Trump’s America First nationalism isn’t patriotic or conservative (Pt. I)

The destruction of conservatism has essentially been a work-in-progress by the Mitch McConnells and John Boehners of the Republican Party ever since Ronald Reagan handed over the reins to George H.W. Bush, but the stark reality of its demise has come sharply into focus in the Age of Trump.

One of the ways this is being accomplished is by their rebranding of conservatism into an “America First” nationalism. This has been Trump’s ace-in-the-hole from the beginning … and his cult loves it.

Socialist-leaning, liberty-killing, big government, once the exclusive purview of Democrats and the Far-Left, has been receiving a “conservative socialist” makeover. Over the past few years, we’ve been treated to “conservative” versions of leftist programs, such as paid family leave, the Green New Deal, and government-run healthcare.

One of the unfortunate consequences of Trump’s brand of nationalism is the resurgence and growing acceptance of racism and xenophobia. This recently reared its orange head when Trump told four Democrat women-of-color in Congress to “go back” to the “broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

Kind of like a “shithole countries” déjà vu.

After initially taking some heat for his obviously racist taunts, along with an official condemnation by the House, Trump doubled down on racism and committed himself to continuing the fight against the group he refers to “the squad” because in his mind he’s “winning” the battle.

Days later at a North Carolina campaign rally, the army of followers Trump says would support him even if he murdered someone on Fifth Avenue embraced his racist taunts, shouting “send her back” when he mentioned the so-called “vicious” anti-America behavior of Rep. Ilhan Omar.

This brought another round of criticism for Trump because he didn’t reject the crowd’s behavior, prompting him to initially disavow the chant. However, this past weekend he disavowed his disavowal. Calling his loyal followers “patriotic” lovers of America, Trump shared the tweet of British columnist Katie Hopkins where she praised his nationalism/racism.

Racism and xenophobia are key components of America First nationalism ideology.

Last week, the inaugural edition of the National Conservatism Conference was held in Washington, DC. While the definition of “national conservatism” was never clearly defined, the overarching theme of the get-together was that conservatism as traditionally understood has outlived its usefulness economically and culturally.

In a panel on immigration, University of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax advocated that America would be better off with fewer “non-whites” from “less-advanced countries.” Her comments were defended by Yoram Hazony, author of The Virtue of Nationalism and the organizer of the conference, who claims she was simply taken out of context. However, a broader look at her comments seems to make her message crystal clear.

Trump’s America First nationalism is being called an act of “patriotism,” but it’s not. It’s racism. Pure and unadulterated racism.



David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative.

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