Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

How Long Will Trump’s Cathartic Candidacy for Fed-Up Conservatives Last?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

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About Victor Davis Hanson

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.

41 Thoughts on “How Long Will Trump’s Cathartic Candidacy for Fed-Up Conservatives Last?

  1. Joan Sands on August 16, 2015 at 10:24 pm said:

    Fiorina fired thousands & then got fired herself from HP but walked away with 40 million. Trump just published his immigration plan & it’s the best thing the country has seen in decades. I have always admired your writings but this time I really disagree with you about Donald Trump.

    • VDH is someone I have admired also. As an uneducated average person it seems so elitist of VDH to call Trump “uncouth and reckless.” It is a real turn off to hear a former professor sit in his ivory tower and look down on an individual who exhibits a love of country and patriotism. I remind everyone that Lewis and Clark in leading the Corps of Discovery Expedition used strong herbal cathartics to make their trek from St. Louis to the Pacific Coast and didn’t lose one member to disease. I for one will gladly take that cathartic and enjoy the results.

      • Joan Sands on August 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm said:

        Where was all the outrage when Barack Hussein said – in referring to Sarah Palin – that you can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig? Did anyone BHO was a loudmouth? Or crude, etc.? If so, I didn’t hear it.

      • CC please take the time and read VDH’s book Field Without Dreams written in the 1990’s.
        You may find you admire him once again when you understand where he’s been.

        You’ll discover not only is it tough to farm from an ivy tower, but many of the middlemen he dealt with might remind you of Donald Trump, who “exhibit a love of country and patriotism”, but truly have no substance and are all show.

        • Please read Trump’s political books and then comment on whether he lacks information, substance or deep understanding of the issues we face today.

  2. Texan Eye on August 17, 2015 at 2:09 am said:

    VDH – you hit it right on. Although I feel the catharsis will not be complete until there is some Democrat blood showing, like Clinton looking at a bright new orange jump suit, Lois Lerner picking out her color coordinated jump suit, and Obama’s work scheduled for the shredder by some credible Conservative.

  3. As long as I can remember (the fifties) Republican Conservatives have been caving into Democrat wishes,
    there is not one of these Republican in today’s race who have not done and will continue to do the same. When push comes to shove they will fold.

    Probably Trump also

  4. Jack Clancy on August 17, 2015 at 6:43 am said:

    With Trump “We the People” are giving a Tyrannical President, a corrupt Congress, an activist Supreme Court, the Banksters and a thug media both middle fingers.

    It’s clear this time around the People are not going to accept the establishment candidates. Hence the rise of Trump and Sanders. I do not support either of these candidates but I also have both middle fingers up.

    The establishment will have to replace Hillary as she is dodging sniper fire (again) on her ride to Dallas. I don’t think she will make the book depository.

  5. What happens if the disgruntled, fearful supporters of Mr Trump do not find the disillusion or the ” another candidate to take his place”? He could very well become the Republican candidate. I doubt he could do worse than Obama or the criminal Hillary. Imagine another eight years Saul Alinsky type Marxism running rampant in the country and Wild Bill chasing young fillies through the Whitehouse. If so, I see Greece and Puerto Rico in our future. Hillary is already promising more than she could ever produce for the 47% graspers and so far I have not heard any plans to “make America Great Again”.

  6. Trump reflects what a significant percentage of the base cares deeply about. He “speaks their language”, not the nambi pambi, PC , elite Republican candidate of the present and past, afraid to call”a spade a spade”. America was “charmed” by a smooth talking, sweet,smiling, black man (underneath a Schill for the one per centers, and and banksters, and Chicago “gang”) in 2008 and 2012. They want now a person showing some gonads to “call them out”, a roll up your sleeves fighter. If this base is ignored,and the black culture and hispanics are pandered, and the Republican congress continues on its present voting path, then the Republican party is doomed forever. You can make book on it.

  7. WRFREE on August 17, 2015 at 9:49 am said:

    Some very astute observations on Trump.
    I’m afraid he looks like a horse that will lose his ‘legs’. A horse that will give out in the long run. If he does and wins we will all be misinformed then on what the electorate will swallow….to them and the country itself.

