Donald Trump may not be a “true conservative,” but that’s hardly the insult it’s intended to be from those who level the charge. His commanding victory in the Iowa caucuses leaves his critics—left and right—aghast, and his formidable hold on the Republican Party is frustrating especially for self-styled true conservatives. They had hoped Ron DeSantis would take the party back from Trump and his supposedly vulgar populism. Like Ted Cruz in 2016, however, DeSantis didn’t have the charisma to challenge Trump’s big—and, more importantly, winning—personality.
The reasons for Trump’s appeal have been hotly debated. It is often observed that Trump fills a spiritual void, and there is some truth in this. Conservatism, and what passes today for mainstream Christianity, are increasingly unappealing. The so-called leaders on the right who oppose Trump are a mixture of female “trad” scolds and dorky, effeminate dads in sweater vests, who carry themselves like closeted homosexuals. No one, least of all progressives, respects them.
In contrast to this denial on the right, the left at least has enough respect for Trump to fear him. They fear his strong personality, his ability to rouse patriotic passions, and his willingness to touch the third rails of American politics: immigration and race. Naturally, these are the reasons his supporters love him.
Until Trump came along, no one in the conservative movement (leaving aside the great, but unfairly disregarded Pat Buchanan) was standing against globalism and the anti-white politics of the progressive elites who hold sway in our age. Trump’s blunt rhetoric, starting with his famous escalator speech, gave voice to the anxieties of millions who felt ignored.
One of Trump’s strengths is that he sees the big picture and demands we focus on it. Unlike the ideologues to his right, he realizes abortion is a political albatross in a country as decadent as America has become. The agenda of conservative culture warriors often distracts from the central issue of our time: uncontrolled immigration, the resolution of which is the only means by which these well-intentioned but politically naïve soldiers will have any sway in the future.
According to a recent analysis, illegal immigration is now happening faster than Americans are having kids. Thanks to Joe Biden, millions and millions of new people have been added to the population without our consent. Progressive America is plagued with evils for the conservative to abhor, but time, and political capital, are limited. Stopping this invasion must be our priority.
Conservatism has become a sham, in any case. So-called true conservatives who pretend to be shocked by Trump’s crude manner are often the same people who have given up on marriage, are too timid to uphold traditional gender roles, and won’t condemn abortion as a criminal act. (Trump, in contrast, was famously attacked by the pro-life movement for saying “there has to be some form of punishment.”) The timidity of conservatives is logical: deep down, they know we live in a progressive country, and it frightens them. Immigration is the progressive force uber alles. In just a few decades, it has changed the very landscape of this country.
Real conservatism in America does not exist, primarily because there is not much left worth conserving. The average American is now a moral libertarian and is less educated than an ordinary farmer was at the turn of the 20th century. We have reached the point of defending “biological reality” in the name of “parental rights.” The masses are slavishly attached to weed, which now pervades our public spaces with its noxious smell. This is America’s reality outside the right-wing Twitterverse and the margins of idea columns. John Cardillo, one of DeSantis’ most vocal backers, reacted to Monday’s results in Iowa by observing, “We’re no longer a conservative nation.” No kidding.
If it is possible to climb back up the ladder of civilization, it begins with shrugging off the burden we are carrying on our backs. I’m talking about mass deportations of illegals, not insisting on a moral agenda repugnant to an alien and degenerate population that votes. The signature Trump issues of immigration and crime are effective because they appeal to pre-political emotions of fear and solidarity. Even in the most dissolute society, indeed, especially in such circumstances, people want security—and, critically, they want a future. According to a recent poll, nearly half of Americans agree with Trump that illegal immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. DeSantis, in contrast, called Trump’s bold rhetoric a “tactical mistake.”
There can be no squeamishness on a matter like this. Stopping the invasion requires America to be at least as cruel to migrants as America’s leaders have been to their own people by inflicting this invasion on us. It requires a degree of “extremism” that, before Trump, conservatives were wholly unwilling to countenance.
Trump’s backers realize how far the country has fallen and that Trump, in political context, is far from an extremist. This is why most on the right have long made peace with Trump’s amorality, even those who aren’t big fans of his. Those true conservatives who fancy themselves above Trump and his charismatic movement must face reality. We live in an evil, democratic age, with eat-or-be eaten politics. Trump is a human shield against the flood. We can embrace that or drown.