I’ve become fascinated recently with prominent conservatives that vehemently dislike Trump. I disagree with them on a significant amount, most notably their revulsion of the President. Now, in a lot of ways, I’m way out of my league here. I’m not a fraction of the intellect of Bill Kristol, nor the writer of Jonah Goldberg, and I don’t have anywhere in the same galaxy the wit of Ben Shapiro. I regularly pick fights on Twitter with Guy Benson, and routinely savage guys like Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake. These people are all well beyond me in education, historical perspective, and wit.
I do feel that I understand some things they do not. For all of their vaunted intellect, I don’t believe that any of them understand the scale of the fight we are currently in. I just recently watched an hour and a half conversation between Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg where they both suggested that we (the Trump people) believed this election was a “last chance” for America, as opposed to just another election. I’ve heard Ben Shapiro make the same argument. That our Republic and the ideas it’s based on will outlast any one election, and our values must persist. They seem to believe that we are in a contest of ideas, and that the best ideas, articulated properly, will win. Up until recently, I’d have agreed with all of that. Four years ago, I absolutely believed there was no way that one election could have that power, and one should always stick to their values and maintain the high road.
So how did I move from “let’s be calm and stick to our values” guy to “the fucking world is on fire” guy? What moved me from conservative to “screw values and win” ? Did I abandon my principles while they preserved theirs? Am I the sellout? What brought about the sense of urgency the Trump coalition felt, against the principled values of conservatives? The answer is one thing, and one thing alone.
Read this article from 2013. It’s from the liberal website Thinkprogress.
Think about it. 4 years ago they knew all they had to do was wait you out. You see, in approximately 10 years none of your ideas will matter. 2024 is the year Texas is projected to become a blue state. Permanently. Florida as well. The idea that Texas could turn blue has been considered laughable due to the Cowboy Republican image. However, due to massive immigration and birth rates, that’s exactly what’s happening. I don’t have to tell you that if you start with Texas, California, New York, and Florida in the Democrat column, it’s over. Your only choice will be between varying degrees of socialism. How does this 2028 choice sound: Do you want a liberal democrat, communist, or democratic socialist? That’s where we are headed. I know what you are thinking, it’s not all demographics, better ideas will win, we just have to articulate Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” ideal and freedom properly.
That’s where you are wrong. Just because you don’t believe in tribalism, tribalism certainly believes in you. Poor people and ethnic groups are going to vote democrat by massive margins. Conservatives need to understand something: you have the much harder case to sell. You have to actively convince people that they really don’t want free stuff. This is the hardest sales pitch of all time, because Bernie and the socialist crowd are offering up virtually everything for free. Some have even gone as far as to suggest universal basic income. Then on top of that, we bring in and amnesty millions of poor immigrants, to whom we are offering massive amounts of free stuff. You are fighting a losing argument, and the cost of losing it is...everything. America, as it currently stands, is a center left country. The left managed to shift the country to the left tiny increment by tiny increment. Their ability to move the window of acceptable discourse with Overton Window shocks has been nothing short of amazing. Think of it, while you were debating small government and William F. Buckley, they were getting 10 year olds hormones to change their gender and installing communist professors in higher education. The fact of the matter is that they have far more extreme positions that they are perfectly willing to take extreme measures to get in place.
This is the Overton Window. It is the range of ideas that are acceptable to the public. The left shifts the Overton Window in their direction due to “Overton Shock Pushes”. The Overton Shock Push is a technique in which you suggest something totally insane, thus making anything less that look reasonable by comparison. Think of how many absolutely insane things you read from the left daily. Every day some left wing outlet has some absurd story about banning white men from voting, or teaching 2 year olds to pick their gender, or banning the flag and anthem. They know they aren’t going to get these policies. That isn’t the point. The point is to shock you with absurd suggestions to the point where anything less than the insane suggestion becomes implicitly more reasonable. This is how they have managed to move the country left for decades.
Take a look at how rare conservatives in government are now. No one even remotely seriously talked about repealing Obamacare in full. Rand Paul looks like a total outlier because he’s the only one that even suggested it. That’s how far left we’ve gone, that even considering a full repeal is basically unthinkable. That’s how the left beat you. They knew if they got a policy in place like that, you could never take it away. They were willing to take an imperfect plan they knew had real problems, just to shift the country permanently into socialized medicine. Now, even basic Republicans are pretty much liberals, and the small government conservatives are a tiny minority.
The only way you can convince people they don’t actually want a lot of free stuff is offer up a higher ideal, which is exactly what Trump did. He played the American Nationalist card. The best way to unite people is in one of three ways: Religion, Race, or Nationality. Basic humanity is not enough to bring people together. So you want to know why we hate establishment conservatives so much? Amnesty. Your hero Reagan literally handed the democrats California, permanently, and now here we are and you guys are still championing massive immigration numbers. The democrats have taken you for a ride on immigration over and over. Every so called “compromise” only served to make the country more blue. They played you, and you with all your knowledge and intellect went right along with it and sold us all out. So now, the Trump base had to come along and take over the party. Conservatism is dead because you conceded on the only issue that matters. You allowed the party of free stuff to import millions of people and create a welfare state that, shockingly, wants free stuff.
Ann Coulter now looks like a genius because she called all of this years ago, and we didn’t listen. Now, it’s borderline too late, and you guys still can’t get behind Trump because his tactics are too unsavory. I’m sorry, but the time for principled debate is over. You tried that, and lost. The left has more extreme positions that they are perfectly willing to take extreme measures to achieve.
American Nationalism is the only option for conservatives now, unless you think you’ll enjoy voting for a Communist in 2028.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.