Trump Rampant.

I have been thinking about the Donald Trump Phenomenon for a while.

I have been mulling Revolution since last summer.

UPDATE: I am amazed but Peggy Noonan gets it !

I have thought for some time that there’s a kind of soft French Revolution going on in America, with the angry and blocked beginning to push hard against an oblivious elite. It is not only political. Yes, it is about the Democratic National Committee, that house of hacks, and about a Republican establishment owned by the donor class. But establishment journalism, which for eight months has been simultaneously at Donald Trump’s feet (“Of course you can call us on your cell from the bathtub for your Sunday show interview!”) and at his throat (“Trump supporters, many of whom are nativists and nationalists . . .”) is being rebelled against too. Their old standing as guides and gatekeepers? Gone, and not only because of multiplying platforms. Gloria Steinem thought she owned feminism, thought she was feminism. She doesn’t and isn’t. The Clintons thought they owned the party—they don’t. Hedge-funders thought they owned the GOP. Too bad they forgot to buy the base!

Read the whole column if you have access.

The GOP Congress has been a huge disappointment.

At this this time in history the Left may be correct about what truly matters. The institutional Republicans are still playing the game of administration. By contrast Obama is playing the game of revolution. By slow degrees the entire political system is coming around to Obama’s point of view. Perhaps this is no ordinary time. When Hillary calls Republicans “terrorists” and Obama calls them “crazies”; when Sanders and Trump are outflanking the established wings of their respective parties, each of these in its own way suggests the emphasis of the next ten years will not be on public administration but on determining the power relationships within America and among the countries of the world.

The Constitution says that Spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and the Ways and Means Committee is supposed to write those bills. It has not been happening even as the GOP has taken Congress.

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

So, we now have Donald Trump, who has almost no supporters known to GOP officials in New Hampshire where he just won the primary with 35% of the vote in a large field.

During that state GOP meeting a couple of weeks ago, I asked former Gov. John Sununu, a man with a lifetime of knowledge about New Hampshire politics, if he knew any Trump supporters. Sununu pondered the question for a minute and said he thought a man who lived down the street from him might be for Trump.

Immediately after the story was published, I got an email from a real estate executive and former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives named Lou Gargiulo, who happens to live down the street from Sununu. “I’m the guy!” Gargiulo told me. “Not only do I support Mr. Trump, I am the Rockingham County chairman of his campaign. The governor would be shocked to know that many of his other neighbors are Trump supporters as well.”

What a surprise ! Pauline Kael would be shocked.

I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.
Quoted by Israel Shenker, “Critics Here Focus on Films As Language Conference Opens,” The New York Times (1972-12-28)

Even Fred Barnes is starting to think it is a done deal.

Donald Trump got everything he wanted in New Hampshire primary—and a whole lot more. He’s not only a stronger frontrunner in the Republican race than ever; he’s now in the driver’s seat on the road to the presidential nomination.

Trump is dominant. Here are a few examples:

Every Republican candidate who finished first and second in Iowa and New Hampshire has won the presidential nomination.

What now ? Well, I think a lot of Republican politicians had better start remembering Machiavelli’s rule:

Never strike a Prince unless you kill him.

Politico, a reliable left wing source, is on the case.

The evening rally, hosted in the heart of a deeply conservative and religious district of rural South Carolina, began with a prayer — and a knock on the media. Almost every head was bowed as African American Evangelical South Carolina Pastor Mark Burns told the crowd that Trump “believes in Jesus Christ” and is an authentic Republican. “The media believe Trump is not a true conservative… but the devil is a liar.”

Ted Cruz desperately needs evangelicals but they voted for Trump in New Hampshire. There is a theory that Republicans have failed them so many times that fake piety is not working. Even Huffington Post is figuring that out.

Despite his low marks on religiosity, 56 percent of Republicans say that Trump would make a good or great president. That proportion rises to 59 percent among white evangelical Protestant Republican voters. Carson and Cruz get slightly higher marks, with 62 percent and 63 percent respectively, but those numbers aren’t significantly higher than Trump’s.

Even if evangelical primary voters don’t see Trump as religious, he’s worked hard to get into their good graces, casting himself as a defender of Christianity against malign forces.

“Christianity, it’s under siege,” he recently told a crowd composed mostly of students from Liberty University, the evangelical college where Cruz announced his bid for the presidency last year.

That may appeal to voters who feel increasingly disenfranchised.

Yes, they have gotten nothing from the GOP but to be taken for granted as blacks are by Democrats. Trump even was picking up support with black voters. And that was last fall.

