One of the most amusing recent pastimes in American politics has been to watch the very Republican politicians who once condemned Donald Trump sneak onto his bandwagon and then look for cover when he, well, acted like Donald Trump in the Gonzalo Curiel incident. You can almost see them looking at their calendars and wondering if there’s some way to keep the mogul muffled all the way ’til November.
But there’s another Trump constituency that’s alarmed at the idea of Trump bound by the rules of respectable politics. That is not, after all, how he became Republican presidential nominee in the first place. Their natural spokesman and Trump role model Pat Buchanan has, in fact, sent up a flare warning him not to apologize for anything:
[I]n rejecting demands that he apologize for his remarks about the La Raza judge presiding over the class-action suit against Trump University, the Donald is instinctively correct
Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said.
Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?
To do so would be to submit to extortion, to recant, to confess to a sin he does not believe he committed. It would be to capitulate to pressure, to tell a lie to stop the beating, to grovel before the Inquisition of Political Correctness.
Buchanan has fully internalized the new conservative definition of “political correctness” as any act of taking offense at offensive racism and sexism.
And according to that definition — and the increasingly strong belief among his fans that offensive racism and sexism constitute the secret sauce of his entire campaign — he cannot back down.
But much as he fears that Trump will exhibit shame for rhetoric that would normally embarrass a parent when uttered by a 6-year-old, Buchanan saves his real ire for the GOP pols who won’t let Trump be Trump. Paul Ryan, for example, has “buckled pathetically.” They sure don’t have the courage shown by conservatives who fought an earlier version of “political correctness” — you know, the civil-rights movement.
After he had locked up his nomination, Barry Goldwater rose on the floor of the Senate in June of 1964 and voted “No” on the Civil Rights Act. The senator believed that the federal government was usurping the power of the states. He could not countenance this, no matter how noble the cause.
Say what you will about him, Barry Goldwater would never be found among this cut-and-run crowd that is deserting Trump to appease an angry elite.
You won’t find Barry Goldwater on any list of the presidents of the United States, either, would you? Indeed, other than his own state, his only electoral votes in 1964 came from the Jim Crow South, in states where African-Americans were largely disenfranchised and his vote against the Civil Rights Act changed the political habits of white conservative southerners and the moral posture of the GOP forever.
Ah, but now Buchanan sees the spirit of the Lost Cause making a big comeback:
The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance … to the shock of an establishment reconciled to its fate, populist resistance, call it Trumpism, seems everywhere to be rising.
Accordingly, Trumpism will deflate like a ruined soufflé if the Republican “Establishment” convinces Trump to stop offending the people whose offense-taking so offends those who remember an America where dusky folk (and women folk) knew their place and did not challenge the white patriarchal character of God’s Own Exceptional Nation.
I’m guessing Trump will soon, and often, escape his would-be captors and keep Buchanan’s dream alive.