  8. I look on Trump’s candidacy with radically mixed feelings.

    On the plus side, Trump is saying things that people want said. He’s forcing Republicans out of their handler-swaddled comfort zones.

    On the other hand…he’s Trump. I’m not sure he even has a first-person definition for “conflict of interest”

    I’d be far more worried if I didn’t expect him to self-destruct a la Ross Perot.

  9. WRFREE on August 17, 2015 at 10:06 am said:

    Some very astute observations on Trump.
    I’m afraid he looks like a horse that will lose his ‘legs’. A horse that will give out in the long run. If he does and wins we will all be misinformed then on what the electorate will swallow….to the detriment of themselves as well as the country.

  10. Dan Morris on August 17, 2015 at 10:33 am said:

    Trump appears to be causing you a major case of cognitive dissonance, Professor.

  11. InWar Resolution on August 17, 2015 at 10:53 am said:

    “Nihilistic” seems like the perfect descriptor. He obviously doesn’t have any strong philosophical beliefs. However, he’s probably capable of hiring some political advisers who can craft position statements and policy platforms that will sound reasonable. That leads me to fear that in a few weeks he will actually have conservative positions to argue for, even though he doesn’t really believe in them. He’s already done that with immigration policy. At first, he was against the “rapists” flooding over the border, and then he visited the border and made some confusing statements, but now he’s got a website with a reasonable proposal. As a nihilist, he has the advantage of being able to triangulate on the most popular positions on any subject.

  12. BlackHelo on August 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm said:

    Mr. Trump is the most dangerous man in America … his ego will not be satisfied with being second in a field of GOP candidates and just as Ross Perot felt it was his ‘duty’ to run for President and expose the DC elite for what they were, Trump will feel a ‘moral imperative’ to run for President. He will blame the Establishment Republicans and with that garner an army of unhappy Republicans who will vote their discontent by supporting Trump. The irony is, of course, that these very same voters will decry the crony establishment cabal to which Trump belongs as the force that is destroying the nation. They are and he will.

  13. If I’m in the boat heading for the falls thundering ahead, it is of minor importance to me that the captain can explain politely to me of his intentions on how to avoid going over. I am mostly concerned that he is capable of ‘doing’ it.

  14. Eskyman on August 17, 2015 at 6:47 pm said:

    Prof. Hanson, I fear you have lost your objectivity here. The Republican Party left me long ago, and 6 months ago I made it formal by changing my affiliation to Independent. I did this because the Rs, with both houses of Congress, chose to do the bidding of Hairy Reed, Nancy Pelousy, and Hussein Obama.

    Mr. Trump has given me hope; either the Party which stands for nothing is reformed so that it actually has a backbone, and follows the principles in its charter, or it does not. In the latter case a new Party will be born, and the R’s join the Whigs. Either outcome will be satisfactory to me!

    • Ken Mitchell on August 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm said:

      Unless you live in California, you should re-register again as Republican. In most jurisdictions, you can’t vote in the primaries unless you’re a registered member of that party.

      Look at me; I’m registered as Republican, but I’m a card-carrying, dues-paying Libertarian.

  15. While I agree that Mr Trump should count to 100 before speaking, I disagree that it’s just 15-20% of conservatives that are jumping aboard his bandwagon. Many, many people, from all political persuasions feel the pinch of immigration, both legal and illegal. Jobs are scarce, resources are exhausted, and patience is out after the latest election yielded more of the same. Independents and even some unemployed Democrats will find comfort and hope in his message of nationalism. Whether you like his delivery or not, he is not going away as long as he champions that message. The wealthy in this country are out of touch with the working class and there is hell to pay yet.

  16. Linnea on August 18, 2015 at 7:16 am said:

    Trump would not be the first leader to be blunt or crass in his speaking. In grave times such as these having the image of a strongman is not such a bad idea. No other candidate running for the GOP would be able to overcome the relentless demands from the left *and their cadres in the media) to bend to their will. Trump simply will not. He may actually be able to make a portion of the left bend to his. Such as Reagan did long ago. Powerful figures who know how to gamble, negotiate and lead can vacillate others to follow.

