I for one was sad when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of the race for the Republican Presidential nomination. Then again, I had been saddened by Mr. Walker repeatedly during his time as a candidate—by his failure to take a consistent stand against massive and even illegal immigration, by his laughable call to “end” Obamacare by replacing it with bait-and-switch tax policies and continued, never-ending regulations propping up our health insurance oligopoly, and by his choice of establishment “experts” to run his campaign.
Finally, when Mr. Walker dropped out of the race, he did so in a very disappointing manner: by calling on Republican candidates to weed out their own field in order to defeat the candidacy of Donald Trump. Never let it be said that I am a fan of Donald Trump. Most of his policies (for example, regarding nationalized health insurance) are liberal, pure and simple, as befits a man who made his fortune through inheritance and manipulation of governmental regulations and personalities. In addition, his words and actions, full of bluster, schoolyard insults, and a propensity to mistreat people under his power, lack maturity and the self-control needed to lead our nation.
That said, we all should keep in mind the main reason Donald Trump achieved such high popularity and the main reason his gaffes for so long have seemed not to harm his standing. The reason Mr. Trump became so popular is simple: he consistently addresses the most important issue of this election cycle, immigration, and actually cares what the American people think about that issue. Almost all the other candidates either dodge the topic or side with corporate interests in their drive to continue securing cheap, pliable (because susceptible to legal blackmail) labor. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is willing to say the obvious: namely that massive immigration is undermining American wages, and that massive disrespect for the law and for American culture continues to undermine our way of life, and the way of life thousands upon thousands of decent people have immigrated here to make their own.
And the reason Mr. Trump has been able to sustain his popularity despite the barrage of uncouth insults he continues to dish out to his opponents and the press? Perhaps it is time for our friends in the establishment wing of the Republican Party and throughout the political press to admit to themselves that they are unpopular enough that millions of Americans consider insults directed toward them to be long overdue. That is, while some of what Mr. Trump says is simply wrong, much more of it is insulting only toward people millions of Americans feel deserve to be insulted.
In our hyper-politically correct culture, many, many Americans are thrilled to see someone willing to poke in the eye the people they believe have been taking away their freedom of speech and, those who, by taking their votes and then ignoring their promises in getting them, destroying their political voice for many years.
Nothing illustrates this point more than the current attempt to “winnow the field” of Republican candidates. Sadly, the first two candidates to drop out of the race for the nomination were at least in some sense and degree conservative. Messrs Perry and Walker clearly had their problems as candidates on the levels of both policy and perception. But they are in an entirely different league from the crowd of establishment empty suits for whom they have made room. More than one political insider has commented that the Republican National Committee and various other leaders in the party are anxious to narrow the field so that the “good” candidates, especially Jeb Bush, but also Chris Christie, John Kasich, ad perhaps even Marco Rubio, can take on Mr. Trump and, presumably, beat him.
As with most establishment wisdom, this way lays failure. Remember the “electable” Mitt Romney? Who, other than a silk-stocking narcissist ensconced in a paneled boardroom counting money and dreaming of how he would “help the poor” by lining his own pockets, would think Richie Rich with a bad attitude would be a good candidate? Not that these folks paid a heavy price for their latest failure. The “donor class,” as it is coming to be called, has always been good at losing elections, then buying favor with the other party, which makes one wonder why they bother with the Republican Party at all.
Few in this donor class care about our culture because, frankly, they do not live in it. Money definitely does not buy you happiness. But it does buy you safety from crime, freedom from worry about getting your kids decent educations and jobs, and a sadly common delusion that religious norms are to be taken seriously only by those who have nothing better to do with their time. Moreover, the donor class has good reason to support much of the administrative state. A complex tax structure serves them well because it assuages their consciences about having money, while allowing their accountants to help them avoid most taxes. At least as important, the administrative state keeps it difficult for upstart companies to provide too much competition, granting security to those well-ensconced in the bureaucratic process of corporate life. It is not surprising, then, that the donor class has no liking for conservatives, with their pro-life bumper stickers, their Bibles, and their emphasis on lower taxes and deregulation as tools for increasing freedom and opportunity for workers and small businesses.
But this does not mean that those supporting the “outsider” candidates (Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson, and Mrs. Fiorina) can be bullied or manipulated into supporting an establishment candidate. Mr. Romney found the limits of that strategy, and the Republican “base” of broadly conservative voters clearly is more determined than ever to have its voice heard. Indeed, should the donor class succeed in winnowing the field down to Mr. Trump and one or other (or all) of its favored bag-men, I can assure them that there will be a bad haircut at the head of the Republican ticket. Mr. Trump may well fall on his own, but should he, or Dr. Carson, or Mrs. Fiorina (all outsiders, but despite that fact deeply-flawed candidates) be the only candidate left outside the donor class bunch, I for one out of millions will not hesitate to vote against the donor class, though I would much rather support one of the more conservative candidates—Governor Bobby Jindal, or Senator Ted Cruz, for example. One would think it would be clear by now even to the Republican establishment that their policies are so hostile to the beliefs and interests of the people that they need to give up on their own henchmen and make peace with these actual conservatives.
The real danger at this stage can be summed up in the name Marco Rubio. Telegenic and well spoken, Mr. Rubio for years has been establishing conservative bona fides on most issues. Sadly, when the chips are down, whether it is in regard to sugar interests in his own state or immigration policy for the nation, he reverts to the establishment line instilled in him by his former mentor, Jeb Bush. Having finally rid itself of John Boehner’s intentionally feckless leadership in Congress (fecklessness can be highly profitable when one depends on federal government machinery for one’s livelihood) it would be a shame, if sadly not a surprise, to see support for the presidential nomination coalesce around an “establishment light” candidate with no intention of bucking the trend toward a nation in which control over the levers of federal power is the only real path to economic success.
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