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Trump’s Rise and the Tea Party: Rooted in the Failed Leadership of the GOP

The Republican establishment and the media elite, having no understanding of history or grassroots politics, seem genuinely baffled at the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican nomination for President, but the reality is much simpler than the talking heads and self-styled “political strategists” make it out to be.

And it has nothing to do with Trump’s flair for self-promotion or his outsized personality and everything to do with the leadership failures of the Republican establishment and their contempt for the views of the grassroots base of their own party.
Tea Party
One can’t understand the Trump phenomenon, or the Sarah Palin phenomenon, or the Tea Party movement unless one understands that they are all a rebellion against the Big Government Republican establishment and the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party, not just opposition to specific liberal policies of President Obama, such as amnesty for illegal aliens, Obamacare or the growth of spending, the deficit, and the debt.


Because the Republican establishment, while often talking a good game, has been complicit in opening the borders, importing cheap “guest workers” to put Americans out of middle income jobs and has voted for the spending, deficit, and debt and all of those Big Government programs that drive it.

As I documented in my book TAKEOVER, the rise of the New Right was similarly as much or more a rebellion against the ineffectiveness and go-along-get-along policies of the Republican establishment, as it was a battle against liberalism and the Democrats.

And we of the New Right experienced the same contemptuous name calling and charges of being “nuts” as Trump’s supporters are enduring today.

Howard Phillips and I had an interview with Dan Rather at the 1984 Republican National Convention in which we pounded Vice President George H.W. Bush for his lack of commitment to conservative principles and what we saw as his “inside the White House” fifth column against Reaganism.

The following evening, Dan Rather interviewed Bush and said in so many words, “Mr. Vice President, last night I had Richard Viguerie and Howard Phillips on the show, and they say you’re not a conservative. Mr. Vice President, are you a conservative?” Bush replied, “Yes, Dan, I’m a conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”

The 2008 trashing of Sarah Palin by the Republican Party’s inside elite, particularly those associated with the George W. Bush White House, demonstrated a similar level of contempt for grassroots conservative Republicans by the professional political class in Washington.

Palin was, and is, a genuine populist phenomenon like Donald Trump, and after the drubbing the GOP took in the 2006 and 2008 elections her appeal showed a way forward to rebuilding the Republican majority, one more attuned to the views and values of the limited-government constitutional conservatives of the Party’s grassroots.

It was also a clarion call for new leadership in the GOP, but the Republican establishment wasn’t about to hand over power without a fight; and it’s a fight that is still going on with Trump being the current champion of the grassroots in their battle with the DC ruling elite.

Of course Donald Trump is no “country class” grassroots conservative like Sarah Palin, nor is he a traditional movement conservative or libertarian. And as a multi-billionaire, Trump is an unlikely spokesman for populist complaints against the ruling class.

Indeed, one of the strangest aspects of the current establishment campaign against Trump is that until he started carrying the populist conservative message, establishment Republicans sought his counsel and his money for their own out-of-touch, content-free campaigns.

The rise of Donald Trump as a genuine contender for the Republican nomination for President has brought out the “crazies,” said establishment Republican Senator John McCain.

It is typical of the myopia of the Republican establishment, and the DC political elite generally, that rather than look for reasons for the sudden rise of Trump, and what is coming to be called “conservative populism,” McCain and his friends have apparently concluded that Trump’s popularity in the polls is evidence of some sort of mass mental illness that only affects Americans outside the Beltway and that safe within the Washington bubble they are immune to its effects.

They’re wrong; it is about THEM.

During the entire century-long civil war in the Republican Party, the progressive establishment leadership of the GOP has been selling the notion that the Democrats and the liberals are the problem, and that if conservatives would only line up behind establishment Republicans and put them in charge of the federal government, the growth of government and America’s slide toward socialism would stop.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and the grassroots “populist conservatives” who are telling pollsters they support Trump for President understand that fact much better than do the establishment media who seem baffled by his rise.

Donald Trump is just the latest in a long line of message carriers who have spoken for grassroots Americans fed-up with the duplicity and betrayals of the Republican establishment and Washington’s ruling class. One of the great ironies of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign may very well be that John McCain and the establishment Republican political class will finally receive their comeuppance at the hands of Donald Trump, the most unlikely of populist conservatives.

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I think you're right

I like the way you explain it. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, I would have no problem voting for him. I think is more liberal than some might think. I think he is less moral and "religious" than some might think. I think he has more problems than some might think. It doesn't really change my mind, at this juncture. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, I will vote for him, without hesitation. Beyond that, I a willing to wait and see what happens next.

Explained: Why NOT Bush....

Agreed. You got it right.

