My buddy David Hogberg wrote a column for the American Spectator this morning that seems resigned to the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ not only being the Republican nominee for President this year, but also perhaps winning the White House. David is sweetness and light. Seriously. He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, as well as the smartest. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I don’t have to. He’s always reasoned and even-tempered, and takes the time to examine the facts.
I think David gives up too quickly, however, when he pens a column that talks about the “distasteful” possibility that the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ could, in fact, reach the Oval Office and what conservatives and libertarians need to do to influence that assclown in the right direction. Influence? Influence a guy who unabashedly lies on the national stage and whose temperament was described by the former CEO of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, according to David… “the erratic temper, impulsiveness, bullying, petulance, and myopia.” Yeah, that certainly sounds like a guy that can be influenced… NOT.
But let’s give David’s column the benefit of the doubt, and let’s say *shudder* that Trump does win. What should conservatives and libertarians do?
…Trump could very well reach the Oval Office, and it would be unwise to let him do so without an attempt to influence him toward views that are consistent with expanding liberty, reducing government, and keeping America strong abroad.
David’s optimism is endearing. I truly believe that the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ will take advice from no one if it doesn’t fit his narrow-minded point of view. Remember, this is a guy who has no problem depriving Americans of their Second Amendment rights if they have been placed on a “no-fly” list in which 40 percent of those listed have no connection to terrorism whatsoever, and refused to dismiss outright a database of people based on their religious faith.
Now, I’m at the very least agnostic, and mostly atheist, so I have no dog in this fight. However, being a Jew by heritage, having escaped from the USSR, and having family who lived through the Holocaust and fought the Nazis, I’m pretty appalled at the idea, and find it nauseating that any presidential candidate and, really, decent human being wouldn’t be disgusted by that idea!
But back to the article. David suggests a partial list of issues on which activists should engage with the Hairy Hemorrhoid™.
Rule of Law: This will undoubtedly be the most difficult issue to convince Trump to promote, given the demagogic aspects of his temperament. Once in office, Trump will no doubt want to issue executive orders, regardless of what the law says, every time he doesn’t get his way. It is imperative to show Trump how this behavior in the Obama Administration has hurt our country. Undoubtedly, Obama’s lawlessness has been a big reason why citizen contempt for government is at an all time high. It has also hurt us economically. Businesses have a hard time planning future activity when the law can change on a President’s whim. If Trump is serious about “Making America Great Again,” then he needs to know that we can’t be great without rule of law.
David is correct that undoubtedly this will be the most difficult part. But I think he overestimates Trump’s willingness to engage in logic and reason. How do you justify placing thousands of Americans on a secret no-fly list without due process or any evidence that they are affiliated with terrorism, and then support depriving them of their rights? How do you change the mind of someone who claims to love free trade and free markets, and in the same breath claims that he will use government force to bring manufacturing back to the United States from places like China? How do you substantively engage with someone whose first reaction to things he doesn’t like is to threaten lawsuits or sue?
He has a long history of flip-flopping and being unable to stand on principle. He supports the “assault” weapons ban/He doesn’t support gun control. Yes, he does, but… Run like hell from anyone who has a “but” after stating their support for fundamental rights. “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”
He opposes ObamaCare… no, he likes government health care, and if you don’t you’re heartless.
He hates Univision… no he likes Univision. What?
TRUMP: I’m just telling you, I’m doing very well with Hispanics. And by the way, I settled my suit, as you know, with Univision. It was settled. We’re good friends now. It was all settled up.
How do you reason with that?
Immigration: This may be a bit of surprise since building a wall on the Southern border is part and parcel of Trump’s campaign. But Trump has previously said that he “would get [illegal aliens] out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.” That is amnesty, and will only encourage more people to come to this country illegally. Conservatives should push, albeit gently, Trump to drop that part of his plan.
David is correct… this is awfully similar to amnesty. You have people entering our home illegally, we boot them out, and then reward them with expedited legal entry? There are thousands of immigrants – qualified, intelligent, hard-working people waiting for permission to enter this country. Rewarding fence jumpers with an expedited way to legalization after making them step back over the border into Mexico for a bit is not justice, and it’s certainly not fair to have them jump the line ahead of those who have been waiting a long time to enter!
But there’s more to his buffoonery. Once again, he proves his love of force by claiming he will force Mexico to pay for a wall. How, pray tell, will he do that? When pressed for details, he rambles something about a trade deficit of $58 billion. OK, but what the hell does that have to do with forcing a sovereign nation to pay for America’s security measures? A trade deficit means that we buy more from Mexico than it does from us. Roughly $58 billion more. What the hell does that have to do with Mexico’s ability or even willingness to build a wall? No one knows. The Mexican government isn’t hoarding that $58 billion. It doesn’t belong to the government. But, don’t tell that to Trump, who implies that somehow he’s going to monkey around with the trade deficit to pay for a wall… What????? What the hell does “playing with the trade deficit” mean? Will he FORCE Mexico to purchase more from the United States? Will he FORCE U.S. customers to stop buying Mexican products? In any scenario, it seems he wants to fall back on government force to achieve his means (even though he has no hope of doing so). How can his love of force and his claim to love freedom be reconciled? They can’t. Not without significant changes to his platform, and I don’t see that happening.
“We’re going to have a trade deficit this year of $58 billion, OK?” Mr. Trump said at a town-hall event that aired on MSNBC Wednesday evening. “The wall is going to cost a fraction of that, maybe 10 [billion] or $12 billion, and it’s going to be a real wall. It’s going to be a high wall. It’s going to be a beautiful. It’s going to be a wall that works.”
