We can acknowledge that Donald Trump's popularity is partially related to his unapologetic defense of himself and his policies, but let's examine why that is particularly appealing to his supporters and others. How did we get to this point?
Grass-roots conservatives believe that their policies can make America great again, that they can make Americans more secure and prosperous. Many of them still believe in traditional values, which are now in disrepute.
They are appalled at the systematic assault on their ideas in our public schools, our universities, the media and Hollywood. They are horrified by the attacks on their liberties. But they have not surrendered.
They see America disintegrating rapidly and little being done to stop it. They detect no sense of urgency from their elected representatives, and they wonder whether they are living in an alternate universe.
It's true that the Republicans don't control the executive branch, but that's no excuse for always caving and giving sissified overtures of bipartisanship to an implacable bully president.
President Obama is a lawless renegade, flouting the Constitution and the rule of law and mocking his opponents as if they were the ones overreaching. But too often, Republicans sit on their hands, refusing to exercise their powers to stop him. Some even join in Obama's condemnation of those few brave souls on our side who try to stop him.
It's not just that they're impotent to stop Obama. They routinely downplay his usurpations as if they're just another day at the office. They forfeit their bully pulpit, forcing the grass roots to publicly oppose these outrages. You might call this a case of the tail wagging the dog, except that the dog, for all intents and purposes, is dead — by suicide.
Liberal Democrats have relentlessly pressed their case, placing their propaganda mouthpieces in our educational system and dominating Hollywood and the media with a monolithically radical message. Their ideas and values are so culturally dominant that those who disagree are too afraid of the PC thought police to voice their dissent publicly. Conservatives might still hold on to a slight majority, but we are no longer just a voluntarily silent one; we're a self-muzzled one.
Why are so many good people afraid of their own shadow? Maybe the simplest explanation is that liberal propaganda has slowly succeeded in making conservatives look uncompassionate, racist, sexist and homophobic. It has even made Christians seem mean-spirited.
Liberals trade almost exclusively on identity politics, painting all Republicans and conservatives — except those who pander to them — as haters. Many are afraid to speak up because they know that no one would have their back. If they violated the guidelines of political correctness, they'd be excommunicated from polite society as knuckle-dragging ogres.
The irony is that liberal policies harm the people they purport to help. The welfare state has devastated the nuclear family, and black families have been hit the hardest. Their economic policies have devastated the workforce. Blacks have been hit the hardest. Their top-down education mandates serve the teachers unions but trap minority children in vastly inferior and dangerous inner-city schools. Their campaign against law enforcement and cops has turned our cities into war zones. Black youths are being hit the hardest. Their abandonment of border security and illegal grants of amnesty are putting us all at risk. Their blocking of entitlement reform is bankrupting America. Their onerous taxes and regulations are impoverishing America and destroying businesses and jobs. Blacks have been hit the hardest. Their gutting of the military and refusal to fight in the war on terror are destroying our national security. Their savage support for abortion on demand is killing millions of babies and has devalued life across the board. Black babies are hardest hit.
Conservatives know that their policies lead to greater prosperity. They believe their values are grounded in moral absolutes, are tried and tested, and are overwhelmingly beneficial to society. They believe their policies demonstrate real compassion because they are based on results, not empty rhetoric and false promises.
They are tired of being vilified. They long for government leaders who will fight back without apology. They want a president who will not just campaign as a conservative but also implement conservative policies when elected.
This means that they don't want phony pledges to close the border in the future buried in some "comprehensive" reform plan, a partial repeal of Obamacare, half-measures reversing the Environmental Protection Agency's punitive regulations on the energy industry or meaningless tweaks to the tax code and entitlements. They want America to be strong again and self-aware of its positive impact on the world.
The grass roots have seen very little of these things from the ruling class. That's why they're rejecting most insiders and supporting outsiders and those inside who are genuinely trying to change the status quo.
I hope we can look back in a few years and say that Obama miscalculated — that he pushed too far too fast instead of allowing liberalism to continue to grow incrementally. I pray that his arrogance in impatiently accelerating statism is what will finally bring the unrepresented majority to a boil, leading to a dramatic reversal of his fundamental transformation.