Update: The full debate is now online.
One of the arguments which has preoccupied American journalists-and I’m being generous when I use that term-since Donald Trump’s nomination revolves around who is ultimately responsible for his political ascent. Likewise, conservative Never Trump pundits have spent the last few months assigning blame for his capture of the GOP-offering culprits which range from Barack Obama to the seemingly ubiquitous scapegoat, the social justice warrior.
The shared conceit among these two very different groups being that the rise of Trump is a regrettable, even horrifying, political development. While it’s perfectly understandable why someone who works for The Weekly Standard, Commentary or National Review-or online bastions of never cons like The Federalist and Red State-would believe this to be so, that doesn’t mean it’s a correct assumption. Beyond exposing the foregoing publications for the shallow, utterly worthless institutions they are, Trump has managed to accomplish some things which are equally admirable, regardless of what you may think of him as either a politician or person.
He’s decoupled, perhaps permanently, the Republican Party from the neoconservative/nation-building impulse which has brought discredit not only upon the GOP but the philosophy of conservatism, to say nothing of the cost in lives and treasure to the United States. If the only thing Trump’s campaign accomplished this election cycle was to consign the opinions of John McCain and Lindsey Graham to political irrelevancy, and to force the likes of Robert Kagan and Max Boot to become standard bearers for the Democratic Party, then I would count it a success.
However, Trump has also given voice to the families of those victimized by our government’s malicious hospitality towards criminal aliens. Can anyone honestly tell me the rest of the nation would have known the name Jamiel Shaw if one of his vanquished primary opponents had become the GOP nominee? The fact that an insufferable hack like Josh Marshall is excoriating Trump for daring to highlight the forgotten lives of these Americans-scores of whom have been killed even as our government finds new ways to cater to illegal aliens-demonstrates how much he has fundamentally transformed the national Republican Party.
Is it even conceivable that another major candidate would dare to tell the truth about the dystopian hell-scape which half a century of multiculturalist, open borders policies have turned large swathes of Europe into? Or publicly imply that this might be our nation’s future if we continue to embrace the same disastrous philosophy which has cannibalized Germany?
For all these reasons, I think that blaming anyone for the Trump phenomenon-rather than awarding credit-is a bit misguided. That being said, I do want to alert you to a debate on this very subject which will be happening shortly in New York City. Tim Carney, author of the insightful and sadly prescient book Obamanomics, will be teaming up with Ben Domenech to debate the always wrong Jennifer Rubin and her fellow open borders fetishist Bret Stephens at the Kaufman Center. You can find all of the details-and purchase your tickets-on the Intelligence Squared website.