The Return of the Rockefeller Republicans

christie_trumpSo it’s official.  The moderates are now rallying behind Donald Trump:

“He’s been my friend for many years, he’s been a spectacular governor,” said Mr. Trump, standing with Mr. Christie at a press conference in Fort Worth, Texas, for the endorsement.

“I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump,” said Mr. Christie, noting they have been friends for a decade.

Mr. Trump “will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again,” said Mr. Christie.

It’s no small wonder.  Speculation on why Christie never threw a punch at Trump during the debates has been rather vocal in recent days, and if the rumors are true — and these are rumors — of a Trump/Kasich ’16 alliance heading into Cleveland?  Consider where the candidates overlap: high tariffs, protectionism, an expansion of Medicaid, single payer health care, etc.  Immigration will be a sticking point, but there are perhaps no two better salesmen on immigration than Kasich and Christie.

If these alliances strike you as odd, Ross Douthat over at the New York Times has an observation worth considering:

…and it’s a fair point to raise.

Trump populism and Rockefeller moderatism aren’t perceptibly different from one another.  Hostile to social conservatives and free markets, warm to protectionism and government-fed solutions, this branch of the Republican Party — once thought dead — is now back with a virulence.  Big government wedded to Tea Party fanaticism.

The real question now?  How many Vichy conservatives will flock to the Trump banners?

It would appear, ladies and gentlemen, that Rubio and Cruz now hold the ramparts for what remains of modern American conservatism.

  • Ken Falkenstein

    The sad thing is that this is happening with the support of millions of conservative voters across the country who are joyfully marching off a cliff.

    • …except they’re not conservative, and they never were.

      • Curt Diemer

        I’ve been a Movement Conservative since you before you were in diapers. ???? #Trump2016

        • Give Obama a hug for me.

          • Reinhardt Reganbacker lll

            Give Bush 43′ a hug for me!

            First he put Obama in the “House”. At least Trump should be an improvement in the “House”.

            I may stay home in November.

        • Curt, all you’ve been doing is complaining about whoever is in charge. That’s not movement conservatism.

        • David Eggleston

          Bowel Movement Conservatism

          • Lee Pillsbury

            They have certainly served a crap sandwich to the Republican party.

        • Stephen Spiker

          Sorry to see you betray your principles so thoroughly.

      • Fitzgerald Chesterfield

        Nope, but apparently they vote. And you gotta dance with the one what brung ya.

        I might add “social conservatives” aren’t so much conservative as they are in favor of imposing their religious values on the rest of the populace.

      • Wally Erb

        Sour grapes?

        • Stephen Spiker

          Nope, reality. Someone who pretends they were conservative then supports a big government liberal in our best chance to take back the White House is lying to themselves and to rest of us.

    • Turbocohen

      This is Independent voters disregarding the two parties power structure.

  • Linus MacAlistair Stallman

    The return of responsibility, hoo-ray!

    • …or maybe the American populace has been fed a steady diet of reality TV, nonsense, and 50 Shades of Crap and we’re simply getting the elected officials we deserve?

      • Linus MacAlistair Stallman

        That’s just it. With Christie’s endorsement, I can’t tell if Chris knows something we don’t or is just being spiteful.

        • David Eggleston

          Trust me. He’s being spiteful.

  • Evan

    Meh. The Rockefeller Republicans were, to my mind, more defined by their commitment to a “conservative,” status-quo, don’t rock the boat style of governance. I really don’t think Trump fits into that mold.

    • Stephen Spiker

      You kidding? All he’s wanted is power. First he bought it, now he’s demagoging to get it. That’s what authoritarians do.

  • Jerel C. Wilmore

    The Second Coming
    by W.B. Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    • “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”

      This has been on my mind for months extending into years…

  • I’ve shared like four Bearing Drift articles over the last two months. Trump – Bringing Conservatives and Establishment together since 2015.

