In continuation of my very long series on politics, I now turn attention to the platform of the conservative party and its gradual degradation.
A couple years ago, The Atlantic columnist Robert Jones wrote about the decline of white Christian America (an article worth reading even as it ages). He saw President Trump as the last ditch effort of white evangelicals to regain political authority. Christian political influence has been in decline since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and the reasons for this are because of the nature of the dominant theology: Protestant. However, what Jones’ missed was a ticket to a Trump rally, which would have revealed that now-President Trump was not put in the White House by Evangelicals alone… but also by disillusioned liberals.
Conservative friends of mine – who hadn’t been to church in probably more than a decade (if not two) – decided to go visit a Trump rally to see what it was all about. They found a broad spectrum of people – from police men to hippies – all looking forward to the campaign promises of Trump. His success was built upon what Republicans had been ignoring and Democrats had failed at: change. Under the (Democrat-inspired) banner of “Make America Great”, he would aim to implement the desires of average Americans.
In a game of East Coast politics, Republicans and Democrats had become relatively chummy. The Republican Party was still pandering to this relationship by pushing for Texas senator Ted Cruz. But people were fed up with the soft, wishy-washy politics of all promise and no pay. They wanted someone who wouldn’t disappoint. The democratic nature of the Republican primaries resulted in Donald Trump. The liberals, hoping for the same democratic treatment in their own party, were stunned and disappointed when their party employed a manipulative mechanism (“super delegates”) to make Hillary Clinton the candidate. Many angered liberals voted for Trump to spite their own party. This wasn’t the first time they had been disappointed.
Obama Carves The Landscape
To be perfectly clear, President Obama didn’t do anything original… except disappoint liberals immediately by continuing the wars Republicans had started and Democrats were sick of. All of President Obama’s policies were based on minority opinions that had been incorporated into the Democratic party following the 1960s. Two very important ones came up: environmentalism and abortion.
As a political stance, environmentalism first came out as the theory on “global warming”. Most people mocked it because it had little known scientific support at the time of its introduction and it stood in direct conflict with the economic juggernaut of America that needed oil. Practically-minded people want their gasoline because it makes the economic system run. Since there are no viable alternatives and oil is very prevalent (especially in Republican states like Texas), oil seems to be the only option, and conservatives have thus always supported it. A large number of scientists happen to be liberal, and their support of this new minority, amplified (and distorted) by the mainstream media, has only solidified the conservative position against “global warming”. None of the re-branding (“global climate change”, “climate change”, etc) has changed conservative opinion.
In his monetary policies, President Obama granted funding to organizations and companies that would create environmentally-friendly products and services. However, the ghost of crooked Chicago politics followed him to D.C., and much of the grant money disappeared in vapor-goods, promises that never materialized. Companies would take the money and disappear, knowing they would never be chased nor arrested for doing so.
The second political stance – pro-abortion – stood opposed to the Protestant Christianity that dominated the United States since its conception and still stood strong in the 1960s and ’70s. However, abortionists arose as a minority at the brink of the political upheaval in the 1960s and thus landed in the Democratic platform. Even though the number of abortions around the nation has increased on both sides of the fence, conservatives retain their stance from the days of President Nixon.
Much of this stance has been retained so well due to the nature of people of the ISTJ and ESTJ personalities (MBTI) who are inclined to remain with the same principles and ideologies long after the underlying basis has been forgotten. Consequently, the stance of pro-life had been assumed and sometimes an afterthought in the party until Obama started to oppose it.
To say President Obama promoted abortion is an understatement on the work he and his staff did in the USA and the UN. His actions riled up the evangelicals, and consequently had them desperately searching for a man who stood for conservative ideals. Thus, during the 2012 presidential campaigns, evangelicals put the microphone up to John McCain’s lips and hoped for his confirmation that life began at conception. McCain responded with confirmation but only for political reasons. Believing they would lose against the incumbent, the Republicans had chosen him as a throw away candidate – a half Republican, half Democrat that might be just middle of the road to appeal to no one and thus allow the nation to grow further sick of the Democratic Party by the next election. The party’s gamble worked, and it left most Americans standing in the middle when the 2016 elections rolled in.
President Obama, on the other hand, found himself a tool of the party that had put him in power. His presidency was overshadowed by the Great Recession of 2008 that many Americans – despite the press’ efforts to blame George W. Bush – pinned on the Democrats for its long drag. This gave footing for the capitalist party of Republicans to reinstate itself.
