Indefatigable conservative warrior Phyllis Schlafly died Monday at 92. She spent her life fighting not only the Left but also the Republican establishment, rejecting its accommodation of the Soviets, the UN, the feminists, the judicial supremacists, or the anti-borders crowd. To adapt one of her quips, I’d like to thank her husband for letting her be with us for all these years. America is a better place for her having been in it. The Left’s disgusting glee at her death is a testament to her strength. R.I.P.
Ironically, today is the publication date for her final book, The Conservative Case for Trump. Her early support for Trump caused dissension in her organization, Eagle Forum, leading to a schism. I haven’t seen the book, but it reminds of something much of the conservative intelligentsia doesn’t seem to understand about Trump’s appeal to a pro-life, pro-family, anti-gambling, peace-through-strength orthodox conservative activist like Phyllis.
Many, perhaps most people who vote Republican don’t do so because of tax rates or trade agreements or Kelo or Ex-Im or even abortion or guns. Rather, it is nationalism – understood as the political expression of the emotion of patriotism – that’s the substructure of support for the Right, the policy specifics about taxes and the rest being the superstructure. Voters who don’t particularly care about the three-legged stool of conservatism voted Republican anyway because they were one-nation patriots and the Democrats had become the party of post-Americanism and balkanization. This is the real source of the revulsion at Obama – it’s not his father’s race and it’s not really even Obamacare and the other outrages of this administration, outrageous as they are. It’s his post-Americanism, which combines his citizen-of-the-world pretensions with an aggressive campaign of deconstructing the American people. (Of course he defends that loathsome football player’s refusal to stand during the national anthem.)
Phyllis, and a plurality of the primary electorate, gravitated toward Trump because he unapologetically asserted the primacy of the interests of Americans over foreigners. His number-one target in the primaries was Jeb the post-American, while the others were seen as fellow-travelers, either agreeing with, or only half-heartedly fighting against, the invite-the-world, invade-the-world agenda of unlimited immigration at home and unending war abroad.
The fact that Phyllis – and millions of others – enthusiastically backed Trump despite the vulgarity, the divorces, the casinos, the used-car-salesman patter underlines how disconnected the conservative policy superstructure has become from the patriotic substructure.