Should Donald Trump fall short of the delegates needed to win on the first ballot (1,237), there is growing certitude that he will be stopped. First by Ted Cruz; then, perhaps, by someone acceptable to the establishment, which always likes to have two of its own in the race.
But Washington, the city of self-delusion, should realize there is no going back for America. For, whatever his stumbles of the last two weeks, Trump has helped to unleash the mightiest force of the 21st century: nationalism.
Transnationalism and globalism are moribund.
First among the issues on which Trump has triumphed—"We will build the wall—and Mexico will pay for it!"—is border security.
Republican candidates who failed to parrot Trump on illegal immigration were among the first casualties.
For that is where America is, and that is where the West is.
Consider Europe. Four months ago, Angela Merkel was Time's Person of the Year for throwing open the gates to the "huddled masses" of the Middle and Near East.
Merkel's Germany is now leading the EU in amassing a huge bribe to the Turks to please take them back, and keep them away from the Greek islands that are now Islam's Ellis Island into Europe.
Africa's population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. With 60 percent of Africans now under 25 years of age, millions will find their way to the Med to cross to the Old Continent where Europeans are aging, shrinking and dying. Look for gunboats in the Med.
If immigration is the first issue where Trump connected with the people, the second is trade.
Republicans are at last learning that trade deficits do matter, that free trade is not free. The cost comes in dead factories, lost jobs, dying towns and the rising rage of an abandoned Middle America whose country this is and whose wages have stagnated for decades.
Economists who swoon over figures on consumption forget what America's 19th-century meteoric rise to self-sufficiency teaches, and what all four presidents on Mount Rushmore understood.
Production comes before consumption. Who owns the orchard is more essential than who eats the apples. We have exported the economic independence that Hamilton taught was indispensable to our political independence. We have forgotten what made us great.
China, Japan, Germany—the second, third and fourth largest economies on earth—all owe their prosperity to trade surpluses run for decades at the expense of the Americans.
A third casualty of Trumpism is the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus among liberal interventionists and neoconservatives.
Trump subjects U.S. commitments to a cost-benefit analysis, as seen from the standpoint of cold national interest.
What do we get from continuing to carry the largest load of the defense of a rich Europe, against a Russia with one-fourth of Europe's population?
How does Vladimir Putin, leader of a nation that in the last century lost its European and world empires and a third of its landmass, threaten us?
Why must we take the lead in confronting and containing Putin in Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia? No vital U.S. interest is imperiled there, and Russia's ties there are older and deeper than ours to Puerto Rico.
Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. Pacific Fleet to defend the claims of Hanoi, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Brunei, to rocks, reefs and islets in the South China Sea—against the claims of China?
American hawks talk of facing down Beijing in the South and East China Seas while U.S. companies import so much in Chinese-made goods they are fully subsidizing Beijing's military budget.
Does this make sense?
Patriotism, preserving and protecting the unique character of our nation and people, economic nationalism, America First, staying out of other nation's wars—these are as much the propellants of Trumpism as is the decline of the American working and middle class.
Trump's presence in the race has produced the largest turnout ever in the primaries of either party. He has won the most votes, most delegates, most states. Wisconsin aside, he will likely come to Cleveland in that position.
If, through rules changes, subterfuge and faithless delegates, party elites swindle him out of the nomination, do they think that the millions who came out to vote for Trump will go home and say: We lost it fair and square?
Do they think they can then go back to open borders, amnesty, a path to citizenship, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and nation building?
Whatever happens to Trump, the country has spoken. And if the establishment refuses to heed its voice, and returns to the policies the people have repudiated, it should take heed of John F. Kennedy's warning:
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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