Trumplings Probably Destroyed the Right

The decision to nominate Trump was a mistake. In fact, it was worse than a mistake. It was suicidal. But the decision having been taken and having become inevitable, conservatives ought to vote for Trump if they are going to vote at all. The choice between two non-conservatives was forced upon us, but conservatism can survive only one of them, and his name ain’t Hillary Clinton. Still, Trump will probably lose the election (although the race is tightening). The models all agree on that front and have for some time now (FiveThirtyEight, TheUpshot, and Princeton put the probability of a Clinton victory at 0.65, 0.86, and 0.97, respectively). No amount of conspiracy theorising about the polls, laughable appeals to crowd sizes, or fatuous comparisons to Brexit is going to change what is manifest to those of us who aren’t part of the cult of Trump’s personality. We warned that he’s an unelectable buffoon. Trumplings didn’t listen. As a result, on 8 November, they will reap what they sowed and the scourge of leftism will be upon us. Unfortunately, the rest of us will also suffer as a result of their ruinous decision to support him.

In the light of the fact that Trump is, and always has been, very likely to lose to his Democrat opponent, can Trumplings mount an adequate defence of their early support for him? Let’s grant, for argument’s sake, the (obviously erroneous) assumption that Trump would be an effective president if he were elected. In fact, let’s grant that he would be the most effective of all the other candidates. Trumplings would still have all their work ahead of them. Given the stakes, a candidate’s having that property is transparently not sufficient for his being the one whom voters ought to support. He must also be electable. If a candidate is very unlikely to win, it’s not terribly important that he’d be a good president if only he could manage to get elected. From a conservative perspective, Ed McMuffin would make a better president than both Clinton and Trump, but it’s obviously unwise for conservatives to support him. Similarly, many alt-right Trumplings believe that the white nationalist Jared Taylor would make a better president than Trump, but even they’d recognise that writing in his name would be both foolish and an exercise in futility. (And if that doesn’t convince you, just ask yourself whether you’d vote for an unelectable Trump over a thoroughly electable Rubio if his opponent were someone very much like Hitler or Stalin. If you’d still pick Trump, knowing that this would basically guarantee the election of the likes of Hitler or Stalin, congratulations, you’re a moral reprobate.) This suggests that some sufficient degree of electability is required if one’s support for some candidate is to be rational or permissible when the stakes are high.

And the stakes are very high indeed. The next president will settle virtually every major social issue. Abortion, gun rights, religious liberty, mass immigration, marriage, and capital punishment are just a few of the victories the Left will achieve if Clinton wins. And instead of nominating someone who likely would’ve prevented the Left’s total and complete victory on these issues (even if only for a few decades), we nominated someone in Donald Trump who is to the Left the gift that keeps on giving. What will we get for nominating someone who can’t win? The millions of unborn babies who will be slaughtered in the womb, the hundreds of people who will be murdered by criminals as a result of our removing from the law the tremendously effective deterrents of execution and common gun ownership, the millions of children who will suffer as a result of the pernicious assault on marriage, the thousands of Christians who will be forced to violate their consciences, and, yes, the eventual decimation of American culture from vast swathes of this country as a result of mass, uncontrolled immigration—never mind, at least we were able to antagonise the Left for a few months and get a few laughs. This is masochism.

At this point, Trumplings almost invariably question whether conservatism has accomplished anything of significance over the last few decades, implying that it doesn’t really matter if conservatism is destroyed. The answer is obviously in the affirmative, even without going into specific examples (to which I’m coming). Just ask yourself: Where would we be if the conservative movement hadn’t been standing athwart the leftist locomotive? Where would we be if the conservative movement hadn’t taken over the Republican Party? If it weren’t for people like Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, and, of course, Ronaldus Magnus, the Republican Party would still be a comfortable home for Rockefeller moderates who would’ve happily seen, and wouldn’t have opposed, a socially leftward march. In short, the Republican Party would be much more like the Tory Party (‘Conservative Party’ is a misnomer) in the UK and much less conservative than it is now. If nothing else, a significant accomplishment of the conservative movement is that it has stood athwart the Left and has slowed their relentless march leftward even if it hasn’t been as successful as we’d like.

But it’s trivially easy to cite specific accomplishments, ones that are significant enough to make the Left hysterical.  I’ll just mention one important area in which we’ve made significant progress: The Supreme Court. District of Columbia v. Heller guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear arms for personal defence. Citizens United v. FEC protects our freedom of political speech. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. protects religious liberty against attempts by the Left to force people to pay for abortifacients. Gonzales v. Carhart upholds the federal ban against partial birth abortion, which is morally indistinguishable from infanticide. There are many more such examples. These wouldn’t have been possible in the absence of a conservative-leaning court.

There is, then, a lot to lose (the objections of those in the alt-reality who suffer from monomania notwithstanding). A court packed with Clinton appointees will almost certainly reverse these conservative accomplishments. An electable Republican nominee would’ve shifted the court rightward, protecting these accomplishments and reversing leftist ones, such as Roe v. Wade.

We’re also told by Trumplings that demographics will destroy conservatism anyway, so we might as well have taken a chance with Trump. There’s nothing to this drivel. First, this is like citing the unremarkable fact that we’re all going to die at some point as a reason for committing suicide now. Second, there were anti-mass immigration alternatives to Trump who were both more electable and more reliably right-wing (e.g. Ted Cruz). For Trumplings, the problem with these candidates was not their positions on immigration, it was the fact that they were ‘too PC.’ Any politician who wants to win must be! That someone like Trump can make you laugh more than someone like Cruz isn’t a good reason to prefer the former. Obviously. Third, what, exactly, is Trump going to do to solve the ‘demographic problem’? Eliminating immigration altogether wouldn’t do that (and says he will increase legal immigration; more on this below). Deporting every last one of the 12 million or so illegals won’t solve the problem (and he can’t do that). What can he legally do to stop the white share of the population from decreasing? At this point Trumplings will point out that he’d delay the catastrophe and give us more time to figure something out. But that undercuts the ‘demographics, so what the hell’ line I mentioned above. And if delaying the catastrophe is so important, why did you nominate the least electable candidate?

