Donald Trump has been endorsed by Paul Ryan who is the Republican Party's highest ranked public official. Ryan has also supported every international trade agreement that has been proposed in recent years. Those trade agreements have also been supported by the US Chamber Of Commerce which is the largest business lobby in the US and a traditional advocate for Republican political candidates. Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on free trade agreements and he has accused the US Chamber Of Commerce of being controlled by special interests (most of whom are Republicans). In other words, Donald Trump has divorced himself from the Republican Party on critical campaign issues in order to increase his chances of the winning the national election in November. He is actually running as a nationalistic populist. His populism is closer to Bernie Sanders than it is to Hillary Clinton's. He hopes to expand his populist base in the Republican Party by attracting disaffected Democrats to his campaign in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania which have suffered from deindustrialization. He claims that he will "Make America Great Again" by bringing jobs back to America that have been lost by the use of "unfair currency manipulation" and broad based trade agreements provide easy access to the US market. He claims that he will use his skills as the "great negotiator" by negotiating with each of our trading partners as a single entity.
Trumps nationalistic populism is similar similar trends that we see in Europe. The recent referendum in the UK provides a good example of national populism at work and it should provide a warning to Republicans. The UKIP Party in the UK opposed Britain's membership in the EU. It attracted disaffected conservatives, who were concerned about a loss of national sovereignty, and it appealed to many traditional Labour voters who blamed immigration for their economic problems and for a loss of national identity. The leader of the conservative party attempted to stem the tide of UKIP by proposing a referendum on membership in the EU. He did not expect the vote to turn out the way it did and he was forced to resign after the referendum. The campaign against the EU was led by the conservative Mayor of London who believed that he could enhance his political career within the Conservative Party. He resigned after the referendum and several conservative candidates are vying for leadership in the Party. Who knows what will become of the Conservative Party.
Donald Trump won the GOP primary by appealing to disaffected Republicans who viewed Washington in many ways like voters in the UK who did believe that they benefited from membership in the EU. Trump supporters also believed that immigration was bad for them economically and that immigrants were dangerous threats to their safety. They were also forced to pay taxes to the federal government which were used to provide welfare benefits immigrants and others who did share their values. The Republican Party cannot win elections without the UKIP like members of their party who have been captured by Donald Trump. On the other hand, a Republican Party led by Donald Trump bears little resemblance to the party that has traditionally defined conservatism for most Republicans. It has become the Anti-Obama, Anti-Hillary party rather than a party united by a set of ideals. If Donald Trump captures the Fox News and talk radio hosts, who have typically supported conventional Republicans, the Party will have lost its propaganda machine as will as its ideology. It will become the Anti-Liberal Party. The Tabloids in the UK promoted the Brexit campaign by spreading lies and misinformation that supporters of membership were unable to effectively counter. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Voters everywhere are concerned about the future but there are no easy answers for many of the problems that worry them. Trump's campaign is not based upon workable ideas that will be good for the nation. He is all about winning the presidency by appealing to many of the fears that are common in many western nations. Things are changing in the global economy and in the popular culture that are moving faster that the ability of national governments to manage them.