I am not on the Donald J. Trump bandwagon. I have friends who are, and who will tell me I have some ‘splainin’ to do. In fact, I imagine I’ll get some unfriendly emails for this one.
I supported Ron Paul in both 2008 and 2012. Donald Trump is no Ron Paul. He’s taken the Republican Party base by storm. Dr. Paul did this only in part — mainly because he appealed to people’s intellects while Trump appeals to their emotions. In present-day America, emotion wins over intellect every time. Do you recall how starry-eyed twentysomethings responded to Barack Obama’s empty message of “change you can believe in” back in 2008? Obama, who has a very good speaking voice, established a cult of personality. The twentysomethings weren’t following an ideology necessarily, they were following him. They were caught up in making history by electing the First Black President.
That was when I started to wonder: is America really all over?
The problem now: in the accounts of Trump rallies, I see much the same thing, only this time the audience is across the aisle, older, and angrier. I don’t hear ideas discussed here, either. I see people following Trump. It’s another cult of personality. Instead of “change you can believe in,” the meme is let’s “make America great again!”
The GOP, moreover, is in a civil war between its elites and its populists, between its moneyed, globalist establishment and its base, who are not globalists or multiculturalists, and are far from rich. This population lost ground after the elites passed NAFTA, and has lost still more ground since the meltdown of 2008. So they are looking for a lifeboat. Something more modest but not all that different is occurring in Obama’s wake, with progressives who don’t trust Hillary Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and the war machine. These people wanted Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to run, but she wasn’t interested. So they turned to Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the first self-described “democratic socialist” to garner a substantial following in the U.S. in my lifetime. He’s proving to be a major thorn in Hillary’s side.
Trump’s and Sanders’s candidacies are indices of where the U.S. political system stands, going into the 2016 election season. It isn’t pretty!
At first glance, Trump has plusses in abundance. He’s a billionaire. He is thus beholden to no one. This alone scares the crap out of the elites. They can’t control him, and they know it. He isn’t bought and paid for by corporate donors, George Soros, the Koch Brothers, or anyone else. He doesn’t have to care what comes out of mainstream media. He can say what he thinks, and be as politically incorrect as he likes. Outfits like HuffPo have been writing obits for his candidacy for five months now. Wishful thinking. Trump appeals to those who see him as an alternative to an establishment they increasingly despise. It is easy to understand Trump’s popularity with those are roundly dismissed as “low education” but have figured out they have no meaningful representation in the corridors of power. Trump got the problem of illegal immigration back on the map. He’s willing to go against the multiculturalists who are happy as they can be at the projected resettlement of who knows how many Muslim refugees in the U.S. No one else would have talked about it.
The left hates Trump’s guts. No surprises there. Most of his supporters are white males from working class or former middle class backgrounds. Their status in U.S. society has been forced down, whether by outsourcing, automation, or affirmative action. Trump, who knows how to work an audience, appeals directly to their frustration and anger. He is popular with those who know all too well that “white privilege” is a left wing myth in an era of double-standards when whites are the only group with rising mortality rates in America. He’s thus been labeled a racist and a sexist — racist because of the sea of white faces in his audiences, and because he voiced approval when a Black Lives Matter troublemaker was ejected from one of his events. Sexist, because he doesn’t treat the Megyn Kellys of corporate media like fragile flowers.
He’s played the contradiction between multiculturalism and feminism like a fiddle. He’s been unafraid to point out that — how should we put it? — it isn’t Presbyterians raping women in Sweden and Germany, or shooting up nightclubs in France. He’s responded to Hillary’s attacks on his “sexism” by calling out Bill Clinton for his history of zipper problems and her for helping cover them up. He does all this, moreover, in ways that make audiences laugh. He’s an entertainer as well as a business mogul, after all. And if there’s anything that sends leftists into red-faced, spit-spraying rages, it’s being laughed at. Trump has thus been called a buffoon, a narcissist, racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a fascist,… did I miss any? None of it sticks, in any event. His poll numbers stay up. He might win in Iowa, and then in New Hampshire and South Carolina. His only serious competitor at the moment is Ted Cruz.
Trump appeals to those who realize that “free trade” deals championed by corporate leviathans like Monsanto and Walmart, pro big business outfits like the Chamber of Commerce, and bought and paid for politicians in both wings of the Washington Party, have been de-industrializing the country. Over 55,000 factories closed, and 5 million manufacturing jobs were lost, in just the years 2000 – 2010. Trump is an America-firster, an economic nationalist — like Pat Buchanan with gloves off. He has a plan. He says he will renegotiate NAFTA. He would urge placing a tariff on cheap Chinese goods, killing the death tax, lowering taxes on capital gains and dividends, and ending taxes on business that kill job creation. He believes this would bring back at least some of our lost manufacturing. Whether it would or not remains to be seen.
All this appeals to red-blooded Americans in Dixie and in flyover country. It does not appeal to Beltway insiders, global-corporate CEOs, hedge fund managers, or trendy pseudo-intellectuals at HuffPo and Salon.com.