Trumplings now appeal to the most facile argument of all: Even if Trump loses, he’s shifted the ‘Overton window‘ (the range of publicly acceptable ideas)! First, even if this were true, it pales in comparison to the incredible harms that will follow from Clinton’s victory, a victory which could’ve been avoided if only we had nominated an electable Republican. And if we lose now that we’ve chosen not to, does anyone really believe that the Republican Party will move even further to the right? Trumplings are gullible, but I hope not that gullible. Second, it isn’t true, at least not when it comes to the issue about which Trumplings care most. Let’s take the idea with which Trump is most often associated: the wall. About 66% of voters now oppose building a wall on the Mexican border (84% favour outright amnesty). In 2015, 51% of voters supported building a wall. What explains this? Could it be that, before Trump’s ruinous intervention, his unpopular face wasn’t associated with that idea?

All of this for someone who is transparently a manipulative, shapeshifting demagogue. We know that Trump changes his positions as often as he changes his suits, whenever it will personally benefit him to do so. He’s taken multiple positions on the same issues during this campaign, sometimes on the same day. He regularly boasts about his ability to compromise, something he’d probably be good at precisely because he hasn’t any principles; it would be very easy to compromise the ones he pretends to have. And we’re supposed to put our faith in this man? We’re supposed to believe that he isn’t going to give in to ‘immigration reform’ if, in return, he’ll get his damn wall? (We’re already seeing signs of this. Just yesterday Trump said, ‘I want people to come in. I want tremendous numbers of people to come in…And we’re going to have that big, beautiful door in the wall. But you know what? They have to come in through a process. They have to come in legally.’ What a cuck!) It’s a shame that Trumplings likely won’t have the opportunity to be disappointed in their saviour!

Let me mention in closing one of the many ironies of this election. During the primaries, Trumplings refused to support more electable Republicans who obviously would’ve been better than Clinton, ostensibly because they weren’t good enough on some of the issues (Rubio comes to mind). Never Trumpers are now opposing Trump because they claim, with plausibility, that Trump isn’t a conservative, despite the fact that, whatever his faults, he’d make a better president than Clinton. Both made the same mistake: refusing to set aside complete ideological purity in order to defeat the Left. Moving forward, conservatives should prevent this from ever happening again by applying a modified version of the Buckley Rule: One should nominate the most electable conservative candidate. It wasn’t applied in this election. Instead, we nominated the least electable and least conservative candidate. Ah…what could’ve been! Alas, we’ll likely never know.

If he manages to win (and I hope he does), we don’t know whether he’ll govern as the right-wing president Trumplings imagine. If Trump loses, Trumplings will be blameworthy for the end of the Right in this country.

Conservatrarian

Conservatrarian has a degree in philosophy from the UK. He has published papers mostly on topics in applied ethics. Conservatrarian carries a Glock 19 with a 15 round magazine on his hip at all times, so mess with him at your own peril.

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48 Comments

  1. The fact you consider Rubio, the guy who said Trump shouldn’t be bringing up Hillary’s Wikileaks e-mails, electable says pretty much all I need to know. You’re a clueless blowhard.

    And Ted Cruz would’ve never stood a chance in battleground states that mattered. His schmaltzy, phony televangelist persona has a very limited appeal outside the heartland and deep south. Certainly not enough to turn out disaffected working class whites who’ve been left behind.

    Furthermore, these are both guys that are basically bought and sold by the highest bidders. They are the same old s*** with the same old donors. The well-being of the country is second to the well-being of their wallets and the lobbies that gave them money.

    If Trump wins (which appears increasingly likely) and he starts doing things that conservatives have promised but haven’t delivered on (like repealing anti-gun EOs, building the wall, defunding sanctuary cities and deporting illegals) I expect you to put on your big boy pants and issue a mea culpa.

    • The first triggered Trumpling comments!

      I know that Rubio is electable because the polls had him (and have him in hypothetical matchups) crushing Clinton, whereas they, at best, have Trump tied with her. So my position is based on evidence (confirmed by Wikileaks emails in which Clinton was terrified of running against him) and yours is based on Rubio hatred.

      The claim about Cruz is similarly not grounded in polling evidence.

      I hope Trump wins! I hope he does well! I already voted for him. But, unfortunately, the evidence says what we warned would happen: That he probably won’t win. And if he doesn’t win, Trumplings are to blame for the coming disaster.

      • Here’s the polling evidence on Cruz.

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_cruz_vs_clinton-4034.html

        He would’ve lost.

        Rubio’s early polling vs. Clinton has him winning by a few points but given that he is seemingly opposed to going for the jugular, who knows how it would’ve turned out. This is a big problem with the conservative right. They fight by Queensbury Rules while the left slips on the brass knuckles.

        Could we have had a fighter who is more eloquent and likable than Trump? Sure. But none of the other candidates had that and most were still stuck in the past.

      • John,

        Those polls are from April. If you look at RCP’s averages for Trump in April, you’d see that he was doing even worse than Cruz, at around -8. But I was thinking of recent polls that asked voters whom they’d vote for if the nominee were Rubio or Cruz. Both did much better than Trump.

        Rubio and Cruz, minimally, wouldn’t have wasted a month on sex scandals. That dealt a significant blow to Trump in the polls. That month would’ve been entirely about Hillary Clinton’s problems (which Rubio wouldn’t have had to mention, but he probably would’ve in order to win, whatever he says now to distance himself from Trump).

        Trump was and is the least electable of them all.

      • Regarding Rubio’s electability: you forget that the Media have not spent the last six months bad mouthing him.
        No one can beat Hillary and the Media except Trump.
        McCain and Romney kissed Obama’s butt, but it did them no good, the Media destroyed them while they laid down and died.