Whether that will amount to anything may require the South Carolina results before we can see. Some think blacks, should like Trump over Hillary, but that is not a tested theory.

There is little doubt that immigration depresses the employment and wages of black men. A 2010 study by the economists George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon Hanson found that a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the labor supply reduced African Americans’ wages by 2.5 percent and the employment rate among blacks by 5.9 percentage points.

“Since the 1990s, academics have been studying the political and economic cleavage between blacks and Latinos. A 1997 study by sociologist Roger Waldinger found that employers in Los Angeles favored Latino over black workers, a situation reinforced by tense relations when the two groups worked side by side.”

If immigration works with black voters, Trump should do well, or at least better than other GOP candidates. We should know next month.

In the meantime, I think we have seen nothing like Trump in American history since the 19th century. His appeal seem to cross party lines and concerns that he is not conservative are not relevant. The voters have, at least for the present, given upon conservatism and have chosen populism.

33 thoughts on “Trump Rampant.”

  1. In the meantime, I think we have seen nothing like Trump in American history since the 19th century. His appeal seem to cross party lines and concerns that he is not conservative are not relevant. The voters have, at least for the present, given upon conservatism and have chosen populism.

    Have we ever had a candidate like Trump? All the populists I am aware of had a political background. You are absolutely right about the current Congressional crowd just wanting to administer the radical changes Obama has wrought.

    You think about it the political landscape was ripe for someone like Trump to exploit. He is a conduit through which all of the electorates pent up rage can flow. We’ve all heard politicians describe themselves as conservative only to abandon any semblance to it once in power.

    Millions are fed up. I’m fed up.

    If it wasn’t going to be Trump, it could have been someone else smart enough to see – and catch the wave. He was the only one.

    As I have mentioned before I am ambivalent on Trump.

    His supporters just “assume” that if in power he will follow his promises but personally I have seen nothing in his past that would indicate this.

    I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong.

  2. Trump is not a populist. He is an establishment hack who fraudulently uses populist rhetoric and boorishly offensive language to attract the following of angry voters desperate for someone to address their concerns. When it comes to actual plans for changing things, Trump offers little but bromides about delegating power to “the best people,” which is the same sort of baloney Ross Perot offered. He has openly declared his intention to make “deals” with the Democrats – which is exactly how the country has been governed for the last two decades. Trump’s blather about immigration, to the extent it makes any sense at all, amounts to a promise to deport illegal aliens who have committed felonies. Nice, but this does not really address the problem. The wall he says he would build would have a “big, beautiful door,” which presumably means it would come with the large increase in legal immigration of the bipartisan establishment’s wet dreams. And a person serious about cutting back on Muslim immigration (as opposed to exploiting the issue to draw attention to himself) would not bloviate about barring entry into the country of all Muslims (including US citizens? and how do you think the courts, and the bureaucracy that would have to implement it, would react to such a policy?). Bear in mind, Trump was interested in running for president in the last election, when he was still an amnesty supporter. He has no genuine interest in the issue, other than the venal self-interest of a plutocrat who benefits from employing low-wage immigrants in his hotels and construction projects.

    Other than in atmospherics, a Trump administration (which I am still not convinced Trump really wants) would not be significantly distinguishable from a Hillary Clinton administration, a Biden administration, or a Bloomberg administration.

  3. The Constitution says that Spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and the Ways and Means Committee is supposed to write those bills. It has not been happening even as the GOP has taken Congress.

    And that is one of the reasons that Conservatives have given up on the Whigs who pretend to be conservative until after the polls close, and then become indistinguishable from Democrats. Conservatism has always had an element of nationalism, a pride in the country absent from the Left. And a real faith in the common man, as exemplified by the yeoman farmer, the honest tradesman, and the entrepreneur. Not in the faceless and dependent urban masses.

    We may be in a time when the populist and nationalist aspects have to come to the fore, since there is no hope for reaching conservative goals through establishment-controlled politics.

    We have had promises, and enough of them to last for generations. We have not had what we need. Actions to fulfill those promises.

  4. I thought that the original election of Obama had an air of rebellion about it, in the sense that the electorate, offered the unimpressive establishment figure of McCain, plumped instead for the unknown quantity of O. (Of course, they should have thrown O out in favour of Romney but that’s a different issue.) Now, faced with the fact that the unknown has proved a dud bet, they are turning to a celebrity loudmouth, and a batty old socialist. It’s understandable when the alternative is the odious, establishment Hellary.