By the time President Obama’s last term expired, the ethics-based platform that had failed the Republicans in 2012 had become the Democrat’s platform. “Far left” liberals loved President Obama’s ethical agenda, and it now stood as the banner the conservatives opposed.
In short, President Obama had rebuilt the Republican Party.
During the years of Reagan through George W. Bush, conservatives were relatively immune to the wave of social changes in the liberal circles and thus found themselves in a lull and an echo chamber. Consequently, their ideas became supported by “conventional (conservative) wisdom” repeated over the years.
Now, the Republican Party now finds itself with a kind of hybrid platform composed of the old conservative platform as well as the popular trends and wishes of the forgotten constituency that the Democratic Party has left behind.
The conservative contribution is of most interest here, so I bring it up first.
- Pro-Gun. While there are practical reasons for this due to the way ENTJ, ENTP, and ESTP and other conservatives think (as given in the first part of this series), recall that many of these people supported the Democratic Party and the war effort of World War 2. The stance changed from Democratic to Republican during the Nixon presidency.
- Pro-Life. Conservatives base this on the teachings of the Holy Bible passed on to them from their parents and grandparents. Not blinded by emotional whim, they have been immune to the liberals’ abuse of medical vocabulary. The raw fact is that the sperm and egg form a human, and the new group of cells don’t magically earn the title of “person” by crossing the indeterminate border between inside the womb and outside.
- Pro-Capitalist. Most conservatives are practical people who have learned to work within and enjoy the confines of a capitalist system. Most conservatives fall into the “middle-class” category as did the rich who want to keep their money. As Democratic fiscal responsibility was lost, its policies of raising taxes (to fund its socialist agendas) fell out of favor with middle-class Americans whose conservatism maintained the original fiscal responsibility of presidencies preceding the ’80s.
- Deregulation. Most conservatives find themselves in the middle states of the United States. Liberals prefer coastal cities because they enjoy people, but consequently, they see lots of people problems related to their personality types. Conservatives live in the country or more sparsely populated areas where crime isn’t as much of a problem (because criminals have to travel longer distances between houses, many people have guns, and petty crime isn’t fun to these types) and activity like littering certain things have little to no effect on other people. Therefore, these practically-minded people don’t have (or see) the same need for regulation as the liberals living in the cities.
The non-partisan contributions to the Republican Party are relatively diverse, but one in particular stands out above the others.
The globalist agenda of liberals comes from their ability to see all humans in a unifying way, whereas conservatives have always been clan-oriented and America first. The America-first policy has been around since the Declaration of Independence, and was expressed through isolationist policies like those of President Woodrow Wilson who tried to evade involvement in World War 1. This policy stayed with the majority of Americans and would have remained in the Democratic Party had not it been for the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.
However, anti-globalism was never a defining point in either the Democratic nor Republican platforms. Ronald Reagan pushed for American trade overseas, and no one complained. When the Great Recession hit, American jobs became incredibly important, and everyone – both liberals and conservatives alike – turned their attention to the primary source stealing American jobs: Asia.
The Democratic Party never caught on the bandwagon until it was too late. Many vocal liberals were adamantly against it, and it became one of the key points of the 2016 political election with the introduction of the highly secretive trade agreement: The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Inasmuch as many Americans wanted trade with Asian countries, the agreement had already been preceded by the miserably ugly North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the contents of the TPP would have brought about far worse consequences, including reducing every working American to the degraded status of Chinese slave labor.
Trump Is Winning
President Trump immediately killed the TPP, much to the pleasure of most Americans and dismay of many politicians (Republican and Democrat alike). After that, President Trump has solidified the support of his constituency by doing exactly what no other president in the past 50 years has done: pursue complete fulfillment of his campaign promises. Now his approval rating sits around a relatively steady 41.5% (with 1.5% fluctuation) and is predicted – even by liberal media – to have a landslide victory in the next election.
In truth, most Americans weren’t sure about Donald Trump at first. Given his belligerence and non-political background, he was unlike any candidate in the past three decades and offered plenty of reasons that made him difficult to vote for. Consequently, the polarized political climate resulted in Libertarian Gary Johnson snatching 3% of the popular vote on election night (which explains why Trump didn’t win on majority).
What is important is that, because of President Trump, the Republican Party is now enjoying more power in Washington thanks to a trickling influx of supporters who approve of the economic policies. (At the same time, the radicalism of the Democratic Party has resulted in a complete breakdown and a platoon of disagreeing presidential candidates.) But the restoration of the Republican Party will likely bring about changes within “conservatism” itself.
And that’s where I’d like to go next: The changes of conservatism.