  2. Just a few brief thoughts and questions:

    1. I hope the left wins on abortion, but I don’t know why you think Clinton will make that happen. Immigration from Latin America + higher fertility rates among people with recent Latin American ancestry don’t make the long-term future looks promising for abortion rights, and in the shorter term, there doesn’t seem to be much room for change. Are you talking about SCOTUS? If so, SCOTUS appointees might still be blocked by the Senate – with filibusters if needed. Or do you think Democrats will both win the Senate and change filibuster rules, then get to appoint some justices? That might happen, but it’s not at all a done deal if Clinton wins. Moreover, there is a good chance that there will not be another SCOTUS vacancy in the next 4 years.
    2. I hope (much of) the left loses on mass immigration (though I also think some right-wing stances are not good), but I think they will to a considerable extent win – they are already winning. However, I’m not sure why you think Clinton will make that happen. She might contribute to some extent, but how do you think a single president will manage to make a such a big difference on this? If she continues Obama’s policies for 4 more years, that’s not a definitive victory or anything like that. Moreover, they still support border controls – libertarians seem to be the ones generally in favor of open or nearly open borders, as well as people much further to the left than Clinton, one of her speeches notwithstanding.
    3. I think the left has already won on marriage (a result I find positive on its own, but I don’t agree with the SCOTUS rationale to support their ruling, which is bad). In the long run, immigration from parts of Latin America might be a problem for same-sex marriage, but I think probably not nearly as much as in the case of abortion. In any event, I’m curious about what you think Clinton will do to bring about a left-wing victory on this, beyond the victory already achieved. Are you talking about SCOTUS too?
    4. Regarding religious freedom and gun rights, briefly, what do you think Clinton will do, that will settle the issue?

    All that said, do you know that in nearly all of Latin America, abortion is criminalized in nearly all circumstances?
    If there is massive immigration from Latin America – indeed, if there were open borders – one would expect that eventually abortion would be banned. Since you consider abortion to be a type of murder – and apparently, morally on par with the murder of adults, young children, etc. -, I’m not sure why you think this is overall so negative. Why do you think the loss of much of American culture would be much worse than preventing millions of murders of innocents? (of course, I completely disagree with you on abortion, but I’m asking about your position on the matter).

    • 1. Abortion ‘rights’ aren’t determined by popular opinion, so even if immigration caused the population to become more pro-life, that would translate into a change in the law. Immigrants may be more pro-life but they still vote leftists, and the leftists they elect are almost invariably pro-abortion. It isn’t clear that they’d vote against leftists only because they’re pro-abortion. The only way to change the law is to elect conservatives who will appoint conservatives to the courts. If Republicans hold onto the Senate, I doubt that they will maintain vacancies for four years. They haven’t the spine. If Democrats win, they will do what they’ve already done and do away with the filibuster in order to push through her nominees.

      2. Four more years of doing nothing adds significantly to the problem. But this is more a concern of Trumplings.

      3. Their victory will be preserving their victory in Obergefell. A right-wing court may well have overturned it.

      Latin Americans come from incredibly poor and left-wing countries and so tend to vote for leftists when they get here even if they happen to support abortion.

      • 1. It’s common in Latin America for politicians to be much further to the left on economics, gun rights, and generally state/government intervention than Clinton or any mainstream Democrat (or even Sanders), while being as opposed to legal abortion as, say, Cruz, or at least more than the average Republican. Why would you rule out such candidates (and justices) in the long run, if there were truly massive immigration?
        Regarding keeping vacancies for 4 years, McCain is already on record in support of that. He might not succeed. But he might.
        2. But not doing anything would not settle the issue. It would just contribute to some extent.
        3. It seems unlikely to me that a Republican would have been able to appoint more than one justice (liberal justices would resist retirement if possible, and in any case, there is always filibusters). But that aside, I don’t see conclusive evidence that Clinton will manage to appoint liberal justices.

        Latin America is overall very left-wing when it comes to economics and state intervention, but very right wing when it comes to abortion and generally reproduction, and – despite some better laws recently – still considerably right wing when it comes to same-sex relationships.

      • 1. But that isn’t common in the U.S. Latino politicians tend to be pro-abortion and immigrants are likely to vote for them despite this. There’s no evidence that the Democrat Party is going to move right on this issue…

        2. Right. So what?

        3. Republicans would replace Scalia and Kennedy would have an incentive to resign. If Democrats filibuster, Republicans can simply change the rules. The Democrats already set that precedent.

  3. I’m interested in the blame claim.

    Why did the Republicans have massive, historical midterm elections in both 2010 and 2014? It was because there was a very angry (and with good reason!) voting block that wanted Obamacare overturned, was sick of expanding the debt limit, and sick of executive overreach (among other things).

    What did this voting block get, in return for voting traditional republicans in office? They got a little, but not what they wanted (now, maybe you’ll say that what they wanted wasn’t reasonable. Fair enough). They got a bunch of show votes on Obamacare that were mostly meaningless, a couple government “shutdowns” that weren’t really shutdowns, and eventually turned into debt limit expansions, and they got some whining about Obama’s use of executive orders. I think you could make a case that these people felt like the people they elected were pretty weak and toothless. If anyone deserves blame for Hillary winning, I’d say many elected republicans deserve it. Yeah, attempting to impeach Obama would be political suicide, but they could have easily done more than they did, and that might have preserved some of the trust that every elected official lacked when it came to the primaries. By that point, they were perceived as part of the problem. They could have, for instance, sent Obama common sense legislation that he was completely opposed to, and forced him to veto it. Instead, we got “What’s the point? Obama will just veto it.” So what? The people who voted R in 2010 and 2014 wanted to see some serious fighting, and there was too little of it.

    • Congress can’t do much without the president. Repealing Obamacare is a good example. About all they can do is have ‘show votes’ if they don’t have a supermajority of friendly president, as you know. So this isn’t a fair criticism.

      Regarding your claim that ‘they could’ve done more than they did,’ would you care to list a few non-suicidal proposals? They only took control of the Senate in 2015. What could they have done in the last year and a half? They *did* send Obama legislation that he had to veto and they *did* force Democrats to vote on those bills, so I’m not sure what more you think they could’ve done.

      • I think they should have fought harder during the government “shutdowns”. The media and the democrats total owned the republicans on that, and somehow made them to blame for it. They didn’t bunch back nearly hard enough. The fact of the matter was that Obama and the dems were using the debt ceiling to force the republicans to cave and pass more democratic-friendly budgets. Were the shutdowns unpopular? Yes. That was, in part, because their own fault for getting rhetorically owned. I think they should have held out a little longer in any case, sense voters would have mostly forgotten about the shutdowns by the time an election rolled around.