  5. The NY Post today has a few thoughts worth considering.

    The GOP has given Texas the right to switch to a winner-take-all primary at the last minute.

    In short, the leaders of both parties are giving voters even more reason to revolt.

    The Establishment of both parties is now in panic mode. The GOPe is convinced that Trumps not for real and Texas will stop him.

    It will be interesting to see what happens, as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit thought when he jumped from the C 47 on D-Day.

  6. Trump is not anti-establishment at heart, he will do this until he gets what he wants (adulation). I hate to say it but I would vote for Mike Bloomberg (at least he is honest) and a Conservative House/Senate instead of Donald. If you thought Obama had odd personality quirks wait until Trump is around for a while.

    The USA was astoundingly fortunate in having George Washington as president. He was very conscious of his vast responsibilities. The CSA got Jefferson Davis who was in no way capable of heading a revolution. Trump would do more damage than we could handle after Obama and delay the recovery of US economy and prestige for years.

  7. Here is Trump’s platform:

    They’re all well thought out and well developed.
    It looks like a serious plan to me that is miles apart from the other side.

    When people get caught up and shocked with his rhetoric, they play right into his hands. In negotiations it’s called anchoring. The anchor point becomes the center of gravity from which the rest of the deliberations proceed. You may say this makes him insincere. It does make him a winner.

  8. >> “Shot myself” sounds like jack Daniels is in mind.

    That’s probably a better plan anyway. Certainly more fun.

  9. Grurray, how do you know Trump has read any of his supposed “platform”? Does he talk about this stuff when he gives speeches, or does he just ramble on about “winning” and “making America great again” and using “tough” negotiations to somehow force China, Mexico, etc., to stop causing us problems and choosing the “best,” “top” people to magically make all our problems go away? During one of the debates, Trump flatly contradicted his own purported immigration platform (which apparently had been faxed to his staff by Jeff Sessions). Also, what is the point of going to the huge expense of deporting all of the illegals if, as Trump says he intends, you’re just going to let back all of those who aren’t criminals (the “really good ones,” as he calls them)? Isn’t the point of immigration restriction that we, the citizens of the US, have a right to limit the amount of immigration and we don’t have to let a foreigner in just because he’s a “good” person?

    Trump hasn’t informed himself or thought seriously about the country’s problems or possible ways of addressing them. At any given moment, he says what strikes him as most likely to attract attention and please his audience. The next day he may well say the exact opposite. He does not give a damn about anything other than himself and his sleazy “brand.”

  10. “The USA was astoundingly fortunate in having George Washington as president.” That’s what George III concluded too.

  11. “how do you know Trump has read any of his supposed “platform”?”

    Trump said, “the good people are going to be able to come back, but they’re going to come back legally”

    Trump’s immigration position from his campaign website:

    Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.”

    Entirely consistent. The “really goods one” that come back will be the ones who can earn higher wages.

    Conclusion: Trump read his platform and is mounting a serious campaign

  12. Grurray, the H1-B issue is about new immigrants brought in by employers on a special visa to be hired for a particular skilled jobs, such as computer coding. It has nothing – zilch – to do with the problem of illegal aliens who are already here.

    As to the illegal alien problem, Trump has said that he would let the illegals who don’t have criminal records come back after going to the trouble of deporting them. Just brilliant. Why go to the huge expense of deporting them in the first place, then?

    Also, the implication of the platform excerpt you quote, that H1-B visas for entry level skilled jobs will be reduced, is exactly what Trump contradicted at one of the debates a few months ago. He was totally unaware of his own purported position on the issue. He had never bothered to read his own supposed position statement up to that point. Apparently, it was just something Jeff Sessions or some restrictionist think tank faxed to his staff.

    Trump says whatever he thinks will sound good to his intended audience at the moment. He is a man known for breaking promises, sharp dealing, and turning on former partners (including wives). In the unlikely event he becomes president – when he has already said that he will change his tune for a wider audience and will make deals with the same leftist Democrat politicians he has been making deals with for decades – there is no reason to expect him not to abandon his current supporters, whom he will no longer need, and revert to the corporate establishment “progressivism” he has endorsed for his entire career up until the day before yesterday. When that happens, I expect him to dismiss as “losers” the people who are now voting for him, attending his speeches and buying his stupid hats.

    But if you want to believe in Santa Claus, suit yourself.

  13. “Grurray, how do you know Trump has read any of his supposed “platform”?

    How do you know he hasn’t ? There is a lot of angry talk these days that is very uninformed as far as I can tell.

