Archives for posts with tag: Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels

The Stormy Daniels Affair has reached something like closure: it happened, but President Trump will not likely be prosecuted for failing to disclose the $130,000 that his lawyer paid the porn star to keep her mouth shut.

For those few Americans who doubted the porn star’s allegation — effectively making the case one of “Stormy Whether-or-Not” — Wednesday’s revelations pretty much clarify the whole seedy business. 

The White House still officially denies the story. But that’s just stonewalling in the modern post-Reagan/post-Clinton style. Besides, Trump is a liar.

Yes, now we know that the President of the United States, about a decade ago, had spent an intimate evening with a porn star. Who really doubted this?

It seems, uh, “Trumpian.” 

And Ms. Daniels seems very . . . ’ho’. Which is not a shock, either. I mean, she’s a porn star. To engage in sex acts for money is what porn stars do. And engaging in sex acts for money is what prostitutes do. Sure, ’tis a pity she’s a “’ho.’”

Worse yet, she is a blackmailer — a dishonest blackmailer. She took the money — and still squawked.

Regardless, this has never about whether she is what she is. Or whether we know this by analytic or synthetic argument. Neither has it ever been about the president’s character.

It has always been about whether he or his lawyer illegally used campaign funds (or contributed funds themselves) to pay her off.

And it is now settled. It was his own funds that were used: his lawyer paid the harlot, and Trump paid his legal harlot — I mean, lawyer. We are left with the small matter of Trump not filling out an FEC form to include the payment.

Since one should be able to spend any amount of money on one’s political campaign, and since (I believe) regulations requiring reporting are un-American, this is, legally, a big Nothing.

Impeachable? Maybe. But he won’t be impeached. Not for this affair. And it looks like Mueller will not prosecute, either.

At bottom this is just . . . ugly and dumb.

twv

img_1569

During President Trump’s first speech before Congress, in which one could discern a ramping up to increase spending on the military, the new President prominently featured — called out in the modern, “story-time segment” that Obama had made de rigueur — the wife of the slain Navy SEAL who died in an incursion into Yemen. It was a moving moment, but no one that I follow mentioned that the United States has not declared war on Yemen.

Also not mentioned? The fact that the Pentagon cannot (or will not) provide an accounting of the money it spends. It seems to me that before we throw more billions at the secretive institution, we should have a thorough audit in hand.

Correction. I saw one discussion of all this . . . by Paul Jacob, today .

Now would be a good time to not only rethink Middle East policy, but to re-consider our expensive role as world policeman. . . . During the campaign, Trump was criticized for questioning our alliances and demanding more of our allies. But he was right. I hope he’ll get tough in prodding our allies to ultimately provide their own defense.

Even more basic? Demand an audit of the Pentagon before new funds are thrown into the five-sided money pit.

U.S. military spending can be summed up in one word: overkill. Mr. Jacob calls America’s longstanding foreign policy as the “overkill always” strategy, and explains it like this:

Two truths: national defense is a necessity for a republic; national defense is a racket.

The latter is the case because the former is the case. Big spenders rely on “better safe than sorry” to always push the envelope, over-investing rather than under-investing.

Jacob identifies this as a “trap,” betting that Donald Trump “knows this.”

Before Trump ran for office, he said that sequestration cuts to the Pentagon budget had not gone far enough. But when he threw his hat into the ring, he promised to “make our military so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody — absolutely nobody — is going to mess with us.”

President Trump now proposes over fifty billion dollars in new defense spending. More soldiers, more ships, more fighter jets.

Donald Trump’s excuse for this nonsense? Well, he has followed the neocon line, claiming, contrary to all evidence, that U.S.military spending was gutted under President Obama. Further, he seems to be leaning neocon by holding to the common charge of Republican politicians to the effect that Barack “Drone-killer” Obama has not done enough in the mid-East.

The truth? That conservatives cannot handle? That even a Democratic war-hating president (who nevertheless was a war president for every day of his two terms, a new record) can do too much.