        I think they also should have used the power of the purse more to play hardball with Obama. They could have significantly limited funding for Obamacare, or Planned Parenthood, or the EPA, for instance.

        And, even if they couldn’t have done some of these things, they usually try to talk nice. Paul Ryan often talks about making the government work, for instance. This voting block didn’t want to hear that at all.

      • I disagree about tactics. Government shutdowns are exercises in futility. Nothing changes as a result of them. The Democrats can refuse to compromise because they know the Republicans will be blamed, and if the Republicans are blamed, the probability of electoral defeat increases. If we want change, we need a Republican in the White House. We shouldn’t inadvertently help the Democrats by shutting down the government, which is very unpopular.

  4. I am from another country and have not been following US politics too closely. I know that in some countries far-leftists are trying to ban marriage. When you talk about the “assault on marriage”, is that what you mean?

  5. Trump was the most uninformed candidate the republicans could have nominated. Can you imagine someone with some actual legal, factual and historical knowledge like Christie, Giulini, Gingrich, Cruz, etc debating Hillary? All of her evasions would have been detected immediately, whereas Trump had no clue what was true, false, legal, illegal, etc. An embarrassment to the party

  6. If Trumplings really did destroy the current iteration of the conservative movement, I say good on them. All things considered, the conservative movement has, for the past 60 or so years, been a movement that has had a large number of cowards and ineffective leaders who have failed on every issue except perhaps gun rights. (Yes, DC v. Heller, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby—whilst we have won a Supreme Court ruling here and there, the left has completely taken over the culture and all the institutions and we have let them do so, in addition to allowing them to change demographics to their favor virtually without difficulty. Because God help a Republican who dares to say something like “we want to preserve a European/white majority and we want out immigration policy to reflect this.” Like clockwork, the left will level an accusation of racism and the Republican Party will comply like an obedient hound and purge the vile mean racist who dared say such a thing before reminding their constituency that they “really care about diversity.”) The current iteration of the conservative movement plays in a game in which the left makes up the rules and like cunning snakes they keep changing the rules in their favor, tightening the noose on the conservative movement bit by bit. It’s really no wonder the conservative movement has failed so badly.

    • This is all rhetoric. No argument.

      The claim that we have ‘failed on every issue except perhaps gun rights’ is manifestly false. I listed several Supreme Court cases that have nothing to do with gun rights and all of them were landmark cases. And that’s just on the court. The movement has also been effective at changing public opinion on important issues, including abortion and guns. About as many people now self-identify as pro-life as pro-choice, which wasn’t the case decades ago. So it’s false that ‘the left has completely taken over the culture.’ If that were so, they’d be winning the hearts and minds of people on every single social issue. That hasn’t happened. In fact, it’s a mixed bag. They won the marriage debate in the public sphere, and we’re winning the life/gun/capital punishment/religious liberty debates.

      And you of course failed to respond to my argument that we’d be much more left-wing as a country if it weren’t for both the conservative movement and the GOP.

      Notice that distinction? That’s another problem with your argument. You’re conflating the GOP with the conservative movement. The latter cannot be blamed for all of the sins of the former. Here’s what we do know: Despite opposition from both parties, the conservative movement has been more successful and more influential than the alt-right will ever be. You’d better hope it doesn’t die because there will be nothing serious that will replace it.

  7. Medellín v. Texas is also another victory for conservatives with respect to domestic law. It wasn’t a Nationalist Alt-Righer to defend U.S sovereignty, it was Ted Cruz.

  8. Conservatrarian,

    1. I’m not sure how common that is in US Latino politicians. A good number are Republicans, and strongly in favor of banning abortion (e.g., Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio). It’s not common among Democrats though that might be due to party discipline. But if there is more immigration from Latin America, one would expect an increase in the number of Latino politicians who would look more like Latin American politicians, at least if many of those immigrants eventually become US citizens (which might or might not happen), or have American children who will oppose legal abortion when they grow up. I don’t think the Democrats will move. But new parties might and would likely emerge, given sufficient immigration.
    Generally speaking, if you have considerable immigration from a place in which there is prevalent social consensus to ban abortion, that tends to increase the chances of a ban on abortion, or at least greater restrictions.

    2. In the post, you said: ” The next president will settle virtually every major social issue. Abortion, gun rights, religious liberty, mass immigration, marriage, and capital punishment are just a few of the victories the Left will achieve if Clinton wins.”
    When I challenged the conclusion that Clinton will settle the issue of immigration, you replied that “Four more years of doing nothing adds significantly to the problem”. I replied that not doing anything would not settle the issue.
    You ask: “So what?”
    My answer would be: “So, with regard to immigration, your claim in the OP appears to go beyond what your arguments warrant.”

    3. Republicans might replace Scalia if they keep the Senate and they are willing to change the filibuster rules. But why do you think Kennedy would have an incentive to resign?

    • Angra:

      You raise some interesting points. I’ve been telling the alt-right for a long time that white people are among the most liberal in the world. I do have a conservative view on immigration, but I can see a case being made for immigration helping social conservatism in the long run. Do you see any evidence of this happening, other than the proposals you laid out earlier? For example, I am a TA for an ethics class. Most of the students seem to be pro-choice, but they’re really inconsistent as to what they mean by that. However, a vast majority of the students are white (there are 3 in my section who are mixed races) and as I said before, whites are among the most liberal people on earth with regard to social issues.

      I have thought that a realignment may be possible such that the social/fiscal alliances may change such that future political parties might look different in America (indeed, conservatism and liberalism are generally quite different in other countries than they are here, from what I’ve read.) Do you think this is true? It seems to appear that the Democratic party gets stronger as more immigration occurs. But you may be suggesting that the party will feel pressure to realign its priorities. I have assumed that in general what is happening is that people from more conservative countries are migrating to America and oddly making it more liberal in the process. The only reason I could think of for this is that either A) The immigrants believe American conservatism is an existential threat to them such that they oppose these folks even though their views might be naturally well aligned in some cases or B) that immigrants are generally more liberal than the populaces that they are leaving, that is, liberals from conservative countries are fleeing those countries to join in solidarity with liberals in America. One way this might be testable is to see if the countries people are leaving from are becoming more conservative. Another thought that I’ve had is that the world in general is trending more liberal, partly due to the left’s superior ability to disseminate information.