    Now, is Mr. Trump the only one who changed his mind on issues? Lets take a look at Jeb Bush! The darling of the old guard.

    Jeb Bush flip flopped on Iraq. He stated it was a mistake looking back to remove Saddam and within 24 hours says removing Saddam was a good deal. He flipped on the Indiana Religious Freedom Law, on immigration too. He flipped on Pathway to Citizenship. He called for prisons over therapy and now wants therapy over prisons. He called for forced deportations and now claims crossing the border is an ” act of love. ” Now that is one huge flip! He supported rights of landowners over environmental laws. Now he is for state sponsored conservation. I could keep going, but I think it’s clear Mr. Trump is NOT the only one who changed on some issues.

    Look at Ted Cruz. He flipped on trade, FEMA funding….He also supported federal stimulus for Texas teachers and now screams against Obama’s stimulus spending. He supported large jury rewards and now wants caps and tort reform. He fought to protect death row inmates due to lack of public confidence in the criminal justice system and now believes we should trust the system. He said Syria was a threat to our national security and now claims it no longer is. He believed you had to be born in the USA to be president and now he no longer believes that. He flipped on pot smoking. Was against making it legal in Colorado and now it’s just fine! I could keep going on Cruz too but message sent.

    • Randall on August 19, 2015 at 7:04 am said:

      Excellent post IMO Linnea. Two of the four VHD mentioned we should consider to take Trumps place have recently shown their stripes. Walker has become a “ME TOO” person on trumps immigration policies and Rubio has joined up with Black Lives Matter refusing to see that the plight of impoverished blacks in America are of their own doing by listening to the Liberal lies and hypocrisy and expecting everything be given to them for atrocities that occurred 150 years ago to ancestors 5 generations ago. If blacks would stop making crime their number one choice of gainful employment, most of their problems would vanish like a morning fog on a sunny day. Cruz flip flops so often, I’ve quit trying to keep up with him. Then we come to Fiorina. She does good in a second class debate and all of a sudden she’s presidential material……Maybe she is. If I see that in her, I’ll definitely vote for her, but for now, I’m loving watching the RINO’s squirm like the worms they are.

      • Sorry, not one of the other Republican candidates can do what needs to be done to save America. Maybe Dr. Carson but I want a bulldog. When the going gets tough we need a George Patton, Winston Churchill, and Bernard Montgomery. Did anybody back then worry about those men’s language, bluster, or bravado. No! Since those men are gone we will have to settle for The Donald. Don’t tell me he cannot be the spark plug to get America back on its feet. I would love to see who is being considered for his Cabinet positions. Dr. Hanson, not all potential presidents have to be cut out of the same old mold that has torpedoed our country.

  17. Linnea on August 18, 2015 at 7:24 am said:

    One other small point please Mr. Hanson. How could Trump destroy the GOP ( after two landslides since Obama was elected)after they ushered in all of Obama’s big and oppressive policies with full support and financing? The conservative and independent movement have been left out in the cold and we will make the GOP howl for their contempt for us. If Trump destroys any chance of the GOP taking office in 2016 ( which I don’t believe for a moment since he is the only one who can win ) then we move on and rebuild the party to mirror our image not that of Obama’s and the DNC.

  18. Unfortunately the iconoclastic Mr. Trump has learned that he makes news by being outrageous. Unfortunately as well, we live in a society where media people believe that they ARE the news rather than simply reporters of the news.
    Americans have grown comfortable with having people tell them how to think rather than to spend the energy to obtain facts and think for themselves.
    How many people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 knew anything about him or his policies? Worse, how many people re-elected him despite knowing him?

  19. Theophilus on August 18, 2015 at 8:29 am said:

    One good thing about Trump, he is exposing all of the rats under the rug that both Republicans and Democrats have been trying to hide from the American people. Its time for REAL honest talk and then let the chips fall where they must. I would very much like to see Carly, Ben, Rubio or Kaisch take on the ideas that Trump is expounding and run with it.

    Excellent observations by Linnea!

