Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Can Trump Successfully Remodel the GOP?

 by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
If Trumpism succeeds, it could replace mainstream Republicanism.
The Republican-party establishment is caught in an existential paradox.
Without Donald Trump’s populist and nationalist 2016 campaign, the GOP probably would not have won the presidency. Nor would Republicans now enjoy such lopsided control of state legislatures and governorships, as well as majorities in the House and Senate, and likely control of the Supreme Court for a generation.
So are conservatives angry at the apostate Trump or indebted to him for helping them politically when they were not able to help themselves?
For a similar sense of the paradox, imagine if a novice outsider such as billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban had captured the Democratic nomination and then won the presidency — but did not run on either Bernie Sanders’s progressive redistributionism, Barack Obama’s identity politics, or Hillary Clinton’s high taxes and increased regulation. Would liberals be happy, conflicted, or seething?
For now, most Republicans are overlooking Trump’s bothersome character excesses — without conceding that his impulsiveness and bluntness may well have contributed to his success after Republican sobriety and traditionalism failed.

Republicans concentrate on what they like in the Trump agenda — military spending increases, energy expansion, deterrence abroad, tax and regulatory reform, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act — and they ignore the inherent contradictions between Trumpism and their own political creed.
But there are many fault lines that will loom large in the next few years.
Doctrinaire conservatives believe that unfettered free trade is essential, even if it is sometimes not fair or reciprocal.
Establishment Republicans (privately) argue that cheap imports into the U.S. at least kept inflation low. If our trade partners dump state-subsidized products into the U.S., it is to their long-term disadvantage, not ours.
In this mainstream Republican view, the role of a superpower is to endure trade deficits to help its less powerful allies and keep the global order prosperous and stable. But Trump’s idea of “fair” trade trumps “free” trade.
Trump is not willing to accept a permanent Midwest Rust Belt as the price of globalization. If there are to be sacrificial lambs in world trade, for Trump it is better that they reside in China, South Korea, and Germany, nations that for a change can try finding any upside to running huge trade deficits.
Unlike doctrinaire Republicans, Trump believes that illegal immigration is a big — and bad — deal.
The Republican establishment’s employer argument is that illegal immigration ensures that the sort of work “Americans won’t do” is actually done. Or, some establishment Republicans believe that undocumented migrants who cross the southern border will one day become conservative, “family values” voters.
Not so Trumpism. It seeks to help the working class by stopping the importation of cheap labor. It believes that secure borders will restore the sanctity of law, and that the end of illegal immigration will lead to greater integration and assimilation of Latino minority groups.
In the long run, Mexico will be a better neighbor by not counting on impoverished expatriates to prop up an often corrupt government in Mexico City and by addressing the plight of its impoverished rather than exporting its poor. Trumpism views the world abroad largely in terms of realist deterrence.
Outside the West, the world is a mess, and it will probably not change — and cannot be forced to change — because of American blood and treasure spent on trying to replicate America abroad. Instead, Trumpism seems to want to deter rivals to ensure a calm global order.
Trumpism has no illusions that there will ever be a world of liberal democracies. It seeks instead only to make sure enemies understand that any future aggression will not be worth the anticipated benefits. As for dictators such as those in the Philippines or Egypt, Trumpism argues that it makes little sense to snub autocratic friends while cutting deals with autocratic enemies like those in Iran or Cuba.
On matters of identity politics, Republicans have often sought to play down but not actively oppose racial, ethnic, and gender pressure groups. The strategy has been to not antagonize the ethnic and race industries in hopes of receiving a greater share of the minority vote.
Trump is politically incorrect. He sees a person’s pocketbook, not his outward appearance, as the key to his allegiance. Through deregulation, tax reform, immigration reform, and fair trade, Trump hopes to help the economy grow by 3 percent each year.
Such economic growth has not happened in over a decade. But if Trumpism works, then prosperity will supposedly unite Americans more than identity politics can divide them.
In other words, Trump apparently believes that if he achieves 3 percent GDP growth and avoids a major war abroad, his brand of economic nationalism, realist deterrence, and America-first chauvinism will replace mainstream Republicanism.

If he stalls the economy or gets into a quagmire abroad, then Trump will end up like most other American populist mavericks — as an interesting footnote.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447509/trump-changes-republican-politics-may-remodel-party

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About victorhanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture. He recently published an historical novel The End of Sparta (2012), a realistic retelling of Epaminondas invasion and liberation of Spartan-control Messenia. In The Father of Us All (2011), he collected earlier essays on warfare ancient and modern. His upcoming history The Savior Generals(2013) analyzes how five generals in the history of the West changed the course of battles against all odds. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson, who was the fifth successive generation to live in the same house on his family’s farm, was a full-time orchard and vineyard grower from 1980-1984, before joining the nearby CSU Fresno campus in 1984 to initiate a classical languages program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin. Hanson has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992-93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991-92), a recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002), an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001), and was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002). He was also the visiting Shifrin Professor of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002-3). He received the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lectureship in 2004, and the 2006 Nimitz Lectureship in Military History at UC Berkeley in 2006. Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from ancient Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. He has written or edited 17 books, including Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece (1983; paperback ed. University of California Press, 1998); The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf, 1989; 2d paperback ed. University of California Press, 2000); Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience (Routledge, 1991; paperback., 1992); The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization(Free Press, 1995; 2nd paperback ed., University of California Press, 2000);Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea (Free Press, 1996; paperback, Touchstone, 1997; The Bay Area Book reviewers Non-fiction winner for 1996); The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer (Free Press, 2000; a Los Angeles Times Notable book of the year); The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell, 1999; paperback, 2001); The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999, paperback, Anchor/Vintage, 2000); Carnage and Culture (Doubleday, 2001; Anchor/Vintage, 2002; a New York Times bestseller); An Autumn of War (Anchor/Vintage, 2002); Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter, 2003),Ripples of Battle (Doubleday, 2003), and Between War and Peace (Random House, 2004). A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005. It was named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Hanson coauthored, with John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (Free Press, 1998; paperback, Encounter Press, 2000); with Bruce Thornton and John Heath, Bonfire of the Humanities (ISI Books, 2001); and with Heather MacDonald, and Steven Malanga, The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s (Ivan Dee 2007). He edited a collection of essays on ancient warfare, Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton University Press, 2010). Hanson has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Post, National Review, Washington Times, Commentary, The Washington Post, Claremont Review of Books, American Heritage, New Criterion, Policy Review, Wilson Quarterly, Weekly Standard, Daily Telegraph, and has been interviewed often on National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, Fox News, CNN, and C-Span’s Book TV and In-Depth. He serves on the editorial board of the Military History Quarterly, and City Journal. Since 2001, Hanson has written a weekly column for National Review Online, and in 2004, began his weekly syndicated column for Tribune Media Services. In 2006, he also began thrice-weekly blog for Pajamas Media, Works and Days. Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975, ‘highest honors’ Classics, ‘college honors’, Cowell College), the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (regular member, 1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He divides his time between his forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953, and the Stanford campus.

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