Why I Support Trump–and Resent the Elites Trying to Destroy Him

John C. Kluge, New York Post, March 5, 2016

Let me say up front that I am a lifelong Republican and conservative. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life and have voted in every presidential and midterm election since 1988. I have never in my life considered myself anything but a conservative. I am pained to admit that the conservative media and many conservatives’ reaction to Donald Trump has caused me to no longer consider myself part of the movement.

I would suggest to you that if you have lost people like me, and I am not alone, you might want to reconsider your reaction to Donald Trump. Let me explain why.

First, I spent the last 20 years watching the conservative media in Washington endorse and urge me to vote for one candidate after another who made a mockery of conservative principles and values. {snip}

In 2012, we were told to vote for Mitt Romney, a Massachusetts liberal who proudly signed an individual insurance mandate into law and refused to repudiate the decision. Before that, there was George W. Bush, the man who decided it was America’s duty to bring democracy to the Middle East. And before that, there was Bob Dole, the man who gave us the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Given this history, the conservative media’s claims that the Republican Party must reject Donald Trump because he is not a “conservative” are pathetic and ridiculous to those of us who are old enough to remember the last 25 years.

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Second, it doesn’t appear to me that conservatives calling on people to reject Trump have any idea what it actually means to be a “conservative.” The word seems to have become a brand that some people attach to a set of partisan policy preferences, rather than the set of underlying principles about government and society it once was.

Conservatism has become a dog’s breakfast of Wilsonian internationalism brought over from the Democratic Party after the New Left took it over, coupled with fanatical libertarian economics and religiously driven positions on various culture war issues. No one seems to have any idea or concern for how these positions are consistent or reflect anything other than a general hatred for Democrats and the left.

Lost in all of this is the older strain of conservatism. The one I grew up with and thought was reflective of the movement. This strain of conservatism believed in the free market and capitalism but did not fetishize them the way so many libertarians do.

This strain understood that a situation where every country in the world but the US acts in its own interests on matters of international trade and engages in all kinds of skulduggery in support of their interests is not free trade by any rational definition. This strain understood that a government’s first loyalty was to its citizens and the national interest. And also understood that the preservation of our culture and our civil institutions was a necessity.

All of this seems to have been lost. Conservatives have become some sort of schizophrenic sect of libertarians who love freedom (but hate potheads and abortion) and feel the US should be the policeman of the world. {snip}

Third, there is the issue of the war on Islamic extremism. Let me say upfront that I am a veteran of two foreign deployments in this war. As a member of the 1% who have served in these wars which movement conservatives consider so vital, my question for you and every other conservative is just when the hell did being conservative mean thinking the US has some kind of a duty to save foreign nations from themselves or bring our form of democratic republicanism to them by force? {snip}

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Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate who seems to have any inclination to act strictly in America’s interest. More importantly, he is the only Republican candidate who is willing to even address the problem. Trump may not have been right to say that we need to stop letting more Muslims into the country or, at least, examine the issue, but he wasn’t crazy to suggest it either. And like when he said the obvious about Iraq, the first people to condemn him and deny the obvious were conservatives. Somehow, being conservative now means denying the obvious and saying idiotic fantasies like “Islam is always peaceful” or “Our war is not with a radical strain of Islam.” Uh, sorry, but no it is not, and yes it is. And if getting a president who at least understands that means voting for Trump, then I guess I am not a conservative.

Fourth, I really do not care that Donald Trump is vulgar, combative and uncivil, and I would encourage you not to care as well. I would love to have our political discourse be what it was even 30 years ago and something better than what it is today. But the fact is the Democratic Party is never going to return to that, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it.

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Perhaps none of this means anything to you, and the movement has left me behind. If it has, I think conservatives should understand that it is leaving a lot of people like me behind. I can’t see how that is a good thing.

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