The PC crowd and GOP elites thus hate The Donald for different reasons. Horrified lefties see the possibility of significant pushback to their agendas of speech and thought control, which might survive even if Trump doesn’t get the nomination. What the elites see is someone who could upend the globalist applecart they’ve been carefully crafting for decades. Thus the frantic efforts by both to thwart the possibility that Trump and his supporters will storm next summer’s Republican National Convention and walk out with the nomination.
Consider this angst-ridden column by George Will, who can always be counted on to defend “respectable, Beltway conservatism.” Will’s plaintive voice falls well short of Salon-style hysterics as he argues that Trump’s being nominated would end a hundred years of credible conservative presence in the national party system — as a Trump nomination would end the credibility of the GOP. I submit that conservatism has no significant presence in GOP centers of power now, at least not for those who see the difference between a conservative and a globalist. What elite mouthpieces such as Will see is the fact, for fact it is, that the elites have lost control of the base, without which their vetted favorite can’t win. They would rather see Hillary Clinton in the White House than Donald Trump! She may be a sociopath, but at least she’s a controlled sociopath! She’ll continue serving Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, Big Pharma, and the war machine!
So what’s the problem with The Donald?! Haven’t I just made him the obvious choice???
I spent a lot of time and energy defending Constitutionally limited government. I don’t hear Trump talking about restoring the Constitution, as Ron Paul did. There are lip-service references to the Constitution on his website. Nothing to write home about. Although he says he is pro-life, he has flip-flopped on the matter. How strong are his present convictions? No one knows, and that’s the problem. He aligned himself with Democrats for a number of years. He’s forayed into policy wonk territory before, once floating the idea of a single-payer health care system, hardly a conservative approach, but says he’s changed his mind. On stage, he talks mainly about himself: how successful he is and how much money he has. He says he’s a good Christian, and his way of showing it is to be seen with a Bible.
Trump supports the war machine and the police state. He spoke favorably of reauthorizing the unconstitutional USA Patriot Act, and appears to believe wholeheartedly that even greater deadly force is the way to go in the Middle East, where wars of choice have already left several countries in a shambles, allowed ISIS to flourish, and set the stage for the above-mentioned refugee problem. Trump stated openly that he supports waterboarding. He said, “It works!… If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway…”
To the best of my knowledge, Trump has not addressed the police violence in the streets of America. The final tally of police killings in 2015 was 1,202 people, topping 2014’s previous record high of 1,108. That’s 1,202 more than were killed by police in Chile, by the way, or in most other civilized countries.
Instead, Trump has said that he’d sign an executive order authorizing use of the death penalty for anyone who shoots a cop. That’s his solution to the “war on police.”
Wait a minute! Where would the Constitution authorize him to do that? The same place it authorized Obama to sign an executive order on gun control, perhaps?
The claim that there is a “war on police” is rubbish! The number of cops killed in the line of duty is down, not up.
Would a President Trump leave U.S. citizens even more at the mercy of militarized police forces? The question seems worth asking.
Trump rightly criticized the open borders mindset, but instead of attacking Mexicans as criminals and talking about building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, he might have done better — in my humble opinion — to work the standard meme and ask how a government fights a “war on terror” with its Southern border wide open. I’ve raised this question on Internet forums, and I have little sense from either mainstream liberals or mainstream conservatives that they understand the question!
This isn’t rocket science. True enough: if you don’t have border protections, you soon don’t have a country. The French and Germans are learning this the hard way. Chile protects its borders. There are procedures (trámites) for entering Chile legally, and procedures for how long one can stay. There are procedures for obtaining legal residency (permanencia definitiva). Not just anyone can live here. Argentina also has strict border controls, and you’ll see similar procedures despite her dysfunctional government. Mexico protects its borders and has steep penalties for immigration violations. All manage to enforce their immigration laws without insulting anyone. Maybe Trump should send a few people down here and find out how Chileans manage it.
I don’t see how turning Mexico into an enemy is going to get us anywhere. The primary danger today anyway is not from Mexicans but enraged Muslims, who may have lost family members in wars over things they had nothing to do with. It’s not hard to envision a few radicalized Muslims crossing open U.S. borders or being resettled as refugees from war zones and then shooting up a nightclub in a U.S. city or planting a bomb in a shopping mall or gang-raping a group of women. Blowback can be nasty. Ron Paul discussed this. He was ignored. It’s no surprise Trump wants to keep Muslims out until “we can figure out what’s going on,” as he put it. But his proposals to establish a “deportation force” to deal with illegal Mexicans (involving militarized police?), place surveillance on mosques in the U.S., set up a database of Muslims, etc., would again expand, not shrink, the size and reach of federal authority and its capacity for surveillance and control.
