It is no secret that the republican party and the conservative movement (which are hardly one and the same) have a significant branding, messaging and demographic challenge.
In the best of times we have the media and the popular culture against us which makes it difficult to increase our numbers and spread our message of liberty and freedom.
Enter Donald Trump who in addition to his mostly progressive position on the issues and personal moral failings makes this even worse and sets us back. While Hillary is correctly described as the Alinsky disciple I would argue that it is Trump who is the current best practitioner.
Throughout the primary campaign, Trump used the technique of isolating his target and then using insults and name calling to take them out. Issues were hardly discussed at all. It was “Low energy Jeb” and “Pathological Carson” and “Little Marco” and of course “Lying Ted” which he still won’t stop using. His followers, the most ardent and vociferous of whom are cult like took his lead and utilized that same tactic when debating with people. They find something to mock in the target: a funny name, skin color, appearance, ethnicity, religion and national origin to attack them as unworthy of being a real American and a patriot and a sellout in some way. As an immigrant and US citizen of Indian origin I encountered this countless times myself online, on texts and in person. Many other people I talked to experienced the same and people that attended Trump events nationwide attested to this.
This is NOT how you move people to your position. Conservatism, liberty and freedom when explained properly sell themselves. Make the case for why government run health care is bad, why a minimum wage hurts those that need it the most, why a high debt is ruinous, why high tax rates hurt the economy, why a trade deficit is not the same as a national deficit and so on. When you insult and mock a person you may win that battle in your mind or maybe even intimidate that person to your side but there is no long term conversion here. They are not persuaded that our ideas are better which is what creates long term converts. Liberals hook their voters by government cheese or feigned moral superiority aka social justice. To create a conservative convert they have to be persuaded that our ideas are better for them and for every American. Liberalism is the most gutless choice in the world, conservatism is a conscious choice based on adherence to a set of values and beliefs proven to work over time.
The other approach Trump has used is to embrace “conspiracy theories” and promote the “National Enquirer” as a legitimate news source. From borderline 9/11 trutherism, Ted Cruz birtherism to Rafael Cruz was involved in killing JFK to Ted Cruz had 5 mistresses and many more kooky theories Trump has been one with the Alex Jones wing of humanity. We live in a time where the internet has given an outsized voice to paranoid kooks and Trump has simply brought them out of the woodwork.
Talk to a Trump supporter and you are likely to be hit with a slew of these that they sincerely believe. Did you know Ted Cruz is a trained Cuban communist (by Rafael Cruz of course) and when he was on AF1 recently from DC to Dallas to attend the funeral of 5 slain Dallas PD officers, he clearly discussed plans to take over the US govt and he is a sell out.
Many people base their perception of a party or belief system not just on political candidates but on people they interact with. What impression would they form when confronted with Alinsky tactics and Alex Jones conspiracy theories ? Do we think this attracts people to our cause and persuades them to our ideas long term and grows our movement ?
I submit a resounding NO. Conservatism has the better ideas and they work. However, they have to explained in a respectful manner that moves people, not the approach that the Trump fan base employs.
This sets back the conservative movement by being associated with Trump because for too many in the public republican and conservative means one and the same. This must be soundly rejected because it is a cancer that unless eliminated will drag us down for years.
We can win this battle and persuade more people to our cause, of that I have no doubt. I also have no doubt that we will NOT do so following the Alinsky / Alex Jones / Trump approach.
Donald Trump and at least his most ardent vociferous cult like followers validate every fake caricature the left has had of conservatives: brash, rude, racist, xenophobic, prone to conspiracy theories, generally mindless, gullible and hypocrites on family values and the importance of personal morality in a candidate. It erases any moral standing conservatives to create a contrast with liberals.
There will be an America and life after this election and the ONLY opposition to liberalism from both parties is a robust principled conservative movement. It is the only path to restoring our republic.
Which is why a thinking conscientious patriot must reject Donald Trump and his style of political discourse and not succumb to the ‘He is not Hillary so vote for him” mantra you hear ad nauseam.