As liberalism and leftism grow leaps and bounds with the help of the leftist Senator Bernie Sanders of Democratic Party, we cannot say that is applicable to conservatism of Republican Party in the era of Donald Trump.
The presumptive GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump has never claimed to be grounded in conservative philosophy. Rather he always showcases his political pragmatism and populism which the conservative Republican grassroots soaked and imbibed. As Trump wins the primary elections in his party with populism and semi-conservative outlines:
Is good ol’ American conservatism losing steam and momentum? What is the future of conservatism with Trump at helm of affairs?
Since the days of Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan, conservatives have managed to silence moderates in Republican Party while ideology of rightism has been identified as the gospel of GOP. Any serious candidate who aspires for GOP presidential nomination must make sure that his conservative credential is impeccable, credible and unquestionable.
But after two terms of President Obama, it is beginning to appear that majority of conservative voters have decided to forget or eclipse their old standing conservative values for a Whitehouse victory. With anything or anybody for victory, they are willing to trade and bend their values for the defeat of Obama and Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party. This is how Trump emerged because the yearning desire for victory has come to supersede their right-wing leanings.
Sometime it is difficult to distinguish between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. When the later speaks on trade and foreign policy, he echoed same values and proposals like Trump. Senator Sanders standing on trade is not a surprise because the left has been known for not being wholly acceptable of free trade.
The left inclination to hinder free trade for protection of working class jobs have always been their currency of international commerce negotiation. But that cannot be said of GOP that holds the view that open and free trade is good for everybody.
Republican Party standing on free trade and comparative advantage of nations is unquestionable for with fewer tariffs and more trade, nations become richer, closer and their diplomatic relationship solidify and consolidate. While Democratic Party seems to uphold that trade protectionism and higher tariffs on foreign goods are tools to build a bulwark against dumping and safeguarding home jobs from moving to nations where lax environmental regulations and cheap labor are ubiquitous.
On foreign policy, Trump is not comfortable with old alliances that America invested heavily with sweat and money like NATO. He rather questions its benefit at the end of cold war. This makes him sound more like a left winger than a Republican right-centric that believes in building and spending money on foreign alliances like NATO.
So what is the future of conservatism? The answer lies in the future, only time will tell. But one thing for sure, this is not the best of time for conservative principles. But it is pre-mature to declare its defeat. Not yet, as Great Chinua Achebe used to say, “It is still a morning time in creation.”