WASHINGTON, February 19, 2016 — For establishment Republicans, Donald Trump is an enigma. He is the uninvited guest who crashed the block party. The establishment doesn’t want him, doesn’t like him, and don’t know how to get rid of him.
Yet Trump remains, with the appeal of a populist. He has staying power.
To some conservatives, independents, and Democrats leaning Republican, Trump is that older, fearless and courageous big brother who has come to save the day. He is the one guy we know has our back. In our hearts, we know he will get the job done.
Or so we hope.
An open seat on the Supreme Court has to be filled, raising the stakes for both political parties. Within the GOP, a desperate battle is being waged. The prize: outright control of the party and its platform.
What makes Trump such a hot commodity, the darling of corporate media who salivate to get Trump on their networks?
He is a flamboyant, arrogant, glitzy, political-correctness-be-damned, real-estate billionaire who is not indebted to any big money donor. And his supporters like that.
Trump attracts crowds, big crowds. And where there are crowds, there is media interest. Trump is also controversial. Very controversial.
His life’s story has been played out in the public eye for decades. It includes his real-estate empire, his casinos, his books, his legal battles, his marriages, his divorces and his reality TV shows.
Trump is outspoken. He has no problem telling it like it is to whomever he’s talking to. People admire his brash personality and unpolished approach when it comes to communicating his thoughts. They almost seem intoxicated by it.
With a stalled economy and an anti-American administration, conservatives feel a sense of urgency. They are prepared to throw caution to the wind, especially when it comes to Donald Trump.
They want a leader. Better yet, a savior to lead the country out of decline.
Since the rise of the “silent majority,” a phrase coined by President Richard Nixon in November, 1969, the Christian conservative right-wing of the party have come to understand the power they have in their numbers.
The GOP leadership was content to have their support, but once the elections were over, these good citizens were expected to return to their country homes and middle class lives and remain quiet and content until they were needed for the next major election.
Unable to ignore them, political strategist Karl Rove courted this group for George W. Bush’s campaign, but they were not expected, nor needed, to make policy or give input to the elites who ran the party.
Having flexed their political power and influence, the silent majority wanted more and demanded a seat at the table. They wanted in on the decision-making end of policy.
This uneasy alliance laid the groundwork for future party infighting. Though they worked together, animosity and discontentment continued to simmer beneath the surface.
The schism between conservatives and their establishment leadership has grown with the birth of the more controversial and conservative backed tea party (Taxed Enough Already) movement.
Americans are tired of political insiders who play by their own rules and reap the benefits of them. They are tired of being taken for granted by their party leaders and repeatedly lied to.
Promises have been made, many of them broken. The base will no longer forgive their leaders for this.
The distain establishment Republicans have for their base—mostly conservatives—has brown obvious. The war for the heart and soul of the party is on.
Paradoxically, conservatives flock to Trump because they are tired of leaders who compromise and make back-room deals with Democrats in disregard of their core beliefs. Yet, Trump is the man best known for making deals.
Republican leaders have routinely ignored their conservative base because in their minds, it has been undecided and independent voters they need to win over.
To their surprise, and dismay, Trump has wooed the conservative base out from under them. He has soared to the top of the leaderboard where he stubbornly remains.
His promises of restoring America to greatness have galvanized conservatives and independents. It is a populist theme that has been welcomed by those dissatisfied with the status quo.
At every rally and televised debate, with apparent conviction, he promises to make America great again.
How he will govern if he wins the White House? Who knows? During the debates, he said that he believes he is a conservative. But hold the presses: If you are something, you do not have to guess what it is.
In the Bahá’ís, Hebrew, Islamic and Christian faiths, practicing members show their beliefs by living the life and walking the walk, and wholly accepting the doctrine. You are either one of them, or not.
Political philosophies are no different. No one has to ponder what he or she is; the political path you walk clearly defines you.
Trump doesn’t know what he is, nor does anyone else. So what would a Trump presidency be? What would be his core beliefs and policies? Not knowing what it means to be a conservative, he cannot instinctively make the deals or push legislation that conservatives will readily agree with.
If Trump wins, it will not be long before conservatives revolt and turn their ire on him.
Why do Trump’s conservatives support a man they know may not be a true conservative, when placing a true conservative in the oval office has been their dream?
In short, this is what they know and fear: The people currently running the country are socialists, communists and left-wing radicals. They are making a mess of our economy and are destroying our institutions, traditions and national prestige.
Acutely aware of this, most Americans believe that it will take a radical to defeat a radical. The Donald is not a true conservative, but he is a radical, if an an unscripted and uncontrollable free radical.
In his supporter’s eyes, Trump is a patriot. For them, a patriot is the next best thing to a true conservative.
Still, there are risks to putting power in the hands of a man who has no conservative compass to guide him. How a Trump presidency would repay the hopes and promise and goodwill invested in it is the question.
Trump’s conservative supporters are gambling with this man. Whether that gamble will pay, only time will tell.