Jeb Bush Beware: Trump’s Know Nothing Populism Is A Hit With Conservatives In Phoenix

From a policy standpoint, its hard to take Donald Trump’s presidential campaign seriously. Trump’s ideas, like for example, building a wall and having Mexico pay for it, are clownishly naive and logistically impractical. Yet for all his ego-stroking, self-congratulatory rhetoric and his absurd policy prescriptions, Donald Trump is striking a chord with frustrated and anxious conservative voters.

On Saturday, Trump spoke to an overflow crowd of thousands of supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center. Sure, a few hecklers briefly interrupted the Trump love fest, attempting to unfurl a banner in the midst of the crowd before they were apparently escorted out of the event. However, overall, the large crowd was filled with admirers who boisterously cheered Trump’s every pronouncement, no matter how bizarre the words he spoke were.

Not only did Trump attract an enthusiastic crowd to Phoenix, but Saturday morning a Reuters-Ipsos Poll found that Trump was tied with Jeb Bush for first place in the Republican presidential field. Trump of course leveled multiple attacks at Bush during his Phoenix speech. He took the occasion to depict Jeb Bush as stupid, feckless and a weak negotiator who would fold in about two seconds and who “lobbyists push around like a piece of candy.”

Trump elicited applause for attacking Jeb Bush, as well as other Republicans, including Arizona Senator John McCain, for being weak. By contrast Trump portrayed himself as a strong leader who would make “the military so strong we’d never have to use it”, and he warned that if he is elected “ISIS will be in such trouble.” Of course, he didn’t offer any specifics, he just implied that his mere presence in the White House would make all of America’s enemies cease and desist right before our very eyes.

Trump’s speech was the triumph of style over substance, but there can be no denying that his cartoonishly simplistic bombast found an approving audience of conservatives in Phoenix. His Nativist Know Nothing populism conveniently scapegoats illegal immigrants.

However, with the the help of a compelling personal horror story by Jamiel Shaw whose son, Jamiel Shaw the second, was murdered by a person who had entered the country illegally, Trump has the anecdotes to push his narrative. There is no question that Shaw’s personal story is both tragic and moving, giving Trump’s anti-immigrant message a sympathetic figure to rally behind, that partially softens and obscures the xenophobic nature of Trump’s overall message.

While it would be easy for other Republican candidates to dismiss Trump as not a serious candidate, that would be a mistake. The Republican Party has long courted conservative voters by appealing to their base fears, However, now that Donald Trump has amplified the GOP message, Republican leaders, like Dr. Frankenstein in the laboratory, are trying to deal with a monster they helped create.

By calling every Republican politician not named Donald Trump “stupid”, Mr. Trump is burning bridges rather than building alliances within the Republican Party. However, Republican leaders may be slow to realize that a lot of conservative voters seem to agree with Trump. Republican politicians have spent years cultivating hatred of government bureaucrats and politicians among their base, encouraging voters to choose a “limited government” Republican over a “big government” Democrat. In their critique, however, they have exposed themselves as politicians to incur the wrath of voters disillusioned with the system the GOP has told them to distrust.

Trump’s phony populism has exploited conservative voters’ distrust of the GOP mainstream to his political advantage. In the process, he represents a direct threat to Jeb Bush, whose conservative family is too much a part of the political establishment to earn the loyalty of disgruntled conservative voters. Trump’s speech took aim at Jeb Bush several times, and at one point he told the crowd:

If you people go with Bush, you’re going to lose.

Judging by the crowd’s reaction, it was apparent they believed him. Now to be fair, the group of people assembled to hear Trump speak in Phoenix was hardly representative of the general population or even the GOP primary base. Candidate events tend to draw supporters rather than a broad cross-section of the party. Nevertheless, given the size and the enthusiasm of the crowd in Phoenix, and Trump’s current strong polling numbers, Jeb Bush and the rest of the GOP field had better beware. In the conservative universe, the Trump bump is starting to look all too real.

14 Replies to “Jeb Bush Beware: Trump’s Know Nothing Populism Is A Hit With Conservatives In Phoenix”

  1. trump will lose he will not be in the white house, he may win the nomination, but he wont beat hillary or bernie sanders, trump has aliented the hispanic vote, all of the votes he will get is hardcare conservatives

  2. Trump’s appeal to conservatives proves to the country and world what we have known for quite awhile….repugs really are just a bunch of racist, bigoted dumbshits.

