There are many reasons why Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. The four most-often cited reasons are the frustrations of white working-class Americans, a widespread revulsion against political correctness, disenchantment with the Republican establishment, and the unprecedented and unrivaled amount of time the media afforded Trump.
They are all valid.
But the single biggest reason is this: The majority of Republicans are not conservative.
Conservatives who opposed Trump kept arguing — indeed, provided unassailable proof — that Trump is not a conservative and has never been one. But the argument meant little or nothing to two types of Republicans: the majority of Trump voters who don’t care whether he is a conservative, and the smaller number of Trump voters who are conservative, but care about illegal immigration more than all other issues, including his many and obvious failings.
So, then, what happened to the majority of Republicans? Why aren’t they conservative?
The answer lies in America’s biggest — and scariest — problem: Most Americans no longer know what America stands for. For them, America has become just another country, a place located between Canada and Mexico.
But America was founded to be an idea, not another country. As former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it: “Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”
Why haven’t the past three generations of Americans known what America stands for?
The biggest reason is probably the influence of left-wing ideas.
Since its inception, the left has opposed the American idea, and for good reason. Everything the American idea represents undermines leftist ideas. And the left, unlike most Americans, has always understood that either the left is right, or America is right.
America stands for small government, a free economy (and therefore, capitalism), liberty (which therefore allows for its inevitable consequence: inequality), the melting pot ideal and a God-centered population rooted in Judeo-Christian values (so that a moral society is created by citizens exercising self-control rather than relying on the state to impose control).
Only America was founded on the idea of small government. But the left is based on big government.
America was founded on the principle that human rights come from the creator. For the left, rights come from the state.
America was founded on the belief that in order to maintain a small government, only a God-fearing people can ensure a decent country. The left opposes God-based religions, particularly Judeo-Christian religions. Secularism, as much as egalitarianism, is as at the core of leftism.
The American Revolution, unlike the French Revolution, placed liberty above equality. For the left, equality is more important than all else. That’s why so many American and European leftists have celebrated left-wing regimes, from Stalin to Mao to Guevara to Castro to Chavez, no matter how much the regimes squelched individual liberty. They all preached equality.
It took generations, but the left has succeeded (primarily through the schools, but also through the media) in substituting its values for America’s.
While the left has been the primary cause, there have been others.
The most significant is success.
American values inspired so much success that Americans came to take that success for granted. They forgot what made America uniquely free and affluent. And now, it’s not even accurate to say they forgot because the current generation never knew. While schools (starting with the universities) were being transformed into institutions for left-wing indoctrination, American parents ceased teaching their children American values (starting with not reading them the most popular book in American history: the Bible).
Schools even stopped teaching American history. When American history is taught today, it is taught as a history of oppression, imperialism and racism. Likewise, there is essentially no education on civics, once a staple of the public school system. Young Americans are not taught the Constitution or how American government works. I doubt many college students even know what “separation of powers” means, let alone why it is so significant.
So, then, thanks to leftism and America’s taken-for-granted success, most Americans no longer understand what it means to be American. Those who do are called conservatives because they wish to conserve the unique American idea. But conservatives now constitute not only a minority of Americans, but a minority of Republicans. That is the primary reason Donald Trump — a nationalist, but not a conservative — is the presumptive of Republican nominee.
As I noted from the outset, I will vote for him if he wins the nomination — because there is no choice. But the biggest reason he won is scary.
This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.