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Well, the election’s over and now we know who’s the clear and indisputable loser: Clinton. The country has dodged a major bullet.

But I’m more interested in considering what dynamic was in play that propelled a candidate like Trump to win the GOP nomination at all, and ultimately the election.

For about 25 years, since the administration of Papa Bush, the Establishment GOP has continually drifted leftward, all the while trying subtly to redefine “conservatism” while claiming to support the traditional principles represented by the official party planks (or positions).

This manifests itself each election season when the candidates on the stump promise to aggressively fight for those principles, but once elected fail to follow through on those campaign promises.

Rather, they offer tepid resistance to socialist programs and half-hearted efforts to further a conservative agenda – when they’re not offering their own “progressive” programs, such as Bush 2’s “No Child Left Behind,” Scrips for Seniors – and amnesty for illegal aliens – along with McCain’s amnesty support and Common Core support, as well as lack of Second Amendment support.

This is also illustrated by considering the GOP’s presidential candidates post-Bush 1: Dole, Bush 2, McCain and Romney. Not one of them is a bona fide conservative.

It’s also underscored by their congressional leadership: Boehner (until recently) in the House and McConnell in the Senate.

Predictably, as this drift left has become more and more obvious, the traditional “base” of the GOP has become ever more disenchanted and disaffected.

We saw this manifest itself with the rise of the Tea Party, a phenomenon to which the Establishment GOP reacted badly – with scorn and disdain instead of contemplating it as a symptom of organic and systemic problems.

The Establishment elites simply knew better: The Tea Party was a disorganized bunch of uneducated yahoos who didn’t know what was good for them, and they could be minimized and ignored with impunity.

All the while the percentage of the electorate registered as Republicans continued to fall while the percentage registered as independent continued to rise in virtually direct proportion, a crystal-clear bellwether to anyone actually paying attention.

Unfortunately for the Establishment GOP, they weren’t paying attention.

And this time around, the pressure in the boiler had built up so much that it exploded.

One man put himself forward as the anti-everything: anti-Establishment GOP; anti-liberal; anti-illegal alien; anti-mainstream media; anti-gun control; anti-Big Government… all those hot-button issues that the “uneducated yahoos” the Establishment GOP so despised found important.

Further, he didn’t talk down to those “yahoos.” He courted them. He catered to them. He spoke their language!

And how did the Establishment GOP react to that? By trying to rally around and promote more of their same, tired old offerings: Jebbie! And Kasich, “moderate” drones.

What about the actual conservatives in the race, Cruz and Rubio? Well, the Establishment hated them almost as much as Trump and didn’t have any qualms about making that clear.

So when the dust finally settled, and Trump was the official nominee, did the party regulars and the rest of the Establishment GOP rally around their candidate and do all they could to help him succeed?

Far from it. In acts of astonishing perfidy, not only did they abandon supporting him, but many of them – yes, I’m looking at you, Bushes – actually made a point of supporting his opponent, the despicable Clinton, an act of betrayal that will be long remembered.

That perfidy actually goes to the heart of the problem: that the Establishment GOP, at least at the national level, suffers from an elitism – “Beltway-itis” – that’s made them blind to the reality of what they need to do to regain and maintain their viability as a truly “national” party.

They inherently disdain the Joe Sixpacks who make up their natural base. They apparently prefer acceptance at K Street social functions over getting down in the mud with the people they absolutely need if they want to succeed.

Trump was the natural result of that disease. He was the revolt the GOP has long had coming, and to which it was willfully blind.

And his success and ultimate election to the office of president – in spite of the Establishment GOP – should make them step back and take a long and hard look at how they want to approach the political arena as the country moves into the future.

The question now is: Will they actually learn something from this?

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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Comments
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  • indy

    It’s going to be interesting watching the GOP ‘eat’ their own . . . GOP obstructionism created the ‘room’ for a ‘Trump’ and now they’ve got him.

