Nationalism, by its nature, excludes people. Raising one’s nation above others begins with defining what that nation is — and who belongs in it.So now instead of liberalism/socialism vs conservatism they're attempting to set up a false dichotomy of liberal/socialist nationalism vs conservative nationalism. Their problem is that despite their best efforts to redefine "nationalism", the word still actually means something substantial to most people.
It’s theoretically possible to have a liberal nationalism, even a socialist nationalism, that welcomes foreigners interested in joining the nation’s ranks. The last president’s rhetoric about what Americans have in common, and how immigration strengthens the country, strikes me as a species of liberal nationalism.
But conservative nationalism by its nature not like that. It holds that community arises from longstanding and deep connections between citizens, connections that come from their shared identity, history, and cultural values. This is what is “conservative” about it, and also what makes it inclined to view the entry of foreigners into the American polity skeptically.
And not, as the NatCucks, aka Neoclowns 2.0, would have it, in "a repudiation of racism, libertarianism, and identity politics."
Nationalism, in the American context, means America First. Not "we must defend our Greatest Ally" or "we must bomb X for the children" or "we must invade Y because weapons of mass destruction" or "the problem is ILLEGAL immigration" or "the Z is rotting in the fields!" or "they have the Magic Paper so they are just as American as you". Nationalism means rejecting the Proposition Nation, the Huddled Masses, the Melting Pot, and the 1965 Invasion Act. It means rejecting Judeo-Christianity, the Athens+Jerusalem equation, equality, desegregation, diversity, and every other historical falsehood that is being utilized to adulterate, devalue, degrade, and demoralize America.
And no amount of placing adjectives in front of the word nationalism in order to gatekeep the genuine nationalists is going to work. But the mere fact that they feel the need to do so now confirms that the long-term macrosocietal trends are finally flowing in our favor.