Over on what we think of as the right side of the political spectrum, critiques of Donald Trump often include laments and/or teeth-gnashings over his “splitting the Republican Party,” and/or his “not being a conservative.”
Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti approaches this same and, to him, alarming territory with an eye on whether Trump’s candidacy portends a historic shift in the GOP as we have known it in recent decades.
It’s possible we are at the beginning of another political recalibration based on national identity. Already center-right parties in Japan and Russia and Israel have lurched in a nationalist direction. And where nationalists do not enjoy outright control, as in Hungary and Poland, they split the center-right coalition, as in France, the U.K., and Germany.
The tendency in Washington is not to take Donald Trump seriously. To describe him as a clown, as someone who will drop out, as someone whose beliefs are non-ideological. I believe that to dismiss him is a mistake. Since declaring his candidacy in June, Trump has been consistent on issues of immigration and trade and security. He has not deviated from building a wall on the southern border, slapping tariffs on imports, criticizing the 2003 Iraq war, praising Vladimir Putin, describing Ukraine as Germany’s problem not ours, and saying Middle East peace depends on Israeli concessions.
NB — On the point about Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Trump said this: “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things. They may not be, and I understand that, and I’m OK with that. But then you’re just not going to have a deal.”
Back to Continetti:
Trump’s nationalism has far more in common with the conservatism of Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, than with the conservatism of Ronald Reagan. Support for a “Muslim ban” is par for the course among European nationalists—by calling for it here all Trump has done is confirm how closely American politics resembles European
Rather, by calling for a moratorium on Muslim immigration here, Trump has shown singular courage to articulate a long-overdue, common-sense reaction to the clear, present and shared danger posed by this recurrent cycle of Islamic expansionism to the wider West. As summed up by Geert Wilders — for the third time since 2010 voted Politician of the Year by the Dutch public — the more Islam there is in a society, the less freedom there is. The less security, too. What Wilders refers to — and what is rarely even mentioned, let alone discussed in public debate — is the totalitarian and all-encompassing nature of Islamic law (sharia), which accompanies Islamic immigration, shrinking liberty and security in the host societies, which quickly adopt the characteristics of dhimmitude.
Leaving “Le Pen” hanging there (I note that in such pieces it is invariably Le Pen, and not the far more well known and widely admired Wilders, who is trotted out as the European “nationalist” — never “patriotic” — model), Continetti continues with his Trump-is-not-Reagan argument. As an aside, if we recall Reagan’s inexplicably, disastrously weak (non) reaction to the 1983 Iran-sponsored jihadist attack that killed 241 US Marines in Beirut, this is not in all cases a bad thing.
Reagan was an immigration advocate who signed the 1986 amnesty law.
The wide-open connotations around “immigration advocate” may render the label at least somewhat insufficient for Reagan, who also said: “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” In any event, Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty law in exchange for tighter border security and immigration laws (such as penalizing employers who hired illegals) that would never materialize.
But here is Continetti’s central point:
Indeed, Republican nominees since Ronald Reagan have been internationalist in outlook. They have been pro-free trade and pro-immigration, have supported American leadership in global institutions, and have argued for market solutions and traditional values. A Republican Party under Donald Trump would broadly reject this attitude. It would emphasize protection in all its forms—immigration restriction, trade duties, a fortress America approach to international relations, and activist government to address health care and veterans’ care. Paeans to freedom and opportunity and equality and small government would give way to admonishments to strive, to fight, to win, to profit.
This set of Republican/conservative criteria — which CandidateTrump is said not to meet — are quite fascinating to me, particularly in light of research vectors that both led to, and continue on after American Betrayal.
Let’s take a closer look at Continetti’s top four GOP markers: 1) internationalist in outlook; 2) pro-free trade; 3) pro-immigration; 4) support for American leadership in global institutions.
At one time, such positions defined the Left side of the American political spectrum, even the far Left — even the Communist Party USA!
This is in not an exageration. The program Continetti describes as quintessentially Republican happens to intersect or mesh perfectly with the global systems helmed into existence, literally, by American Communist agents of the Kremlin at the time of or after World War II — namely, to take the most prominent examples, Alger Hiss at the United Nations, and Harry Dexter White at the International Monetary Fund. What Continetti describes as “pro-immigration,” I take to mean as a position that is the opposite of immigration restriction as enacted by conservatives (in both parties) in the 1920s and 1950s, and perhaps even in line with the unceasing mass immigration mainly from the Third World that has been demographically and culturally and politically transforming the USA since the infamous, Ted-Kennedy-managed 1965 Immigration Act.
Then there’s free trade — surely, the ultimate in free market economics, and, thus, an essence of what we think of as “conservatism,” right?
Think again. I have long believed that bottom-line free trade which, for example, turned Americans into enablers of slave or quasi-slave labor in such dictatorships as Communist China, and bankrupters of our own manufacturing base in the USA, was a disaster. Not until I recently picked up Toward Soviet America, the 1932 book by Communist Pary USA Chairman William Z. Foster, did I realize global free trade was also in sync with Communism’s assault on our nation’s character as well.
A Communist world will be a unified, organized world.
Remember Soviet agent Alger Hiss acted as the first UN secretary general in 1945.
The economic system will be one great organization, based upon the principle of planning now dawning in the U.S.S.R.
Remember that Soviet agent Harry Dexter White was the first executive director of the IMF in 1946.
The American Soviet government will be an important section in this world organization. In such a society there will be no tariffs or the many other barriers erected by capitalism against a free world interchange of goods. The raw material supplies of the world will be at the disposition of the peoples of the world.
Of course! Free trade is just another weapon to break down the nation-state — the ultimate globalist/Communist/progressive/Marxist/Democrat — and, in our time, apparently, GOP — goal.
As Continetti writes, “A Republican Party under Donald Trump would broadly reject this attitude.”
Amen to that.