      Although you and I clearly disagree on many issues, I’ve found your idea quite possible in my own deliberations in the past and am wondering more about your take on this scenario.

      • Pooh Bear:

        I’m afraid my arguments regarding potential long-term effects of immigration are speculation based on information about some of the main countries of origin. I don’t have hard evidence in one direction or another.

        But I think you raise good point that people from [socially] more conservative countries might be migrating to America and perhaps making it more liberal in the process so far. Migrants who become citizens or people born in America with recent Latin American ancestry tend to vote Democrat when they vote, and so far the party is not changing on those issues.

        However, I think many would likely want to vote for candidates who intend to ban abortion, at least as long as those candidates are also left-wing on economics, favor big government, etc. – it’s just that so far, candidates like that aren’t common at all. But in the long run, if the US looks more like Latin America in terms of demographics and popular opinions, I’d say there is a good chance such candidates to gradually appear, at least barring a shift towards the left in Latin America.

        That aside, I think you may be right about A), at least in the case of some naturalized citizens and Americans with recent Latin American ancestry, but I would add another reason: C): even if they do not consider American conservatism something as extreme as an existential threat, they may well consider conservative economic policies threatening enough to vote for Democrats, even if they disagree with the Democratic platform in many respects (Latin American countries are usually socially more conservative than the US, but economically much more leftist).

        I think B) raises an interesting issue. Latin American countries do not appear to be shifting in general to the right on issues like abortion – but then, there isn’t much room for that. It depends on the country: some seem to be moving towards the left, some further right, and some remain unchanged. In terms of laws, Uruguay legalized elective abortion in the first 12 weeks (2012). But there aren’t many migrants from Uruguay to the US.
        Nicaragua went into the other direction, criminalizing in 2006 abortion in the only (rare) cases in which it was allowed. Now it’s a felony even if a woman’s life depends on it, and even if there is no chance that the embryo or fetus will survive. The same shift further to the right happened in El Salvador (1998), at least in terms of laws. Even so, migration from those countries to the US probably was then probably too small in relation to the total population to have played a role.

        In Mexico, abortion on demand prior to 12 weeks was decriminalized in the capital more or less recently, but in the rest of the country, it remains banned, and the partial decriminalization in the federal district was followed by laws and amendments establishing personhood from conception. Still, that may have been just a reaction to the law in Mexico City, rather than a sign of a shift towards conservatism in that regard. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    • 1. Cubans are relatively conservative and are more likely than other Hispanic groups to vote Republican. That’s changing as the older, anti-communist generation is dying out. The vast majority of immigration doesn’t come from Cuba. We’ve had plenty of immigration. The overwhelming majority of non-Cuban Hispanic politicians have been pro-abortion. If immigrants are pro-life, they don’t prioritise that belief when voting. According to Pew (http://www.pewforum.org/2016/04/08/public-opinion-on-abortion-2/), Hispanics are about as likely to be pro-life as pro-abortion, so there’s no incentive for the Democrat Party to shift on this issue given the willingness of Hispanics to vote for them anyway.

      2. Yeah, what unites those issues is the Supreme Court. A leftist court will grant her the power of ‘executive amnesty,’ which was rejected because the court is presently tied.

      3. Because Kennedy, as a centre-right justice, would probably prefer being replaced by a Republican. He also probably would prefer that the court not be taken in a hard left direction. In any case, it’s too risky for Republicans to just assume that Clinton will only replace one justice.

      • Conservatrarian,

        1. Most Latin American immigrants do not vote, and registration and turnout is low among American citizens of recent Latin American ancestry. Still, it’s true that those that vote tend to vote Democrat. But it seems to me many would be willing to vote for anti-abortion candidates, as long as they are also on the economic left. There aren’t many such candidates, but what I’m saying is that the chances of those candidates will probably increase if the US population becomes more (culturally) like Latin America.
        Regarding the poll you linked to, you’re right that (according to it), Hispanics in the US are only slightly more likely to think abortion should be illegal than legal. However, according to the same poll, non-Hispanics are significantly more likely to think abortion should be legal. If those opinions roughly remained and the percentage of Hispanics went up significantly (as it’s likely to), the percentage of people in the US who think abortion should be illegal is likely to increase, and the who think abortion should be legal is likely to decrease. That at least tends to increase the likelihood of further abortion restrictions in the long run, even if it’s not decisive.

        Immigration aside, I’d like to ask how you think Clinton will settle the matter on abortion. If it’s through SCOTUS, as I mentioned, that might happen. But it’s by no means a done deal. Republicans in the Senate can block appointments, either by voting against them if they are a majority, or by filibustering (Democrats could change the rules, but that can be politically costly).

        2. Assuming Clinton manages to appoint a liberal justice (or more), then I agree that that will have a significant impact. But it will still not settle the issue. Apart from the fact that executive actions can be abrogated by future presidents (thus limiting the number of immigrants they affect), it doesn’t seem like Obama’s plan, if implemented, would have settled the issue (or rather issues) of immigration.

        3. Kennedy is center-right on some issues, but center-left on others. I’m not sure he has a preference regarding his replacement. Still, let’s say you’re right about that. While there is definitely a chance that Clinton will be able to appoint more than one leftist justice, I don’t see any conclusive evidence that she’ll be able to appoint any. Maybe Republicans will block any nominee (or maybe she’ll end up negotiating and appointing centrists, but that seems less likely to to pressure on her from the left).

      • Angra,

        I believe that we may be reaching an impasse.

        1. Most Hispanics don’t vote, but it’s true that, if they did, they’d vote Democrat much more often than Republican. Cubans have been an exception but will no longer be an exception once people like my grandparents pass away.

        The point I brought up before is that the Democrat Party–the party of economic leftism–isn’t going to move to the right on abortion. The Latino candidates it attracts also happen to be pro-abortion. So, given that Latinos don’t prioritise the life issue over economic ones, and that the Democrat Party isn’t going to move to the right on this issue (they haven’t had an incentive to do so and likely won’t given the willingness of Latinos to support them despite their views on abortion), there’s little reason to suppose that the pro-life side is going to win because of increased immigration.