    • Welcome back to the conservative movement, Mr. Establishment. We’ve been here for years. 😉

  • Nathan Ritchie

    John Kasich has in no way associated himself with Donald Trump. The rumors of a Trump/Kasich ticket is just desperate speculation by journalists who have nothing real to write about. To tie John Kasich in with this blog about Donald Trump and Chris Christie is inaccurate and unfair. Kasich has been a conservative his entire career and unlike Cruz and Rubio, he has actually gotten conservative results. This marginalization of mainstream conservatives and the center-right will do the Party no good. I would say that John Kasich “hold the ramparts for what remains of modern American conservatism” that actually does anything for the people.

    • Fitzgerald Chesterfield

      I mostly agree with you, but I’ve felt all along that Kasich’s campaign has been a fishing expedition for the VP slot. He was always a long-shot at best for the presidential nomination, and I don’t think he cared too much who’s on top of the ticket (when conventional wisdom was that Trump would never win). We’ll see how it plays out, but the GOP has never won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

      • John Harvie


      • Bobby

        Trump/Kasich, Christie AG?

  • If Rubio and Cruz are the last bulwarks of conservatism, we are screwed.

    • kelley

      no kidding

    • Wally Erb

      I’m fuzzy on this conservative thing. In the latest Rubio push-poll, on the question, “Do you consider yourself conservative, some-what conservative, etc.” do I need a check list to determine what I am or just wing it?

      • Wing it. That’s what everybody else is doing.

        • Wally Erb

          food for consideration:
          Professor Helmut Norpoth, PHD , Political Science professor of NSU Stony Brook has forecasted that Donald Trump has a minimum 97 percent chance of winning the general election as the Republican nominee. Norpoth created a statistical model of presidential elections that uses a candidate’s performance in their party’s primary and patterns in the electoral cycle as predictors of the presidential vote in the general election.
          Donald Trump has a 97 percent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and a 99 percent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders in the general election, according to Norpoth’s formula. The primary model, using also the cyclical movement, makes it almost certain that Donald Trump will be the next president if he’s a nominee of the Republican party.
          Norpoth’s primary model works for every presidential election since 1912, with the notable exception of the 1960 election. These results give the model an accuracy of 96.1 percent.
          Trump beats Hillary 54.7 percent to 45.3 percent [of the popular vote].

    • Turbocohen
  • mezurak

    Hey Lindsey Graham is endorsing Trump. That alone ought to be worth 10 points for Rubio. I wonder, is the RNC putting these guys up to this? A kill him with kindness strategy? Better Ballot for Bernie, last chance on Tuesday.

    Then it’s all over.

    • Scout

      I think you missed Lindsey Graham’s sarcasm, mezurak. Graham put on a Trump hat jokingly saying that he hoped that the effect he had had on his own campaign and then Jeb Bush’s would carry forward to Trump, whom he called a nutcase. He had similar unkind things to say about Cruz and Rubio. Lindsey further said that the GOP this year has gone completely “batshit” and bemoaned the possibility (which Senator Graham views as a near certainty, that the GOP has enabled Hillary to walk into the White House pretty much without significant opposition in a year that should have been a Republican triumph.

      • mezurak

        Yes, I know Graham is being sarcastic. That points out the whole BS the GOP is today. Just like all these highly educated people here on BD. All the voters hear for years is, “The citizen is supposed to suck it up and vote for who the party’s idea of a nominee is.” Yet here the insiders are, bitching and making jokes because an unexpected outsider is leading the pack.

        They don’t like it one bit because their guy isn’t going to win.

        Which is WHY they need to turn out on Tuesday to vote for Bernie Sanders. Hillary is never going to jail, the establishment minded won’t vote for Trump, so they may as well suck it up and get on with it. Voting for Bernie is like calling the bombs in on your own position because you have nothing left to lose. With any amount of luck, the last man standing will be a Republican. Even if it’s the one you hate.

