Is There A Lesson In Trump’s Win?



Well, the election’s over, and now we know who’s the clear and indisputable loser: Clinton, and the country 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 twenty-five 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, instead offering tepid resistance to Dem/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; McCain’s amnesty support and lack of Second Amendment support; the despised Common Core; as well as other examples.

This is also illustrated by considering their 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 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,2008-tea-party_004 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 so 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 k-street“national” party. They inherently disdain the Joe Sixpacks that 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 2016


(Also published today in  The Signal)

31 comments on “Is There A Lesson In Trump’s Win?

  1. Nee says:

    We can only hope. I remember how awful Obama’s election was and I was negative about it…all of the things I was thinking came true. And now we have people rioting in major cities because the people have spoken? WHO. THE. EFF. DID. THIS. BHO. The GOPe better get with the program and do what they say. The future of our Republic does indeed depend on it. They’ve been given another chance. Like you said, Brian…is it going to be wasted?

  2. Hardnox says:

    Well stated Brian. The GOP created the vacuum. Trump simply stepped up and won.

    I take great pleasure in watching the Left’s, the D’s and R’s heads explode. Trump has promised to take a wrecking ball to the corruption in DC and politics as usual. Even if only partially successful it will be good. The problem is systemic.

    I am also pleased that Obama and the Clintons were rejected, and progressivism in general. The results of the election restores my faith in Americans. Hopefully they won’t got back to their Rip Van Winkle sleep as much work needs to be done. Congress will now employ every dirty trick to oppose Trump in the housecleaning.

  3. The Crawfish says:

    The GOP establishment will only learn a LITTLE bit from this election if Trump’s first 18 months are YUUUUUGELY successful, and if his poll numbers go way up. Even then, they will only take a couple of baby steps back toward the center (center defined as the Constitution) from their current left wing position.

    If Trump’s poll numbers don’t hit 75% by then, they will continue their merge with the Democrats.

    • BrianR says:

      That’s my fear, too, Craw.

      In many ways I think we’re in a similar position to the outcome in 2008: a clear signal has been sent to the E-GOP, and the question is whether or not they’re going to FINALLY pay attention to it.

      In a way, this is what I predicted back then. That ignoring the clear meaning of McCain’s defeat would lead to huge problems for that party. Now here it is, on their doorstep. The ultimate outsider hijacked their election. So… what are they gonna do about it?

  4. Virginia Patriot says:

    Good piece, Brian.
    I have one disagreement. I think they were paying attention and were determined to squelch the voices calling for border security and immigration enforcement because their donors wanted the borders to remain open and the laws unenforced.
    The effort to saddle us with another Designated Loser in Yeb! was a continuation of the string of amnesty candidates that was unbroken from the last amnesty.
    The GOP was just as committed to open borders as the Democrats, even though their voters knew it was eventually going to be electoral suicide.
    They had every intention of blocking the citizens from doing anything to stop the illegal alien inundation as they have been since the last amnesty.
    All of their efforts have been to convince us that we had to embrace amnesty as the only answer and that we could never win an election with an enforcement candidate.
    Trump has shattered that lie.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, VPat.

      Actually, I don’t think that’s a “disagreement”. On that particular issue it was simply a willingness to ignore their principles and their base to placate their fellow elites. Part of their willful blindness.

  5. slowcowboy says:

    There was a group that was shut out. That group is not hip or cool or living in NYC or LA. These people could not be seen by the ‘elites’ (I hate the term, as I do ‘establishment’, but I am not sure what else to use…) living along the coasts. These are people who just want to live and learn and provide and grow and love their families. They are not racist and they are not bigoted. They just live a different life than do the folks in the cities. The people in the cities have no idea these people exist or how they live, and to the extent they acknowledge their existence, the city living citizens look down on the “hicks” in the country.

    I used to live in DC, and when we started telling people where we were moving, many did not know where Wyoming was and some did not know that Wyoming existed. After living here over 8 years, I can tell you that the culture here is radically different. Not necessarily better and not necessarily worse, just different. The people here are educated and want to make a fair living. But there are only 560,000 people in the entire state. Its a big state. In Fairfax, more than 10 times that, I would wager, lived within a 25 mile radius.

    Here’s the point: the middle of the country has become a wasteland to many in the more populated areas. The liberals living in those populated areas not only have little use for the middle of the country but have no access to any information about them. The media is located in the big cities and therefore have the same problem. The problem, then, gets worse.

    I think the GOP might have suffered some of this same problem, trying to focus on getting into the cities. Meanwhile, the middle of the country has sat by without attention and getting their values shoved aside. As mentioned, there are a lot of educated and otherwise smart people in rural areas. It is not made up of a cast from Deliverance. These people have stood up.

    That’s not the whole story with a Trump rise, but its significant, in my opinion. It important the takes note.

    • BrianR says:

      Absolutely, cowboy! I couldn’t agree more, and what you described was precisely part of what I was trying to capture and describe.