        But this is all, in any case, irrelevant, since the abortion isn’t decided in this country by the people. It *is* a done deal, in my opinion. Hillary Clinton will almost certainly appoint Scalia’s successor. That would bring the pro-abortion majority to 6-3. She will also almost certainly replace Ginsburg with another pro-abortion radical. The probability that she’d also replace Breyer is not low. That would strengthen the leftist, pro-abortion majority significantly. This will *definitely* happen if Democrats win the Senate. The Democrats have already changed the rules to eliminate the filibuster for non-judicial appointments and they’ve already signalled that they’d be willing to do the same if Republicans block her nominees. But even if Republicans continue to control the Senate, it’s still likely that she will at least replace Scalia. There’s very little chance, it seems to me, of Republicans, some of whom are moderate pro-aborts, will maintain a vacancy for four years. They’d be petrified of reprisals at the ballot box.

        2. Executive actions can be abrogated by future presidents but future presidents can’t undo amnesty, as the leftist lower courts will no doubt rule (immigrants can’t be given legal status and then be made illegal again). The damage will have already been done.

        3. It’s uncontroversial that Kennedy is centre-right generally. He was in the majority on all of the landmark cases I listed. He’s more libertarian, which explains why he ruled the way he ruled on marriage and abortion (with the exception of his decision in Gonzales). The evidence that Republicans won’t maintain a vacancy for four years is that they didn’t do so under Obama, despite the fact that they could’ve filibustered if they wanted to. There are too many Republicans in the Senate who buy the bogus principle that if a nominee is qualified, then he ought to be confirmed, whatever his judicial philosophy (Collins, Graham, and, previously, McCain come to mind). That’s why they confirmed radicals in Sotomayor and Kagan.

  9. “Second, there were anti-mass immigration alternatives to Trump who were both more electable and more reliably right-wing (e.g. Ted Cruz).”

    Lutz!

    Even the folks who liked Cruz on many policy positions, if we’re being honest here, must admit that his odd appearance, mannerisms, and voice made him unelectable. We might not think that’s fair, but it’s reality.

    The fact that Cruz generally appeared to be a clutch of hundreds of venomous snakes writhing inside an ill-fitting human skinsuit, coupled with his awkward “pretending to be a real human” personality spawned (hilarious) me message.

    It’s strange to me that you still think he was electable even after Trump folded him up and put him away like a used handkerchief.

    Trump or Hillary is what the nation deserves. Poetic justice.

  10. First, I would like to know what in the author’s opinion, as others above have asked, have been the great victories of conservatism outside those court cases listed.

    Second, aren’t court cases as the markers of great conservative victories a bad sign? A courtroom is insulated from the culture at large, or at least that is the way it is supposed to be. In the courtroom it is appeal to the guiding traditions, the Constitution and common law, and legal reasoning that stand. Yes, the biases of judges can twist their logic and go totally against the guiding tradition, but this isn’t immune to being scrutinized and called out when it happens. In the courtroom it’s show me, don’t tell me, make a case or git out. In the legislature, however, it’s very often feels over reals and the rule of the mob. The courts will always be somewhat conservative by this standard, if only because they have to actually scrutinize something and see if it stands up to tradition, even if they ultimately twist reasoning to go against that tradition. Winning a court case is, in this context, winning a battle in the role of the defender.

    The fact that the legislature, that thing most reflective of the greater culture of the time, clashes with the judicial, the default defenders of the tradition, on these crucial issues ultimately a signifier we’ve lost that larger culture? Shouldn’t the goal not be winning cases like Heller, Citizens United, etc., but living in world where these cases need not take place?

    When this country’s guiding document was drafted, it was considered by a portion of the framers that we needn’t a Bill of Rights, as it was ingrained in the culture that these rights were inalienable and conveyed on man by his creator. The other side ultimately prevailed and we got our Bill of Rights. If we hadn’t gotten those first ten amendments, and history ran roughly the same course without them, what would the rights of modern Americans look like? What would the outcome of Heller have been without a written Second Amendment, instead relying only on an unwritten right that was supposed to have been preserved by “the culture”. What would the right to keep and bear arms reliant on a culture that created the gun laws in Washington DC, that our real Heller overturned, look like?

    Politics is downstream from culture. Culture can be nudged in certain directions by politics. It’s a Yin-Yang type push and pull, a very delicate balance between inputs and outputs.

    Am I wrong?

    • 1. Here’s a good list from Charles Cooke at the great National Review:

      “Among these alterations are the tarring and feathering of the reflexively technocratic mindset that obtained from the outset of the New Deal to the end of the 1970s; the marginalization of wage and price controls, and of other centralizing tools; the lowering of destructive tax rates on income and other forms of wealth; the deregulation of a significant number of major industries; a renewed focus on national sovereignty; the successful reform of the welfare system; a consensus around free trade; a much lower minimum wage; a focus on both the text and the original meaning of the Constitution when discussing limits on government power; the restoration of the right to keep and bear arms; the stronger protection of freedom of expression; a national partial-birth-abortion ban; the death of speech-killing “campaign-finance reform”; and, lest we forget, the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet Union. For some much-needed context, understand that the GOP’s standard-bearer in the early 1970s, Richard Nixon, was the mind behind the Environmental Protection Agency, whereas today’s Republican candidates are opposed to so many departments that they can’t always remember all of their names.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431433/conservativisms-achievements-obama-era

      Defeating the Evil Empire is pretty significant, I think.

      2. I’m not sure what you mean in your second paragraph. As a matter of historical fact, the courts can be much more left-wing than the culture. Obergefell is a good example. In a day the court reversed dozens of state laws regarding marriage. They do this often.

      “The fact that the legislature, that thing most reflective of the greater culture of the time, clashes with the judicial, the default defenders of the tradition, on these crucial issues ultimately a signifier we’ve lost that larger culture? Shouldn’t the goal not be winning cases like Heller, Citizens United, etc., but living in world where these cases need not take place?”

      No, I don’t believe that it signifies that we’ve lost the culture. As I wrote, it depends on the issue. Unfortunately, the courts have given themselves tremendous power, and so can reverse or uphold laws for whatever reason they like. Sometimes the court goes against the culture. Other times it goes with the culture (as it did in Heller). This is what our constitutional system has become, so some of these battles *must* be fought both in the legislature and in the courts.

