Ever since Donald Trump decided to upend the Republican Establishment with his presidential run, the pusillanimous underbelly of the political elites has been on full display.
It’s all great fun to watch. Donald Trump had topped the Republican primary polls for three months straight, and show no signs of slowing down. Political know-it-alls are baffled by his success. Trump is everything they resent: rich, white, successful, straight-talkin’, and politically-incorrect.
Even professional right-leaning commentators are beginning to wonder how the Reign of Trump ends. Leon Wolf, the newly-annointed editor of RedState.com, is no Trump acolyte. He doesn’t believe the Donald is “a conservative in any meaningful sense of the word” and questions whether the businessman “believes literally anything.” Like most Republican faithful, he’s getting tired of The Apprentice: White House Edition, and wants GOP primary voters to settle on a “serious” candidate.
He poses this question to readers: “Is there anything Trump might do or say that would cause you to stop supporting him?”
At this juncture, Donald Trump seems to be immortal. He has gotten away with a number of gaffes, including insinuating that John McCain is not a war hero after being captured and tortured by the Vietcong. Trump has even pointed out that George W. Bush was president when the 9/11 attacks occurred and therefore did not protect the nation – an apostasy of the Conservative Commandment, “He Kept Us Safe.”
Wolf wants to know when conservatives have had enough. Donald Trump is maligning their leaders (and their beloved television channel). He has switched his position on issues like abortion, taxes, and immigration. He has been buddy-buddy with Hillary Clinton for cripes’ sake! So, Wolf asks, when will Trump “fans” start being “voters” and hold their guy accountable for his actions?
Here is your answer, Leon: When Donald Trump quits being Donald Trump.
When the real estate mogul stops being the brash, overconfident, misogynist sayer of uncomfortable truths who doesn’t take shit from anyone, I’ll stop supporting him.
Until then, it’s war.
Here’s why: The outpouring of support behind Trump’s theatrical campaign was never about policy. This is about attitude, and sticking it to D.C. aristocrats who insist on flushing our country down the multiculural, smutty toilet.
Trumpites know the Donald isn’t a policy wonk like Bobby Jindal. They get that he doesn’t have a litany of connected advisors feeding him up-to-date intelligence à la Jeb Bush. They understand he isn’t a one-man think tank like Rand Paul.
As Christopher Caldwell explains, voters are tired of highfalutin plans on how to fix the country. Trump is thriving because “he is running in a climate where plans have been used not to solve problems but to dupe voters.” He doesn’t polish his remarks. Hell, he doesn’t even ponder questions before he barks out answers. Trump an entertainer who goes with his gut on most matters.
In that spirit, he’s like most Americans. When it comes to policy expertise, the majority of the country doesn’t have time to read up on complicated issues.
Take foreign policy: Working folks don’t want to ingest white papers explaining the difference between the al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist groups fighting it out with Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria. They don’t have the patience to study the tangled web of alliances between the Saudis, Israel, Iran, Hezbollah, and Egypt. They just know that America has been in enough wars in the Middle East, and that toppling another secular dictator (or propping up another radical Islamist) will bring more harm than good to that wretched land.
Donald Trump puts that kind of common sense thinking on center stage. In a room full of bought-and-paid-for chickenhawks, Trump stands out as someone who is tough enough to fight but isn’t willing to bankrupt the country on another far-flung military adventure. He has the sensibility of middle America, but with a few extra 0s in his bank account.
The same goes for immigration. The majority of the country is fed up with illegal immigration and view it as a problem. Americans also know, intuitively, that those willing to break the law to come here don’t have much respect for the rule of law once settled here. They certainly don’t believe there is a “human right” to bounding across national borders without regard to sovereignty. They also see the refugee crisis, the pouring of Muslim immigrants into non-Muslim countries and weakening of European identity, and fret that America may soon be next.
Donald Trump expressed these concerns during his announcement speech, and was met with hand-wringing and denouncements from both liberals and conservatives. It was the media’s refusal to acknowledge the truth in Trump’s comments that powered his rise to the top of the polls.
At this late stage in America’s dominance, the little people no longer want a thinker. They want someone who isn’t a shill for a well-moneyed benefactor. They also want a fighter – a man who isn’t willing to back down. On the campaign trail, Trump has rarely struck first. He waits to be hit and punches back ten times as hard.
At the end of the day, critics like Leon Wolf can attack Trump all they want. None of it will stick. The back-and-forth bickering of internet political writers doesn’t mean a whole lot outside their echo chambers. So here’s a better retort to Wolf’s question: Who cares what you think? And for that matter, who cares what I think as well?
What matters is which lever gets pulled on Election Day. We still have a ways to go before that happens. Donald Trump understands the long game, and he isn’t about to let nobodies like Leon Wolf get in the way of his stride.