Trumpism vs. GOP establishment
The Republican primary is now a fight between two competing ideologies: what some have dubbed “Trumpism,” which borrows heavily from ideas of Tea Party activists, versus the views of the GOP elite, who helped Bush raised more than $100 million in the first six months of the year.
That divide was illustrated most clearly this week when Trump bashed Jeb Bush not just for his positions on immigration, but for speaking Spanish in interviews and on the campaign trail. “We’re a nation that speaks English, and while we’re in this nation, we should speak English,” Trump said at a press conference on Thursday.
“English is the language of our country and people that come to this country need to learn English, but that doesn’t mean they stop speaking their native tongue,” Bush said in response. “I think this is kind of bizarre to be honest with you and it sends a pretty ugly signal that somehow we’re creating a different standard for one group against the other.”
Bush has cast his bilingualism as both a political asset in reaching Hispanics voters and a sign of his enthusiasm about America’s growing Latino population. To Trump, Bush speaking Spanish, which he does constantly on the campaign trail, is essentially anti-American.
Trump and Bush are only two of the 17 Republican candidates, but their competing ideologies are the story of the 2016 GOP primary so far.
Trump has emphatically rejected the consensus view of Republican elites that the party must moderate its tone and positions to reach minority voters, young people and women. He has repeatedly criticized one of the most famous female journalists in the country, clashed with perhaps the leading Hispanic commentator and rolled out a series of proposals aimed at not only stopping future illegal immigration but sending people already here back to their home countries.
On some economic issues, Trump rejects party orthodoxy because he is more to the left, supporting tax increases for some wealthy Americans and opposing raising the age at which people are eligible for Social Security.
The more conservative wing of the GOP looked weakened after the 2014 elections, when more establishment candidates won most of the key Republican primaries. But if Republican voters pick Trump as their nominee, it will be a rejection of almost the entire apparatus of the Republican Party, its donor class, its elected officials and other leaders, nearly all of whom oppose the mogul.