What is Common sense conservatism? As articulated by Donald Trump, first and foremost, it is America controlling its borders. Trump says we are not a country if we don't control our borders – no borders, no country. That's plain common sense. At the very least, the Trump phenomenon means that for many Americans, the tsunami of immigrants, illegal and legal, washing over our country threatens to destroy America. Those Trump voters understand that the Democrats have been pushing legal and illegal immigration hard, evidently with the intent of replacing the American people with a population more to their liking. They also understand that many Republicans have been cooperating.
More broadly, common sense conservatism, as articulated by Donald Trump, means putting America and Americans first. It means policies that protect the jobs of American workers, American soldiers not being made to risk death and dismemberment in doomed attempts to bestow political blessings on the people of the Middle East, and an end to the bad deals, bad deals, bad deals all around, from international trade and climate deals that penalize American workers to Obama swapping a deserter for five high-ranking leaders of the Islamist war on America and propping up the mullahs in Iran with billions in cash and relief.
Common sense conservatism also means restoring the sovereignty of the American people. When that portion of the international elite that occupies the federal government tells American citizens they must allow males who consider themselves females to use the bathrooms and showers set aside for females, you can anticipate a backlash from the voters.
The political class and the ruling elite have not just abandoned common sense; they are actually making war on common sense. But politicians can get away with violating common sense in America only so long, because as Trump's election shows, we are, after all, still the common sense nation. Tom Paine's Common Sense did more than ignite the Revolution; it provided the model for how America was going to govern itself. Paine exemplified the language of American politics. He discussed the great issue of the day like a neighbor talking to his neighbor over the fence. Politics as all about the glory of the monarch was swept away. According to the Founders' vision, the common sense of the American citizen replaced the divine right of kings.
America the common sense nation lives on, though our ruling class has lost contact with that America. Government by, for, and of the people had become government by, for, and of the bipartisan elite.
Then, along came Donald Trump.
Robert Curry is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea from Encounter Books. You can preview the book here.