Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Trumpalanche in US politics

I've been watching developments concerning Donald Trump with great interest for several weeks.  He's clearly picked up a following among those who are simply fed up with 'politics as usual'.  What's intriguing is that they're on both sides of the political aisle.  I know a couple of local voters, both trade unionists and - until recently - died-in-the-wool Democrats.  They'd never even have considered voting Republican, and if they had, they'd have immediately taken themselves off to a psychiatrist for examination.  Now, however, they're both solidly behind Trump.  As one of them said to me the other day, "Democrats talk the talk, but as soon as the election's over they won't walk the walk.  The party owns them.  Nobody owns this guy.  He can't be bought."

That, I think, is a key point.  Trump is wealthy in his own right.  He can fund his own presidential campaign to the tune of one or even two billion dollars, and not miss it.  All the other candidates are dependent on fund-raising and on support from their political parties.

That also holds implications for his conduct in office, should he be elected.  He won't have to rely for re-election on the support of his party in Congress or the Senate.  He can put his positions out there, and demand that the legislature support them.  If they don't, that's their right;  but he, in turn, will be free to veto their legislation.  If they can amass the necessary super-majority, they can overturn his veto;  but given the present friction between Democrats and Republicans, I suspect Trump might be gambling that he'll be able to prevent them uniting against him.  I'd say he may have a point.

As for the election . . . let's say the "anybody but Trump" brigade triumphs in the Republican Party, and manages to nominate a different candidate to represent the party.  If Trump's not happy with the way the 'establishment' has treated him, or the tactics it used to undermine and defeat his candidacy, he's already stated that he reserves the right to run independently.  Some have seen that as 'doing a Perot':  taking enough votes away from the Republican candidate to hand victory to the Democratic Party candidate, as happened with Clinton in 1992.  However, I think they might be surprised.

I'm seeing enough support for Trump among both Republicans and Democrats - particularly the 'little guys', those without much individual political influence but who have great power if they work together.  I'm not so sure that Trump couldn't scrape together enough votes to defeat both the Democratic and the Republican candidates.  Wouldn't that just put the fox in the henhouse?

As for myself . . . I haven't yet made my mind up.  I won't, until much closer to the election, when the candidates have been winnowed down and their respective positions have become clearer.  Nevertheless, I'm constantly aware of two things.

  • Anyone who can put both political establishments, Democratic and Republican, into a tizzy can't be all bad.
  • Anyone who's united the mainstream media into trying to tear him down has got to have a lot of good points going for him.  As Wicasta Lovelace put it:
  • "You can always judge a man not by his friends, but by the quality of his enemies. A good man will never have enemies who are anything but petty and childish. A bad man will have enemies that are legion. Who it is that dislikes a man reveals much about the man himself."

You can bet those considerations will remain uppermost in my mind.  I suspect they will for a lot of people in November 2016.



Bibliotheca Servare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bibliotheca Servare said...

(I deleted the first posting of this comment to edit a couple things that bugged me about it. Just a typo and an unclosed parenthesis, nothing major)

That quote (about the nature of one's enemies saying something about oneself) is fitting when applied to the enemies of the "puppies" and the folks that aren't "puppies" but are insufficiently condemning of the puppies. (You, for example. You don't/didn't loathe and despise us, or consider us the epitome of human idiocy, and as such they decided you were just as bad as us.) It says good things about us, I think, that our enemies are people like John Scalzi, Mary three-names, David Gerrold, N.K Jemisin, the Nielsen-Haydens, and disgusting creeps like Phil Sandifer. I's like someone set out to create a collection of petty, ignorant, bigoted bullies to use as the enemies of the protagonist in a story! It's almost surreal, really. :-P God Bless.

Shell said...

Thank you for the quote from Lovelace, Peter. It settled my mind about goings-on in my personal life.

On a related note, I like your overall take on Trump. :)

Gorges Smythe said...


Anonymous said...

I hope (and expect) that Cruz will announce that he is co-opting much of Trump's platform and that Trump will then withdraw while endorsing Cruz. If elected President, Cruz won't implement most of his campaign promises, but neither would a hypothetical Pres. Trump be able to.

