UPDATE: I'm going to move this piece to "highlighted", not least because Reihan Salam is quite unhappy. But, after further rethinking and further reading, it seems to me that my reading of Reihan is correct--that he wants to see the coming of a Nixon who will be for "government programs that help the right people..." in the hope that that can then be transformed into a true Sam's Club Republicanism. And so my warning stands:
It seems to me that what differentiates Trump from other Republican politicians isn't his endorsement of Medicare and Social Security for those who he hopes will vote for him--other Republican politicians routinely do the same. Indeed, that is pretty much the standard line: we need tax cuts for the rich to promote enterprise and create jobs but we are not going to fund them by cutting your Social Security and Medicare, we are going to fund them by cutting the entitlements of the young. Medicarism: Sam's Club Republicanism for you and me, but not for them. Where Reihan and company differed, I thought, was in a (very laudible) not to draw the circle of Americans narrowly.
But drawing the circle of real Americans narrowly--around what Nixon used to call the "silent majority", excluding all the weirdos and minorities of all their stripes--is the point of Trump to the extreme. Consider Reihan, as interviewed by Josh Barro:
Live from the Roasterie: Is Trump the Candidate Reform Conservatives Are Seeking?: "The reform conservative movement, to the extent it exists...:
...is pointy-headed, technocratic and soft-spoken. Mr. Trump is none of those things. But his campaign has helped bolster a key argument from the reformocons: that many Republican voters are not devotees of supply-side economics and are more interested in the right kind of government than in a simply smaller one. “There were a lot of people who wanted to think the Tea Party is a straightforward libertarian movement,” said Reihan Salam, the executive editor of National Review. But he said Mr. Trump’s ability to lead the polls while attacking Republicans for wanting to cut entitlement programs showed that conservative voters are open to “government programs that help the right people”...
Government policies "that help the right people". All Republicans are for that. That does not differentiate Trump, Trumpism, the Trumpeters, or the Trumpenproletariat from standard Republican doctrine these days.
What does differentiate Trump from other Republicans is what Salam politely calls his "hard-edged opposition to immigration"--e.g., his scolding Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish in public in the United States, his call to tax all remittances to Mexico, including those by U.S. citizens and permanent residents, his claims that police brutality is necessary to control thuggish troublemaking gangs of Mexican immigrants...
Remember: for Murray Rothbard--although probably not for Lew Rockwell or Ron Paul, for whom it was the point of the exercise--anti-Black racism was to fuel a libertarian order in which the Invisible Hand of the market would keep white racism from harming African-Americans.
Live from the Roasterie: I really do think that somebody should drop a word into Reihan Salam and company's ears: Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard thought that they could harness the racist fears of and disgust at African-Americans of whites to power into office politicians who would enact their preferred public policy agenda.
Reform conservatives now appear to be contemplating playing the same game--only with immigrants, both undocumented and documented, from Mexico in the role in which Rothbard, Rockwell, and company cast America's African-Americans.
It did not go well for Rothbard, Rockwell, and company. I predict it will not go well for Reihan Salam and company either.
If Donald Trump Is George Wallace, Who Will Be Richard Nixon?: "Trump is offering a more assertive nationalism...:
...a hard-edged opposition to immigration, and a defense of social insurance programs that benefit older Americans.... In an ideal world, the rise of Trump would force elite conservatives to recognize that... GOP voters care more about wage stagnation than about high-end tax cuts, and... [are] not reflexively opposed to the safety net.... A conservative agenda that recognizes these realities, and that speaks to the economic fears and aspirations of working- and middle-class voters, would attract the support of far more voters than a politics of anger.