    As long as the GOP is dominated by libertarian market fundamentalist, the public will remain frustrated as the GOP ‘promises’ limitless growth while ignoring unsustainable global population that pushes jobs off shore to leverage falling global wages . . .

    But the democrats are no better . . . they likewise promise limitless growth . . . trying to convince a economically illiterate public that simply reciting party ideology will help them.

    I think the election of Trump disproves this . . .

    In any event, democratic socialism like the military, courts, public education, fire, police, parks, and other safety net programs that ‘cushion’ the shortcomings of capitalism isn’t the evil that religious conservatives, tied to their biblical beliefs about the ‘virtue’ of hard work, continue to ignore the economic reality facing the poor . . only further frustrates the public . . .

    Milton Freidman had it correct . . . ‘there is no free lunch’. Until politicians can put forth that message, more ‘Trumps’ will be coming along . . . promising things that are simply not possible while at the same time ignoring the reality facing all of us.

    • tech

      Every time you write it, I’m going to ask you to define “GOP obstructionism” as it relates to the Constitutional separation of powers, Indy.

      Your answer?

  • robert stauffer

    I can’t answer for Indy, but is it ‘obstructionism’ when the media fails to do its job as a government ‘watch dog’, and instead became its ‘guard dog’?

    • tech

      That’s not it, Chico.

      Indy needs to define how he thinks government should function within our Constitutional separation of powers. “Obstructionism” is a talking point.

  • nohatejustdebate

    Excellent letter, Brian. This is the kind of analysis that we need to see more from a conservative perspective a the Signal. While liberals will look past their failings while casting blame about racism and stupid white people, they will continue to not learn from their mistakes and slowly become more and more irrelevant as a party. I welcome the constructive criticism of conservatives so we can learn and grow.

    Reagan’s message of hope, optimism, and uncompromising conservatism resonated with Americans so strongly that he actually won states like New York and California. Inexplicably, Republicans moved from this successful model to the “Big Tent” mentality thinking this would win over the mushy-middle but they became the mushy-middle themselves. Trump’s message was similar to that of Reagan and he took all the slings and arrows that went with it. Never has any man been so attacked from so many different sides, including his own party, to win the presidency. Granted, some he earned but most of it was way over the top. Most GOP candidates would have cowered under the pressure but he persevered and won. There are some good lessons the GOP can learn from this victory.

    • Brian Baker

      Thanks, NHJD.

      I also thought of Reagan, and the misapplication of his Big Tent approach. In fact, my daughter and I were discussing it last night while having dinner with the munchkin at Chuck E. Cheese.

      Trump actually practiced it as Reagan meant it: make your policies appeal to a wide swath of the electorate and people will flock to you. Unfortunately, the doofi in the Establishment GOP interpreted it to mean that if they CHANGE their policies to appeal to Dems they’ll get large support, completely ignoring the reality that the changing to chase illusory Dem support also loses conservative support at the same time, and creates an orphan party that ends up appealing to no one.

  • Brian Baker

    Well, tech and Chico, I think you raised good points.

    For me, one of the telling factors in the vacuity of wIndybag’s babblings is his absolute insistence on using the phrase “religious conservatives” every time he refers to conservatives. Apparently in whatever he’s got filling the vacuum between his ears, he can’t seem to grasp that one can be conservative without religion even entering into the equation. Evidently, his brand of American Marxism is the only “rational” option, I guess. Anything else is ascribed to religious fervor and extremism in his little corner of the alternate universe.

  • nohatejustdebate

    Indy: “It’s going to be interesting watching the GOP ‘eat’ their own”

    I love that the far-left ideologues are thinking this. During Barack Obama’s tenure, the GOP has taken massive leads in state governors, state legislatures, and won back the House, the Senate, and now the White House. Whether through legislation or executive order, they repeatedly passed laws that most Americans didn’t want. Even after all these years America still doesn’t favor Obamacare. And as America was yearning for a strong leader from the outside to be President, they nominated the ultimate insider who was corrupt to the core. The Democratic Party has completely misread the American voter and they’re totally lost. And so I love it when they actually believe it is the Republican Party that is in shambles.

