“The mission of our movement and of the Republican Party must be to create a future of good jobs, strong families, safe communities, a vibrant culture, and a great nation for all Americans”. This is how Donald Trump summarized the meaning of “Trumpism”, a political platform he outlined at length in his speech to CPAC on Sunday. Trumpism is no longer simply about Trump, it is about the future of the Republican Party. This is reflected in polls of attendees at the Conference; 95% want the Republican Party to make Trump’s policies and agenda its own, despite only 68% of attendees wishing for him to run for President in 2024. What’s more, if Trump did run for the nomination, only 55% would vote to nominate him for the Republican ticket. Republicans don’t want Trumpism to end with Trump, they want it to live on in the party with or without him. Because Trumpism is about more than Trump.
This is something which many people, myself included, have failed to realize. Some believe that it is the cult of personality that surrounds Trump that is the driving force behind his supporters. When Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building on Jan. 6th, I and many others believed that moderate Trump supporters, who liked his policies but found his personality and rhetoric unpalatable, would turn not just on Trump, but on Trumpism itself. Despite some prominent Republicans such as Liz Cheney and Mitch McConnell turning their backs on Trump, neither of those outcomes have come to pass. Some believed he and his supporters, tired of the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in the party, would split off and form a new, “Patriotic Party”. Donald Trump dismissed these rumors, asserting that doing so would only split the vote and hurt conservatives across the nation. Instead, he said: “We have the Republican party, it’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
The Trumpism that is now the future of the Republican Party is little different to the Trumpism he espoused in 2016. Good trade deals, low taxation, and regulations that allow the economy to thrive, creating more jobs for better pay. Supporting law enforcement to protect American communities, and defending the Second Amendment so that American’s can protect themselves. Maintaining America’s energy independence so that America doesn’t have to rely on Russia and the Middle East, and so they can put an end to the forever wars that the Democrats seem so eager to continue.
A more fully formed aspect of the Trumpism he espoused at CPAC is the culture war for “our very identity as Americans”. He claimed that the Democratic Party had an “unvarnished disdain for America, its past, and its people”. Across the country, based on the flawed arguments and down-right lies of proponents of Critical Race Theory such as Ibram X. Kendi and Nikole Hannah-Jones, the names and faces of legends of American history are being torn down. It’s not just Confederate Generals anymore, Abraham Lincoln’s name is being removed from a school in San Francisco “to dismantle symbols of racism and white supremacy culture”. Clearly, Abraham Lincoln–who was assassinated for freeing the slaves–didn’t care enough about black lives. Trump answered these America-hating theorists by saying: “We take great pride in our country. We teach the truth about history. We celebrate our rich heritage and national traditions. We honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and all national heroes”. Critical Race Theory is rampant in American Universities, not consigned to its own field, it has infiltrated the study of history, literature, law, sociology, anthropology, and even medical sciences. And with university administrators endorsing its precepts, it’s inescapable for students. Its complex and unproven theories are even creeping into K-12 education. The essential premise of Critical Race Theory is that white societies are inherently white supremacist and that their institutions are endemically systemically racist. All white people are said to benefit from this white supremacist system, making all white people racist oppressors. In answer to the infestation of American education by this hateful doctrine, Trump said: “we believe in patriotic education and strongly oppose the radical indoctrination of Americans youth”.
Trump also called out cancel culture, which has seen many people lose jobs, lose lucrative YouTube accounts, lose book deals, and be professionally ostracized for expressing the wrong beliefs, particularly conservative beliefs. Take Gina Carano, a former MMA star and actress, who was fired from The Mandalorian for using a Holocaust analogy. You might wonder why this lost her a job; politicians, media personalities, and celebrities have spent the last four years comparing Trump to Hitler, comparing immigrant holding facilities to Nazi concentration camps, and comparing the Trump’s tenure and the Capitol Riot to kristallnacht. None of those people were cancelled for their remarks. The difference is that Carano is a conservative, who holds conservative beliefs and challenges left-wing gender theory. Left-wing Twitter activists have been waiting for any excuse to cancel Ms. Carano, and they quickly accused her of antisemitism, despite her comparison including no offensive or derogatory remarks about Jews. The comparison was, at worst, hyperbolic and insensitive. Cancel culture is a political weapon wielded primarily by left-wing people to persecute those who oppose left-wing ideologies.
Amazon has taken up the mantle, engaging in what equates to digital book-burning by removing books from their platform for what they claim is “hateful content”. Amazon removed Ryan T. Anderson’s book When Harry Became Sally, a book that is critical of trans activists who push “affirmative care” that forces medical professionals to affirm a patient’s gender dysphoria without doing a differential diagnosis to get at the root of the patient’s problem, setting them on a definite course of puberty-blockers, hormone treatments, and irreversible surgeries. The book is written from an academic perspective, referencing reliable medical studies and interviews with transgender people and people who regret transitioning. It is hard to understand what is hateful about it. It is also difficult to understand why this book was banned and Adolf Hitler’s antisemitic treatise Mein Kampf was not. Nor has The Communist Manifesto been banned, a book with a track record of inspiring violent revolution. The Anarchist Cookbook, which contains instructions on how to make bombs and has been used by many domestic terrorists in the US, also remains available for sale. If Amazon held a consistent standard that would be one thing, but clearly it is only conservative views that challenge left-wing ideologies which Amazon wants to ban. Cancel culture and censorship are two major concerns for American conservatives, and Trumpism sets out to fight them. Trump said: “We have raised free thought, we stand up to political correctors, and we reject left wing lunacy. And in particular we reject cancel culture. We know that the rule of law is the ultimate safeguard. And we affirm that the constitution means exactly what it says, as written, as written”.
In a representative democracy, political parties must reflect the values and concerns of their constituents. If the fanfare surrounding Trump’s presidency has taught us anything, it is that the Republican Party was not adequately representing its members. Trump supporters love Trump because he values their concerns and he actually fights for them. As Representative Jim Jordan said months ago, Trump has done what he promised to do. Jordan took it one step further at CPAC, declaring that Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. The Republican Party would do well to follow his lead.