by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The American Right is divided between those who think our country has serious problems and those who think it is teetering on the edge of collapse. Donald Trump’s rise has been fueled by the latter group, which sees itself as Cassandra, accurately surveying and desperately trying to revive a “crippled America,” as Trump titled his book.
The edge-of-extinction crowd hasn’t just failed to persuade the rest of the Right; they’ve failed to persuade the mass of voters. Americans tell pollsters the country is headed in the wrong direction, but they’re not apocalyptic about it. To everyone else, the Doomsayers come across as paranoid, race-obsessed hysterics. …
… [I]f you think a strong national defense, strong family values, free-market economics, and respect for the rule of law only benefit white America, and can only be preserved by them, you’re out of your mind. Try telling the 233,000 African-American members of the military that they’re incapable of keeping Americans safe. Tell the 42 percent of Asian-Americans who profess faith in Christ that their lives don’t preserve and promote Judeo-Christian values. Tell the 55,000 Hispanic police officers that they’re culturally incapable of upholding the rule of law. Tell the immigrants starting 520 new businesses per month that they can’t strengthen American capitalism. According to apocalyptic conservatism, Clarence Thomas, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Thomas Sowell are part of the problem, not the solution.
The Doomsday Conservatives contend we’re living in a genuine dark age of oppression of speech, at a time when Alex Jones is on 160 stations, Glenn Beck has his own television network, and Mark Levin’s books repeatedly top the New York Times bestseller lists. West concludes that the crisis she sees took hold when the American People “lost our nerve to even talk about immigration or Islam.” Look around you. Do you see a country that is afraid to discuss immigration or Islam?
It’s a bit like when Leftists insist “it’s time for a real national dialogue on race” or “it’s time for a serious national conversation on guns,” when in reality these dialogues have been ongoing for decades, in the halls of Congress and on cable-news shows and at dinner tables across the country.