The Conservative Establishment Turns Against GOP Voters

Scott Greer Contributor
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Donald Trump won another Republican primary Tuesday night, and this time he earned his most decisive victory yet.

With 46 percent of the Nevada caucus vote going for Trump, he nearly doubled the vote total of his nearest opponent and demonstrated it’s likely for The Donald to win an outright majority in future primary contests.

Naturally, the impressive result initiated a mass mental breakdown among Trump’s conservative detractors.

Conservative Twitter blew up with declarations from various right-wingers saying they’re leaving the GOP. Others, more hopeful of Trump losing the nomination, called for a mass purge of the party and the future implementation of closed primaries reserved exclusively for long-time Republicans. Glenn Beck, hot off his fast for Ted Cruz, tried to spin The Donald usurping him at a caucus site by claiming the businessman is grooming an army of “brown shirts.”

The level of negativity towards Trump and the sinking feeling he’s going to be the eventual Republican nominee has led a few of these conservatives to make a startling choice — they’ll vote for Hillary over Donald.

The Federalist’s Tom Nichols wrote an entire article arguing for that very point. In Nichols’ opinion, Trump as the Republican nominee would spell the end of the conservative movement and that horror must be stopped at all cost.

To the Federalist writer, a Trump presidency would be worse — and more liberal — than another Clinton occupying the White House, and conservatives would at least not be blamed for the failures of Hillary. Thus, cast your ballot for the Democrat if it comes down to her and The Donald in the fall.

Nichols isn’t the first to argue that the worst thing about nominating Trump for president is that it would forever ruin the conservative movement.

From the “sensible” S.E. Cupp to the bomb-throwing Erick Erickson, conservatives of all stripes have harangued upon how The Donald threatens the future of their ideology. That was the basis for National Review’s famously quixotic “Against Trump” issue which brought together multiple luminaries of the Right to denounce Trump as a fake conservative. (RELATED: Twilight Of The Conservatives?)

Primary voters have not been swayed by this rhetoric and probably don’t care at all about perpetuating the conservative movement for time immemorial.

Seeing the major chasm between the voters and movement conservatives, it’s little wonder the pundits have unleashed incredible amounts of critical vitriol against the average citizens casting their ballots for Trump.

Nichols called this group in his pro-Hillary article, “Star-struck, low-information celebrity cultists.”

Other lines of invective used by conservative commenators to describe Trump’s supporters include: “childless single men who masturbate to anime;” “sexually, economically disappointed members of the downwardly mobile classes;” and “mouth breathing anti-Semites.”

This kind of hyperbolic rhetoric reached a new height this week with The Blaze’s Matt Walsh writing an unnecessarily long column full of loosely-connected insults that eventually leads to the conclusion that a vote for Trump is a vote for pagan dictatorship.

The invective is on top of all the bad analysis saying Trump’s supporters are backing The Donald purely for the entertainment value. They’re just too stupid to understand the mogul is a phony conservative with such terrible ideas.

The conservative self-declared intelligentsia, for the most part, don’t comprehend the appeal of Trump’s policies to those Republicans and independents who’ve embraced him as their candidate of choice. They fail to see the phenomenon as the emergence of a rival ideology to conservatism’s dominance of the Right. Populism-nationalism is in full swing, and the old guard of conservatism can’t think of anything better to do than to double-down on orthodoxy and hope Republicans bar the gates to Donald’s barbarian horde.

Trump has even done something Republicans have dreamed of for years — expanded the party and drawn in tens of thousands of new voters. But, apparently, the new arrivals aren’t the voters conservatives even want going to polls in the first place.

A few members of the conservative establishment have realized insulting and purging Trump’s fans is equivalent to the Republican Party committing electoral suicide. Some have even offered ideas to win over The Donald’s demographic back to the traditional party fold — such as daft reaffirmations of conservative orthodoxy.

Two conservative think tankers — Henry Olsen and James C. Capretta — offered just such a thing in an article published by RealClearPolicy this week.

Claiming it would be dangerous to abandon conservative economic dogma, Olsen and Capretta say they can win over working-class whites with tax cuts for millionaires, international trade deals that send their jobs overseas and comprehensive immigration reform which grants amnesty to illegal laborers.

That agenda is about as smart as trying to reach out to gays with the pitch to bring back anti-sodomy laws.

The 2016 campaign has exposed how out of touch the conservative movement is with the very people they need to win elections. The Washington-based conservative establishment still clings to the notion that what middle America truly wants is more war, more immigration and more obscure fiscal reform policies. Trump’s success has unveiled a different set of priorities among Republican voters, ones that contradict the deeply-entrenched notions of the Beltway Right.

It’s hard giving up those old, faulty assumptions of the world, and it should be expected that conservatives would dig trenches and vow to fight The Donald to the last cent of donor funds. Many leading conservatives who’ve been loyal to the Republican Party for years — such as George Will — are calling for the formation of a third party. (RELATED: George Will Warns Of Conservative Third Party Candidate If Trump Wins GOP Nomination)

America is still a free country, so these distraught pundits can vote for whomever they want to. They’re not obligated to vote for Trump if he’s the Republican nominee. However, it would be a declaration of political irrelevancy to go third party and advocate unyielding opposition to Trump and his followers. It would also be an admission that Trump’s critics failed to learn anything from his insurgent campaign.

If the conservative old guard hope to retain influence and prevent future Trumps from destroying their dreams, they need to come to terms with the voters who’ve gravitated towards Trump, and offer policies that appeal to their interests.

Or, they can pretend their brave dissidents are standing athwart the second coming of Hitler, while the rest of the country views them as deluded sore losers.

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