Best of January 2023: Nationalism and Trumpism destroys conservatism

Conservatism Trumpism Nationalism

Trumpism and nationalism have blurred the lines of conservatism

To begin the new year, I’ve been asked by some of you to highlight the most popular articles of 2023, so I will be reposting, in their entirety, the top article for each month (based on traffic) beginning with the January 2023 article about how Trumpism and nationalism have blurred the lines of conservatism to such a degree that we are no longer able to tell the difference between today’s so-called conservative and the far left.

I’ll be posting subsequent articles every other day or so. I hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane over the next few weeks.

Over the past many years, conservatism was destroyed within the Republican Party and replaced by Trumpism and Nationalism, giving us a mixed bag of socialism-friendly policies diametrically opposed to our values.

Having blurred the lines between conservatism and socialism, Trump and the Republican Party have reaffirmed the far-left’s longstanding opinion of conservatives as hypocrites and political opportunists — giving the far-left valid reasons to reject conservative ideals.

I wrote in my 2022 year-end post about how the survival of conservatism will require us to work together against Trumpism and Nationalism, along with every other form of faux conservative lie peddled by Republicans. This means we need to be a bulwark against every attempt by party leaders to redefine conservative principles in their vain attempt to preserve the GOP.

What does conservatism mean?

Conservatism is neither a cause nor a measurable standard; it’s a way of life. It is a set of morally, fiscally, socially, politically sound values that form our deeply held convictions. It’s an unshakable commitment to the principles handed down to us in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution by the Founding Fathers — principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth for nearly 245 years.

Essential Principles of Conservatism

  • Individual liberty – The concept that all Americans are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable rights of LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Individual Responsibility – the idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. As a result of our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable.
  • Limited Government – The U.S. Constitution was created to limit the power and scope of government to ensure our inherent liberties and maintain a civil society.
  • States Rights – Federal government control is the antithesis of individual liberty. The Framers of the Declaration of Independence knew that solutions would have to be attained voluntarily and locally.
  • Fiscal Responsibility – Government must pursue appropriate levels of government spending to maintain sustainable public finances without raising taxes or continued borrowing.
  • Defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights – The two greatest documents in the history of the world were designed by our Founding Fathers. They guarantee our God-given freedoms and provide an intricate system of government checks and balances that ensure those freedoms.
  • Defense of Life – Every single human life, from conception until natural death is designed by God for a purpose and is entitled to the same inherent freedoms as every American, above all, freedom to live.

Conservatism means we oppose big government spending and unbalanced budgets because we understand the importance of setting financial priorities and living within our means. Regardless of how much or how little you earn, if you prioritize your earnings and live within your means, the outcome will always be a good one.

Naturally, this same idea applies to our government. Too many in Washington operate with a mindset that money is no object as they continue spending money that doesn’t exist; leaving the fiscal disaster they are creating for future generations to sort out. If we allow them to continue operating in the manner, we’ll soon see the national debt reach an insurmountable level, and we’ll see America thrown on the ash heap of failed nations.

Unfortunately, we have repeatedly elected leaders who don’t share our fiscally sound, conservative values. Still, it’s time to insist that government stop spending money it doesn’t have. Using borrowed money to “fix” the problem created by borrowed money only perpetuates the problem of uncontrolled debt and spending.

Trump and the Republican party have left us with a mixed bag of “isms” that are destroying destroy America.

Nationalism is often confused with patriotism. However, it’s neither patriotic nor conservative. It’s racist and socialistic.

Nationalism is synonymous with the desire for power (big government). The abiding purpose of the nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige — a mindset historically held by authoritarians. An example of what this looks like can be seen in Sen. Josh Hawley (MO), a Republican who has made nationalism a key part of his presidential ambitions.

As a speaker at the 2019 National Conservatism Conference (NCC), Hawley gave a keynote address that could have easily been given by Bernie Sanders. In the name of his “new conservatism,” he attacked the “powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities,” and called for “a new consensus” to address the “discontent of our time.”

Socialism is the polar opposite of conservatism. Webster defines it as: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole and controlled by the government.

Conservatism defines socialism as the full government-controlled redistribution of wealth (aka communism). Unfortunately, Trumpism and nationalism have embraced much of the socialist agenda, creating what I’ve come to call “conservative socialism.”

Populism is a political doctrine that proposes that the common people are exploited by a privileged elite, and which seeks to resolve this. The underlying ideology of populism can be left, right or center.

Its goal is uniting the uncorrupt and the unsophisticated “little man” against the corrupt dominant “elites,” and it’s the motivation behind the Josh Hawley’s attack on “big tech” and social media companies.

Populism produces demagogues who merely appear to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum, such as we witnessed during the 2016 campaigns of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

The populist doctrine doesn’t conform to any single ideology, and should be fiercely opposed by anyone who rejects liberalism — especially those on the religious right. Because, what is “popular” is not generally moral, particularly in today’s rapidly declining, morally degraded culture.

Economic Nationalism is a protectionist idea wherein the government assumes complete control of the economy — which allows it to impose tariffs and other restrictions on trade, labor, goods and capital, both foreign and domestic. This theory is antithetical to that of our founding, free market and limited government principles.

Trump’s four-years-long trade war is a classic example of this failed ideology.

Fascism is a form of government characterized by an authoritarian central power resulting in infringement on individual liberty, and it’s essentially the culmination of the end of conservatism and the rise of Trumpism and nationalism.

Contrary to what Donald Trump, Republicans, and Ron DeSantis (a lover of nationalism and fascism) choose to believe, liberty isn’t granted by the government nor protected by the Republican Party. The Founding Fathers understood that our rights are natural and inherent by God.

Trumpists and nationalists have tried to fool us into believing America will be free as long as we work to get rid of Democrats, but the bottom line is this: Unless we dedicate ourselves to putting the Constitution above party politics, conservatism will be destroyed by Trumpism and nationalism, and liberty will be relegated to the annals of history.


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.

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