Why is this my preferred outcome? President of the U.S. and leader of the free world is too important an office to entrust to someone who has viewed the snakepit of politics only ever from the outside. Cruz is a pro who can see many chess moves ahead; his rolodex of potential candidates for cabinet-level and below appointments is vastly larger than Trump's. Cruz might just be electable while holding on to just enough conservative positions. In any case, the remaining candidates -- Bush, Rubio, Christie, Carson ... -- have less to recommend them and each of them would be worse than Cruz, let alone Hillary.

Anonymous said...

What you said above is why Trump does well in polls - he says what he thinks and doesn't cave in to "racist-wrong-stupid-un American' comments gained by his opponents or the press. The press, Democrats and Republicans all run their mouths but his popularity holds up and gains.

I think the high marks are people who think the same thoughts and are relieved to see them fine with others. I think that is the biggest fear of his opponents - they thought they could silence him with shame - threats. Nope - not the Donald.

Hope this plays out well - be a relief to have someone in charge who is pro America.

Glen Filthie said...

"That, I think, is a key point. Trump is wealthy in his own right. He can fund his own presidential campaign to the tune of one or even two billion..."

I will disagree with you. Almost every one of the candidates could probably afford to clean out the desk, retire and go lay on the beach of some sun-drenched paradise. The Clintons certainly could. These people are not driven by money, Peter, they are driven by ego. They live in fear of becoming just another old duffer at the rod and gun club or at the golf course. Most are control freaks that do deals behind closed doors where the stinking peons and proles can't interfere with the decision making process. That's the way they've always worked, and that is why America is circling the toilet.

Trump's strength is that although he plays in those leagues and settings - he can think outside them too. He is a leader where as most of the others are mere poll-takers. By contrast, Trump is a risk taker and has exceptional critical thinking skills.

He's exactly what America needs right now. If you bankrupted any of the other candidates they would be ruined. Bankruptcy is an inconvenience for men like Trump, one that they will rectify so that they can play in even bigger leagues. If there were a polar opposite to the token negro politics of Obama - Trump would personify it.

Chris Mallory said...

"Retire and go lay on the beach" money is a magnitude lower than "Tell the media to go urinate up a strand of braided hemp" money. Trump has the latter, none of the other candidates do. Clinton and the republicans have to please their donors. That is why the republicans line up to kiss Adelson's ring. Trump doesn't.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the American people are more concerned with cleaning out Washington and breaking the strangle hold corrupt politicians and monied interests have on the nation than Trump's specific policy proposals, though some are very refreshing, indeed.

As commenters have pointed out, Trump's policies may or may not be enacted but his big picture effect may be more important - destroying the DC status quo and putting the country on a more realistic track. That's why both the professional left and professional right hate him. He's jeopardizing their cushy, tax funded, consequence free existence.

libertarianrn said...

He thinks America "needs a strong leader", so just of that one statement, I know I don't want him in the hot seat. Trump is awful on anything to do with individual liberties. He was even bad on guns before he started running for President. He isn't being honest about anything - he's pandering. He also scares me, for the same reason Clinton does. I think either of them would do whatever they felt was expedient - neither of them seems to have a shred of ethics. That is a very bad thing in someone with that degree of power.

WhatIfWeAllCared? said...

I see I Trump the possibility of American standards returning to those of the 1940's and am pleased with that idea. I'm glad Trump doesn't mollycoddle every group and that he speaks his mind. As a divorced low income mom I do worry our standard of living (currently $20,100 gross annually supporting two people) will drop further, but am planning contingencies . .
All in all, he seems our best option..

Anonymous said...

I dislike Trump's populist manner, and his inability to manage money (especially other people's money, which is what the national budget is.) I also foresee him being taken to the cleaners on international affairs.

What I do like is that he is forcing issues into the open, for people to discuss, debate, argue, sort out.

Would I vote for Anyone But Trump? Not given the current options. But the election is a long way away, and the Sweet Meteor of Doom could strike between now and the end of the primary season.