Fear and Loathing in Cleveland: Donald Trump Completes Nationalist Populist Takeover Of GOP At Republican National Convention

TOPSHOT - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 19, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump will complete his nationalist populist takeover of the Republican Party—a hostile one—here this week at the Republican National Convention.

The convention, which kicks off this morning, is sure to be filled with Trump’s style. Trump, his wife Melania, and children Donald, Jr., Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany, will each speak throughout the week. The themes of the party’s convention this year—normally a coronation for a run-of-the-mill ordinary Republican—will be anything but ordinary. Over each day will loom a Trumpian-phrased theme, like Monday’s “Make America Safe Again” or Tuesday’s “Make America Work Again.” Wednesday will be “Make America First Again” day, and on Thursday Republicans will celebrate the goal to “Make America One Again.”

Outsiders like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Dr. Ben Carson and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will be heralded and celebrated here, while crony-type D.C. insiders like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney—the failed 2012 GOP nominee—and failed 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will be nowhere to be found.

Lobbyists aren’t welcome around the convention, and typical D.C. power-brokers are running as far away from Trump as possible. Trump, who has campaigned aggressively against these insiders, doesn’t want them here anyway. He even, just this week, called himself “so outside of the establishment” when he introduced his vice president. 


“Lobbyists typically act as the Republican Party elders at political conventions, ensuring that the program runs smoothly and coordinating many of the festivities surrounding the official events,” the Wall Street Journal, the Republican Party’s premier insider publication, wrote at the beginning of July. “This year, many of them are opting out of the Cleveland event later this month, both because they haven’t been tapped to raise money for the campaign and because some of their clients have expressed concern about funding a convention with Mr. Trump at the top of the ticket.”

Newspapers across the country have detailed how Republicans expect an “unconventional” convention.

“Republicans – some happy, some horrified – will gather here starting Monday to officially sanction Donald J. Trump’s hostile takeover of their party,” the Buffalo News’ Robert McCarthy and Jerry Zremski filed from Cleveland. “That being the case, while they call it the Republican National Convention, there will be little conventional about it. Sure, a made-for-TV program will aim to show the United States that the Republican candidate is a better choice than the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But beyond that, this will be as unconventional a convention as the candidate himself, a developer-turned-reality TV star who captured the nomination in part by making promises – like building a wall at the Mexican border and rewriting free-trade agreements – that upend decades of GOP dogma.”

Pennsylvania’s PennLive’s Charles Thompson wrote that this will be a “different kind of convention.”

“Republican supporters of Donald J. Trump boarded a bus for Cleveland, and a trip into an uncharted political future, Sunday,” Thompson wrote.  “These delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention find themselves at the tip of the spear of a populist movement fueled by frustration with traditional politics and a willingness to give an outside-the-establishment guy who has ‘built things’ – not the least of which is his own brand – a try.”

Trump vanquished 16 foes during the Republican primaries over the past several months since the beginning of the year—in a battle that started here about a year ago at the first debate—dominating news cycles with a completely abnormal campaign since then.

“Donald was able to tap into a real sentiment that’s out there and he won the primary — the voters chose him,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one such downed rival, told the New York Daily News. “It’s an unusual year. The country at large is going through a rapid economic dislocation and transformation.”

The Daily News went as far as characterizing Trump’s impressive victory—winning more votes during the primaries and caucuses than any other GOP nominee in the party’s history—as something he can rub in the faces of his critics.

“Donald Trump was widely mocked as he descended on his escalator to announce his presidential run more than a year ago,” the New York Daily News’ Cameron Joseph wrote. “When he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this Thursday, he’ll get the last laugh. In one year, the brash self-proclaimed billionaire channeled the populist rage gripping the GOP base to engineer a hostile takeover of the party.”

Trump has done an enormous thing over the past 12 months: Not only has he risen up to win the party’s nomination, he has decimated any and all previously-thought-to-be winning political coalitions. Typically, Republicans since Ronald Reagan—in the years of the Bush clan dynasty—would pander to globalist ideals pushing so-called “free trade” and other open borders policies with regard to immigration, crime policy, economic policy, foreign policy and national security policy. Democrats, meanwhile, no longer represent the strong America policies that John F. Kennedy believed in; their party has veered over the past several decades into hardcore progressivism mixed together with globalist elitism.

