Trump’s new nationalism

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Seems we are all under stringent orders from the “establishment” and the mass media not to support Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Every few days we are shouted at with a new headline full of sound and fury; some new allegation or incident about Trump which later proves to be derisory.

Washington insiders and neocons frothing at the mouth are now supporting their once arch enemy Senator Ted Cruz just to stop Trump. One is reminded of the communist Lenin who, during the Russian Revolution in 1917, encouraged his supporters to back a socialist named Kerensky “as the rope supports the hanged man.” At the brokered convention being proposed by the establishment and media, Ted Cruz will most certainly be brought up at the end of a GOP establishment rope.

This writer confidently predicts there will be no brokered convention. Trump will win on the first ballot and the establishment and neocons in the famous words of great neoconservative Irving Kristol will once again find themselves, “mugged by reality.”

Trump puts one in mind of another outspoken New Yorker and a similarly disparaged Republican figure – Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt hailed from Manhattan while Trump was born in Queens. Like Trump, Roosevelt was utterly despised by the GOP Republican establishment who did everything to render him impotent.

Roosevelt was placed in dead end positions out of harm’s way at U.S. Civil Service Commissioner 1889 and as Assistant Secretary of the Navy 1897. Undaunted, Roosevelt turned all of these positions into springboards for further advancement. While the GOP despised him, the public grew fond of him and his forthright opinions.

Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the start of the Spanish American War in 1898 and formed his own regiment of “Rough Riders.” He became a hero in that war and was elected governor of New York. The Republican establishment bosses wanted him out of New York and so put him on the GOP ticket as vice president to William McKinley.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

Poor McKinley was assassinated in 1901! Roosevelt became president and national GOP party boss and US senator Mark Hanna despairingly exclaimed, “now that damned cowboy is in the White House.”

There are many parallels between Trump and Theodore Roosevelt. Critics have charged both Roosevelt and Trump with being insufficiently conservative. As president, Roosevelt advocated government intervention into the economy and championed free competition. He called it a “Square Deal.” Trump too encourages free and fair trade, as opposed to laissez-faire economics.

Trump, like Roosevelt, is also a committed nationalist, not an internationalist of the Paul Ryan stripe. Roosevelt wanted a Square Deal for the American people first and foremost. He battled against signing away U.S. sovereignty for any League of Nations.

Trump’s conservatism, like Roosevelt’s, is one based on common sense and prudence as encouraged by the genuine conservatism of Edmund Burke. It is practical, not theoretical, and looks disdainfully upon abstract ideologies that advocate ‘nation building’ in the pursuit of ‘world community.’

Trump rightly points out that a country that does not protect its borders it no longer a country. He looks to “make America great again” to benefit American workers and America’s legal citizens.

Peggy Noonan in a recent Wall Street Journal column entitled, ‘Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected’ writes of a growing movement in the United States and Europe, an uprising of the unprotected against internationalist elites that, “operated in splendid isolation looking after its own while looking down on the people.” One is reminded of Washington Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.

Noonan also adds that the attitude of this elite is, “You’re on your own. Get with the program, little racist.” Trump has likewise been excoriated in this manner, but he is still running strong and, more and more, is becoming the champion of the little guy.

He won big in New York and has a 20-point lead in Pennsylvania. His future looks bright.

The recent hiring of veteran Paul Manafort by Trump promises the campaign will be more coordinated and on message and free of media distractions. Manafort, an expert in the GOP convention nominating process, will also ensure no one steals the nomination from Trump. Manafort who worked for Gerald Ford and Bob Dole will ensure there will be no repeat of 1912 when the party insiders deprived Theodore Roosevelt of the Republican presidential nomination, and the Roosevelt delegates left the GOP to proclaim a New Nationalism and form their own Bull Moose party.

Patrick J. Walsh is a freelance writer from Quincy. Read his past columns here.