    I suspect oxes are being gored.

  14. I obviously don’t know that Trump hasn’t read his platform. I infer that he has not because he seldom talks about it and, as I have noted, he has contradicted it on immigration, one of the main themes of his campaign and the one that most attracts people to him.

    Trump has not gored any ox of mine. I despise the GOP establishment, and I would actually support Trump, for all his faults, if I thought there was any reason to believe that, if elected, he would address this country’s ongoing immigration disaster. But I see no reason to believe in any such thing.

    Again, those who want to believe in Santa Claus may suit themselves.

  15. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

    Trump did not say this. Some say it was Dick the Butcher. Others name Henry.

    Eliminating lawyers will save a lot of money, it will turn the economy around, it will bring world peace and it will eliminate poverty.

  16. “those who want to believe in Santa Claus may suit themselves.”

    Most are voting for Bernie.

    I don’t know what Trump will do but I can pretty well guess what the others, possibly excepting Cruz, will do.

    That is why Trump is leading and might win. I am agnostic on his campaign and do not know how I will vote. I just know it won’t be for a Democrat.

    I do confess to curiosity about those who are violently opposed to Trump and go so far as to assert they know what he thinks or will do.

  17. I don’t know what Trump would do and that is the problem. He might be great, he might be a disaster. He might cut bad deals with Congressional Democrats. He might be clever and innovative in proposing new policies or he might be conventional and technocratic. He might appoint good or bad judges. He might or might not find himself over his head in dealing with foreign governments. I don’t know, no one knows, I doubt that even Trump knows. I’ll vote for him over a Democrat if it comes to that but he’s not my first choice. But he may win. Obama won and Obama makes Trump look like George Washington.

    Interesting times ahead.

  18. Trump 757 – Documentary:

    The idea here is that we can draw conclusions about how the White House would be run and what sort of people Trump would hire based on the people he’s hired to run his 757 operation and the kinds of expectations he sets for them. It shows Trump in a fairly positive light, especially with regard to the people he selects.

  19. personally checking the serial numbers on overhauled jet engines to make sure they’re the same ones that were sent in???? I think this is an insane level of micromanagement. Does he also personally visit the RR overhaul facility to make sure the tolerances are handled correctly? Does he evaluate the original manufacturing process to ensure that the heat treatment on the turbine blades is done right?

    Unpleasantly reminiscent of Obama’s “I’m better at everything than anyone on my staff” approach.

  20. He had his staff do it. He sets the requirements, his staff carries them out. You should watch the video. It’s an interesting insight.

  21. To me [YMMV] the key points are:

    1) all hyperbole from the past aside; we know that a Hillary or a Sanders regime WILL be the formal end of the American Republic. Hillary is Rosa Kleb’s older, uglier, and meaner sister. Bernie epitomizes the Zampoliti who executed the Kulaks and their families for the crime of growing food.

    2) of the collection of Fools, Miscreants, Maladroits, and Unindicted Co-Conspirators that make up the rapidly shrinking Republican field OTHER THAN Trump and Cruz; the history of the last 10 years and their own words and deeds shows that they will not oppose the Democrats any more than Ryan opposed Pelosi in the last Criminal Omnibus Budget deal. They will fund the camps but not furnish the execution squads unless the Democrats demanded it.

    3) Cruz has the better grasp of conservative ideology, hands down. If he gets the nomination I will support him without doubt. However, ideology and political ability are two different things. Cruz has fought the Left, in both parties. But he has not won, nor changed the nature of the war from the kind of battle that the enemy always wins. And we have to acknowledge that unless the Whigs get another Vichy Republican as the nominee, the Republicans will functionally be working for the Democrat. We have seen this over and over, and my state up until recently had a Democrat governor and 2 Democrat US Senators because the Republicans would not accept a Conservative nominee. Now we have one Vichy Republican Senator who posed as a Conservative. So we here know that we cannot depend on the Party putting up anyone who will do anything but collaborate with the Left.

    4) We do not know if Trump will do as he says. But we DO know what the Democrats will do, and we can be sure that the FMMUCC will help them.

    We DO know that what Trump says he will do a) speaks to the problems of the country and not the wish list of the Nomenklatura, and b) drives both wings of the Bipartisan Governing Party and their controlled media stark raving Chiroptera feces crazy in fear and panic. We know, from his history, that he is [despite not being taciturn at all] very much a doer and not a talker. He has been beaten before, but anyone who has done that really knows that they have been in a fight. When you consider that the Republican Party has not even been a speed bump while in the majority in both Houses; that has got to weigh in Trumps favor, greatly.

