The irony of Donald Trump’s nomination for president of the United States is that the same establishment that he supposedly opposes has been praying for a candidate of his ilk for decades: a social leftist, a secular materialist, a big government activist. In other words, the establishment has drooled about nominating a Democrat for years.
They finally did it.
Trump’s new Republican Party has nothing to do with the Constitution or conservatism – he mentioned the Constitution one time this week, conservatism zero times, freedom one time, liberty zero times, the unborn zero times, God zero times, and himself some 83 times. As he said, America is broken and “I alone can fix it.”
Trump promises to fix your problems; Hillary promises to fix your problems. Freedom means fixing your own damn problems. It’s their job to get government out of your way.
Or at least that used to be the conservative line.
No longer, in Trumpservative America.
The keynote speakers on Trump’s big night supported the secular materialism of the Trumpist philosophy. Ivanka Trump, a friend of Chelsea Clinton’s and registered independent, dropped leftist myth after leftist myth last night – she said that there was a wage gap between men and women, and suggested that governmentally-subsidized child care and governmentally-subsidized maternity leave would be the solutions. She then told Americans why Donald Trump ought to be their boss: “He is the single most qualified person to serve as the chief executive of an 18-trillion-dollar economy.” But the economy doesn’t need a chief executive. The economy is not a business. It is a free market. The notion of an economy organized top-down should be anathema to conservatives.
Then Ivanka got Biblically heretical: “Come January 2017, all things will be possible again.” Now, Ivanka is Jewish, as am I. But Mark 9:23 makes pretty clear that for Christians, only faith makes all things possible. And the Psalms make a rather similar point about God.
The other big-name speaker on the docket on Thursday night was Paypal CEO Peter Thiel. Thiel explicitly rejected social conservatism. He stated, “Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares? Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”
This earned a standing ovation.
But the culture wars are not fake. They are quite real, given that the federal government is attempting to force Americans to train their children that male and female are constructs, that all sexual activities are equally morally praiseworthy, and that religious people must be forced to participate in activities they deem sinful. The war on a religious, moral America is far more significant in the long-term than short-term economic troubles that Trump will undoubtedly worsen with his protectionist claptrap. Beyond that, the Republican National Convention cheering announcements of behavior that most religious Christians consider a sin is somewhat awkward.
But no matter: this is the Trump Party. It’s a nationalist populist leftist party. Because the Democratic Party has become the Democratic Socialist Party, Trump looks right-wing by comparison, particularly on issues of crime. But he’s essentially a Pat-Buchanan-without-the-religion, Bernie-Sanders-without-the-formal-redistributionism mashup. And the Republicans now cheer this. There’s a reason Trump calls Reince Priebus his “superstar.” The RNC is all about raking in cash, not representing conservatism.
Trump isn’t about representing conservatism either. He couldn’t care less about it. But the conflation of Trumpism with conservatism will utterly destroy the latter.