Killing innocents along with alleged bad guys in other countries that we have not duly declared war upon is one sure way to stir up resentments in those countries. And breed international terrorism.

It does not look like President Trump will bring any clarity or rationality to military spending — or coherence to foreign policy.

But I have to ask: why would Trump, who was such a skeptic of American imperial management before the election prove such a chump for the military industrial complex Official Story now?

A number of theories could be advanced. Maybe he knows that, before being sworn in, he was just talking out of his rectal region. Now he has real responsibility, and, seeing that he knows nothing, he goes along with his neocon advisors.

Or maybe he has been threatened by said complex. The military industrial complex is the strongest sector of the Deep State. They are the real rulers, and have been for some time. Perhaps we could send Gandhi into the White House and he’d quickly be seen towing the line.

How would this work? On his first or second day in office, men in black walk into Gandhi’s office unannounced, and hands the Mahatma a folder. What is in the folder? If I knew I’d tell you. But it is damning.

The folder Trump (may have) received? It could have been damning of Trump himself — it could be that he’s being blackmailed. It could be damning of the U.S. Government (the war crimes and power structure are too terrible to speak aloud). Or it could be damning of humanity itself!

Maybe the Lizard People. . . .

Or it could be all very simple. Might not Trump be caving to the military-industrial complex simply to establish another base of support?

Trump, after all, is not an idiot. He knows he needs supporters. He probably had intended to unite the country after election, but the Democratic nutball response has been so loud and divisive, any tendency he had to move to the Center (which is where I think he’d prefer to be, as I’ve written about before) has been scuttled by a lack of reason to do so. The Left and Center-Left has all but declared war on him. He gets death threats. The major newspapers have columnists and reporters who have publicly discussed assassination — and get away with it! Major Democratic figures talk about impeachment, no matter how groundless. The desperation to the left of center is palpable, and that means that appeasing them will not be a good bet.

So Trump goes the other direction.

He plays up to his core constituency. And he reaches out to the Deep State.

That would be an unfortunate consequence of the whole “Not My President” movement. But a typical unintended consequence of tribalism and overkill. Par for the political course.

twv

img_1130

img_1980

I just watched Lisa Kennedy Montgomery cave on repealing ObamaCare — see tonight’s Kennedy, Fox Business Network, 2017-01-12.

It looks to me like the putative libertarian is following Sen. Rand Paul and President-Elect Trump in doubling down on the core principle of ObamaCare itself.

They do this by insisting that the people newly covered by ObamaCare must remain covered under some new scheme before the old scheme be repealed.

This ensures that no real progress can be managed, for it commits the federal government to guaranteeing a transfer of wealth that (a) is nowhere authorized by the Constitution; (b) can only send medical costs spiraling further upward for the non-subsidized and eventually even the subsidized; (c) must increase the ranks of the subsidized as time goes on; (d) will become increasingly insolvent and demanding more taxes, eliciting further damaging regulation, as well as further stress the U. S. debt load; and, last but not least, (e) commits the nation to a principle utterly at odds with the best method for progress in medical services delivery. A better, free-market system, would simultaneously improve technology and capacity while leading to a secular trend of price reductions.

img_1981The Rand/Trump/Kennedy ploy gives the game away — the whole enchilada — to the socialist-minded Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter), which means that there could never be a rollback of government. At least, not on their watch.

It also shows that Kennedy and Rand and Trump all believe, just as do progressives and socialists and Fabians and fascists and ignoramuses (but I repeat myself) that once one has given a treat to someone else, that treat must be considered as a sacrosanct “right.”

Further, it indicates that they do not understand the economics of health care and medical insurance, especially not the damage done by decades upon decades of subsidy, mandates and regulations.

In other words, it means they do not really believe that free markets can work. Which is almost certainly true in Donald Trump’s case.

In Rand’s and Kennedy’s case, it ultimately means cowardice.

twv

img_5132


A friend offered up, on Facebook, an eloquent defense of his early, by-mail vote for Trump. He expressed how he had “no choice” but to place his vote for the Republican candidate. And then, he — a Christian, last I heard — defended his vote for a man whose vulgarity and sinfulness are widely known. Why? On the grounds that Hillary is worse.

