Republicans in Alabama are set to go to the polls on Tuesday for the runoff race between Judge Roy Moore and Senator Luther Strange. Yet this race to fill out Attorney General Jeff Sessions remaining term will be shown if Trump’s base will follow him even as he becomes more like the establishment they hate or if they plan on continuing the populist/nationalist revolution without him.
Unnoticed by most polls and cable news pundits is a growing fissure between Trump and his base who voted for change in 2016. While they like the President personally and will defend him publicly, anger is growing by his refusal to deliver on campaign promises and growing compatibility with the D.C. swamp he promised to drain.
This was evident in a side-by-side comparison between Trump’s rally for Strange and Sarah Palin’s rally for Moore.
The former Alaska Governor used Sessions’ own words when he endorsed Trump in 2015, “this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement” to kick off her rally. Alluding slightly to the idea that the nationalist wing of the Republican Party will continue without the President they helped elect.
The forgotten man and woman in this country, they stood up, and we beat the swamp. But, alas, 10 months later, guys, the swamp, it’s trying to hijack this presidency,” Palin said. “The swamp is trying to steal the victory that we worked so long and hard for — to steal the victory that a lot of us put our reputations on the line for.
She continued by rattling off a series of Trump’s campaign pledges that he’s either failed to make good on or basically abandoned.
We voted to put America first, not the political elite that had ignored us for decades. We voted for a big beautiful wall, not more amnesty deals. We voted for local control of education, not for candidates who are loving on Common Core and want big government to produce more Common Core, that is just strange. We voted to get rid of Obamacare as we had been promised for eight years, we didn’t vote for Mitch McConnell to fumble the football yet again.
Palin isn’t the only one who fears Trump has capitulated to establishment Republicans, Democrats, generals, and billionaires who have nearly full control of the executive branch.
Many original Trump supporters including Palin, Sean Hannity, Ben Carson, Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Sebastian Gorka, Nigel Farage, and Laura Ingraham have decided to endorse Moore over the President and Mitch McConnell’s candidate.
Trump’s rally was far different from the one he held on Aug 22 in Phoenix. He championed the nationalist/populist agenda he ran on and thrilled his base but allegedly humiliated members of staff, Gen. Kelly was noticeably absent when the President tried to call him to the stage.
While he did mention renegotiating NAFTA, building a see-through wall along the border, and fixing the border fence already built by the last two presidential administrations, Trump mostly stuck to platitudes. The president wants to take care of people, stop “Rocket Man,” and bring jobs back.
He railed against the “crooked media” and decided to become a leader of the culture war, demanding that NFL players who refused to stand for the national anthem be ejected from the game. A popular position, especially among his base, but does nothing to further his agenda.
No mention of his DACA deal with “Chuck and Nancy,” very few details on taxes, infrastructure, or punishing companies that move jobs overseas. Whether it be consciously or unconsciously, Trump seems to be hoping his base will follow him regardless of where he goes.
The Alabama special election is a significant crossroad, however, where members of his base might be willing to defy the man they lovingly called “the God Emperor” because he has moved too far from his promises.
If Moore wins, it will be a signal to the Republican Party and the Trump Administration that the nationalist/populist movement will continue through to 2018 with or without him.
Views expressed in op-eds are not those of The Daily Caller.