Magazine May 9, 2016, Issue

Trump’s Faction

Donald Trump acknowledges supporters at a campaign rally in South Carolina, February 5, 2016. (Sean Rayford/Getty)
Its primary concerns are citizenship and nationality.

It is tempting, if disheartening, to believe that Donald Trump has irrevocably changed the GOP for the worse, imperiling conservatism’s hold on the party. But he hasn’t. The same dynamics and fissures that existed prior to this cycle remain intact today. Trump’s armies do, however, constitute a new “fifth faction” that now competes with the GOP’s traditional “four factions” for party dominance. This new faction is not wholly unconservative. It is instead a forceful reassertion of a kind of conservatism that has long lain dormant.

“Trumpism” is best understood as a resurrection of the conservative ideas of nationality and citizenship. Trump’s

Henry OlsenMr. Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an editor at, and the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.

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