Trump must be stopped.
Several months ago, Trump was a joke whom I didn’t take at all seriously and dismissed out of hand. Several weeks ago—shortly before the first caucuses/primaries—I considered Trump to be a mixed bag; sure there were lots of things about Trump I disliked, but I thought he may yet do some good or, rather, the mass political uprising that Trump had aroused may do some good. Even then though I thought he was only capable of doing some good because I lazily assumed that he would never win—he would either get bored and leave before too long or else people would not vote for him. That did not happen and it is looking increasingly likely it never will. I never for a moment thought Trump had a chance at gaining the Republican nomination. Now, things are different.
Trump is no longer a joke, he is a threat. He is a threat worse than “the Establishment” and as bad as the threat posed by Hillary Clinton, though for slightly different reasons.
To reiterate, I believe Trump is a fascist. No, I don’t think Trump is Hitler; Trump is more of a Mussolini character. Why I believe this is explained a bit further down, but the point of this article is that Trump must be stopped and soon. Whereas before I thought that Trump could not possibly win but instead his supporters would live on and elect in some future election another would-be fascist, now the possibility of Trump winning cannot be dismissed. We cannot let this happen.
It is now not only possible Trump will win the Republican nomination, it is likely. As Lawrence of Arabia might say, nothing is written. It is still possible that Trump will not gain the nomination, but the sober half of the electorate is going to have to rally around a single candidate of sanity and quickly.
Trump nearly won Iowa, won convincingly in New Hampshire and South Carolina with about a third of the vote in each state, and Trump has steamrolled his opposition in Nevada, winning nearly half the vote.
Nevada’s result is particularly ominous. Either Trump gained a lot of support from people whose first choices have dropped out of the race or those people stayed home on voting day and Trump’s supporters (though unchanged in number) wielded a greater heft in the smaller pool of voters–though that pool was still much larger than it was in 2012.
Either scenario does not bode well for those who oppose Trump. What can be said for sure is that the voter turnout in Nevada this year was far higher than it was in 2012—127% higher as a matter of fact. Mitt Romney won just over 50% of the Nevada vote in 2012 with 22,646 votes. Trump won 45% of the Nevada vote with 34,531 votes.
Although this could merely mean more Republicans see a point in voting this time around (whereas in 2012 Mitt Romney seemed the shoe-in), this could also mean that a lot of Trump’s support is coming from people who have not voted before or who don’t normally vote. Considering how few people vote in America in the general election and in party primaries in particular, if Trump can rely on a phalanx of new voters turning up to vote for him…I think Trump’s victory is already assured.
Even more worrying is the incredibly broad base of support Trump enjoys. Educated and uneducated, male and female, black, white, Hispanic, old and young—Trump either does well or very well among all these diverse groups. In short, his appeal is universal or nearly so, not just very strong from one particular group.
This is particularly worrying not only because it makes his victory in the Republican contest likely, but it could quite possibly deliver Trump the Oval Office itself. While I’ve only just come to accept that Trump will secure the GOP nomination (though I of course hope this can be avoided), the thought that he could actually win the whole contest is something I have never for one moment considered until now. But now things have changed. We can no longer dismiss the possibility that Trump could win the overall election. Though I still think he would be defeated in a general election, I am increasingly less sure that any of my thinking is anything more than wishful.
Donald Trump is a serious threat. He is a serious threat because he has inspired a mass, popular political uprising against “The Establishment” (which is good) based on absolutely nothing (which is bad). Since his meteoric rise in popularity is based on nothing, it may very well be impossible to orchestrate his downfall. After all, how does one attack a man who has as much substance as a mirage in the desert? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
To clarify, the uprising against “The Establishment” is not based on nothing; that has been long overdue and is well-deserved. What is based on nothing is the reason “the Rebels” have chosen Donald Trump as their leader. For the life of me I cannot understand the rationale of the average voter in choosing the Donald as “our guy”. Donald Trump enjoys a broad base of support—what I’m tempted to call “the Rebel Alliance”—yet Donald Trump as best can be determined shares none of the Rebel Alliance’s values, as superbly explained by Ben Shapiro.
