The editorial “Trump taking a dangerous approach to trade” in the April 3 edition reminds us again that Donald Trump is not a Republican. In reality, today’s White House is not controlled by Democrats or Republicans but by a hybrid political movement based more on pugnacity than on policy, less on stability than on mendacity: Trumpism.

Trump, a man-child huckster with no apparent core convictions, still calls himself a Republican, but too many things he’s done make the label inapplicable. Millions of Republicans — real ones, not Trump-worshipping wannabes — would rather have their gums scraped than be associated with Trumpism or its charlatan puppet master.

Sure, Trumpism and Republicanism are the same on issues like taxes, immigration, social entitlements and judicial appointments. Low taxes, especially for businesses, tout trickle-down economics; tighter immigration policy keeps society desirably Caucasian; limited social entitlements address a hatred of “handouts”; and right-leaning judges keep laws comfortably conservative.

But the two are polar opposites regarding free markets, debt, trade pacts and behavior expectations. Tariffs are anathema to Republicans, but protectionist Trump shows a fetish for them; Republicans aim for fiscal responsibility, but Trump’s spending plan balloons the deficit by $1.3 trillion; Republicans see the benefits of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, but isolationist Trump ran from the TPP; and Republicans say they value traditional standards of moral behavior, whereas Trump … well, you know.

So, what to call Trumpism’s followers? “Trumpers,” “Trumpists,” “Trumpketeers,” “Trumpinistas” — whatever. Just don’t call them “Republicans.”

The puerile Trump has stuck his name on skyscrapers, neckties, vodka and more. But his latest branding — a truly cult-like political faction — must be the carnival barker’s biggest ego trip yet.

Genuine Republicans want Trumpism to collapse, like Trump University — just another Trumpian scam. Most importantly, though, they hope the Republican brand won’t be crushed beneath Trumpism’s steaming, fetid ruins.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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