Now, she may in fact (or according to decent values) be worse. In one or two dimensions, at least. And she may even likely do more damage than would Donald Trump. But, as eloquent as my friend was, I was unmoved by his reasoning.

I was going to comment on his Facebook post, at first. I wrote it up, and placed my finger over the “Post” link. But I thought better of it. I’m already a gadfly to my whole community and a troublesome spirit to my friends and family on Facebook; I’m sure, by now, I annoy more than I edify. Why push it?

So I did not respond on his page. But I obviously am under the impression my words matter. So . . . I publish my response here:

Chuck, nifty apologia, but . . . of course you had other choices! There were

  • other candidates on your ballot;
  • you could skip the presidential ticket; or
  • not vote at all.

And since your vote will not decide the election, you are under no desperate pragmatism to veto your values. And yet you chose to give it (and signal us as so doing) to a man who is the very form of crass cupidity and concupiscence covering a substance of ignorance and inanity.

Hey, it’s your vote. I’m not aghast or appalled or offended. And I certainly understand wanting to stand against the Witch Queen of Sinister. But it just seems strange to me that any rational citizen would play along to a rigged and farcical game on the terms set by statists only to signal his virtue by fecklessly pitching for vice.

I am serious about the value of one’s vote. There are only a few uses of a vote. From my perspective, my vote can find use in only a few categories:

  1. AS INSTRUMENTAL IN CHOOSING
  2. AS SIGNAL OF MY PREFERENCES
  3. AS SIGNAL OF MY ALLEGIANCES
  4. OTHER_______
  5. Since I’m familiar enough with economics and probability, I know that my vote cannot gain value by the use it plays in the first category. When I vote, my vote does not decide anything. So, despite what value a candidate or some political tribe may put on it, its marginal utility in terms of choice effectiveness is ZERO.

    But it can serve to signal my preferences (if I tell somebody) or, more broadly, my allegiances (once again, if I tell somebody), and, merely by being counted and thus noticed, it tallies up in some candidate’s or cause’s column. (And thus in some way is of practical value to him or her or them, etc.) So, the mere existence of my vote in some cause or other, counted as a cardinal number, can be the first use for my vote. And thereby gains its value, its marginal utility.

    Though this does not exhaust the theory of voting, it is enough to discredit the idea that one “wastes one’s vote” when one votes for a losing candidate. If you think your vote only gains value because it has a drop-in-the-bucket value to a winning candidate and his or her team, you have very strange values indeed. They are not about policy or philosophy or integrity or even tribe. Those values (in voting, mind you), are, if you fear “wasting it,” based entirely on the pathetic desire to appear “not a loser” by being tallied in the winners’ column.*

    No individualist would be such a group cultist.

    And there remains no desperate pragmatism to constrain your vote in any way.


    * That OTHER____ use to which my vote may be put includes a few subtle points that I hope to deal with before the fateful day in November in which we expend much time and energy voting and counting votes. And talking about the results. And even a few other subjects.

    twv

img_0743img_0745img_0749

The+Horse+in+Motion,+1878. Eadweard+Muybridge+(b.+9+April,+1830)The+first+movie+ever+made,+from+still+photographs.

I’ve Got the Cognitive Content Discontent — er, Blues

This year’s Democratic and Republican candidates for the presidency, duly selected in their respective party “conventions,” make quite a pair. Both are desperation moves, signs of the times. That is, they both indicate the intellectual senescence of the two major parties.

After two-hundred forty years of abusing the Constitution, the most corrupt candidate in recent memory (Hillary) vies with the most corrupting candidate (The Donald). America, land of the depraved and the home of the freaks.

Hillary is there because of . . . inertia. That is, because she wants to be there, because she’s a woman and a Democrat, and because the vaguely Left of Center in America sports neither wit nor conscience. Just a pathetic, untrustworthy bleeding heart — and a spleen of self-righteousness.