      “Politics is downstream from culture. Culture can be nudged in certain directions by politics. It’s a Yin-Yang type push and pull, a very delicate balance between inputs and outputs.

      Am I wrong?”

      No, I don’t think so. I’d just add that the law often teaches, which is why a leftist Supreme Court for the next two generations is very scary indeed.

  11. Conservatrarian,

    1. Obama was unable to replace Scalia. Clinton might, but I don’t agree it’s almost certain.
    As for Ginsburg, she might neither resign (e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/opinion/sunday/gail-collins-ruth-bader-ginsburg-has-no-interest-in-retiring.html?_r=0 ; http://www.npr.org/2016/10/03/495820477/no-ruth-bader-ginsburg-does-not-intend-to-retire-anytime-soon ) nor die in the next 4 years – or two; Republicans have a good chance at getting control of the Senate in midterm elections, even if they lose it now.

    Regarding potential reprisals at the ballot box, one has to consider also reprisals for actually voting for a candidate proposed by Clinton.

    2. They can’t retroactively change that, sure. They can prevent legalization in the future. Still, legalization is important but not something that will end the issue.

    3. He’s center-right on some issues, but not on others. The evidence you present isn’t in conflict with that assessment. Sure, he might prefer to be replaced by a justice appointed by Republicans for all I know. But also for all I know he might not have that preference. I don’t think this is certain.
    Regarding what Senate Republicans will do, the situation then isn’t the same as the situation now. They’ve been blocking an Obama nominee for months, and they may well be willing to continue – as some have already indicated. Regarding the bogus principle you mention, if enough Republican bought it and applied it, Garland would have been confirmed. But he has not.

  12. Conservatrarian,

    1. Obama was unable to replace Scalia. Clinton might, but I don’t agree it’s almost certain.
    As for Ginsburg, she might neither resign (I sent a comment with links, but doesn’t seem to have gotten through; maybe a spam filter) nor die in the next 4 years – or two; Republicans have a good chance at getting control of the Senate in midterm elections, even if they lose it now.
    Regarding potential reprisals at the ballot box, one has to consider also reprisals for actually voting for a candidate proposed by Clinton.

    2. They can’t retroactively change that, sure. They can prevent legalization in the future. Still, legalization is important but not something that will end the issue.

    3. He’s center-right on some issues, but not on others. The evidence you present isn’t in conflict with that assessment. Sure, he might prefer to be replaced by a justice appointed by Republicans for all I know. But also for all I know he might not have that preference. I don’t think this is certain.
    Regarding what Senate Republicans will do, the situation then isn’t the same as the situation now. They’ve been blocking an Obama nominee for months, and they may well be willing to continue – as some have already indicated. Regarding the bogus principle you mention, if enough Republican bought it and applied it, Garland would have been confirmed. But he has not.

    • 1. He was unable to replace Scalia in a year in which he was a lame duck and Republicans had the excuse of its being an election year. They’re on record saying that the next president should decide. So (a) they will no longer have the same excuse, and (b) they’ve said the next president should decide. When it wasn’t a presidential election year, Obama was able to get through two nominees.

      2. The damage will have already been done.

      3. He’s centre-right on most issues. It’s generally agreed that he’s a centre-right justice, which is why it’s generally agreed that the court was centre-right before Scalia’s death. And if he doesn’t have the preference to be replaced by a Republican, then all the more reason to fear a Clinton presidency. So, like I wrote before, it’s far too risky.

      Graham, who accepts the bogus principle, used the excuse that it’s an election year and ‘the voters and the next president should decide.’ That excuse will no longer be there. You have much more faith in Republicans than I do. I think too many of them are spineless on this issue.

      • Conservatrarian,

        1. Some of them are on record saying that Clinton should not decide (e.g., McCain, Cruz). Some are saying that if Clinton wins, Garland should be confirmed before she takes office, since he’s very probably less leftist than anyone she’d nominate. How to handle the matter is something still being debated among Republican senators (there are several sources for that; I would post a link if I could, but that would probably get my post blocked, so I’d suggest – for example – the article “Republicans at war over Supreme Court” on politico.com
        I don’t have faith in Republican senators. I’m not saying they certainly will block any nominee until 2021. I’m saying that it’s not certain they won’t. Chances are most of them will do whatever they think is in their political interest, considering variables ranging from party loyalty to risk of being accused of allowing the fall of the US on liberal hands. I don’t know what they (or enough of them) will decide.

        2. Some of the damage will have already been done. But again, this doesn’t settle the issue. Future immigration would remain a contentious issue, with some people calling for further restrictions to legal immigration and better law enforcement against illegal immigration; others calling for one of those but not both; others calling for less restrictions, etc.; future administrations – and future members of Congress – will have further relevant decisions to make.

  13. I think you regard the Overton argument as “facile” because you just don’t understand the perspective of the Trump people or the alt right. Or you don’t have any sympathy for it (or them). Here’s how it seems to me, anyway:

    The single most important issue in the western world is race or ethnicity. The worst thing we’re facing is the loss of our nations, our identity and solidarity, our racial-cultural power and self-determination. In just a little while there will be no such thing as France or Germany or America. No western peoples or cultures will exist in a real way; we’ll be like Navajos or Mayans. And people like me think this is intrinsically horrific and we also think it makes every other “conservative” or even “liberal” goal impossible.

    I guess you don’t agree that this is happening or you don’t think it matters too much compared with other issues–abortion, the courts, etc. But for people like me it makes sense to support Trump. In fact we _love_ Trump even if he has all the flaws you claim.

    Because in this situation the first thing we have to do if we’re going to win is to _speak honestly_ about our situation. And most people can’t do that because they depend on the system for their income, and they couldn’t deal with the 2 minute hate.

    Now Trump doesn’t say everything. But he does dog whistle more than anyone at that level of influence in decades. And since all the lies of the left hang together, pissing on feminism undermines multiculturalism and all the other lies. Trump enacts the attitude we need to survive. He physically embodies normal masculine authority, implicit white identity, nationalism, etc. And this is _very_ important, we think.

