Conservatives are well aware that they don’t control the Republican Party. If conservatives controlled the party, Republicans wouldn’t be acquiescing to the Democrats at every possible opportunity. This unwillingness to stand up for conservative values angered voters so they turned to the “outsider.”
Before proceeding, it’s worth remembering just some of the many times the GOP has betrayed conservatives:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lied about a deal linking the Import-Export Bank and a trade deal.
- Governor of Georgia Nathan Deal vetoed a religious liberty bill in the face of strong leftist opposition from both the media and the public.
- Only a month after Governor Deal’s religious liberty bill veto, he vetoed a campus carry bill.
- The Senate, in a 98-1 vote, granted legitimacy to Obama’s Iran Deal by voting to review the “executive agreement.” The lone dissenter, Senator Tom Cotton, correctly reasoned that “[a] nuclear-arms agreement with any adversary—especially the terror-sponsoring, Islamist Iranian regime—should be submitted as a treaty and obtain a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate as required by the Constitution.” The GOP, for some reason, couldn’t bring this reasoning to the forefront of the debate and make an issue of it. Like clockwork, it acquiesced.
It almost seems as though establishment Republicans are voting more often with Democrats than they are with conservatives. So, as a conservative, why would anyone want more of the same?
Enter Donald Trump railing against the system that has betrayed so many conservatives. Donald Trump was the outsider. He somehow took that title away from Senator Ted Cruz. Online discussion about how Ted Cruz, the man who called out the leader of his own party on the Senate floor for being a liar, was a member of the party’s establishment ran rampant.
Trump said everything angry conservatives wanted to hear. Trump fit the picture almost perfectly. His involvement in politics was limited to infrequent political comments and donations to politicians. Coupled with policy stances that seemed to resonate with large parts of the Republican Party’s base, Trump was unstoppable. With the signing of the Hart-Celler Act in 1965, which drastically changed how the United States allows immigrants into the country, to President Reagan granting amnesty to roughly 3 million illegal aliens, to funding sanctuary cities, Republicans have long been complicit in pushing the illegal immigration issue under the rug. Given this long history of failing to address illegal immigration, why wouldn’t individuals who care about illegal immigration support Trump? Granted, Trump has seemed to soften his stance and has thus drawn criticism from immigration hawks, but his support, for the most part, has not withered away. The promise of building the wall along America’s southern border is enough to draw some voters in simply because it’s more than anything our elected leaders have ever done. Moreover, securing the border was something that was promised as a condition for granting amnesty during the Reagan years. It wouldn’t be hard to see why people support the wall when a similar policy was promised thirty years ago.
Trump also tapped into the disgruntled conservatives who were already complaining about the big government policies President George W. Bush was pushing. As early as 2005, then-Senator Tom Coburn said of the Republican Party’s complicity in the government’s reckless spending, “[a]ll change starts with a distant rumble, a rumble at the grassroots level, and if you stop and listen today, you will hear such a rumble.” Doesn’t that sound a lot like the silent majority? Trump isn’t as fiscally conservative as many would like him to be nor is he a small government Republican, but that doesn’t matter. He’s an outsider. He is not connected to the failing Republican Party. That’s good enough for the voter who is discontent with the status quo.
While it is unfair to throw all of the blame on the Republican Party for Trump’s ascendency, the party must take responsibility for refusing to stand up for conservative values and creating a situation in which an individual like Trump could take rise.
The rest of the blame for Trump’s ascendency belongs to President Obama’s radical left-wing policies. As such, a subsequent piece will focus on how Obama’s contempt for the Constitution led to Donald Trump’s candidacy.
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