One indisputable fact concerning the Republican Party is that it is no longer the home of conservatives, and since the 2016 election, conservatism has been replaced by nationalism at the hands of Trumpists like Dean Heller, who just announced that he’s running for governor in Arizona.
In a video where he made his announcement, Heller cast himself as a conservative opposed to mask mandates, defunding the police, and COVID lockdowns (via TheHill.com):
Former Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said Monday he will run for governor in Nevada next year, reentering politics three years after he lost his seat in a Democratic wave.
In a video posted Monday, Heller cast himself as a conservative opposed to mask mandates, defunding the police and lockdowns in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“After serving Nevada in the Senate, I thought I was done with politics,” Heller says. “But look what’s happened to Nevada. We have a governor more interested in putting us out of work than putting us back to work. Las Vegas became a sanctuary city. Violent crime’s exploding. People who work for a living are scared. And I’ve had it.”
The video includes a photo of Heller and former President Trump aboard Air Force One, and touts his experience as Nevada’s secretary of State, before he won a seat in Congress. (emphasis mine)
As a faux-conservative in the Age of Trump, Heller liked to play the middle-of-the-road when it came to the New York liberal. But when a perennial candidate for political office, Trumpist Danny Tarkanian, threatened to primary him in 2018, Heller hopped aboard the Trump Train in an unsuccessful attempt to win his reelection.
Heller’s sellout to Trumpism succeeded as Trump decided to “convince” Tarkanian to drop out of the senate race, thus freeing-up Heller to run a campaign based on on his fealty to his mango messiah in exchange for his endorsement.
Heller immediately went to work redefining conservatism to make it fit his faux-conservative Trumpist persona.
Beginning with the claim that he was a bona fide conservative because he quoted Ronald Reagan a lot, Heller laid out a platform that included defending infanticide and the harvesting of baby body parts along with a promise to protect Planned Parenthood and the millions in federal dollars they receive.
Heller’s pro-abortion position wasn’t a sudden decision. During his 2006 congressional run, Heller stated in a Las Vegas Review-Journal interview that he defended a woman’s right to choose to murder her unborn child, calling it “the conservative position.”
Ironically, Heller indirectly brought up the abortion issue when he made his announcement to run for governor. “I’m sick of seeing abortion clinics open while churches and schools are closed. My grandkids playing soccer in masks. That’s all on Gov. Sisolak,” Heller says in the video. “I’m running for governor because Nevada deserves a whole lot better than this guy.” (emphasis mine)
Apparently, Heller didn’t have a problem with them being open before COVID.
Heller’s faux-conservatism existed well before Trump arrived on the scene. During his time in Washington, Heller voting record shows his support for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty for illegals, and big government spending.
Laying aside his decision to run for governor for a moment, Dean Heller’s faux-conservative Trumpist persona is simply another example of how the Republican Party has severed all ties to Reagan-styled conservatism, where it was understood that government can never be the solution to our problems because government is the problem.
Additionally, Heller’s candidacy shows us how the Republican Party has adopted Trump’s nationalist ideology to fill the void created when they abandoned the conservative ideals of limited government and free-market capitalism, along with fiscal and social conservatism.
In a word, Trump changed the meaning of the word conservative, and the damage goes far beyond the Republican Party.
In the name of self-preservation, so-called evangelicals and the late, great conservative media have surrendered their principles to promote the lie that Trump is a conservative while labeling those they called Never-Trump conservatives as liberals and/or Democrats (via TheFederalist.com):
“Trump may be an unattractive and deeply flawed messenger for contemporary conservatism. But loathe though they might be to admit it, what’s left of the Never-Trump movement needs to come to grips with the fact that the only words that currently describe them are liberals and Democrats.”
The destruction of conservatism within the Republican Party was also perpetuated by those who adopted an attitude that I refer to as sometimes-Trump, where everything he did or didn’t do was measured using a good Trump/bad Trump barometer. It became quite fashionable for some within the sometimes-Trump community like the faux-conservatives at Blaze TV to stand on their soap boxes and condemn both never-Trump and always-Trump camps.
I believe that this political bipolar approach to Trump facilitated the destruction of conservatism. By accepting the lie that a little evil is okay if done for the greater good, their lukewarm attitude about Trump was much like the attitude we see in the Laodicean church mentioned in the Book of Revelations (3:15-16).
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Trump is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways (James 1:8), and the decision by Trumpist faux-conservatives like Dean Heller to embrace him has given us a watered-down version of conservatism that has no value or power to change America’s course.
In the end, conservatism’s demise is the result of unenthusiastic, noncommittal, indifferent, half-hearted, apathetic, uninterested, unconcerned, lackadaisical, passionless, laid back, couldn’t-care-less faux-conservative Trumpists . . . and Dean Heller is exhibit A of what that looks like.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.