This gap was created and expanded during the years of the Bushes and Clintons–and was ripped wide open in the last seven plus years under Barack Obama. Right now, the world is on fire. Cops are being killed by black liberationists, illegal aliens are pouring across the border, and the government is placing “refugees” with tuberculosis in cities and town across America. Radical Islamists are killing as many people as they can in places ranging from a gay nightclub in the shadow of Disney World to the south of France to southern Californian suburbia, with the next attack looming around the corner from their homes. Jobs are hard to come by as the local factory is moving to Mexico, Canada, or China–or Vietnam or India or somewhere else–while the politicians in Washington want to take away Americans’ hard-earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. Veterans who served our country, and put their lives on the line, can’t see a doctor for half a year, while healthcare premiums for those now forced to buy insurance plans they already can’t afford are skyrocketing, all while Democrats want to take away Americans’ guns and make them pay higher taxes–while regulating their businesses into submission making it easier to get a welfare check than to start a company. Americans, meanwhile, want it to stop. The onslaught from Washington, D.C., and world elites is too much, and they can’t believe what they are being forced to endure. They want it to end, and Trump is offering voters an end to the madness.

The divide—where both political parties forgot about millions of Americans in their quest to consolidate power in Washington, D.C., and around the world in elite circles like Brussels, Davos, London, Hollywood, New York City and particularly Wall Street, among other enclaves of the elite—has left a giant opening. Millions upon millions of Americans feel like the nation’s—and the world’s—elites have left them behind.

Trump, a blue collar billionaire who’s made his fortune in real estate with many of the same rough and tumble tactics Americans have seen on the campaign trail, feels that anger. While he personally has not been largely affected by the economic travesties the elites have bestowed on the workers of the country with an influx of migrants and “refugees” taking away from the Americans the few jobs that haven’t been shipped overseas thanks to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s NAFTA and other trade deals like the forthcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership, he understands the feelings of most Americans. Part of the reason why he has been able to do that, his newly announced running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in his speech accepting the nomination, is because he listens.

“Donald Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no leader since Ronald Reagan,” Pence said. “The American people are tired. We’re tired of being told, we’re tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. We’re tired of having politicians in both parties in Washington, D.C. tell us we will get to those problems tomorrow.  And as Ronald Reagan said, we’re tired of being told that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives better for us than we can plan them for ourselves. Donald Trump gets it. And he understands the American people.”

Pence’s state, perhaps worse than most, has been affected by the globalist trade deals that represent a cornerstone of the Washington in both parties. In fact, thanks to NAFTA and the TPP among other deals, Carrier Corporation—currently based in Indianapolis—is planning to move to Mexico in 2017. Hammering that was a centerpiece of Trump’s primary campaign, and a large part of the reason why he ended up winning the Hoosier State over his last vanquished rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in a race Trump was supposed to lose.

Trump has brought up Carrier Corporation time and again throughout the race—and his campaign has started circulating similar examples in many other states like here in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in New Hampshire, in Florida and more. And as his campaign has done that, Trump’s poll numbers in key states have soared back upwards in those battleground states—seeing him take leads over, or get into statistical ties with, Hillary Clinton in a way that dumbfounds the mainstream media.

Perhaps one of the most interesting anecdotes symbolizing Trump’s rise takeover of the Republican Party is the fact that GOP insiders had prepared to hammer Hillary Clinton for now opposing the TPP—which she previously, according to CNN, supported 45 times before. They were going to hit her for no longer supporting what they wanted. But now that Trump is the GOP standard-bearer, and current House Speaker Paul Ryan—who is in significant trouble in his own congressional district, facing a serious primary from Paul Nehlen—Republicans are criticizing Hillary Clinton for not being genuine in her opposition to the TPP. It’s a significant difference: The Republican position on trade is now, under the party of Trump, to oppose trade deals like the TPP. Sure, there are some Republicans like Ryan who still back it, but thanks to Trump the party has seen a massive shift—one that will become official here in Cleveland over the next four days.

Republicans seem to have, with Trump at the top of the ticket, found their backbone again as well not just on trade but also on issues like immigration, foreign policy and crime. So-called “criminal justice reform”—efforts by GOP insiders like Ryan and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to release criminals from prison—has been all but halted as cops get shot in Baton Rouge and Dallas, and Trump pushes a pro-law and order platform. On immigration, Republicans party-wide are beginning to support Trump’s vision of a wall—and his plan to temporarily bar entry to individuals from nations that export terrorists. And more so than that, on foreign policy, Republicans are starting to question long-held norms about the United States’ vision around the world.

As “Never Trump” goes out in a blaze of failure this week after rejection by the party with its losing delegate managers attempting an embarrassing last ditch ploy that will finally destroy their credibility once and for all, Trump will soar into the mantle of being the face of the Republican Party. His critics like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—along with pretty much the entire Bush family—will still moan about Trump not because he vanquished them or their friends in the primaries but because his electoral success would mean a complete public rejection of everything they believe in. If Trump wins the general election in November, he will have changed politics forever, too, and the entire GOP will shift his way on pretty much everything—because he will have proved that populist nationalist campaigning wins, and globalist elitism loses.


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