    With the GOP in control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, it’s hilarious hearing the mainstream media say how they must reach out to Democrats. Seriously? When they were in power Obama often arrogantly reminded them, “Elections have consequences and I won!” or as his first Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel once put it, “Republicans can go fwck themselves!” I think Trump, who wrote “The Art of the Deal” will try to reach out to the Democrats to strike deals to get our country moving again but Trump also knows he holds all the cards. Democrats and RINOs will have to come to him.

    • tech

      What I would welcome is a return to the proper role of the President, NHJD. In this, Calvin Coolidge is a better model than Reagan. The Executive’s role is to “faithfully” execute the law. Stated differently, a President is part of the Federal government but isn’t the *head* of it. The Constitutional role was designed to be energetic but not dominant. The head of government idea is a “Progressive” one modeled after the British parliamentary democracy, not one based on our Constitution.

  • noonan

    Excellent point nohate. I read where I think the GOP has 34 governorships out of 50, a majority in the Senate, a large majority in the House, and over 1,000 more state legislatures than the Dems along with I assume corresponding majorities in the actual legislative houses. Suck on that libtards!

  • tech

    Nicely done on your column, Brian.

    Our focus should be returning government to it’s proper role in our society as architected in our Constitution. People are the core of our society, not government. The further we stray from that reality, the greater the dysfunction.

  • tech

    *its

    • Brian Baker

      Thanks, tech. Agreed.

      Government is the servant, not the other way around.

  • tech

    “It’s going to be interesting watching the GOP ‘eat’ their own . . . ” – Indy

    It’s called reinvention, a concept your sclerotic dystopian ideology doesn’t comprehend, Indy.

    Fact: Democrats will have to defend 25 Senate seats in the 2018 mid-terms, the GOP only 8. Obama destroyed your party, partisan.

    • Brian Baker

      Good! I was wondering about the math in the upcoming mid-terms as I was discussing this with my daughter this morning. I didn’t know how many Dem Senate seats were at issue.

      I REALLY like that math!

      If the net change (as of this moment) is +8 to the GOP, they’ll be filibuster-proof after that.

      • tech

        The opportunity to flip the Senate to Democrat Party control has passed. The Party of Government devolved to an Obama Cult of Personality and allowed the Clinton Machine to corrupt it completely. They’re now bereft of any idea except the will to power.

        They’ll now flail about for a time blaming irrelevant factors instead of themselves.

        The Party apparat’s colossal failure and blame shifting calls to mind the poem Die Lösung by Bertolt Brecht.

        The Solution

        After the uprising of the 17th of June
        The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
        Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
        Stating that the people
        Had forfeited the confidence of the government
        And could win it back only
        By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
        In that case for the government
        To dissolve the people
        And elect another?

        • Brian Baker

          Interesting choice there. Written AFTER Brecht had become totally disillusioned by Marxism.

          Hopefully there’ll be an American equivalent somewhere down the road reflecting on THIS era.

  • Nishka

    “Vigils and protests swell across U.S. in wake of Trump victory”
    “NOT MY PRESIDENT “

    • Brian Baker

      Are you in this video somewhere, projie?

      • Brian Baker

        Canada awaits! Don’t let the door bang you on the butt on your way out.

    • If you love America, you will hope and pray that Trump will be an effective leader because that’s what our country needs. If you love your party and ideaology more than your country you will continue with the “not my President” sentiment.

      Lets look forward and give the man an opportunity to do the job.

      The worry, paranoia, and fear mongering is beyond ridiculous. On this Veterans Day we are reminded of the sacrifices that young men and women have made. Of the blood spilled on battlefields. Contrast that with today’s young people that need a “safe space” or grief counseling on elite college campuses because the candidate they voted for lost.

