Crony vs. Crony
I’m writing this before the Indiana primary returns come in Tuesday evening, but given that Indiana’s is an open primary, and Donald Trump does well in open primaries, I’m guessing he’s going to win it. So by Wednesday morning when this post goes live the Republican primaries may well be decided in Trump’s favor.
One of the strangest conspiracy theories I’ve been hearing ever since Trump entered the race is that he’s a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton, to keep the Republicans from taking the White House in a year where it seemed impossible for them to lose.
It’s an understandable theory. Trump has supported leftist policies far more than conservative policies, and he’s supported crony government for most of his career, if not all of it. Further, Trump comes across less as a conservative and more as a caricature of what the left thinks conservatives are. It’s as if he’s a Democrat playing the role of conservative.
More recently, however, in keeping with Douglas Adams’s dictum that once you think you understand something it will be replaced with something even more bizarre, there is the competing theory that Trump is really a conspiracy of the Republican establishment. They were looking at an almost guaranteed win in 2016, which would have meant responsibility. Worse, the guaranteed winner might even have been a conservative anti-establishment figure!
They needed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and who has bigger jaws than Donald Trump?
But while the establishment has certainly warmed to Trump lately when the alternative has been the strongly conservative and anti-establishment Ted Cruz, I doubt that either of these conspiracy theories is true. I think it’s more likely that Trump wants to be President, and he looked at the Democratic Party’s system of super delegates, saw it would be practically impossible to beat Hillary Clinton there even with a majority of votes, and so decided to run in the Republican primaries instead.
The reason he looks like the establishment is that its who he hangs out with in DC. Like most of DC, he has no other perspective.
What’s genuinely frustrating for conservatives is that at the beginning of the primaries a good candidate seemed inescapable. There were several great candidates, such as Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz; and several decent candidates, such as Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Bobby Jindal. And in a year of voter unrest it appeared that the great candidates had the advantage.
Then Donald Trump came along, and took advantage of the media’s great desire to paint conservative caricatures. He took on the role that the media wants to see, and so got al the media coverage they could give him. He played Stephen Colbert, and people bought it.
As a leftist, he can’t, however, envision what actual free markets can do, because he has never taken part in one that made him a winner. His wins come from deals with big government, so his solutions are big government solutions. Under Trump, there will be the same degeneration of health care, the same rise in health care costs, as we’re seeing now under the federal exchanges. He’ll just rename ObamaCare to TrumpCare, and proclaim it winning. But it will still be a federal bureaucracy telling us what to do, and open to influence by big business, just as ObamaCare is.
Since he doesn’t have conservative beliefs, he has no concept of the value of traditional practices, even simple ones such as separate-sex bathrooms, and the necessity of examining the tradeoffs of ending traditional practices.
As a Democrat, he looks with the dread of the anointed at the idea of a gun-toting Republican who freed slaves on the twenty. Certainly not by removing a fine Democratic slave-owner!
Because he’s a caricature, he also played to Democrats abandoned by the Democratic Party, which is why he does so well in open primaries—when the choice is between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, crossing over to vote for Trump must seem like paradise.
Unfortunately, what it’s going to mean is two blatant cronyists running against each other in the general. On the one hand our choice will be Hillary Clinton, who sold access and then tried to delete the evidence. And on the other, Donald Trump, who buys access and doesn’t care who knows it as long as he comes out the winner.
But this is, ultimately, our choice, and history will record the choice we made. When we wonder how history could have provided such unappealing candidates, history will reasonably respond like God in the parable of the flood: “I sent you three great candidates. Why did you refuse them?”
In response to Election 2016: Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.