In short, Trump is not a conservative, he’s not a Christian (probably; Christianity is a very broad tent, but the serial philanderer, multiple-divorcée and house of gambling profiteer is certainly not an evangelical, born-again Christian who regularly drinks the Blood of Christ), and he’s not “an outsider”.
He is simply a liar who is telling the voters whatever they want to hear in order to gain power–which makes Trump not only a paragon of insincerity but the single most dangerous kind of politician. Hillary Clinton is despised by Republican (and many Democratic) voters for precisely the same reason: she is a a deranged, power-hungry tyrant in the making, willing to say or do anything if it gets her closer to power. She is merely not as skilled a pretender as The Donald, and has a tin ear for normal human dialogue that would make Ayn Rand wince.
So why then is Trump the leader of this Peasant Revolt? I get why the peasants have revolted. The Republican Party leadership and politicians who have consistently demonstrated that they don’t believe what they claim to believe; they certainly don’t believe in the same things the average Republican voter believes. They are also just plain bad politicians and bad party leaders. Moreover, as we libertarians have been saying for a very long time, they are part of a political system where the differences between the two parties seem increasingly cosmetic. They are ensconced in a political culture that is utterly corrupt and they are the reason insurgent candidates like Sanders and Trump have caught fire.
People are sick of the usual witches’ brew offered up by the two main political parties, candidates who are corrupt and patently dishonest or so bland and milquetoast that voters feel no passion for them whatsoever. Sanders’ appeal I understand totally, but Trump?
Think about it. Why the hell does Trump have any credibility? What is he saying? He is no different from the politicians in the dreaded “Establishment” at all. Just like “Establishment” politicians, he is banking completely in vague platitudes and empty sayings, he’s just better at lying and pandering than most politicians. He is surging in popularity because he is able to appeal to the most people while saying the least (in terms of substance). In other words, Trump is a better entertainer and actor than most politicians and is thus better able to pull the wool over the eyes of voters.
Of course, most politicians are disadvantaged by the fact that they actually have some ideas they believe in and would like to see enacted, so their efforts at pandering are often frustrated by their need to balance pandering with what they actually plan to do or what they think can be done (politics is the art of the possible, as it is often said). Trump is entirely freed from any such disadvantages. He would promise to lasso the moon (personally, of course) and bring it down to earth so all the poor could have some Moon Cheese to eat if it would fool Republican voters into voting for Trump. And I have no doubt that about a third of them would be fooled.
At least, that’s what I think, though I will freely admit that I have consistently failed to understand the Trump phenomenon, so perhaps Trump is fooling no one.
Moreover, Trump’s main appeal, aside from the fact that he voices what voters have longed to hear in a very appealing rhetorical fashion (viz. the rhetorical stylings of a not particularly sharp nine year old), is that he is an “outsider” who would “burn down” the dreaded Establishment. But would he really?
Trump admits to “buying” politicians and has a demonstrated history of manipulating the levers of the State to benefit himself—the big, strong guy—by picking on the weak, the little guy. It’s called eminent domain, something which could actually stick if any of Trump’s competitors would ever accuse him of being the bully he is.
Trump is an unrepentant believer in State power to benefit people like him—cronies. On what basis is it believed he would “burn down” this State apparatus that his served him well through the years? On what basis is it believed he is not angling to get himself in power merely so it is his ring that is being kissed? Why do people believe that a multi-billionaire Manhattanite, life-long Democrat, and Mr. Monopoly Man Incarnate (minus the top hat) would do anything to harm the system that has served “his kind” so well through the years?
I find this conviction that Trump will somehow play the role of arsonist especially baffling in the face of overwhelming evidence that Trump holds no firm beliefs at all. Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul, and even someone like Ted Cruz can easily be envisioned as the arsonist so many voters yearn for because they believe what they are saying.