    If he does not do anything he promises, and actually works against us, what can he do that will be worse than what either the Democrats or the FMMUCC will do? If he does ANY of the things he is promising that drive the other non-Cruz candidates crazy; we are way ahead of the game. Just using existing law to control visa overstays and not issuing visas to anyone who is a citizen of a Muslim country [yes, the President can do that under existing law] would enhance the safety of Americans. Repudiating any of the deals that Obama has made without benefit of the required ratifications would do even more.

    And it has to be admitted that up till now, he is the ONLY candidate who is, and can, defeat both parties and the media. Everything they throw at him bounces off. Show me someone else who can, and who is on our side, and I will look at them. But with all of the other candidates recoiling at the thought of listening to even their own voter bases; I suspect I will not have to block out too much time for those looks. He may fail. He may be assassinated by either or both parties. There are no guarantees of anything.

    I admit to being surprised after the GOPe betrayal after we gave them the Senate to go along with the House, that there is any semblance of electoral activity today. I had given up on believing that electoral politics still had a role to play, and thought that we were doomed to the world described by Thomas Hobbes. I could be wrong, but in any putative elections to take place in November, he is the least worst choice available. And maybe he is the only remaining chance to avoid placing the outcome in the hands of Guan Yu and the Great Blue Sky Tengri Nor.

    And if the worst case scenario happens, at least he can be the murder weapon to finish off the GOPe.

  22. That is one of the best reasoned pro Trump posts I’ve read. My fear is that we really have nothing based on his past history what he would do. This cycle is critical. 4 Supreme Court justices just for starters.

    You are right in that if he is worst case scenario we haven’t lost anything.

    The trick is finding someone who most closely espouses your views ***and is electable***.

    In a perfect world I’d have to say Cruz.

    I’ve thought Rubio but yesterday his accusing Bush of being “inexperienced” was —is chutzpah the right word? As if a few years in the Senate made him fully qualified.

    You listen to this circular firing squad and start to think that they are all right :-;

    As far as “best qualified” – the best resumes- I’d say Bush and Kasich.

  23. Charles Murray has a good explanation in today’s WSJ where Trump came from and why he is doing so well. The Republicans who talk about the low class Trump supporters show how out of touch they are.

    Bill Kristol is an example with his diatribe about Trump.

    He lacks the character to be a trustworthy president and the convictions to be a conservative one. He’s a confidence man who said, a day after winning the New Hampshire primary, “I will be changing very rapidly. I’m capable of changing to anything I want to change to.” To invest in this man the accumulated capital and the future aspirations of what is, despite everything, a great political party, the party that carries with it the cause of constitutional government at home and American leadership abroad, would be a grave error.

    Kristol seems unable to understand the anger at the GOP establishment that is simmering, even in people like me. I don’t know what Trump will do if elected but it can’t be worse than what we have had. I enthusiastically supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and still believe it was a near-fatal mistake to re-elect Obama.

    I blame Newt Gingrich for a lot of our problems. He and Dick Armey came up with a winning strategy in 1994 after Hillary sabotaged Bill Clinton’s presidency with her inept political skills. The GOP won both houses of Congress and Clinton was so intimidated that he claimed he was still “relevant.” Gingrich then threw away this strategic advantage by mishandling the budget negotiations. Maybe we need a guy who has done a lot of negotiating. Clinton outwitted Gingrich in the shutdown and Gingrich compounded the matter by acting out a childish resentment in public.

    Then, in 2012 with no chance of winning the GOP nomination, Gingrich gave the Democrats all sorts of ammunition to use against Romney.

    After Gingrich left Congress, having botched his time as Speaker, Denny Hastert, a member in good standing of the corrupt Illinois “Combine” took over and ran Congress into the ground. I doubt Bush could have fixed things even had he tried and he was distracted by 9/11.

  24. MikeK – the WSJ had a great op-ed piece from Peggy Noonon on why she feels a revolution is coming from both the left and right – and the powers that be haven’t a clue.

    Called the GOP “establishment” hedge fund managers which is probably pretty accurate.

  25. I’ve me doubts about Peggy Noonan’s acuity, and general clue-sensitivity, but maybe circumstances have managed to hit her over the heat with a clue-by-four.

  26. MikeK – the WSJ had a great op-ed piece from Peggy Noonon on why she feels a revolution is coming from both the left and right – and the powers that be haven’t a clue.

    Bill, I linked it in the piece above as an update.

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