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The Right Resistance: Yes, conservatives, Donald Trump could still blow the (general) election

This year, as everyone who’s been anywhere near a computer, TV or a newspaper knows, the Republicans and Democrats have all-but determined who will be their standard-bearers,

weeks and months ahead of a “normal” timeframe in a quadrennial nominating year. But there’re proverbial miles to go before the “real” ballots are cast, so, for now, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump looks to be in good shape, holding poll leads that, should public attitudes remain close to where they are now, carry him through to a win and a return to the White House.


But Trump shouldn’t get cocky. Much could still transpire for him to come up short – again. In an opinion piece titled “The 2024 election is Trump’s to lose — here’s how he could blow it”, Derek Hunter wrote at The Hill recently:


“Trump has reasons to be optimistic. He almost never led in any polls during the 2020 election cycle, yet he still came within a few thousand votes of pulling off a second narrow Electoral College victory. In contrast, he now leads in nearly every national poll. He also leads or ties Biden in every important swing state.


“So there are a lot of Republicans doing an end zone dance on the five-yard-line right now. But the election isn’t being held today, so those polls don’t necessarily mean anything…


“In other words, there are still plenty of ways Trump could blow this thing.”


Not to leave us dangling, Hunter offered those ways: “For one, he can make the race all about himself… Trump could also lose by making himself into a victim… Trump could also lose by following through on his stated claims of running a ‘50-state strategy.’ … and, Finally, it would be a disaster for Trump to pretend that Fox News and Newsmax are enough media exposure for him.”


These are all good points. If Trump appears to be too wrapped-up in his position as the general election frontrunner, Americans could mistake his supreme confidence as personal arrogance and give even more license to his enemies to claim that he’s only running for president again to satisfy his own enormous ego trip.


But I think Hunter misses the mark a bit, too. By far the easiest way for Trump to blow the election would be to alienate conservatives. It doesn’t take a stretch of logic to suggest that the Republican party is Trump’s party now. Trump goes where he wants, says what he wants, participates in official party debates when he wants, talks to and touts whomever he wants and, unfortunately, weaved around various mandated court appearances – sets his own schedule according to what he wants.


There is tremendous power in this complete domination of the Republican party. Trump could probably push to rename the GOP the “Trump party” and there’d be a large segment of GOP backers who would support him. It’d be an amazing feeling for most Americans to be at a job where you’re the boss and every coworker has to do whatever you say.


But this authority, strong as it may appear, is not unlimited. As I’ve written a number of times, most conservatives are Republicans, but not all Republicans are conservatives. Trump has enjoyed tremendous intra-party support from the beginning primarily because his Make America Great Again agenda parallels the things that today’s conservatives care about.


The three legs of the famous “conservative stool” are fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives (which includes a strong military and defense) and social conservatives. Ironically, Trump isn’t thoroughly beloved by any of the “legs”, but he’s conservative enough to have earned the respect – and votes – of most of them.


Simply put, Trump could blow the election by alienating conservatives, and the tightrope walk is more tenuous than one might think. Fiscal conservatives, for example, are already wary of Trump because of his seeming lack of focus on the growing out-of-control national debt as well as his stated desire to devote more federal resources to a number of Trump-ian priorities, including the military, the border and the nation’s overburdened entitlement programs. And don’t forget about infrastructure, where Trump, if he gains a second term, has vowed to do a complete upgrade of America’s roads, airports and electric grid.


That will take money. Lots of it.


Thankfully, Trump understands the inverse relationship between high taxes and economic growth, so it’s very unlikely that he would call for tax hikes. But it can’t be said often enough that the federal budget needs to be brought back to sanity. Will Trump, again, if elected to a second term, be willing to risk a popularity hit by generously employing his veto pen to send bloated appropriations bills back to Congress?


Will Trump use the bully pulpit to stump for a balanced budget amendment? Would he stand up to the military industrial complex and give some thought to cutting the defense budget in certain areas? And, is Trump willing to touch the proverbial “third rail of politics” by giving the go-ahead to delve into reformulating the biggest debt generators of all – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?


Trump has built his business empire based on debt financing, meaning, he’d purchase investments with borrowed money and hope they grow to the point where they pay for themselves. But how does this risk-taking monetary philosophy translate to government? Government spends money, it doesn’t “invest” it. Hundreds of billions appropriated for education could, theoretically, pay off in decades to come by fostering a well-educated next generation that pays a portion of their good fortune in taxes.


