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

Reporters

Andrew Allen


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was midweek when Miami leading receiver Braxton Berrios wistfully spoke of his four years as a Hu ...

Eli Rosier will be back where he belongs Saturday, where he feels most at home. He will be at a foot ...

The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 90-59 victory o ...

They remain undefeated — but still untested. The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball te ...

It has inspired T-shirts and a Migos-style hype song. Soon, fans will have a beer brewed in honor of ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

The annual development agreement meeting is a time for the city and University to share information ...

Here are three matchups to watch in Saturday's Senior Day game between the No. 3 Canes and Virg ...

The University of Miami volleyball team produced some late-match magic Friday night to outlast an in ...

Miami's seniors will play their final home game at Hard Rock Stadium when the Canes face Virgin ...

Six Hurricanes were in double figures as the Hurricanes improved to 3-0 on the season. ...

The University of Miami rowing team introduced the newest members of the Hurricanes rowing program o ...

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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.