A large and growing portion of American voters are eager to shake the foundations of the electoral process in order to dramatically alter how we are governed. They are fed up with establishment politics, government waste and endemic bureaucratic corruption. Five candidates clearly agree.
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump believe further empowering government is the solution.
Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul believe government already has too much power, and want to aggressively shrink it.
At one time, this difference in preference for government intervention would have defined Progressivism vs. Conservativism. Not any more.
Donald Trump is allowed to reverse any of his positions when they become inconvenient:
- Trump was for invading Libya when Clinton, Powers and Rice talked the beta-male in the White House into it. He’s against it in retrospect.
- He supported single payer health care. Now he doesn’t.
- He approved of partial birth abortion. Not any more.
- He disliked the Tea Party and loved Barack Obama. He’s changed on both those ideas.
- He’s flip-flopped on gay marriage and funding Planned Parenthood.
- Sometimes he’ll move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Sometimes he won’t.
- Sometimes he wants the Russians to fight ISIS for us, other times he’s not so sure that works.
- In November he said we couldn’t afford to raise the minimum wage. By December he said American wages were too low.
- In his book The America We Deserve, Trump wrote that he supported a ban on “assault weapons.” Not until last year did he apparently reverse his position.
- He says he’s for free trade in the same sentence where he suggests a massive tariff on Chinese manufacture.
- He says he’s going to force Mexico to pay to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the U. S., and that he will quickly deport 11 million already here. In 2012 he said Mitt Romney’s mildly restrictive immigration proposals were “crazy”, and that the GOP lost the election because they didn’t “take care of this incredible problem that we have with respect to immigration, with respect to people wanting to be wonderful productive citizens of this country.”
- He brags about his financial independence and bribing politicians in the same breath. That’s just peachy on K-Street.
To be fair, Trump has been consistent on one thing – promoting big government corporatism. He loves abusing the laws covering eminent domain for his own benefit. He thinks TARP was a “great idea.” He supported Obama’s ‘stimulus’ program. He wants to expand ethanol subsidies. He told Sean Hannity, as recently as 2015, that a wealth tax is a “very conservative thing.”
None of those are remotely “conservative things,” but the point isn’t whether he’s a conservative. Of course he’s not. The point is that he’ll say anything to close the deal. And his supporters don’t care. They just want somebody’s ass kicked. They don’t see in the policy chaos of a Trump Administration that there’s a very good, and random, chance it’ll turn out to be their asses.
So called “Conservatives” have consistently betrayed them, so why worry about Trump’s principles? It didn’t matter that the vast majority of GOP Senators and Congressmen whom conservative voters gave majorities weren’t the principled conservatives they claimed to be, why should it matter if Trump isn’t?
Nonetheless, National Review feels compelled to tell us why Donald Trump is not a conservative. Since many people who support Trump still believe they are conservative, debating the definition of this word is not just futile, it is capitulation. The Trump supporters who don’t identify as conservatives are glad to hear he isn’t. The question isn’t conservatism.
The question both cohorts (should) care about is: Whose positions are consistent with the reform you want, rather than electoral expedients on the way to the next Imperial Presidency?
Fundamentally transform the GOP, or have the GOP modify its activities to fit the rules set forth in The Art of the Deal? Trump is big business, his policies demand even bigger government and he is a creature created by big media. Think that means reform?
I’m arguing here that a choice between Sanders/Clinton and Trump is no choice at all. In each case we get big government and big spending and paternalistic federal intervention characterized by crony capitalism and tribal zealotry.
There is a one party system sharing the spoils of corruption, but the implication that Trump will fix it is ludicrous. Establishment Republicans prefer him over Cruz because they know Trump can be co-opted.
Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat
Arguably, based on the fears of the GOP establishment, voters disaffected by politics as usual and looking for a shake up in the Republican party are better served by a Cruz presidency than a Trump presidency. See also.
GOPe preference for Trump over Cruz indicates, if forced, they’d rather have the party gently stirred than soundly shaken. Trump has no brief against the unholy dynamics among big government, big business, and big media, he lives there and revels in it.
The creative destruction of the Republican Party now seems possible through Cruz, Fiorina or Paul. This a necessary first step to restoring choice. If you want to temporarily remake GOP participation in DC corruption in the vision of The Art of the Deal – on the way to its total destruction – Trump’s your man.