But where is the value in dumping federal tax dollars into welfare programs? The “safety net” has been stretched to include a huge percentage of the population, to the point where half or more of Americans now receive either a federal check or some sort of subsidy. Weaning people off the federal teat won’t be easy – and will stimulate a large amount of criticism from the establishment media and Democrats who rely on keeping citizens dependent on handouts.


Likewise, Trump could anger national security-oriented conservatives by failing to keep his vow to upgrade the military and reclaim its culture back from the current “woke” direction initiated under presidents Obama and senile Joe Biden. Trump must contend with a military brass that protects its own and is incredibly resistant to political orders to change. The new president must therefore be willing to fire generals as though they were powerful bureaucrats – which is basically what they are.


Trump can no longer afford to be a sucker for a man in a uniform. It doesn’t work that way.


The same goes for the federal “intelligence” agencies, which have already proven to be difficult to control and have a mind – and agenda – of their own. The three letter agencies – FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. – are chock full of eyes and ears who don’t follow policy directives from above. It’s arguable that they’ll be even more determined to get Trump in his second administration.


“Watch your back” just might be the most important bit of advice Trump could receive.


But Trump could make national security conservatives suspect him if he’s hesitant to terminate the people who need to be terminated and replace them with fresh thinkers who value enforcing the law above political expediency. One of Trump’s biggest mistakes in his first go-round was a perceived unwillingness to cut the perpetrators loose at the first sign of treachery. That must change.


Lastly, Trump could face social conservatives’ ire by holding back on controversial cultural topics such as traditional marriage, abortion, transgenderism for minors and preservation of ancient but vitally important religious liberty.


It’s no secret that the thrice married Trump has never been regarded as a traditionalist. In 2016, Trump helped earn the trust of social conservatives by vowing to appoint conservative judges and Supreme Court justices – a promise he kept for the most part – but he’s since wavered on Ron DeSantis’s anti-grooming crusade against Disney in Florida, Bud Light’s turn to the “woke” side and also softened his pro-life stance somewhat, taking more of a “we gotta win first” stance.


And needless to say, Trump could raise some eyebrows by choosing a reformed liberal like Tulsi Gabbard to be his running mate. Gabbard has appeared to evolve over the last few years, but does anyone believe she’s completed her ideological journey?


Will Trump be more willing to use his position to do battle in the court of public opinion in term number two? Will he articulate the right policies during the campaign to motivate the nation’s religious conservatives to turn out in force for him? There’s never been a time when America’s Judeo-Christian heritage has been more under assault by the left than it is now. Social conservatives need a willing warrior, not lip service from a timid Trump on the subject.


It wouldn’t take much for any of the “conservative stool” pillars to become so suspicious of Trump that his overall support would dip. The fact that he’s promoting his daughter-in-law (Lara Trump) to take over a leadership position of the RNC will raise some eyebrows, especially since there are respected conservatives who could do the job – and would engender less skepticism of motives.


At any rate, many people have suggested that 2024 will be a “base” election, just as 2016 and 2020 were. Since the base of the Republican party is made up of ideological and principled conservatives, Trump will need to keep them onboard to ensure a winning hand in November. There are tens of millions of populist Trump fans out there, but they alone wouldn’t be enough, just like senile Joe Biden can’t count on leftist/progressive backing alone to win.


George W. Bush began his downward slide by losing conservative support over his big spending ways as well as opting to champion amnesty, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D. Should Trump, for some reason, follow a similar path, he could blow the election all too easily.

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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1 Comment

Mar 07

Indeed, the election is certainly not in the bag. I'm writing as someone who didn't think Trump would win in 2016 (I had hopes, but thought conventional wisdom would be correct). I also felt that Biden could beat Trump legitimately in 2020, just based on the weight of negative media coverage for 4 years. So you see, I'm not just a guy who thought Trump always was gonna win. Being cautiously optimistic is the correct play, so that you don't be "shellshocked" like Mitt Romney was in 2012. Although yes, I did get shellshocked in 2020 because I did not expect them to get away with the cheating.

Right now is, by far, the best Trump has ever looked to…

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