and as the primary season has bumped along, my answer now is to divert, slightly, to the “Trump effect.”
The Trump effect has proven to be catalytic. He came in to the race as an erstwhile Republican, and there are fair arguments against the validity of that, but without any political power. He had financial power, but lots of people do and it doesn’t mean they have political power. He had bragadoccio and courage, but those don’t mean political power, either. He had influence, and lots of media exposure, and those are important to political power, but don’t create it.
What is required is some or all of those things plus a key ingredient from among these few: a political or power vacuum in society, an intense desire to gain political power, an intense, patriotic, statesmanlike desire to save society, an intense, sympathetic/empathetic desire to heal and comfort everyone – the penultimate social worker, an idea, or cause, that is shared by large numbers of voters, or a willingness to gain power by hook or by crook for personal, megalomaniacal aggrandizement.
I believe that from these 6 evolve or devolve all the motivations that lead people to desire the presidency and every office below it in hierarchy. Where does the “Trump effect” fit in?
First, Trump seized upon a severe problem that forms the basis of a cause for large numbers of Americans: open borders, or ill-enforced immigration policies. Law-abiding citizens watch in horror as illegal entrants are treated better than citizens, provided welfare of various kinds, granted quasi-legal status despite being criminals, even being allowed to vote, as though the function and sovereignty of the United States is not defendable – or even defensible. He launched his effort with a cause.
The reaction to the cause, however, has yielded intense hatred for Trump and all of his followers. It just happens that the opposition is from the “left,” which, collectively, hates the United States to one degree or another, and which sees flooding the country with illegal entrants – especially racially and culturally very different illegal entrants or supposed Islamic “refugees” – as just desserts for all the cultural crimes the U. S. has committed for so long. This automatically places Trump on the “right,” or in Republican country, a place in which he does not comfortably fit.
Whether or not Trump survives the nomination marathon, “his” widely shared cause will continue to motivate large numbers of citizens. This is the “effect” that we can name as Trump’s for now, but which is a valid political force whose adherents – millions of them – fear will not have a champion if he fades politically. Should that be the outcome of the primaries, caucuses and convention, there will be a real risk of the “Trump forces” breaking away from standard party politics. The reactions of the left to this may not be the smartest, as they perceive a great, false proof of their ability to wield total power.
People who are sympathetic to the “cause” but who are not bound to it, will be unable to stop the breakup of the “right.” Almost by definition, the current “right” would become one end of the “left’s” spectrum. The observed tendency of the Republican “establishment” to cooperate rather destructively with the parts of the governing establishment that desires to disassociate the U. S. from its Constitution, will then make a weird sense. A new “right” will be born.
Suddenly, the political landscape will re-define itself. New alliances among those who are passionate about the Constitution, who are pro-life, pro-individual responsibility, pro-sovereignty and pro-defense of our borders, language and culture, will coalesce. Left and Right will become more distinct and more distinctly opposed. “The Trump effect,” then, is a new politics for both “sides.” Nothing the Republican party – a quite-flawed institution, can do, will put this genie back in a bottle.