Republicans love to blame Donald Trump on the Democrats – on liberalism and progressivism. But Donald Trump, as should be plain, is a product of the Fox News Bubble. He is the answer to all the fake problems and fake scandals that bubble has ever created.
As President Obama told New York magazine, “I see a straight line from the announcement of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential nominee to what we see today in Donald Trump.”
Voters would seem more likely to agree than disagree. Gallup reveals that more voters see Trump as conservative (47 percent) than liberal (19 percent).
It is true that Trump is seen as less conservative than previous Republican presidential nominees, but the truly shocking statistic is that 22 percent of those polled view Trump as a “moderate.”
It is less of a surprise to learn that, “Republicans and Republican leaners (33%) are three times as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners (11%) to describe Trump as a moderate.” Which really tells you where conservative heads are at.
For comparison’s sake, here are voters views of Hillary Clinton, whom, as you can see, is roughly on par with Barack Obama:
Gallup reports that,
“Roughly equal proportions of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (51%) and Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (47%) perceive the GOP candidate’s views as conservative or very conservative.”
If you look at the issues and at Trump’s rhetoric, you don’t see a liberal and you don’t see a moderate. InsideGov.com used “the VoteMatch political philosophy quiz developed by OnTheIssues.org” to create the following graph, where “Scores between -10 and 0 generally mean that a candidate has a more liberal viewpoint on a certain issue, while scores between 0 and 10 mean a candidate has a more conservative viewpoint.”
It is clear that based on all the observable data, votes, excerpts from speeches, press releases, and other public statements, that Hillary Clinton is a liberal and Donald Trump is a conservative. If the Gallup data suggests Trump is, at least in the eyes of voters, less conservative than previous Republican presidents, that is hardly any surprise.
There are a couple of possible reasons for this. Those Fox News Republicans horrified by Trump have generally blamed him on the Democrats for Trump’s rise, even though Trump can trace direct decent from Fox News.
And conservatism itself has changed, from a party in maintenance of the status quo to a party of white identity politics, a “white Christian provincial party” for those same Fox News “white Christian Americans.”
Vox reports that one conservative intellectual, Samuel Goldman of George Washington University, believes “the GOP and conservative movement has embraced a vision of America — Sarah Palin’s ‘Real America,’ more or less — that can’t appeal to anybody but white Christians.”
The facts are the facts. No liberal candidate would say, as Donald Trump did to Iowans,
“Raise your hand if you’re NOT a Christian conservative. I want to see that. There’s a few of them. Should we keep them?”
President Obama has made clear that change is up to the Republican Party, saying to New York‘s Jonathan Chait,
“Whether that changes, I think, will depend in part on the outcome of this election, but it’s also going to depend on the degree of self-reflection inside the Republican Party.”
Self-Reflection is, however, a rare commodity on the right. As Matthew Sheffield wrote at The American Conservative in speaking of Donald Trump’s populist conservatism,
“The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.”
Little Green Footballs put together a scientific Venn diagram to illustrate the point:
Which means, of course, that as a practical matter, the GOP is resistant to change. Rather than take stock of their failures, with a nod to an America that exists only inside their own heads, they have, instead, after every failed election, doubled down on the divisive rhetoric.
You can see the problem for Republicans. Donald Trump is their creature, or rather, they have become his creature. And until they exit their “wonderful virtual-reality machine” – which we might also think of as fertile ground for populist demagogues – and take stock of our shared reality, they are going to continue to be a provincial, or regional party in thrall to petty dictator wannabes like Donald Trump.
And they have only themselves to blame. All this goes to show: the Republicans can still fool themselves, but they can’t fool the rest of us. And it’s the rest of us they need if they ever want to put another president in the White House.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.