        Ballot for Bernie on Tuesday or the Hill/Billy clan wins.

        • Stephen Spiker

          It’s funny that you even recognize Trump as an “outsider” of the party — he’s a lifelong Democrat.

          • mezurak

            You know Bush tried calling Trump a Democrat. Where is Bush now?

            Fact is, Trump is like a lot of other former republicans who have changed parties or given up on parties altogether. He was Republican for years before switching around. The bottom line of course, which really pisses you off, is HE IS A REPUBLICAN NOW.

            Call it a part of that Big Tent you insiders kept crowing about until recently. Or maybe Trump is a political illegal alien stealing the GOP’s rightful jobs. It’s what happens when you neglect to build a wall.

          • MD Russ

            Let me guess. You and Dcgorilla got your degrees at Trump University.

          • mezurak

            Naw, I got mine at Nixon U.

          • MD Russ

            I presume that means that you have never heard of Trump University and the class-action lawsuits for fraud that are pending against it. That doesn’t surprise me. Trumpeters are the most poorly informed voters in the country, similar to the nativists of the 19th Century who called themselves the Know-Nothing Party. How apt.

          • mezurak

            Sure, I know about Trump U. I also know about the many other scams out there by institutions bilking tens of thousands of students of their never die federal loans. The only difference between Trump U and those outfits is the fact they have an edu on their website and a $35,000+ per student annual rip off. Oh and influential politicians on their Boards. Trump U went out of business years ago. Those others are still skimming, along with the Wall street crooks.

            Not a matter of Don’t Know, but Don’t Care. The Republicans had a chance to enforce the rule of law. They failed. A $40 million Trump lawsuit? That’s not even a bonus to the real crooks.

          • MD Russ

            I am interested in hearing how you believe the Republicans failed to enforce the rule of law and how you think that Trump would be different. And forget about the southern wall. The Mexicans have made it clear that they aren’t going to pay for it and Congress will never appropriate the trillions that it would cost.

          • Stephen Spiker

            But damn, it makes them feel good to think about it!

          • mark Jawsz

            Trillions? Did you say trillions?

          • MD Russ

            Yes, Mark. It is a concept in budgeting called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The original construction cost is estimated at $15-25B. The annual maintenance cost is estimated at $750M in current dollars. Then, the ICE budget to man the wall would be $1.4B per year. So, over the first ten years US taxpayers would spend $7.8T for the southern wall. Of course, I might have misplaced a zero and it could be as low as three-quarters of a trillion dollars, or about 5% of the entire national debt. And that does not include the estimated cost of apprehending and deporting 11 million illegals, $114B.

            Being a white supremacist is expensive. Tell me again why conservatives support Trump?

          • Lee Pillsbury

            You don’t care if Trump broke the law because Republicans failed to enforce the law?

          • Stephen Spiker

            When I talk about a “big tent”, I mean bringing people into the conservative cause, not abandoning conservativism for Democrat talking points.

            If you prefer big government liberalism, I’d prefer you join the Democrats rather than hi-jack the GOP.

          • mezurak

            It’s evident you know nothing about me at all. It’s probably better that way, so I don’t destroy your fantasy of who is a real republican and who isn’t. As far as big government goes, you need to talk to your heroes like Ryan, Boner and the Turtle about big government actions. Trump isn’t in the same league, even if he became the New Obama.

            Oh, and don’t forget. Ballot for Bernie on Tuesday. He needs all the help he can get to keep the Hill/Billy show off the TV. NoVa and the other VA city/states are gearing up to send a message to the denialists in RoVa on Tuesday. The only question is how many counties will also turn blue this election cycle?

          • Stephen Spiker

            I know enough. You support Trump, therefore you support a massive expansion of government spending and power and exploding the national debt.

            Or maybe you don’t, but kicking Hispanics and Muslims out of the country is more important to you than limited government.

            Either way, what more is there to know about you?