Donald Trump clearly does not; so if he is (God forbid) thrust into the Oval Office, how could we possibly surmise what he would then do? Why would he not perform a complete 180 and become the largest, most blatantly cronyist president we have ever had? He is as likely to do that as “burn it down”. What motive, what incentive does he have to actually follow through on the voters’ wishes to burn the rotten edifice to the ground? Once in power, he doesn’t have to give a fig about what the voters want. We can’t judge him on his speeches, he has no political record to analyze, and we cannot say for certain he holds any beliefs set in stone, aside from a fanatical belief in himself.
The only thing he believes in is himself; we therefore can only assume that he will act as president only to benefit himself and his own interests, not the interests of the people who voted for him.
To the extent Trump believes in anything other than himself, he is an authoritarian-leftist, a collectivist and nationalist. I would not go so far as to call him a national socialist—though wouldn’t I love to—but his words about any topic economic more closely resemble a socialist than they do anything a Founding Father would say, leave alone Bastiat, Hayek, Mises, or Friedman. He does not believe in free trade, never speaks about the free market, nor does he ever speak about the proper role/size/scope of government in regulating the economy. He does not view the United States as an environment in which hundreds of millions of economic experiments can be attempted by individual entrepreneurs. He instead sees the United States as a single corporate venture and if we’re not “winning” against China or Mexico, we’re losing—a mercantilist view that simply will not die from the mortal blow dealt to it by Adam Smith in 1776.
Trump’s political rhetoric is almost pure fascism. He has promised to deport all illegals, provoke trade wars with China, bring back torture and a “helluva lot worse” than that “believe me”, Trump has promised to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, he is willing to start wars explicitly for oil, he is willing to kill the (non-combatant) families of terrorists (he apparently doesn’t understand that it’s because terrorists kill innocents and we don’t is what makes the terrorists evil and is the reason we aren’t; The Donald also apparently doesn’t understand that killing the families would violate the Geneva Convention and the Constitution), he wants mosques under government surveillance, ban all Muslims from entering the country, force Apple to give the FBI a key to all encryption systems, or most worryingly of all, using libel laws to suppress free speech—is not the rhetoric of Locke, JS Mill, or Jefferson. It’s the talk of a man who believes in the unlimited power of the state and, more than that, a man who believes in the unlimited power of a strong leader to wield the power of the state judiciously, as long as that leader is himself.
Trump talks of himself as a very personal ruler—as if everything the government does would personally be done by Trump himself.
Now, any references to a certain mustachioed autocrat from the mid-twentieth century is liable to rob an author of any credibility, but I’d wager that if we were speaking German, we’d probably be calling Trump “der Führer” already. I think however one notch down from that will do nicely. If Mussolini—a man whose economic ideas eerily resemble Trump’s—was “Il Duce” then I think “Il Douchey” shall be Trump’s sobriquet.
Trump has whipped up a hateful, pig-ignorant mob of authoritarians who are (it seems) willing to elect a dictator for a four year stint. As best I can figure, the Constitution, Congress, rule-of-law be-damned; Trump’s going to deport dem immigants and stop those Muslims from coming into the country, he’s going to kick China’s ass, build a wall (and make Mexico pay for it), and start a nuclear war with Russia! Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker!
This is the problem with Trump and why the fact that he even has a sliver of a chance of sitting in the Oval Office should scare any sober minded, liberty-loving individual half-to-death. Even if Trump is not the free-wheeling madman he seems to be in his campaign rallies, the new style of presidential campaigning and the ugly forces he has aroused are deeply unhealthy for the Republic. Even if Trump loses this election, his presence (and his fascist mob) will haunt our politics for years to come.
Sadly however, I don’t think Trump can be stopped from getting the Republican nomination. I think he is going to sweep Super Tuesday and then that’s the ballgame. But that’s just my opinion; I could be wrong.