    • Randall on August 19, 2015 at 7:15 am said:

      You nailed it Theophilus. Trump has called all of them out about asking him for money in return for favors from them and not one has denied it. We all know how crooked politics and politicians are, and they know we know it. It’s just like a deep dark family secret that is never talked about and ignored like it doesn’t exist. I hope he continues to tell it like it is and calls them all out for the vermin that they are. Will I vote for him in the primaries? I don’t know yet, but it’s sure fun watching the vermin sitting in the corner shaking, wondering what he’s going to say about them next.

  20. Great hit piece.

    • coarse, crude and ill-informed.
    • uncouth and reckless in his language.
    • cynically spreading quid pro quo money around.
    • derides President Obama’s Iran pact in buffoonish terms.
    • a nasty catharsis.
    • crudely amplifies conservative anger.
    • preposterousness and anti-PC bluster.
    • Trump’s hypocrisies, narcissism, or outlandishness.

  21. Conservatives are in desperate search for their own “Obama” who wil reverse everything he has done with as much ruthlessness and vengeance. We have been abused daily by our own as much as by the other side and are sick of it. Also, there is a sense that Trump would out all the dirt that exists on Obama, which must be considerabe.

  22. After following Dr Hanson for years as he wrote on many occasions about the damage caused by illegal immigration to California in general and his family farm near Fresno in particular it’s a rather sad spectacle to watch as he loses his cool – again – and rants on about the only candidate who proposes to take real action to stop and reverse the invasion of the Untied States.

    At least some—Scott Walker being the latest – are starting to understand Trump’s appeal to outraged American citizens.

    But Victor Hanson, Rich Lowry, George Will, et. al., apparently can’t abide a “vulgar”, “crude”, and sometimes inconsistent spokesman for a righteous cause. And they do not yet fathom that a great many conservatives have already abandoned the flaccid and duplicitous Republican party. They think they’re seeing a temporary temper tantrum and that Trump supporters will eventually come to their senses and support the nomination of a go-along-get-along Jeb=Bush type … who would delay the disintegration of the United States by perhaps three minutes longer than what is occurring under the Democrats.

    Ken Kopke, Santa Maria, CA, home to Marilyn Pharis, recently raped and murdered by an illegal.

  23. Very disappoint in you Dr. Hanson. I always have the utmost respect for your intellectual honesty and the wisdom in your writings. However, this piece is no better than any other HIT piece by the establishment or “claimed” conservative crowd. It’s just more eloquent, but the theme is the same. Your writing on this man is also an indirect insult to many Americans who are fed up with the status quo w/ false promises in their dereliction of duties (i.e.., politicians and the beltway insiders etc.) who are elected to fulfill their constituents’ wishes. I do not know how thing will turn out, but certainly he has more of a platform than most other candidates and pundits, including you, to make his points across. They seem to resonate w/ the public w/ each passing day. He has the “audacity” to shake up and shake down this whole charade runs by the obligarchs. No wonder they’re all scared of him. Also, he is a 1% of the 1% crowd and somehow he can make that connection w/ normal folks like me, which you and other elistists consider to be crazies, stupid, vulgarians etc… I’ve wondered why Gov. Romney can’t do the same w/ similar socio-economics background and ideology. So what is the difference between your “crowd” and the left in making the same attack? At this point, I don’t see any. But of course, you’re writing for Townhall, which happens to be owned by Salem-Network. The last time I’ve checked this group is very “generous” toward the establishment crowd in their support. No wonder. One last thing, your writings about our beloved leader, not due to substance or eloquent, but more of the same ‘whining” about the problems. Everyone knows he is not a very good pres. So stop preaching to the choir.

  24. Trump will remain at the forefront of the candidacy so long as there are opponents for him to bash down. Hillary and Sanders, if they blunder, will fuel Trump’s campaign (Hillary, I predict, stands a better chance at this); if they do not, Trump will not have their legs to stand on. It is then that an equally-zealous, yet considerably less-inflammatory, candidate step up and assume the reins.

    In a weird way, I pray the Democrats shape up and pose a challenge. It will be the undoing of Trump and pave the way for a saner conservative.

  25. The electorate twice chose an unqualified man to be president. Why would not an equally unqualified man such as Trump be elected to the presidency? Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter.

