Conservative commentator and former GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan argued this weekend that GOP elites who represent the globalist wing of the party will not attend this year’s convention because Donald Trump’s insurrection against them on trade, immigration, and foreign policy has succeeded.
When host Michael Smerconish mentioned on his Saturday CNN program that the party’s last two Presidents—George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush—and presidential nominees—Mitt Romney and John McCain—will not be attending this year’s convention in Cleveland, Buchanan said the reason the elites and the “leadership of the party and the old leadership of the party is not showing up is because Donald Trump, the nominee, is conducting an insurrection against those individuals and against the policy they produced, on trade, immigration and foreign policy.”
“If Donald Trump wins this election, he is going to take the country in a new direction,” he said. “He’s running an insurrection against the political, corporate, and media elites in Washington, D.C., and he’s running an insurrection against the Republican elites, and he has succeeded.”
Buchanan said the insurrection is “populist, patriotic, ethno-national” and a form of “economic nationalism.”
“And that’s not the defining philosophy of the incumbent Republican Party of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney,” Buchanan added.
Buchanan said “one of the major things that’s in the hearts and minds of” of working-class voters “is that we have had it with the political media, corporate elite in the nation’s capital, let’s go for somebody who will really give us real change. And even though I’ve got doubts about this fellow Trump, I think that he will do that.”
Buchanan cited the country’s decimated manufacturing sector due to bad trade deals and “all of the wars” in the Middle East that the elites have gotten the country into during the last decade. He added that many voters are saying, “I don’t know about this fellow Trump, but I think I’m going to vote for him.”
The Bush family, McCain, and Romney are illustrative of Republican elites who have been out of touch not only with the conservative base but the so-called independent “Reagan Democrats” who have decided every election since 1980.
George H.W. Bush, after winning Ronald Reagan’s third term, then showed his true establishment colors by turning his back on conservatives by breaking his promise not to raise taxes. He lost his reelection bid to Bill Clinton. George W. Bush took the country into Iraq and tried to pass comprehensive amnesty legislation in addition to pushing through No Child Left Behind. As a result, in addition to numerous K-Street scandals, Republicans lost their majorities in Congress largely due to Bush’s presidency.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called social and religious conservative leaders “agents of intolerance” during his 2000 campaign and then saw his projected $100 million campaign implode after he teamed up with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and George W. Bush to push comprehensive amnesty legislation before his 2008 campaign. McCain, whom conservatives have never considered one of their own, lost the 2008 election to a one-term Senator in Barack Obama even after his selection of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin propelled him to a post-convention lead.
Mitt Romney, one of the most prominent faces of the globalist/corporatist/pale pastels wing of the GOP, also never won the hearts of conservatives even though he vowed that he was “severely” conservative. Romney never resonated with working-class voters who felt disillusioned with Obama. They just could not vote for a robotic candidate who, like the elder Bush, seemed completely out of touch with ordinary Americans, and, as a result, Obama shellacked him in an election in which the so-called metrics were not even on Obama’s side. Ryan is the next in line to represent the “Chamber of Commerce” wing of the GOP.
Trump, though he was and is an imperfect candidate, was able to reach GOP primary voters en masse on issues like immigration and trade without being drowned out and blocked by the establishment in ways other candidates without Trump’s status, save for Sarah Palin, could never have accomplished. Trump has since clearly defined his battle against Clinton as one between his America-first “Americanism” and Clinton’s elites-first “globalism.”
In his interview with Smerconish, Buchanan also said the “nation divided as it has never been divided” and “you’ve got words like racist, sexist, homophobe” being hurled around on television every day. He said, “We are not one people and one nation the way we were in 1960 under Eisenhower.” Buchanan admitted the country “had some things wrong on the civil rights,” but the country in which he grew up “was a good country, and what these fellows see are the same things I’m seeing: we are losing the best of the country that we grew up in. The government here in Washington, A, is incompetent, B, its system is rigged, and C, we are being pulled away from the center.” He said there are a “a lot of people I run into, I grew up with, who feel exactly the same way” and may vote for Trump even though they have some reservations about him.