    It’s strange to me that a religious person is so concerned about polls, speculations about whether “women” in general will be turned off by some comment, policy wonkery. Don’t you allow the possibilty that the most important stuff is happening at a spiritual or psychic level way beyond all that bullshit? For me Trump represents a first glimmer of national-racial consciousness in the majority. I think that’s why the media and the left are shitting themselves and going berserk like never before–why _they_ clearly do not think he’s a “buffoon”. And even if he is, it doesn’t matter. He’s given the white working class a voice and a symbol for their rage. And that is powerful and new.

    So you may reject this whole line of thought and value scheme, but that’s what lies behind the Overton argument. It’s not facile but just very alien and repellent to people like you.

    • I’m not sure how any of that is relevant. The point I brought up is that Trump is making your issues *less* acceptable to the public, not more. If his face is associated with p, then, generally, fewer people believe p, including white people, the overwhelming majority of whom (including Republicans) support amnesty. Whether you like it or not, white people couldn’t care less about race. That ship set sail decades ago. It’s over.

      I’m interested in polling evidence because that’s the most reliable way to gauge public opinion. Since Trumplings make claims about what is more publicly acceptable after Trump’s candidacy, it’s good to bring in at least a little bit of evidence into the discussion.

      So, yes, it is facile.

      • Oh come ON man. I know you don’t like us, or me, but just “facile” and “irrelevant”? Use your imaginaton. Have a little charity.

        Much has been written by the left and right _both_ about the implicit whiteness of Trump’s movement. All we want is for the implicit to be made explicit. Return of the repressed.

        Look at the behavior of whites–where they live, where they send their kids to school. Are you so sure they don’t care about race? I’m not talking about what they _say_ but rather behavior indicates caring.

        Even if whites _now_ don’t care, or didn’t care in the recent past, are you sure they won’t start caring once we have even more immigration and anti-white policy and anti-white violence and terrorism? You don’t know that. And really you give no argument but just assert they don’t care.

        Looks to me as if whites are starting to wake up. Looks that way to the NYT and the lib professors and the whole establishment. That’s why they’re berserk. You think they’re more concerned about abortion or guns? The whole system is based on anti-whitism. Without that the elites can’t maintain control over the majority.

        Get off your high horse. We can just be wrong but we’re on to something. A rational thinker would concede that.

      • I say what I mean and I mean what I say. So, yes, facile and irrelevant (insofar as you produced not a shred of evidence, just a report of your views).

        I’ve no doubt that whites, either consciously or sub-consciously, prefer living amongst other whites. But the evidence indicates that they couldn’t care less about the issues *you* think are important. As I wrote, the overwhelming majority of whites, including white conservatives, support amnesty. Racial attitudes are more liberal now amongst whites than ever before. That’s what the data say, whether you like it or not.

        Could this change at some point in the future? Perhaps. We don’t know. How is this relevant in this context? I’m talking about *Trump.* If it does change in future, the data indicate that it will be in spite of his intervention, not because of it. If it changes in future, it’ll be because of intolerable cultural changes and immigration levels or something like this. But that’s consistent with everything I wrote in this piece.

        “Looks to me as if whites are starting to wake up.”

        You’ve reported your view. Got any evidence? The data I look at tell the opposite story. At the risk of repeating myself, whites are now more likely than ever before to support amnesty for illegal aliens and have liberal racial attitudes (including about black intelligence). I couldn’t care less about *your* hunches, I care about objective, publicly accessible evidence. If you haven’t any, say so.

    • Jacques, the things you think are essential for a good society are over. Just move on. And stop explaining why those things are important, because you’re just going to lose women and Latino voters that way. And white people won’t listen to you either. The left already completely controls their minds and there’s no use fighting it. Nothing you’ve seen with the Trump movement at all indicates that white people are capable of being roused to reject the lies they’ve been told. Grow up. The march into oblivion for white, western civilization is inevitable and what a sensible person does, _obviously_, is just focus on making things a bit more comfortable on the way out. That’s the meaning of “conservatism”. Anything else is facile.

      • Right! I forgot the true meaning of conservatism. I for one welcome our new Chinese, African, Muslim, Jewish and Hispanic over-lords. Sorry–“over-persons”. But I hope they’ll be nice to babies and let the rednecks keep their guns. Oh and lower taxes! I guess a few good arguments and showing them the US Constitution could help.

  14. I’m describing a perspective, one shared by many intelligent well informed people. I’m asking you to consider the argument you call “facile” from that perspective.

    The point is that, from that perspective the argument is not facile. I’m not asking you to agree with that perspective (so not offering “objective evidence” for it). Before criticizing an argument understand where the person is coming from–that is relevant to what the argument means.

    Moreover, I deny that we always need objective public evidence to be rational thinkers. Some things are known by other means. Why would a religious person be so hostile to intuition, spiritual awareness. I see the Hand of God in the Trump movement. I sense that Something is happening that’s new and major. You can disagree and grant that _if_ one has such an intuition the Overton argument is powerful and deep. Just as an agnostic should (if reasonable) allow that others can be rationally persuaded by arguments grounded in (non-public, “subjective”) religious experience.

    The fact that we’re having this exchange implies that either I’m really dumb or the position under discussion is more defensible than you claim. (I’m not really dumb.)

  15. your post is pathetic. the mainstream of conservatism in america is similarly hapless. it has allowed and encouraged 3rd world immigration that has destroyed american whites. it has caved on every hot button social issue. Trump offers a chance to regain lost ground. stands a chance of winning despite betrayal by bitter losers like paul ryan and jeb bush. yet here you sniveling crypto-lefties are to complain that a rightist had the audacity to be successful despite a culture that is so far gone it chose the obama nightmare. just admit that you are not a conservative. stop with the laughable ruse.

  16. I’m very happy to report and concede that I was wrong. I have egg on my face and it’s tasty. Trump may have just saved us from the scourge of leftism. 2016: The revenge of the white working class.

    • lol at your comment. sniveling ‘conservative’ now pro-Trump after all the ‘real conservatism’ bs you were throwing around? just pathetic. your garbage conservatism is finished. we don’t want you.

      • I voted for Trump and volunteered for his campaign. I thought he’d lose. I resented him for that. That doesn’t mean I didn’t support him when he won the nomination, unlike others.

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