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'Nationalism' trumps 'conservatism,' says Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign heralds the birth of a new American right, built upon nationalism and populism rather than conservative ideological purity, according to talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh.

“Nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal,” Limbaugh said Wednesday.

In a largely sympathetic analysis, Limbaugh argued many voters are simply “fed up” with the Democratic Party but are also angry with Republicans in Congress who, he believes, do not act as a real opposition in Washington.

At the same time, Limbaugh said, there’s “a group of people out there that you would think looking at ’em, listening to ’em, the way they vote, ‘They’re conservative.'”

“But it’s not conservatism that is uniting them or motivating them,” he said. ‘This is what everybody is missing in Washington.”

Referring to Republicans in the capital, Limbaugh said: “They still don’t get that the primary motivating characteristic of Republican voters this time around is an absolutely direct opposition to the left, to the Democratic Party, to Obama and everything that’s been going on the last seven years. They want it stopped and reversed. And they will go anywhere if they are convinced whoever’s telling them they’re gonna stop it is telling them the truth.”

The analysis comes as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, after months of praising Trump, is attempting to overtake the Republican front-runner by accusing him of being part of the “establishment.”

If you think Ted Cruz is a champion of conservative values … wait until you read his dad’s new book! Get your copy of “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America” at the WND Superstore

However, Limbaugh alleged Trump’s supporters do not perceive Trump as part of the establishment but are driven by anger at what he called “Republican establishment central” in Washington.

Limbaugh further argued such voters may not necessarily be committed to conservative orthodoxy, especially when it comes to abstract principles or free market economics.

“They don’t have to be conservative,” he explained. “They don’t even have to be Republican.”

Indeed, Limbaugh argued the formation of the Trump coalition shows conservative ideology is relatively unimportant when it comes to creating conservative voters.

Limbaugh read from a 1996 article in the magazine Chronicles titled “From Household to Nation,” authored by the late Sam Francis.

Limbaugh quoted Francis:

[S]ooner or later, as the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives.

At the time, Francis was writing about Pat Buchanan’s insurgent presidential campaigns, for whom he served as an adviser. However, author Michael Brendan Dougherty recently argued Francis was more accurately predicting the rise of Trump.

Like Buchanan, Trump’s signature issues are opposition to illegal immigration and trade deals he claims are harmful to American interests. However, as Limbaugh noted, Trump may be garnering far more support than Buchanan ever did.

Limbaugh cited Buchanan’s analysis of the Trump phenomenon.

“Buchanan said [he didn’t have Trump’s success] because 20 years ago, he was just sounding the warning,” Limbaugh said. “None of this was really happening. He was warning people it was coming. Trump doesn’t have to do it. We’re living it.”

Many ideological conservatives, Limbaugh claimed, say they cannot understand how Sarah Palin endorsed Trump. Palin is an icon of the tea party who by Ted Cruz’s own admission was central to getting him elected to the Senate. But Limbaugh said there is no mystery.

“If you’re Sarah Palin, what has the Republican establishment done for you?” asked Limbaugh rhetorically. “Other than try to destroy you.”

Limbaugh noted Palin faced attacks from within the Republican Party during the 2008 campaign as John McCain staffers insulted and demeaned their own vice-presidential candidate even as she connected with the grassroots.

A former McCain staffer quoted in Politico continued such attacks on Tuesday, calling Palin an “astounding moron.”

The reaction to Palin, said Limbaugh, is explainable because “various components [of the conservative movement] are being exposed as really unnecessary and irrelevant, and really haven’t done anything for people.”

Dougherty also highlighted the failure of the conservative movement to accomplish any of its stated goals as a key factor in the rise of Trump-style nationalism and populism.

Dougherty wrote:

[Trump’s] campaign is a rebuke to their institutions. It says the Republican Party doesn’t need all these think tanks, all this supposed policy expertise. It says look at these people calling themselves libertarians and conservatives, the ones in tassel-loafers and bow ties. Have they made you more free? Have their endless policy papers and studies and books conserved anything for you? These people are worthless. They are defunct. You don’t need them, and you’re better off without them.

But Trump also attracts a different kind of voter than the typical Republican. Limbaugh identified workers dispossessed by mass immigration and globalization as a key part of the Trump coalition.

He summarized Francis’ analysis of these people:

[T]here are a number of Americans who are losers, economic losers, not sad-sack losers. They just lost out in the enterprise of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from unskilled, uneducated, increasing numbers of immigrants, most of them illegal.

Such voters, said Limbaugh, are “stuck in the cultural rot brought about by liberalism.”

However, though they are opposed to the cultural left, Limbaugh he told his audience these anti-left voters may nonetheless resist the label “conservative” because they do not want cuts to Social Security or Medicare.

Trump strongly appeals to such voters with his nationalist trade policy, opposition to illegal immigration and unwillingness to raise the Social Security retirement age. Trump also has called Medicare “a program that’s worked.”

As Dougherty phrased part of Trump’s appeal: “What if you dropped all this leftover 19th-century piety about the free market and promised to fight the elites who were selling out American jobs? What if you just stopped talking about reforming Medicare and Social Security and instead said that the elites were failing to deliver better health care at a reasonable price?”

But Limbaugh also said Republicans have simply failed to respond on what he called the “key” issue of open borders.

“If there’s one thing that people in this country think is responsible for the direct hit on the economy and their future and their kids’ future, it’s illegal immigration and the willing importation of unskilled, uneducated, totally dependent people who are gonna be automatic voters for the Democrats, which means this never ends,” Limbaugh explained. “So they’re expecting the Republican Party to stand up and say, ‘No!’

“They’re expecting the Republican Party to stand up and try to stop it. They’re not seeing it. They’re at their wits’ end.”

Trump’s signature call to build a “great wall” and “make Mexico pay for it” have become a standard part of his mass rallies. Such tactics have raised strong opposition among many Republican politicos.

One outspoken opponent of Trump and his supporters is Rick Wilson, a Republican political consultant whom Limbaugh characterized as part of the Republican establishment.

Limbaugh played Wilson’s recent characterization of Trump’s supporters as “screamers and crazy people” on MSNBC. Wilson also uttered a vulgar sexual taunt directed against some of Trump’s supporters who identify as part of the “Alt Right” movement impatient with Beltway-style conservatism.

“Yeah, so there you have the Republican establishment view of the typical Trump supporter,” said Limbaugh, suggesting the conflict will not end anytime soon.

Despite the claims Trump is not a conventional product of the conservative movement, he has attracted the endorsement of many leading conservatives besides Sarah Palin. Legendary conservative activist and family campaigner Phyllis Schlafly called him “the last hope for America.” Former Congressman Virgil Goode has endorsed Trump and is participating in his Virginia campaign. And Diana West, a WND columnist, has called for conservatives to “rally around Trump.”

However, all of these figures have identified immigration and trade as defining reasons to support Trump, rather than focusing on traditional conservative rhetoric about the Constitution and limited government.

Glenn Beck, a critic of Trump, is leading a counter attack in defense of what he perceives as true conservatism and is soon expected to formally endorse Ted Cruz. Beck will appear with Cruz at a campaign event Saturday, as the two attempt to reverse the Republican front-runner’s momentum.

But those who fear conventional conservatism is in retreat may find something ominous in the name of the town. Beck will be joining Ted Cruz in the town of Waterloo.

If you think Ted Cruz is a champion of conservative values … wait until you read his dad’s new book! Get your copy of “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America” at the WND Superstore