They’re Building a Trump-Centric Movement. But Don’t Call It Trumpism.
In its inaugural issue last summer, the journal published “Our Declaration of Independence From the Conservative Movement,” which argued that what worked for Ronald Reagan could no longer define the movement.
“We cannot slavishly attempt to relive the politics of 40 years ago,” the editors wrote.
These disillusioned academics see plenty of things they like in the Trump administration, including Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and his proposal to reduce legal immigration by half within a decade. And though Republicans have failed so far to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, they don’t blame the president, whom they applaud for at least trying to undo what they see as an unconstitutional expansion of government power.
But in this view, Mr. Trump is not so much a movement leader as he is a vessel. “We see a lot of potential here with this particular administration,” Mr. Boychuk said, “but we’re not going to live or die by him.”
If nothing else, these conservatives see Mr. Trump as a disrupter who is already jolting a movement they believe is badly ossified and reflexively devoted to an agenda of corporate tax cuts, global trade agreements and military adventurism — “checklist conservatism,” as an essay by Chris Buskirk, the publisher of American Greatness, described it.
They accept the almost socialist-sounding “pro-worker” label. They believe the Republican Party has been far too complicit in the expansion of the federal bureaucracy, what they scorn as the “administrative state.” And they tend to de-emphasize social issues as a priority.
“When they started saying Trump wasn’t a conservative was when I started paying attention,” said Julie Ponzi, who helps edit American Greatness from her house in Glendora, a small community about 20 miles east of Los Angeles at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.
“What’s the problem?” she insisted, referring to Mr. Trump’s many critics on the right. “He’s not a neoconservative? Good. He’s not working for the Chamber of Commerce and wanting to import a bunch of cheap labor? Good. He’s interested in America’s interests abroad, first and foremost? Good.”
Until now, this brand of conservatism thrived mostly at the periphery of the movement. Its scholars hail from conservative bastions like Hillsdale College in Michigan and the Claremont Institute, which is just a few miles from Glendora and publishes the Trump-friendly Claremont Review of Books. Another new journal, a high-minded quarterly called American Affairs, recently debuted in Manhattan.
The brand’s admirers include the likes of Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist; Stephen Miller, a senior White House aide involved in immigration policy; and Peter A. Thiel, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has embraced Mr. Trump as someone who could pull the Republican Party away from what he called “the dogmas of Reaganism.”
It sees American sovereignty as the overriding principle that should guide everything from military to economic to immigration policy. Engagement overseas is noble only if its goal is to protect American citizens and their prosperity. Trade deals have been too open ended and harmful to the middle class. And the virtues of citizenship only further erode as our borders become more porous.
Much of this happens to be at odds with the agenda that Republican leaders in Congress have spent years promoting. And it is in some ways at odds with Mr. Trump himself, who is pursuing efforts to significantly cut taxes and increase military spending and has launched military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan.
But the growing prominence of these ideas speaks to the void that Mr. Trump’s victory has created in the conservative world, where the thought leaders and multimillion-dollar policy shops that have traditionally set the agenda have become unmoored. The Heritage Foundation, once at the vanguard of conservative thought, recently replaced its president, Jim DeMint, in a messy coup.
“No think tank has tied this together as an intellectual construct — this populist, nationalist movement,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview, noting how dismissive and often hostile Washington’s conservative ideas machine was to Mr. Trump. “There is still a massive void.”
Today the work of these outsider conservatives is closely read at the White House. The publisher of American Greatness was part of a group of conservative journalists who recently met with the president.
West Wing aides speak their lingo. They were delighted this year to hear Mr. Bannon call for the dismantling of “the administrative state.”
“Five, 10 years ago, only a handful of people knew what that meant,” Mr. Boychuk said.
And Mr. Trump hired one of their own as the head of communications for the National Security Council: Michael Anton. Mr. Anton, a graduate of Claremont Graduate University, has written extensively on what Mr. Trump offers conservatives, most provocatively under the pseudonym Publius Decius Mus, a Roman who sacrificed himself for the republic.
Mr. Anton’s most famous essay, which he wrote for the Claremont Review of Books and called “The Flight 93 Election,” made the case that the choice between Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton was like the one the passengers on that hijacked flight made on Sept. 11, 2001, when they rushed the hijackers and forced the plane to crash into a Pennsylvania field.
The glaring problem with attaching a set of ideas and principles to Mr. Trump is, of course, Mr. Trump, a man with a notoriously fickle and unpredictable nature who has always preferred the transactional to the ideological.
“His policies always seemed to me to be improvisational, and still are to a certain extent,” said Charles Kesler, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, which has provided a forum for discussing the intellectual framework of the Trump movement but warned of grafting any fixed ideology onto him.
“You can be building castles in the air that have no reference to reality,” Mr. Kesler added. “And that’s a real danger for anyone who’s in the business of trying to detail/enumerate/explain the elements of Trumpism.”
