Sorry, Rick Perry: Donald Trump isn’t a “cancer” on conservatism — he embodies conservatism
Donald Trump is not corrupting the conservative movement; he’s benefiting from the movement’s existing corruption
Donald Trump’s ascendance in the 2016 Republican polls has proved to be something of a boon for lower tier candidates looking to bask in the corona of Trump’s enormous media spotlight. Among those candidates, no one has done more to position himself as the anti-Trump than former Texas governor Rick Perry. Eagerly responding to Trump’s unending stream of insults and provocations, Perry’s been throwing out denunciation after denunciation, arguing that Trump is unfit to serve as president. His campaign has been trolling The Donald on Twitter, retweeting the racist billionaire skidmark’s past praise of Perry. Now he’s taken to referring to Trump as a “cancer” on conservatism.
According to the Texas Tribune:
Perry is expected to keep up the drumbeat of Trump criticism with a speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, Perry plans to cast Trump as a destructive force within the GOP, ultimately threatening its chances at winning back the White House in 2016.
“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued,” Perry will say, according to excerpts. “Let no one be mistaken: Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”
I’m all for calling out Trump and saying as many nasty things as can possibly be said about him, but let’s be clear about something. Trump isn’t a problem for Republicans because he represents a perversion of conservatism. He’s a problem because he represents conservatism too well.
Trump’s rise in the polls is attributable in some part to his celebrity and his knack for drawing media attention, but it’s also true that the outlandish nonsense he says about immigrant rapists and building a giant wall on the southern border resonates with a significant portion of the Republican electorate. This is not some unpredictable accident. The official policy of the Republican Party is to be overtly hostile to undocumented immigrants and to treat them with as much disdain as can be mustered. They do this because even the slightest hint of non-hostility to immigrants will open up Republican officeholders to charges that they’re pro-“amnesty,” and that’s when the primary challengers start filing their paperwork. Rick Perry understands this better than most Republicans: during his 2011 presidential run he was raked over the coals by conservatives after he chastised Republicans as heartless for opposing in-state tuitions for undocumented immigrant students.