Trumpistan IS NOT “conservative”.
Americans in the last generation or so have completely lost sight of what “conservative” means, which is one of the reasons the country’s becoming Trumpistan.
To be conservative, first and foremost, one must have a social good or ideal worth conserving — and bigotry, misogyny, and other forms of anti-intellectually ritual hatred do not qualify. Ayn Rand was not nearly as conservative as, say, George McGovern or Bernie Sanders. Having an anti-intellectual, spiritually-adrift solipsist cheerleader for greed reach the peak of her marketing success at roughly the same time as technology to lock people into confirmation-bias-reinforcing bubbles becomes prevalent does not argue for the validity of your ideas; rather the opposite.
A conservative believes that all must be given the opportunity to succeed, and the individual freedom to avail themselves of that opportunity or not to. A conservative believes that Government has a role in ensuring that markets are open and fair, but not in picking winners and losers, and certainly not in rigging the system to ensure that the most selfish, self-aggrandising louts win everything. Having a country where a few hundred families both control the majority of wealth and pay proportionally less tax than those who clean their offices at night is not conservative, because conservatism at its historical heart argues that a system must be sustainable and not at imminent risk of collapsing under the weight of its own corruption.
One must never mistake reactionary activism for conservatism, just as one must never mistake incompetence for malice, nor petulance for intellect. Yet such is the toxic cesspool that America has fallen into in the last half-century. It’s fallen so far for so long that people have forgotten what not falling feels like, and they’re lorded over by antinational corporatists who see such ignorance as furthering their own goals.
This is not likely to end well.