Donald Trump’s shutdown of the government reflects a larger problem within the Republican party and the conservative movement. This ill-begotten action was done to appease those two relics of reaction, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, outhpieces of the “base” who managed to take a done deal in December into an endless statement in January.
That Trump could be so artless and be dragged along by wall-obsessed fanatics only points to his lack of focus. Did it occur to him that the 2018 midterms had consequences? Apparently not. Instead of infrastructure improvements and working with Democrats, he decides to undercut his own position by picking an unsavory fight. Naturally, the old hack Mitch McConnell will decide to do nothing constructive and allow the Donald to twist in the wind. He abrogated responsibility years ago; after all, he was only good at thwarting Obama.
Instead, Trump continues to demagogue the wall, leaving the suspicious impression that he does not really know how to proceed. He tweets, he hollers and bends the truth. Like the Tea Party, he had run out of gas and simply tries to exploit any remaining resentments. Which is a shame because Trump had the opportunity to be something different — instead he has become a crank — evoking out of date issues and themes.
Indeed, throughout the notion, the Tea Party “revolt” of 2010 has begun to mirror the Populist insurrection of the 1890s. After a promising start, the People’s party became a storehouse for bizarre positions coinage of silver and parity for crops. Some were the enlightened views that promised to alter the system. The Populist forgot the more ambitious goals of democratizing the country and became stuck peddling local issues and exotic positions.
Look at the Tea Party, they are now the faction of no, being reduced to being a poor regiment of the GOP. The country is not listening, even West Virginia, who legislature, a few years ago, resembled a revolutionary camp. Yellow flag and sour looks greeted visitors. Now, they are confronted with the fact that teachers won a strike, got a raise and managed to have other public employees rewarded as well. Seems like the old Tea Party was as dead as Marley’s ghost. In state after state, people demanded more be spent on school and they proved triumphant.
Perhaps the setbacks for the Right Wing might be the result of their negativity. A wall and rolling back immigration patterns to 1964, is no more possible than ending the Gold Standard in 1894. Trump, who tried to adopt a nationalist angle emphasizing positive solutions, became a cranky tea partier, mad at everything. Even his tariff stances were an attempt to connect inequities, but he does not speak of those anymore. Sooner or later, he will be mumbling about international bankers and fluoridated water, and, of course, fake news.
Trump has not faltered because he did not follow the Republican lure, but because he too closely adhered to Conservative dogma. Instead of making a deal, he drones on about issues no one is interested in. With low employment and a trickle of illegal aliens, he is preaching to the convinced and making the nest of nervous.