      I see exactly that same phenomenon where I live, in Santa Clarita, a burb of LA that’s an “island of conservatism in a sea of liberalism”, as I described the meaning of my blog name when I first chose it many years ago. We’re definitely an anomaly out here on the Left Coast.

      • Nee says:

        Cowboy and Brian…As my eldest child said…the states Clinton carried this time were all about the elite demographics…and anything in-between was simply nothing to care about. In light of Trump’s election, may I point you to a video? Trump was on the Donahue show in 1987. This, to me is an excellent representation of the person Trump still is. He said then that he was a Republican. Regardless, I find it telling of him as he IS.

      • BrianR says:

        Thanks, Nee. It’s long but interesting.

      • captbogus2 says:

        The cowboy’s comments did remind me of something not compared that I know. The intolerance of the left has a precedent in history. It preaches diversity and peace and tolerance but it is only towards like minded people. Other people are pretty much a target of the ‘tolerant’ left’s vindictiveness. One parallel is the church that would brand a person a heretic if that person did not toe the papal line. Or just dissent with the church could land you in one of Torquenada’s chambers. If you made an enemy of a powerful adherent you could find yourself standing on top of a bunch of deadwood tied to a stake.

  6. The Crawfish says:

    On the other hand……

    This might not be such a big win. The GOPe could take it as a bad GOP result because liberal Romney got 1.2 million more votes than Trump (60,933,504 to 59,704,886)

    • BrianR says:

      Maybe, which then goes back to exactly the main point of the column.

      Don’t forget, I’m the guy who coined the term “PSP”.

  7. As I told my Democrat buddy, the Repubs no longer have an excuse. They own all three branches so it is either “get er done” or it was all BS. Any half-steppers should be outed by Trump in the bully pulpit.

  8. jevica says:


    The leadership of the PSP will not learn, after a while I feel they will try to obstruct President Trump, as much as they can. If he succeeds it will show us how F— up they are. If HRC takes the popular vote, wait for calls to use the popular vote to elect the President. This would be a bad idea. If this were the case Trump might have changed his strategy to accumulate votes.

    My wife watches the View (my penance that I have to watch) had to listen to Joy Bahar, Woopie Goldberg, and the rest on the day after the election. The way they went on made me sick. They spoke about how this is the first time in many, many years that both houses and the President are of the same party, guess these FOOLS can’t remember back to BHOs first term.

    Then there was talk about not electing a woman, could be people didn’t want to elect this woman. The talk about how scary people were about Trump, etc., etc. They just went on and on

    All the media talk about what Trump should do, he got elected when they said he would loose, I think he’ll be able to figure it out.

    • BrianR says:

      Well, Jev… LOL! Sorry about having to watch the squealing libs on The View! There IS a lot to be said for not having a wife. I don’t have to watch anything I don’t want to.

      And of course, the bleating about the Electoral College is already in full voice. No surprise there, of course.

      I agree with you. Now that he’s got it, let’s see what he does with it. No matter what, it’s bound to be better than what the Hildebeest would have done.

  9. jevica says:

    One of my comments here was about HRC and what she would do. As you say Trump has to be better than the Clintons, now talk about the daughter running for Congress. Only in LIBERAL NYC can this happen. Who do they think they are the Bush family?

    • BrianR says:

      Well, it’s the same crap we occasionally hear about Kennedys, too. As you say, Bushes, too. I really dislike the whole idea of “political dynasties”. We’re not Europe, with its hereditary monarchies, for Pete’s sake.

  10. CW says:

    Excellent essay, Brian. The term “Beltway-itis” is a perfect way to describe what’s happened with establishment Republicans. Their goal became to hold onto power and prestige rather than defending our rights. I never got the sense that Trump was “anti-Big Government,” though. Granted I never went to a Trump rally, but I don’t recall hearing him ever use the words “big government.” On the contrary he talked about “taking care” of people and he and Ivanka proposed their plan for tax-payer funded daycare and maternity leave (etc.) that certainly had the smell of big government to it. I might have warned up to him more if I thought he was sincerely anti-big government.

    Will they learn something from this? Define “something!” I hope they learn something, but if Trump doesn’t live up to his promises and become the defender of the Constitution that his supporters are hoping for, I hope they will learn something as well.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, CW. I didn’t mean the term “anti-Big Government” in the way we usually use it, but in the sense that he’s against the idea that government is the solution to every problem. The paternalistic Santa Claus of the Left.

  11. captbogus2 says:

    The Trump Revolution, not unlike revolutions of the past.
    Twice before in later history has this taken place.
    First in France in the late 1700’s. Then in Russia in 1917.
    Each time the country was run by a ruling class who disdained the peasantry.
    Each time the peasantry presented their grievances to the ruling elite and each time the ruling
    elite pretty much, ‘blew them off,’ without much more than lip service. Each time the ruling class considered itself to be the superior to the peasantry, which each time they looked on the peasantry as ignorant, unwashed masses of rabble without any power.
    And each time the ruling class figured it wrong.
    The only difference is this time around the Trump Revolution did not shoot or guillotine the guilty ones.

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