    • Craig Scott

      Also funny, you guys are on a roll :^)

  • ghostofteddalton

    I will make a tactical rather than ideological observation. Virginia’s primary is on Tuesday. This is the hive of GOP activity in Virginia. The Bull Elephant is a distant 2nd. But…I don’t see any presidential candidate advertising on either blog as I type this less than 96 hours before the primary. That’s piss poor staff work for Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson.

    Just an observation…..

    • Stephen Spiker

      This is Virginia’s conservative voice. The biggest goal for anybody who has ever had a conservative principle in their life is ensuring that Trump does not become the nominee.

      Unfortunately, we’re discovering that we far too overestimated how conservative the Republican base truly is. They don’t want a conservative — they want an authoritarian to rule them like a king.

      • mark Jawsz

        Spiker – you still don’t get it….did you read Mr. Falkenstein’s article on his understanding of Trump voters? It was there for all to see and absorb. On a personal level, I prefer Rubio to Trump hands down. But Rubio will sell out on illegal immigration and when the smoke clears there will be at least several million new voters for the Democrats. That is why, while I still have a choice, I will go with the one LEAST LIKELY to sell out – Trump.
        I will tell you BD-ers the same thing that I tell my buddies in the Tea Party movement. There are only two parties, which means all of those views in the middle and on the fringes have to be somehow accommodated. Unfortunately, BD-ers are just as bad as the Tea Party hotheads in attempting to “purge” those under The Big Tent with whom they disagree. Tea Partyers call out “RINOs” while BD-ers call out “nativists/protectionists/bigots.” Same thing. I am with the Tea Party on some issues, I am with the RINOs (and even the progressives) on others.

        • David Eggleston

          The one least likely to sell out? You do realize the only reason he is hawking a wall is to pre-empt legislation to stiffen penalties and better enforce them against employers (like himself, in spades) of illegal immigrants, right?

          • mark Jawsz

            Maybe. Maybe not. But I do know for certain that Rubio will sell voters such as me – and tens of millions like me – out. If he is the nominee, I will still vote for him. But for this primary season, I am willing to roll some dice in the Trump casino.

          • David Eggleston

            OK. Well, good luck on Trump not selling y’all out. I hope he doesn’t get the opportunity.

          • GirlFromIvy

            Trump is not my first choice. However, the fuss about immigrants and Trump is about legal (H2B) workers – the illegals from 30 years ago were hired by a subcontractor, not by Trump directly.

            My concern is H1b. Rubio is currently sponsoring a bill to double H1b levels. Not supporting, not voting for – SPONSORING.

            So if the choice becomes Rubio versus Trump, it’s a choice between someone who is sponsoring legislation to double levels during an election year, versus someone who claims to oppose it.

            Rubio has already sold voters out. Funny how no one is talking about I-squared, the bill he’s currently sponsoring to double H1b levels.

            If Rubio is the nominee, I’m either voting third party or staying home. He is, from my perspective, the worst possible choice.

        • The difference is that when we call out the nativists, we aren’t doing so because we want our ideology to triumph, or because we are trying to use a wedge issue to gain power. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.

          • mezurak

            Then enjoy Hillery in the white house.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Hillary is more conservative than Trump.

          • mezurak

            Then you have nothing to worry about.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Sure I do. I worry about the same thing all conservatives worry about: Trump.

        • Stephen Spiker

          And I’ve offered a similar reply to you before, Mark: there is room in the Conservative party for immigration hardliners. There is not room in the party for anti-conservative candidates like Trump. He and his supporters reject conservatism. I see no reason to keep pretending we’re aligned with them in any way.

  • Gerald Zeigler

    Lately whenever I read Bearing Drift I am saddened and disappointed. There has to be some good news soon.