  • noonan

    What a pathetic sore loser you are Lois. So, who exactly is your President? Hillary? Laughing……

  • noonan

    Vigils and protests huh? Do you know what I see? I see high school and college kids, an admittedly ignorant segment of our population, protesting instead of being in school learning something. I see illegals waiving Mexican flags worried that maybe all Americans don’t accept them with open arms when they circumvent the rules. Perhaps they are among the 2 million criminals Trump has promised to deport. I see people waiving the rainbow flag as if Trump will treat them as badly as noted Hillary supporters like Qatar and Saudi Arabia where they behead gays and lash rape victims. Perhaps they think Trump will toss them off a building for being gay? I see massive amounts of unemployed who should be thanking god that there is actually someone coming that wants to get them a good job instead of just talking about it. I see a bunch of whining, sniveling, participation trophy recipients, acting worse than a 1 year old who has a poopy diaper and is hungry. I saw a Trump supporter get his ass beat today by a couple black guys who promised to make him pay. I guess they didn’t get the “love trumps hate” memo.

    In short Lois, I see a lot of worthless people who are either too ignorant or too brainwashed to think, just for a second, WHY Ohio, PA, MI, WI, and almost MN turned red. But that might hurt your brain so go ahead and bow to whomever your president is. I’ve been smiling for almost two days, even in my sleep, and I will continue to do so knowing how angry and annoyed you are. Now pardon me while I take a slice of my schadenfreude pie and go watch MSLSD.

  • Trump was elected fairly.
    Protesters are protesting democracy.

    Nov 8: Love Trumps Hate
    Nov 9: Kill Trump
    https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14940206_368640806814288_8173974703733175691_o.jpg

    You are all hypocrits

  • https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/15027870_368725940139108_1193880193962176962_n.jpg?oh=335cd9f009d2fe25bf325b49d4607ca2&oe=58C41B83

    The party of “Peace and Tolerance” – The truth of your hate and bigotry is all over TV for the world to see.
    Hypocrites

  • Brian Baker

    Hey, Bobs, welcome back!

    I see you finally made it.

  • Nishka

    “The Republican establishment is only interested in cutting taxes for the wealthy, deregulating, and gutting entitlements. None of those measures will help any of the angry white voters from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin who tipped the scales to Trump. It will be amusing to watch, and of course sad as well.”

  • Nishka

    “The Gropers tax proposal ”
    “Gives the richest one tenth of one percent (0.1%) of families a tax cut of $1.3 million a year”
    “Cuts the corporate tax rate by more than half – from 35% to 15%”
    “Lets corporations pay a small fraction ($150 billion) of the $700 billion in taxes they owe on the $2.5 trillion in profits they have stashed offshore”

  • Terri Lovell

    Great column Brian. You are exactly right about how Trump got the nomination and became president. I just hope he doesn’t get overwhelmed by the GOP establishment trying to control him. I’m hopeful he’ll do a decent job as president.
    The Democrats will never learn though. They are already gearing up to tack further to the left with Senator Keith Ellison considering a run for DNC chair.
    I was a Ted Cruz fan, but to be honest, I don’t think he could have pulled all those blue-collar democrats to his side.

    • Brian Baker

      Thanks, Terri.

      I was a Cruz guy, too, and I think you may well be right. I think he may well have been too “cerebral” to pull it off.

  • Nishka

    The “Gropers ” and DJ’s (Dumb Jerk) new senior counselor Steve Bannon is the most dangerous political operative in America!!!!
    “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,'”

  • noonan

    Lois, I’m going to let you in on a little secret but please don’t tell anyone, ok? Ready? Calling us names means absolutely squat! We don’t care anymore.

  • Nishka

    “Donald Trump has a vast fortune. If Congress doesn’t shield him from [lawsuits], his time and attention will be dissipated trying to preserve his riches.”

  • noonan

    Time better spent than playing golf. By the way Lois, he’s not taking a salary. Suck on that for a few…….