This lack of understanding of basic economics concepts aside, how do you reason with someone whose immigration policy partially consists of “We’re Gonna Build a High, Beautiful Wall” without detailing how he plans to force a sovereign nation to do it for us. I disagree with David that you can’t “gently” explain this to someone who is so completely blinded by his own demagoguery and someone who so desperately needs a lesson in basic economics!
Health Care: At present it seems Trump wants to eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate but keep the mandate that health insurers must take people with pre-existing conditions. That will incentivize people to only purchase health insurance when they are sick, causing health insurance prices to skyrocket. There are plenty of good ideas on how to help people with pre-existing conditions, such as letting people use tax credits and health savings accounts to purchase pre-existing condition insurance and having a national high-risk pool to transition to such a system. There is no shortage of liberty-minded health care policy wonks who can reach out to Trump on this.
I know no other person who is more up on health care policy than David. He is the author of Medicare’s Victims: How the U.S. Government’s Largest Health Care Program Harms Patients and Impairs Physicians. I will cede to him on this issue, but I will also state, for the record, that based on Trump’s personality, I don’t see him being willing to listen or learn.
Abortion: Can Trump be persuaded to stop saying that Planned Parenthood does good work? Getting him to stop saying that, commit to stopping taxpayer dollars from going to that vile organization, and speak out against late-term abortion — well, it’s worth a try.
Again, David much more optimistic than I am about the Hemorrhoid’s willingness to listen and learn. Our views on abortion aside, David think’s it’s worth a try trying to convince Trump of anything. I have no such delusions. Let’s leave it at that.
Entitlements: Trump thinks he can reduce the drag entitlements will have on our society by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse.” Conservatives and libertarians need to emphasize with Trump that Medicare and Social Security are headed for crisis even if you wring every last wasted cent out them. Sorry, but you can’t “Make America Great Again” when entitlements threaten to gobble up more and more of the federal budget and lead to deficits as far as the eye can see.
There is so much to be taught here, and I’m not sure Trump is willing to learn it. Entitlement spending is non-discretionary, and it totaled $2.45 trillion in FY2015.
Fraud, waste, and abuse estimates vary, but Americans for Prosperity calculates nearly $62 billion in improper payments in entitlement programs alone. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the whole!
If he wants to be taken seriously as a candidate, he should answer some questions about entitlement programs, how he plans to reform them, and how he plans to pay for them, and I’m fairly sure that merely informing Trump that his plan won’t work isn’t going to endear anyone to him.
David goes on to acknowledge that informing Trump on foreign policy will be crazy difficult. Frankly, he’s so uninformed and downright ignorant on foreign policy issues, that his constant repetition of ridiculous catchphrases is about all he has.
Foreign Policy: It’s hard to know where to start here. Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, his wanting Russia to fight ISIS in Syria, his vowing not to take sides in Arab-Israeli peace talks… the policy wonks who try to help Trump here have a herculean task.
This is where we once again need to get back to that fence that he will apparently force Mexico to build. He’s painfully unaware of how diplomacy works, despite his continued claims about how *insert group that is not white/male/American here* love him. Talk to him about the trade wars that he keeps threatening to wage and their costs. Talk to him about what Putin is really doing, his flirting with fascism, and his efforts to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbor. Explain to him that voicing support and admiration for an aggressive tyrant is unacceptable. Explain to him that adventurism into Syria without knowledge or understanding about what really has been going on in that country is a bad policy that will make America less secure. Claiming that Putin will eventually get to bombing ISIS, because he doesn’t want ISIS in Russia demonstrates a very shallow understanding of the issues, but again, I have to wonder how is it that policy and economics experts are going to explain these concepts to a man who prides himself on his imaginary foreign policy acumen, based on making real estate deals and suing opponents.
David, to his credit, objectively concludes that influencing the Hairy Hemorrhoid’s™ policies, or lack thereof, is a long shot.
Can conservative and libertarian activists and policy wonks help Trump become someone of more substance before January of next year? Given Trump’s personality, I’m not optimistic. But, at this point, it is the least bad of all the options we face.
This is where I fundamentally disagree with my friend.
The least bad of all options is for the GOP to get its shit together and create a team – probably consisting of Cruz/Rubio to stage a strong opposition to the assclownery that’s Trump’s campaign. Hate to tell y’all this, but Cruz isn’t all that far behind Trump as far as current delegate counts go (319-226). Combine this with Rubio’s 110 and the handful that Kasich and Carson currently hold, and you have a current win.
The least bad of all options is to keep that bloviating assclown as far away from the GOP nomination as possible.
The least bad of all options is to show the true lack of depth of his knowledge of policy and economics.
And frankly, the least bad of all options is not to resign ourselves to nominating a shallow, screeching, narcissistic schoolyard bully, but to fight him every step of the way.
I can almost guarantee that a big enough portion of Republicans will stay home on Election Day or vote third party or even for Hillary Clinton in order to avoid a Trump presidency. I don’t just predict Hillary will win over him. I project the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ will be Mondaled. And we will wind up with Hillary Clinton as President, which is preferable to the utter disaster that will be Trump in the White House! At least she’s beholden to Wall Street. At least she’s beholden to corporations. At least she understands foreign policy. And at least the GOP will have enough of a sack to stand up and oppose her a little more than they would with someone who – even only notionally – claims to be a Republican.
I’m convinced that nominating Trump will lead us full speed into a Hillary Clinton presidency.
So maybe – before we resign ourselves to the “distasteful” idea of the Hairy Hemorrhoid™ in the White House, perhaps we should do everything to fight him.