Trump will declare North Korea a state sponsor of terror
Trump will declare North Korea a state sponsor of terror
President Trump said Monday that he will designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, a move designed to further isolate the nation for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Trump said the move will impose further penalties on Pyongyang and result in the “highest level” of sanctions ever placed on the country. He added that the designation will be formalized Tuesday.
Trump said the decision “should have happened years ago” and will ramp up pressure on the “murderous regime” to “end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development.”
The decision returns North Korea to a list it was removed from in 2008 to ease nuclear talks with the George W. Bush administration.
Trump’s announcement comes days after his return from a five-nation tour of Asia, which focused on curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
White House officials telegraphed the move before Trump’s departure.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters earlier this month that the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother at a Malaysian airport played into the decision. The half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was killed with a banned nerve agent.
North Korea will join Iran, Sudan and Syria on the State Department’s list of terror sponsors.
The designation allows the U.S. to cut off foreign assistance, weapons sales, commercial exports and financial transactions with Pyongyang.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conceded the “practical effects may be limited” because Pyongyang is already heavily sanctioned by the U.S. government.
But he called the move “very symbolic” of the U.S. desire to increase pressure on Kim Jong Un in an effort to persuade him to drop his nuclear program.
“We still hope for diplomacy,” Tillerson told reporters during a surprise appearance at the White House. “This is only going to get worse until you’re ready to come and talk.”
Trump had been under pressure from members of Congress to slap the designation on North Korea.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) applauded the administration for relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“Over the past year alone, Kim Jong Un and his regime brazenly assassinated his brother with a chemical weapon and brutally tortured Otto Warmbier, leading directly to his tragic death,” he said in a statement, referring to the American student who died after his release from custody in North Korea.
“These aren’t isolated incidents, but are examples of a consistent pattern of terror,” Royce said, adding that Pyongyang’s push to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles threatens global security.
‘I Should Have Left Them In Jail’ (Trump’s Juicy TWEET)
‘I Should Have Left Them In Jail’ (TWEET)
President Donald Trump has regularly shown that he will lash out against people he feels do not show him the proper respect. Go ahead and add three players of the UCLA Men’s Basketball program to that list, all thanks to LaVar Ball, who is the father of one of those players, as well as our President’s tiny ego.
The three basketball players were arrested in China for shoplifting sunglasses. One of the players, LiAngelo Ball, is part of a high profile basketball family. His father, LaVar, had some controversial words concerning the President’s role in bringing his son home.
Appearing on ESPN Friday, LaVar was asked about the President’s role in keeping his son out of jail. LaVar responded in his typical braggadocio:
“What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”
In reality, the three athletes never actually went to jail. Trump spoke with the Chinese President Xi Jinping after hearing of their predicament, and they were allowed to return to the United States. They have since been suspended by the UCLA athletic program.
However, LaVar’s comments to ESPN appeared to strike a raw nerve with President Trump. He posted the following to Twitter, again making use of his newfound 280 character limit:
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
His tweet reads:
“Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”
Just… unpack that.
The President of the United States is picking a fight with three college students, all because the father of one of those students brushed off the President’s role in keeping his son out of a Chinese jail for shoplifting sunglasses.
Meanwhile, the former President of the United States was apparently born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim spy. His handpicked predecessor is the leader of a tightly knit criminal conspiracy (and a WOMAN!). She also apparently raped children in the basement of a pizza parlor.
Featured image via Flickr user Michael Vadon / CC BY 2.0.
Kyle Richards Opens Up About Having Fibromyalgia
Kyle Richards Opens Up About Having Fibromyalgia
We thought we knew everything about Kyle Richards, but the RHOBH star is opening up about her struggle with Fibromyalgia and the chronic pain that comes with it.
Kyle revealed that she started getting this pain when her mother died. “My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, but as my mom was sick and taking care of her I started feeling really sick myself. I went to a lot of different doctors and they would say, ‘Oh, you’re just depressed because your mom died.’ And I was like, ‘I’m just not buying that it’s only I’m depressed. Why am I having all these crazy symptoms?’” Kyle said in an interview on The Healer. “Then I was talking with someone and she said, ‘You have fibromyalgia. Everything you just said is fibromyalgia.’ So I went to this doctor who specializes in it, and he asked me a lot of questions. All of a sudden I felt like I had an answer and I felt better because it caused so much anxiety.”
Charlie Goldsmith started to use energy to help heal Kyle in the episode, she said that she felt a “warm, tingling sensation going through the area that bothers me most,” which is her neck and shoulders.
Kyle was hopeful this would help her pain. “That would be amazing to think, you know, that I could just be free of these symptoms and my husband [Mauricio Umansky] would never have to hear about it again,” Kyle said.
See what Kyle’s been doing since the last season of RHOBH:
Photo Credit: Bravo
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