So Donald Trump has won.
It is supposedly a massive victory for conservatism and a repudiation of leftism and Barack Obama. The Republican Party controls the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the vast majority of this country’s state and local government apparatus. Mr. Trump will appoint at least one Supreme Court justice if not more. The Democrats may talk of “demographic destiny”, but Clinton failed to get the numbers from Hispanics and Latinos which Obama did and which she was counting on.
The Republican Party, against all odds, has prevailed. But at what cost? Because while the Republican Party may have won, they have done so by becoming a mirror image of the Left. Instead of embracing individualism and liberty, they have embraced a collectivism which will attempt to see the white race regain its domineering position in American society. Instead of embracing the free market and capitalism, they have embraced protective tariffs and rent seeking on behalf of Donald Trump’s constituents.
These decisions did not come in a vacuum. White working class voters broke overwhelmingly for Trump. It wasn’t because of “economic anxiety” or racism persay. It was because the Left has for years mocked those voters and called them racist, ignorant fools who were “voting against their real interests.” And the Left could barely hide how eager they were that those stupid white men would just go away and become irrelevant under the Hispanics the Left was so eager to let in.
But that does not justify what those voters did anymore than I would be justified in burning down a man’s house if he called me a Jap. Yelling “fuck you” as the voters intended certainly feels good, and it is nice to see media figures panic.
But what does that actually accomplish?
That question could be asked about much of Trump’s agenda in general. I have no philosophical objections to the Wall or the idea that America should protect its borders, and there is nothing inherently racist about such a scheme. But the Wall won’t work. It will be an expensive boondoggle proposed by a politician to show that he is Doing Something Big.
What will the wall accomplish?
It doesn’t matter, really. Trump occasionally has made little noises and sops in the direction of limited government, but he has chosen to harness the collective power of race in the same which the Democrats did to bring minorities to the polls year after year. He will use the powers of government to benefit his chosen race, which represents a massive blow to the idea of treating people as individuals and not as part of a social construct.
And just Trump will do that, because there is another, bigger way in which his victory represents a possible fatal blow for American conservatism. One of the biggest challenges which this republic has faced for years has been the constant rising and encroaching powers of the President in comparison to the other two branches. Congress is the body most talked about in the Constitution and the one which controls the purse strings, but the people now seem to think that it is nothing more than an advisory branch.
Look at how the press treats the House’s opposition towards Obama. Yes, the House has opposed Obama’s agenda. That is their job, and they are not obliged to listen to him. In fact, they are obliged NOT to do so if that is what their voters elected them to do. Instead, we have witnessed constant lambasting of what Congress has done for the past few years as they dare to limit Obama’s agenda. Republicans as a whole should have come away from the Obama years understanding that the executive power must be reigned in.
But they did the opposite. They nominated a man who does think he is the superhuman who can fix the government by himself. And his supporters voted him in because they believe he can do it. The liberal idea of “Only the Presidency matters” has successfully permeated the American consciousness, and now the American voters believe that we are electing a king.
And if you are such a fool that you think that a GOP Congress will make even the slightest effort to keep Trump in line after watching this campaign, note Sean Hannity’s remarks last night. Trump’s biggest media goon instantly jumped to declare that Paul Ryan will no longer be Speaker. The GOP leadership was already terrified into submission by the thought of being destroyed by his voters (never mind that those voters didn’t make any effort to actually knock Paul Ryan and other normal Republicans out in the primaries). Now that Trump has surpassed everyone’s expectations? He will say “jump” and Ryan and the others will say “how high?”
So who is to blame for the rise of Trump? Some will say the media, others will those who voted for him, others will say Republican leadership. But the answer is that this is on everyone. Left, Right, Center, whomever. The American people have failed to keep the Constitutional principles and republic which Benjamin Franklin observed that it would be our duty to protect.
I do believe, I have to believe, that American and this republic will survive Trump. But American conservatism will not. A legacy which goes back to men like Burke, Madison, and Tocqueville has at best embraced a facsimile of de Maistre and in reality has chosen to forgo ideology in favor of the raw thrill of “victory.”
100 years ago, Europe consumed itself in a war where they sought victory so desperately that one side ended up chaining itself to the power of the United States. That victory meant nothing then. And it means nothing now.