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Donald Trump’s Presidency Has Helped Buchananism Achieve Prominence in GOP Politics

July 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

It is obvious that Trump was paying close attention to the failed candidate in the 1990s.

It isn’t hard to figure out why right-wing pundit and former politician Patrick J. Buchanan has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump: many of Trump’s ideas are also Buchanan’s ideas. And with Trump’s presidency, Buchananism—an angry, pseudo-populist mixture of xenophobia, anti-immigrant rhetoric, protectionism and hardcore social conservatism—has achieved a prominent role in Republican politics.

Although Buchanan, now 79, was a senior advisor to three Republican presidents—Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan—his more isolationist and protectionist views set him apart from many of the neocons who influenced GOP politics in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Buchanan was always a paleoconservative, not a neocon—and he had no use for the imperialist nation-building fantasies of Norman Podhoretz or Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol.

When AM talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and others in the right-wing media were aggressively pushing for the reelection of President George H.W. Bush in 1992, Buchanan challenged Bush via a Republican primary. And Buchanan’s 1992 campaign contained many of the themes that surfaced in Trump’s presidential campaign 24 years later: fear of immigration, isolationism, severe nationalism and a belief that non-white people were invading the U.S. in droves. Buchanan, who is Catholic, shared the Christian Right’s disdain for gays and abortion but not its passion for intervention in the Middle East.

Much of the Republican establishment shunned Buchanan not only in 1992, but also, when he ran for president again in 1996. Buchanan, however, developed a small but passionate cult following—and now, it is obvious that Trump was paying close attention to him during the 1990s. 

In fact, when Trump’s presidential campaign was picking up more and more steam in 2015 and 2016, the National Review was highly critical of his platform—arguing that Trump was rehashing Buchanan’s campaigns of 1992 and 1996. 

In an August 31, 2015 article, the National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote, “The similarities between the Buchanan and Trump agendas are pretty clear: both are harsh critics of free trade, both staunchly oppose …read more


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