  3. I wouldn’t venture a guess of just how many fellow Phoenicians attended this blowhards little appearance, but azcentral, the local news website, has 31 comments…most of which recognize crazy when they see and hear it.

  4. “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    ― Isaac Asimov

  5. I hope Trump runs on a third party ticket. Pretty much ensures a democratic win. Trump doesn’t ring a bell with a lot of conservatives. They consider him crass and overbearing which of course he is. Not that their other choices are any better I.e. Carson and Walker. Basically they’re all a bunch of pinheads. Oh well let them have their fun. I’m laughing my ass off.

  6. Trump is winnowing the field before the phony Fox ‘debate’. Then, he’ll bow out.

    He’s a stalking horse, but IDK for who. He’s been promised a payoff, but his ego is unpredictable. He could do an Arnold.

  7. Might I suggest that all of my favourite liberal, progressive websites just shut up about Donald Trump and save their eloquent contempt for Jebbie and his crimes against humanity brother still strutting around and the often amoral schmoozing of the Clinton clan?
    And Hillary and her rope line? What an idiot!

    Wow, you all are doing the Republican’s dirty-work for them way, way, way too much and for too long. It’s so easy to go after Trump and always has been, why not have used this language loud and clear when he was deeply insulting Pres. Obama, goading him about his place of birth? Oh, it was mentioned, but not in the same inflammatory terms being used against him now!
    Again, stop doing the Republican’s job for them!
    And stop comparing Jebbie so favorably with Trump, another HUGE boost for Bush and being done repeatedly on good old MSNBC.
    Democrats are so clueless, just plain dirt stupid when it comes to political maneuvering and always have been. It’s wonder the party still e…

  8. They didn’t consider Trump crass and overbearing when he was smearing Obama and goading him repeatedly for his birth certificate though, did they.

    All was silence then. And sadly, Obama caved, gave in and produced his certificate. No media was there to to protect and defend him like they always are for the Bush regime.

  9. It’s not just Bush that should be concerned Democrats too. Liberals like myself may like Trump or what he is saying be he is telling it like it is, and that is what people what. Look at our Democrat lineup, wimps, except for HRC and even she isn’t that great. Bernie, forget it. If he won the nomination, he would be labeled a socialists and go down in flames.
    The Democrat party has to wake up too. Trump is not backing down on his comments, and that shows he has guts if you like it or not. As far as immigrant my feelings go with the Republicans. Something has to be done than just allowing 10 million plus become citizens. The laws we have not need to be enforced but they are not.

  10. The RNC and almost all of the GOP’s growing field of POTUS wannabes regard Trump to be a boil on the backside of the GOP — and yet Trump has been polling well with their target electorate.
    Therein lies the problem.

    Once again, the Republican Party’s unenviable task will be to thread a ‘political needle’ — find a candidate irrational and inflammatory enough to get nominated by placating the ideologically self-serving corporate-controlled conservative base as well as the homophobic extremists of the Religious Right, the racist Confederacy-loving white Southerners, the xenophobic Latino-bashing anti-immigrant crowd, and the secession-happy Tea Party loons … yet rational enough to satisfy the rest of America in order to win in the general election.

    Good luck with that.

  11. “Liberals like myself..”??? Uh uh, I don’t think so. And by the way, most Liberals belong to the DemocratIC Party. Your “Democrat Party” gave you away. And I can’t think of even one Liberal or Democrat who thinks Trump is nothing more than a bombastic, lying poseur.

    Be more careful in the future!

  12. Whoever emerges as the nominee from the GOP clown car will lose in 2016, especially if we of the liberal persuasion can energize people to register and vote. You know the GOP will sure try to energize the GOP base.
    Regarding the Donald, he is the clown of clowns.
    BTW, if another Bush winds up in the White House, it won’t be Jeb but Jeb’s son George Prescott Bush whose mother is Mexican and who looks Latino. [WINK]

  13. a mexican national is traveling to a “sanctuary city” in the united states. he happens upon a rancher who says ” you’re trespassing and you need to get off my land”. the mexican says,” your land, why is it your land, where did you get it “? the rancher explains that he has inherited the property and is a sixth or seventh generation owner. the mexican says, ” well how did your forefathers get the land “? the rancher says, ” they fought for it “. the mexican says, “yes, and now i’m fighting you for it “. there are a lot of ways to skin a cat, folks need to wake up.

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