A post by insanitybytes22 led me back to something I was thinking about last week. The Donald Trump phenomenon makes me think of the classic song “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers. There’s a train bound for nowhere, much like the Trump train. The people who support him often talk about taking a chance. Then there’s Kenny Rogers himself, who is a fan on Trump.
One thing that seems to be happening is a schism right down the middle of the Republican Party, for and against Donald Trump. People don’t spontaneously realign their basic beliefs, so there must be an underlying conviction being expressed in this break. I think it has to do with Christian morals and values.
Usually, I go back to 1980 for my cultural analysis of politics. This time, I’m starting in 1976. Jimmy Carter famously talked about “lusting in his heart” during the election season. He was popular in the South and was accepted by Evangelicals. The Republican Party of the mid-century was progressive and pragmatic, mostly interested in fighting commies. The Democrats were a party of the people. Ronald Reagan changed that.
The Republican Moral Majority started in the 1980’s, having broken off from the dope smoking immorality of the Carter administration and the left’s obsession with abortion. Conservatism reflected that as well. Young Republicans were clean cut and went to church when they weren’t fighting for lower taxes and a less dictatorial government.
Christian conservatives lost their numbers and their influence over the next two decades. The popular culture and the rigidity of Libertarianism became distracting. Many people who consider themselves conservative politically are often not especially moral. The people who are taking a chance are gamblers, possibly degenerate.
Look at the story of the campus speech with conservatives Steven Crowder and Milo Yiannopoulos. Crowder is a Trump opponent and a devout Christian. Yiannopoulos is a Trump supporter and a pervert. Until Trump, the moral and the moral perversions seemed to have a truce based on the need to stop the coming Obama storm. The Tea Party, for example, had little in the way of moral direction. When the movement chose Sarah Palin over Glenn Beck, they chose to stand against liberal “values” instead of standing for some traditional conservative values.
Let’s look at some of the Trump base. We have the younger and less educated, who have weak moral upbringing. We have older people, who have changed parties more than once and are continuing an eternal Goldilocks search for the “just right” political home. They, like other Trump contingents, don’t care about Trump’s moral ambiguity. They hold on to his bold statements and the moral failings of his opponents. At least his opponents understand the concept of shame.
Were I blogging on a popular site, this would certainly garner a nuclear response. I am curious to see who reads this and responds. I have also found some pretty foul-mouthed personal attacks. I’m sure they’re nice people.