Election 2016, Opinion, Upon Further Review

Trump is not divergence from, but conclusion to American conservatism

Donald Trump created a fissure in the Republican Party. His campaign was originally greeted with dismissal, but as the seriousness of his candidacy became apparent, many conservatives took staunch stances against him.

Though many have fallen in line (the manner in which Republican leaders have bowed to Trump would be comedic were it not so cowardly), Trump still stands as the most divisive presidential candidate in recent years, with 35 percent favorability according to Gallup.

Conservatives have suggested that Trump’s values do not reflect their own. His commitment to anti-intellectual aggression is new, foreign to true conservative principles.

But this assessment of Trumpism as an invasive ideology is not accurate. Trump’s candidacy is not only completely in line with the principles of American conservatism, it is the natural conclusion of them.

Merriam-Webster defines “conservatism” in two ways:

“Belief in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society.”

“Dislike of change or new ideas in a particular area.”

To understand Trump, one must see him and his cult of xenophobia as a desperate response to a rapidly changing international landscape. We live in an unprecedented era of connectivity and dissemination of information. The internet has dissolved established cultural borders in a completely new way.

The perspectives of those across continents are immediately available. The lives of the foreigners are on display in the comfort of our own homes. We do not live in an age of utopian empathy, but we do live in an age in which we are being forced to recognize the humanity of those formerly alien to us.

The world is undergoing permanent change, in which conservatism, as we have long understood it, simply cannot survive.

The philosophy is predicated, not just on the exclusion of progress and foreign ideas, but on the ignorance of them. It is easy to rationalize the rejection of the foreigner when your understanding of them is as a theoretical “other,” having little more bearing on your life than a mythical creature. But that myth is dissolving.

The success of Donald Trump’s campaign, along with Brexit and other ill-conceived far-right movements in the western world, is indicative of mass, existential, conservative panic.

It’s easy to pick apart Trump’s claims about immigrants and his plans to keep them out of the country. They rarely, if ever, approach even common sense. But “sense” is not what the Trump constituency wants.

Globalization is an unavoidable reality with no “sensible” way to prevent. Those desperate to halt this inevitability have turned to the one thing they have left: nonsense. Wall-building, Muslim-banning, orange, crude, racist nonsense.

Trump is the culmination of the American Right realizing that its days are quite numbered.

Now, this will not spell the end of conservative thought. The human race will always find a comfortable status quo to defend. But we are fundamentally changing the nature of that status quo.

Culture is evolving, and “securing the border” can’t stop that. The age of American conservatism as defined by protected borders and homogeneity is ending. Trump is a sign of the death throes.

Andrew Allen is a senior majoring in communications. Upon Further Review runs alternate Thursdays.

September 21, 2016

About Author

Andrew Allen


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

And another one... The stars just keep committing. A few hours after Miami Southridge’s nationally h ...

Want an early look at the incoming shooting guard who has a chance to become Miami’s best basketball ...

The University of Miami quarterback corps is deep in numbers but shallow in experience. The battle c ...

Freshmen anyone? Mark Richt sounds like he’s liking these three early-enrollee true freshmen a whole ...

The University of Miami completed Day Three of spring football on Saturday, and as soon as practice ...

More than 250 participants met at the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center to learn more from industry ...

Redshirt freshman diver David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men’s 10-meter plat ...

UM junior Gina Panarese was surprised on campus Thursday by the Ellen DeGeneres show and asked to pa ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

Highlights from the 2016-17 Miami men's basketball season ...

Miami fell to No. 34 University of Louisville, 4-1, Sunday at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. ...

Facing its 10th top-30 opponent in 13 matches this season, the No. 37 Miami women's tennis team ...

Junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla was his vintage self, Miami's offense came through again, ...

Miami redshirt freshman David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men's 10-meter ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.