Trumpism’s Turning Point
by Todd F. Brook
by Todd F. Brook
On July 23rd, President Trump gave a speech to TPUSA, one of the archetypal “college conservative” groups which seeks to shine the light of “small government,” “socialism sucks” and “low taxes” onto the dark, regressive, Democrat universities who have the misfortune of hosting such a group on their campuses. As you’d expect from a speech to a group like this, much of Trump’s content was, compared to his typical campaign rhetoric, just as banal and conventional as what TPUSA reps consider college campuses who haven’t accepted to god of “constitutional conservatism” to be like. But what made this speech noteworthy was not what Trump said, but what was happening behind him as he said it.
VDARE reports: “Trump walked onstage in front of a presidential seal that, upon closer examination, appears to have been altered to include symbols representing Russia and golf. … Upon closer examination, the seal on Trump’s right includes a double-headed eagle, unlike the single head of the traditional presidential seal, and seems to resemble the Russian coat of arms … It could be a reference to Trump’s sometimes-controversial relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Wow, hilarious. What an edgy and controversial political statement. But in all seriousness, how did TPUSA let something like this happen, and what could we learn from it?
Among the online Right, there has been a debate about whether this incidence is an example of incompetence or malice on behalf of TPUSA. I’m personally more inclined to believe the former; the altered seal was apparently made by some NeverTrump boomer, and had been circulating among #TheResistance types across the internet for a while now, so it would probably make sense that it would show up near the top of a Google image search for “Trump president seal” or something like that, which is what I’m guessing an incompetent TPUSA programmer looked up before plastering it over the screen behind the president. The malice angle doesn’t really make sense to me, because from what I know of TPUSA, the type of people who make up the organization and who populate its leadership are Trump sycophants of the worst kind, so it doesn’t particularly make sense for this organization to have a NeverTrump-er in such a high programming position.
What makes TPUSA the “worst” kind of Trump sycophants is that these people really don’t believe in anything besides cheerleading or apologizing for Trump regardless of what he does. In other words, it is a cult of personality — and like all cults of personality, once the personality the cult is centered around begins to fizz out (due to death, personal scandal, irrelevance, etc.), the cult itself will begin to die out along with him. Trump won’t be around forever — in fact, he may very well be out of office within a year-and-a-half due to the next election (and certainly gone in five years) — and what will be left of TPUSA, and various other grifter groups, will be an empty ideological shell, a cult of personality aimed at nobody in particular. Instead, the leadership of TPUSA and similar organizations will continue to grift off whatever conservative personalities or causes will be popular at the time. Rinse and repeat for the next president, and so on.
Those members of TPUSA who actually believe in Trump, and more specifically in “Trump-ism,” will find themselves left behind as soon as Trump leaves office, with their parent organization instead directing itself at efforts which these members never would’ve associated with Trump — most high IQ Trump supporters realize that this is what will happen in the long-run, so they don’t feel a reason to join organizations like this at the moment.
And precisely because joining a cult of personality is always a losing proposition in the long run, TPUSA’s current membership is full of people who are — for lack of a better term — losers. These are the types of people who are unwilling or unable to have a cogent ideological thought for themselves, and instead associate themselves with politicians (i.e. personalities) that they like, despite not understanding the ideas that made these politicians so popular in the first place. Such is the case with many TPUSA members, who like Trump for a myriad of reasons, but simply don’t understand the populist, non-interventionist and paleoconservative energies which propelled candidate Trump in the first place, and even if they understood these energies, they likely wouldn’t support them. To the extent that they do understand these energies, they certainly aren’t acting upon them: At best they’re simply incompetent at implementing pro-Trump activism; at worst all they’re doing is grifting money from pro-Trump donors and misdirecting it into whatever non-issue TPUSA cares about at some point in time, or just using it to enrich themselves. Either way, an organization of this caliber can’t reasonably be expected to help Trump in any meaningful way.
Given this background, it should come as no surprise that TPUSA allowed for an error as grievous as inserting anti-Trump propaganda behind the president as he spoke at their own conference to happen. Naturally, the technician or programmer behind the seal was not particularly bright, and probably wasn’t ideologically a Trump-ist. He saw and downloaded the fake seal, but because he didn’t have the ideological knowledge he did not recognize the symbols on it to be hostile to the president, and probably didn’t realize his mistake until his bosses informed him of it.
Regardless of who is at fault for the presidential seal fiasco, it remains true that conservative grifting organizations TPUSA shouldn’t exist in the Trump era. They are as vapid and anti-intellectual as they accuse “liberal college campuses” or being. They are un-ideological and incompetent, and they will leave behind no legacy or evidence that they even existed after Trump is gone. Yes, it is true that these organizations provide a great medium for young Rightists who know all the relevant facts to organize and get to know one another, but the fact remains that the leadership — and much of the membership — of these organizations have no interest beyond making money and redirecting the authentic energies that swept Trump into office into something that candidate Trump would’ve never endorsed. TPUSA should be ashamed that they allowed an altered seal to flash behind the president as he spoke; Trump, however, should be embarrassed that he deigned to speak at an organization which cares nothing for his most loyal supporters.