Excellent article

As usual, you have hit the nail on the head. The Republican leadership has brought about the situation it is now in. I once voted for every Republican on the ballot in the belief they would be better than the Democrats. Now, witness the wonderful speech by Ted Cruz, I understand a RINO is worse than a Democrat as they are deceitful, whereas the Democrats are honest bout their socialist agenda.
Thanks for your good work.

Article is spot on

The articles says everything I have been posting for years and I do believe this president and this congress has brought all of the silent majority to the realization that if we do not get out and vote the rinos and dems out of office and replace them with conservatives the country will be totally destroyed.

When the word police start banning the words like "melting pot", etc. and a confederate flag becomes a symbol of current day racism it is time for change. When a president as in Obama refuses to enforce our immigration laws and leaves our borders totally unprotected; and, then lawlessly writes new laws via his edicts to produce his fundamental destruction of this country; and, then congress won't stop him at all it is time to vote them out of their little kingdom they apparently think they rule in.

Remove the base for Boehner and McConnell. In AZ we are starting with McCain our oldest liar in 2016. Flakey will follow in 2018. This needs to be done to every dem and rino in every state starting with their very next elections. In AZ we have some good conservatives waiting for that opportunity to run against and replace our rinos and dems. Identify them at each and every opportunity and replace this dead wood in congress.

Going forward, close and secure that border with lethal force if necessary. Deport the illegals. Stop any welfare or entitlements for anyone that is not a legal citizen of this country. It is obvious at some point congress has done this for their big business cronies, and not one official from Kyl through Flakey can tell me how this became legal and I have asked that question repeatedly for years. Over haul welfare so it does not continue as a life style. Get the welfare queens a job and make them work. Punish employers who hire illegal aliens.

I remember when our legal citizens worked in agriculture. The illegals worked for less money and business owners got their congressional pals to allow welfare to pick up the benefit tab. In other words, the tax payers who are now shrinking pick up that cost for the business owners. This is a win for the business who avoided paying benefits that would have been due and payable for legal citizens and they got a cheap labor force they could exploit and they have. The businesses increased their profits and got the public to pick up the entitlement/benfit/welfare costs. This is not a win for the displaced legal citizen workers or for the golden goose who basically pays taxes but is loosing jobs and earning less. More legal citizens are being forced to welfare.

It is not working folks, but no one seems to see the numbers and people are vilified for bringing it up. Being a retired accountant and very knowledgable about the AZ Ag industry in this state and McCain's AG pals I do know of what I have posted. We are headed towards socialism and it does not work as exhibited in current and past socialism economies around the world. Only the top tier in those countries are content.

Punish the businesses who support this, that takes a congress not on the take as the current in charge little kingdom clearly demonstrates our elected officials are just that, on the take. Vote em out now and at every opportunity, A newly elected Conservative majority in congress in the senate and house even if Boehner and McConnell continue for a bit in their current positions and they have their full terms still to serve willl be ousted quickly and I can not think of a more pleasant or fitting result for those two traitors and all of the rinos, dems, agency appointees, etc who will likely be ousted right along with them. Elect a conservative president and vice president and we shall see some serious changes in our government. Time for the silent majority to vote their discontent! I am. And this little stent of watching Obama in actions has highlighted some more very serious problems we the people need to address concerning separation of duties with the branches of our government established by our constitution over two hundred years ago. Apparently there has been a bit more slippage and Obama and his agencies have brought it clearly to the forefront so we can all identify the problems.


"...They’re wrong; it is about THEM..."

And time after time, telephone call after telephone call, the messages are delivered and each and every one of them is IGNORED! The elitists who call themselves leaders in the Republican Party are leading us straight to the LOSER column with their 'can't we just get along' style of leadership.

It is LONG OVERDUE for the current leadership teams - EACH & EVERY ONE OF THEM - to step aside and allow an election with SECRET ballots to take place. An election with NO threats of loss of committee assignments or any other penalties the leadership can dream up. The leadership teams, INCLUDING staffers, should meet with the full Republican congressional delegation and, as an entire group, STEP ASIDE! There are many bright minds out there who can do the job much better. The bullying tactics currently in use MUST stop! Let a true SECRET ballot take place and see who comes out on top!

Right now, all we see is the Republican majority we worked hard at the local level to get elected last November being put on an upper shelf in the attic to rot away while the Republican leaders continue to sit idly by and allow the very foundation of our country to be destroyed. NO THANK YOU! The Republican leadership MUST be changed...SOONER than later!

We the People

We the people are tired of the Republicans we put into office not standing up we the people. We voted them in, yet they let Obama just keep on going with his nonsense. Yes, it's time for someone to listen to we the people and seems like the Donald is the one listening. That sounds strange as much as he talks but we are liking what we hear.