  26. linnea on August 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm said:

    Donald Trump turned $200,000 into 10 billion dollars. Anyone who thinks a man who faced the most ruthless politicians and contractors NYC could toss at a man and come out victorious is far from an unqualified candidate. Most important he is effacing the onerous strangle hold the left has placed around us political correctness.

    But let’s be honest since this has also become a rebellion within the GOP between the old guard who only wanted and continues to want talk for votes rather than action and the new guard who demands action. The old guard GOP were never serious about illegal immigration
    and are truly fearful seeing conservatives and many others embracing a man who most likely will put a huge dent in the illegal invasion. Call us all the names you want, racist reactionaries, hate fueled zombies its not going to work this time. You hit us we are hitting back harder and more aggressively. There’s no backing down this time from political correctness and verbal intimidation. Call it nationalism, nativism or any other ism we are moving forward and demanding the GOP do as they are told by those who elected them.

    Illegal aliens are causing massive destruction to our unity, safety, medical system, schools, hospitals and our very life! Cartels and sadistic gangs are flooding our cities igniting violence on levels of ISIS madness. They assume the identy of american citizens which is a federal crime. They are over 30% of the federal prison population. They are cleansing black families from their neighborhoods with violence and fear. They lower wages and on and on. Why should we remain silent and call this illness an act of love? No more its time to go and get back in line.

    Also, the 14th amendment is clear that Congress has the power of naturalization not the courts. Trump is correct because we know Indians were not covered as citizens under the 14th amend but in the early 20s Congress gave them naturalization not the courts! Mr Trump give them hell

  27. Thanks VDH. I feel like I have just been called a bitter clinger afresh and anew. Would I appear any more sane and politically responsible in your eyes if I supported Lindsey Graham or Jeb?

  28. Ken Mitchell on August 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm said:

    The United States of America is all but annihilated by a professional political class, both Dem and Rep, who don’t care AT ALL about the nation’s founding principles. They’re all traitors; Obama, Clinton (both of them), Reid, McConnell, Boeher, Bush (all THREE of them) and all the other “mainstream” candidates.

    Trump isn’t a candidate; he’s a weapon. I’ll be delighted if he destroys the Republican Party establishment, and allows a real conservative or libertarian to step in.

    On the difference between Jeb and Hillary; I’d rather be shot in the face than stabbed in the back. They are birds of a feather who PRETEND to have different policies, but what might Jeb do that Hillary hasn’t already proposed?

    And if Trump is actually elected President – well, at least the crash will be fun. And who knows? Jesse Ventura turned out to be a pretty good governor after all; we might get lucky. Trump COULD NOT POSSIBLY do worse than what Jeb, Christie, Bernie or Hillary has not already written into their platforms.

    When you’re already crashing by doing the same-old-same-old, doing ANYTHING DIFFERENT just _MIGHT_ help.

  29. JoeinHanford on August 24, 2015 at 1:42 am said:

    Trump has pushed issues to the forefront that candidates like Bush, Rubio and to a lesser degree Walker, refuse to touch. Illegal immigration (especially in California) has been ignored for the better part of the past 4 decades. Fully 1/5th of all Mexican citizens live in the US, 1/6th of El Salvadorians, 1/6th of all Guatemalans. Let that sink in for a second.

    You mention the numbers of illegals of all nationalities in Federal Prison, but there are an equal number in state prisons and local jails, and our court systems are jammed full of cases. While murders like that of Kate Steinle rightfully catch headlines, they overshadow the robberies, assaults, human trafficking and kidnappings that have become day-to-day business amongst the criminal illegal alien gangs.

    You know the matter is out of hand when middle class citizens block buses full of illegals from being dumper in their town (Murrietta) and the White House paints them as racists.

  30. Butler Reynolds on August 24, 2015 at 10:34 am said:

    After decades of Neoconservative elites feeding their voters noble lies, Trump is the ugly blowback. Like the continuing disasters in the Middle East, it would be enjoyable to watch the GOP get its just deserts if the results were not so tragic.

  31. Dr. H,

    Lois Lerner is smooth? Good one! (jk, just having some fun with you!)

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