The rise of The Donald has been remarkable. He is, it seems, supported by conservative Republicans and independents. At least that is the what they claim to be. He is supported by people who impose strict litmus tests on politicians-ready to denounce them as RINOs or liberals at the drop of a hat. And yet, those litmus tests don’t appear to apply to Trump.
On the contrary, he can do no wrong. And everything he says must be good-because he is “speaking his mind” and “telling it like it is.” Trump supporters have excused his flip-flops (something they would have never done for Mitt Romney) on issues like abortion and guns. Trump supporters have ignored his current faults, including his continuing defense of single-payer healthcare. Trump supporters have also ignored his personal and business failings, including but not limited to: his fake brand of Christianity, his three marriages, his four bankruptcies, his four draft deferments, his use of eminent domain, and his unabashed buying-off of politicians (including the Clintons).
Trump supporters are rightly angry about the state of the country, but they have also bought into a cult of personality. Personality cults are always dangerous, especially when someone as charismatic (and wealthy) as Donald Trump is at the helm. If Trump decides to run independent ala fellow-protectionist Ross Perot, you can be sure millions of people will follow him and torpedo the Republican candidate.
Let’s give credit where it is due: Donald Trump was smart enough to make this happen. Despite never holding office, he knows how to be a politician. Jeffrey Tucker summed up Trump’s strategy best (please read his entire article):
As of this writing, Trump is leading in the polls in the Republican field. He is hated by the media, which is a plus for the hoi polloi in the GOP. He says things he should not, which is also a plus for his supporters. He is brilliant at making belligerent noises rather than having worked out policy plans. He knows that real people don’t care about the details; they only want a strongman who shares their values. He makes fun of the intellectuals, of course, as all populists must do. Along with this penchant, Trump encourages a kind of nihilistic throwing out of rationality in favor of a trust in his own genius. And people respond, as we can see.
Rick Perry has tried to tell the truth about Trumpism. Now Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is taking up the baton. I hope they are successful, and they should be commended for standing up against The Donald and his lynchmob.
But people were sounding the warning bells back when Trump was last threatening a presidential bid in 2011. Among them was the now-deceased Andrew Breitbart. Here is what he had to say:
Of course, he’s not a conservative. He was for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), before he was against Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)…celebrity is everything in this country if these guys don’t learn how to play the media the way Barack Obama played the media last election cycle and the way that Donald Trump is playing the election cycle–we’re going to probably get a celebrity candidate.
Ironically, the Breitbart website has seemingly been the online driving force behind Trump’s candidacy. Andrew Breitbart, if he were still alive, would have never allowed that to happen.
Trump has attempted to use the same tactics in Connecticut and has championed the reviled Kelo vs. City of New London Supreme Court ruling upholding expansive use of eminent domain. He told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto that he agreed with the ruling “100 percent” and defended the chilling power of government to kick people out of their homes and businesses based on arbitrary determinations:
“The fact is, if you have a person living in an area that’s not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether it’s local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make (an) area that’s not good into a good area, and move the person that’s living there into a better place — now, I know it might not be their choice — but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good.”
Like most statist promises of bountiful job creation, government-engineered redevelopment math rarelyaddsup. Trump’s corporations have backed casino industry bailouts and wealth-redistributing “tax-increment financing” schemes — the very kind of taxpayer-subsidized interventions we’ve seen on a grand scale under the Obama administration.
Undoubtedly, hardcore Trump supporters will read this piece and add Breitbart and Malkin to their hate lists. But it is my hope that their conservative credibility will help open the eyes of others who may be considering Trump. It would be a grave mistake to put an ego-driven, pro-government New York billionaire anywhere near the White House (yes, that also applies to Michael Bloomberg).
Now is the time to #DumpTrump.