August 24, 2020
Author: Chilton Williamson
The political realignment in America that began to appear several decades ago as a web of crazed faults across the American political landscape before widening and converging to deliver a violent tectonic shift when the Republican National Convention nominated Donald J. Trump as its candidate for President of the United States in 2016 continues on like a rolling four-year-long earthquake, whose latest and strongest jolt was delivered at the Democratic National Convention that ended last Thursday night. In a brilliant essay published the following morning (“Joe Biden’s Republican Convention,” Spectator USA, August 21), Daniel McCarthy described Democrats’ jamboree as “really a convention of two different parties. One of these is a party of woke activists entirely concerned about race, sexuality, and environmentalism. Traditionally major issues such as jobs and national security are at most a footnote to the more pressing issues of identity politics and climate change. But then there is the other Democratic party—or rather, the other Republican party. For the most astonishing thing about this convention was that half of it seemed to be handed over to liberal Republicans of yesteryear This doesn’t feel like the party that almost nominated Bernie Sanders, it feels like the party of Nelson Rockefeller.”
Yes indeed!…the party of Rockefeller updated since the 1970s to include and integrate the Never-Trumpers with the other RINOs: Mitt Romney, Bill Kristol, Colin Powell, Susan Molinari, Christine Todd Whitman, John Bolton, General Mattis, etc., etc. (though not all these people were actually “present” at the “convention”), who are essentially indistinguishable from the older generation of Democrats gathered “in” Milwaukee and, by endorsing Biden, have actually joined it for the the current election—and maybe, if the Elephants are very lucky, for good. For the immediate present anyway, they are a part of the old or shadow Democratic Party, the alternative to the new and future now one under construction by a younger generation of woke activist Democrats that the party elders fear may not yet be acceptable to the older and more moderate Democratic voters they need to expel Donald Trump from the White House. There are now–McCarthy says–“three parties in American politics. Two of them represent different generations of the same ruling class—the older, Biden-Whitman-Molinari-Powell-Pelosi-Schumer generation of [the] liberal elite and the newly college-educated generation of liberals, who are just as eager to rule as the older generation is, but who have a new formula for disguising their ambition.” Three parties, then: the old Democratic-Republicans, the new Progressive Democrats, and the Trump Republicans, the first two allied against the third in a Grand Alliance against the wicked American Napoleon in the Oval Office. How is this likely to end?
Should Donald Trump win a second term in November, the political situation will be, though hugely aggravated, essentially unchanged from what it is today. Following an immediate lightning bolt of a truly nuclear intensity, accompanied by a thunderclap as violent as the recent blast in Lebanon, hurled down from the liberal Olympus, the President will continue to try to press through the agenda he carried with him into office in January 2016 and to increase and extend his control over the Republican Party. Meanwhile, the two Democratic Parties will do their damndest to thwart and impede the administration’s second iteration (beginning, no doubt, by dreaming up a new conspiracy theory to explain the New Satan’s second victory at the polls), and the Democratic-Republicans will maintain their electoral alliance with the Progressive Democrats, while growing increasingly less distinguishable from them every day. Should Trump be defeated, however…that is when American politics will get really interesting….
What happens next would depend on how sweeping the left’s victory is. Since the election is looking increasingly as if it will be tight, I am assuming that Trump’s loss would be a narrow one and the Grand Alliance’s victory a correspondingly slim win.
Should that be the case, the Democratic-Republicans would be compelled to share the spoils—including jobs and appointments–with the Progressive Democrats, partly at their own expense but mainly that of their youthful progressive wing, which is rapidly becoming a fourth party whose members would be enraged by being forced to collaborate with the old-line Republican establishment. At the same time, they would encourage the RINOs to remain within the Alliance; these in turn could use it to gain control of the old Democratic Party as a means of opposing and destroying the Trump Republicans for good and all, while winning back what was left of the establishment GOP. At this point the scenario becomes complicated; since, were the RINOs successful in their efforts, they wouldn’t need the Old Republican Party as their vehicle at all. This would give them the motive to consolidate themselves with the Old Democrats, a development that would surely provoke the youthful Progressive Democrats into bolting the Donkey Party and forming a new radical-progressive one of their own. In this way the United States would revert to a clearly defined two-party system, the Democratic-Republicans v. the Progressive-Democrats, the whole of the national political apparatus having shifted substantially left of center.
So what about the Trump Republicans…?
Until recently, it appeared that Donald Trump had made little headway in his efforts to transform the GOP in his own image; to make the party his own. Lately, however, signs have appeared that indicate the progress he has been making in doing exactly that. In its Saturday edition for August 22, 2020 the Wall Street Journal printed an essay by Gerald Seib, the paper’s executive Washington editor, adopted from Mr. Seib’s new book We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump (Random House) that lays out compelling evidence for this. Seib argues that Trump has “turned Republicans away from four decades of Reagan-style, national-greatness conservatism to a new gospel of populism and nationalism.” The shift had been developing for some time, he says, though it has gone largely unnoticed. “…Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, an increasingly bitter immigration debate—all were early signs that a new door was opening. Mr. Trump simply charged through it. He understood better than those whom he had vanquished in the primaries that the Republican Party has undergone profound socioeconomc [sic] changes; it has been washed over by currents of cultural alienation and a feeling that the old conservative economic prescriptions haven’t worked for its new working-class foot soldiers.”
Gerald Seib, alone or nearly so among political commentators this summer, claims that there is “no way to put Trumpism back into the bottle.” (Most, or almost all, commentators, right and left, argue the opposite.) If Trump wins reelection, (“and even more so if he loses”—my italics), Republicans and conservatives will be faced with the stark question of “how to adapt their gospel so that it fits in the age of Trump.” And…lo and behold!: “a new and younger breed of conservatives has set out to do precisely that, often by stepping away from strict free-market philosophies. Among those Seib cites are Senator Marco Rubio (who wants a “common-good capitalism”), Senator Josh Hawley, Senator Tim Scott, Oren Cass (founder of American Compass, a new think tank), Yoram Hazony (a proponent of a nationalist foreign policy for America), Christopher DeMuth, formerly president of the American Enterprise Institute, and Corey Lewandowsky.
Near the end of Donald Trump’s administration what deserves to be called a truly Trumpist movement, comprised of intellectual as well as political elements, is taking shape at last to support the President in a second administration, should he win one; or, if he loses the election, his MAGA followers in their efforts to found a new political party if necessary, as it almost certainly would be. Whatever the results of the coming election, either a Republican-Democratic Party or a Progressive-Democratic one—or an alliance of both—is sure to face a powerful and effective opposition in future: one that will not be intimidated by liberals and the Marxist left and highly resistant to infiltration, bribery, and subornation by the Democratic-Republicans—the Old Democrats and the RINOs of recent decades.