  • Dcgorillafighter


  • Craig Scott

    Rockefellerism = internationalism (a bloody/expensive failure), Trumpism = nationalism (disastrous, which leads to even greater monopoly), and what we need is federalism = separation of powers and (very) limited government. Almighty please help us, as we need another “great awaking” to return to our Declaration. I pray it so. I believe Christie is covering his (yes, large) backside for his (mis)deeds as the chief executive of New Jersey, not much more that that. I saw Dr. Ron Paul as a faint glimmer of this, of wanting to revive the limited state, but that was Quixotic… Oligarchy must end here and worldwide.
    “One man to live in pleasure and wealth, whiles all other weap and smart for it, that is the part not of a king, but of a jailor.” ? Thomas More

    • Stephen Spiker

      Given Trumps support for the Iraq War in 2002 and intervening in Libya in 2011, he’s also an interventionalist.

  • David Eggleston
  • Turbocohen

    The latest.

  • DJRippert

    Trump’s support has nothing to do with false or anti-conservative values. It has nothing to do with Nelson Rockefeller. It has nothing to do with Trump’s greed or his supporters’ stupidity. A vote for Trump is a vote for nullification of what the Republican Party (and American politics overall) have become. A vote for Trump is a vote of “no confidence” in the Republican Party leadership / establishment. A vote for Trump, at the end of the day, is a protest vote.

    A large number of Americans will be voting for Trump in protest of the Republican orthodoxy so beloved by many (all?) the authors of this blog.

    If you want to see why a reckless bombastic man like Donald Trump is so popular … look in the mirror.

    My guess is that Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for president. Protest votes tend to have a lot of early momentum that fades over time. How many rabid Paulistas did I see at the start of prior election cycles?

    The problem for both parties is that the anti-establishment backlash that fuels Trump and Sanders won’t evaporate even if those candidates are defeated in the primaries. No, an election pitting a Democratic criminal against yet another Republican politician for life will only fan the flames of resentment. If that happens, who knows what manner of beast may come to the fore in the run up to the 2020 election?

    One benefit of this crazy election is that I am starting to hear some good jokes:

    1. 2016 – Donald Trump will never be elected president.
    2. 2017 – President Trump will never fire all those nukes.
    3. 2018 – No way we’re doing what those apes say.

    Bill Clinton (overheard speaking to Hillary Clinton): “May I assume that I’ll be free to date while you’re serving your sentence?”

    Trump: Cruz is a liar
    Cruz: Rubio is a liar
    Rubio: Trump is a liar
    Carson: Fruit salad.

    • Stephen Spiker

      The Republican Party serves as a vehicle for conservatism in today’s political culture. Not that it is a perfect champion or that its leaders are particularly conservative, but it at least provides a home for those who have conservative principles and seek to combat liberalism.

      Rejecting the Republican Party isn’t necessarily bad — sometimes institutions need to be rebuilt to become better and stronger. Rejecting the Republican Party and replacing it with Trumpism, in all of its authoritarian, big government, collectivist glory, is a full-on rejection of conservatism.

      Trump rejects and seeks to destroy conservatism. So do Trump supporters. Anybody who considers themself both a Trump supporter and a conservative is lying about the last part. They aren’t and never were, or else they would run for the hills along with the rest of us when Trump starts preaching about massive expansion of government power and the erosion of individual rights.

      It turns out, we overestimated how conservative the Republican base really is.

      • DJRippert

        Sen Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump. I am waiting to see how those on this blog try to spin Jeff Sessions as a non-conservative. That will be interesting. Anyway … this was the best quote from Sessions’ endorsement – “The events of history have aligned to give the people this fleeting chance to bust up the oligarchy – to take back control from the ‘Masters of the Universe’ return it to the good and decent and patriotic citizens of the United States.”

        The leaders of the Republican / conservative orthodoxy are running out of time to deal with Trump. Until those leaders understand that Trump’s support is a vote of “no confidence” in the Republican Party and American conservatism (as currently practiced) the leaders will fail to counter what has become The Trump Bandwagon.

        When will Bearing Drift see the light?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.