In many respects, therefore, Trump may be outside the establishment, but I do not see in his candidacy core values a Constitutionalist can support. His core values are no less authoritarian than that of any establishment candidate. In fact, a recent study revealed among many of his supporters an authoritarian mindset that would jump at the chance to put a strongman in charge. Being uncontrollable, therefore, Trump might actually be worse than an establishment candidate, and there is no telling what some of those under him might do when given the opportunity to flex their muscles! As the saying goes, you’d do well to be careful what you wish for. Being non-establishment may be necessary, but it is not sufficient.
Welcome to the post-Ron Paul GOP, and to a post-Ron Paul political landscape. There is no way to say this except just to say it. You were warned. What do I mean?
Back in 2012, we were told that Ron Paul, the only bona fide Constitutionalist in that race, was “unelectable.” Unelectable, we retorted, is code for unapproved of by the power elite.
Ron Paul was the only candidate who, to a Constitutional conservative, was electable. Even if he was more libertarian than conservative in the Russell Kirk mode, he was the only statesman in sight. He was the only person arguing that the war machine was making us enemies, that the surveillance state was out of control, and that the Federal Reserve money creation spigot was enriching the elite and leading to long term economic instability.
He was dismissed out of hand (including by a couple of my fellow NewsWithViews.com writers — you know who you are). His supporters were bullied at GOP events and basically run out of the Tampa convention, which became an establishment love-fest with Mitt Romney’s nomination assured. Ron Paul was cynically offered an opportunity to speak, under the condition that he endorse Romney. Naturally he declined.
We told you months prior to those events that if the GOP nominated an empty suit they would hand Barack Obama a second term. They did, and they did. Now they have alienated their base to the extent that they might be handing the Oval Office to another Clinton — by far the worst of the two!** Whether Trump could defeat Hillary in the general election is anyone’s guess at this point. There are too many variables. Some GOPers say Marco Rubio could do it. Don’t these people learn anything? Rubio is another empty suit — another supporter of “immigration reform” (i.e., continued open borders and amnesty) and thus another patsy to hand Hillary the presidency when the base stays home or votes “third party” on Election Day!
That anyone else up there could defeat the well-oiled Clinton machine is doubtful — especially given the possibility that Trump could still jump ship and run as an independent. The GOP base would go with him, and this would also assure us of a Hillary presidency. Even if he doesn’t, at present Democrats have more interest groups pushing Democratic causes, and are more united. Some may prefer Bernie to Hillary, but if Hillary is the nominee all Democrats will get behind her. We can’t say that about Republicans.
So again, welcome to the post-Ron Paul era! His son Rand, sadly, is not ready for the big time. The Tea Party was Rand’s to lose, and he did. He is not trusted as was his father. I suspect his support began to waver when he endorsed Romney in 2012. It fell further when he endorsed Mitch McConnell in 2014. Maybe he was thinking strategy, trying to build support on the inside. It may have backfired. No other candidate, such as Ted Cruz (another closet globalist alongside his wife, CFR member Heidi Cruz who was an advisor on the CFR’s borders-dissolving Building a North American Community and has been affiliated with superelite-controlled Goldman Sachs), merits the trust of the grassroots. Ben Carson turned out to be another authoritarian who would force people to be vaccinated against their will. Jeb Bush has faded from sight. The rest, including South Carolina’s resident embarrassment Lindsey Graham, were never in sight.
I can only wish the people who have gravitated to Trump would be less angry and more thoughtful. But wishing won’t make it so, and in any event, what good would it do? Who else are they going to support? Ron Paul is gone. I now think he will turn out to be the last chance Americans had to turn things around within the political system. The Trump movement is proving far more terrifying to the elites than Ron Paul was, but only because his brand of potential authoritarianism threatens their authoritarianism. At present, they have no coherent, viable plan. But there is no telling what desperate people in power will do to maintain power. The angst is palpable. How they might prevent a Trump nomination is a set of wild cards inviting multiple scenarios. Buchanan has warned them to either get behind Trump or hand Hillary the election. He misses the point that the GOP establishment would prefer Hillary for reasons we have seen, despite her history of scandals and her explosive temper. Incidentally, too, four Supreme Court Justices will be in their 80s by 2020. Whoever enters the White House in 2017 may be the one to nominate their replacements. Four more leftists on the Supreme Court and that branch of the federal government is lost for good.
The current situation signifies the rot that is spreading through the U.S. political system like a metastasizing cancer. This has been long in the making, ever since the globalist / multiculturalist axis got the upper hand. The rot may overtake the Democratic base next should Hillary win and keep the country on its present road. The “feel-the-Bern” insurgency proves that the Democrats have their own populism problem, after all.
Upshot? Unpleasant as it is to contemplate, the empire is almost over. It will not be “made great again” by Trump or by anyone else. In future articles, I hope to say more about what this means.
**I am writing under the assumption that Hillary won’t be indicted. If she is, and it ends her candidacy, then I imagine Sanders will be the Democratic nominee, and since he and his supporters are consummate economic illiterates, all bets are off. Frankly, I don’t think she will be. Her Wall Street / war machine supporters have more money and power than the Justice Department, which is the way things go in twenty-first century America. But we would be remiss not to mention the possibility, however remote.