Donald is there because . . . none of the other candidates could be trusted to shake things up like the non-Left/anti-Establishment demands things to be shaken up. And because he pisses off and scares the Establishment.

And so the Democrats chose to empty their intellectual storehouse and shovel the last of their human capital into the rat-hole of the crony-capitalist corporate state while the Republicans (and interloping Reagan Dems and independents who stormed the open primaries) chose to throw a bomb into the open wound of America.

Pretty much the same holes, actually.

But we cannot quite blame the voters. Or party members.

Why? I mean, why not?

This is an easy one. They have been played for years by the “journalists” of the now-rapidly decaying mainstream media.

Hillary and Bill Clinton became nothing less than the darlings of said major media, and the Democracy — or its closest continuer from Jacksonian times — little more than the favored in-group of the major media (and academic) intelligentsia.

And because these things are so, journalists have been covering for this corrupt, deeply sick couple for years, preventing any sensible judgment on the part of rank-and-file Democrats. And the entertainment industry, especially in the illustrious personages of Comedy Network news satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, have poisoned public discourse by engaging in mostly vacuous (if occasionally trenchant) mockery. A very biased mockery. The American Left and Right now see each other as Evil and Stupid. And hardly anything more.

Meanwhile, the legitimate news media (so-called) pretends to be non-partisan. It’s a laugh. It’s a chuckle. It’s a snort of Coke through the nose. But these college-educated “journalists” aren’t idiots. They maintain plausible deniability by focusing relentlessly on the horse-race elements of elections.

This “horse race” fixation appears “fact-based” and not directly about issues (so offering up less occasion for revealing bias). It’s obviously “news,” if not often very important. And the relentless coverage has a barely hidden side-effect: it allows journalists to surreptitiously act as gate keepers of the election, by managing “winnability.” This has become the American version of the Mandate of Heaven, and the media is almost entirely responsible for this fixation, in the process even further narrowing the range of discourse in America.

The exact mechanism by which journalists act as gate keepers — precisely how endlessly asking candidates  “how can you win?” and “how much money have you raised?” emphasizes the gate keeper function — is a tad complex, and I won’t get into it here. But followers of the news biz understand the process without elaborate flow charts. In a rather underhanded manner, while pretending to be non-partisan and “unbiased,” journalists favor certain candidates (and parties) over others.

Yes, yes, I know — they basically fell for the manipulations of Trump. They didn’t protest much, other than verbally. They gave him the coverage he needed, and their expressed demurrals fed the Trump phenomenon anyway, playing into his hands. But the whole reality TV show of it also played into theirs, because they really did not want the Republicans to select a  candidate that Hillary Clinton might find difficult to beat in November 2016.

Trump, you see, was always “a story.” If something of a joke. The issues upon which the future of the republic rests? Those just get in the way of putting another corrupt Clinton into the White House.

Are journalists really this cynical?

Yes.

Well, almost. As in cult leaders and politicians and the very best salesmen, the real dishonesty starts with oneself.

But the putatively pure souls of folks in the major media are not something I care to deal with at length. These paragons are mostly lazy, mostly incurious people who merely desired an easy way to feel good about themselves using the realm of politics as the foundation  for their carefully nurtured self-righteousness.

Read about them in Mencken. They have only gotten worse since his time, after which the word biz was “professionalized” by collegiate credentialism.

So here we are

The hierarchies of the two major parties are utterly corrupt, having betrayed their constituencies repeatedly. And the American voters know it. Their standard-bearers this year are utterly corrupt. And the American voters know it. The major media is not only corrupt, but also on the way out, with newspapers dying fast and the “three blind mice” of ABC, CBS, and NBC becoming less and less relevant year by year.

And the voters are . . . ?

Well, if not wholly corrupt, at least desperate. Which may be why CNN is holding multiple Libertarian and Green Party “town halls” — an astounding break from past practice. The norm had been, after all, to marginalize and shut out those on the margin. Mock them, condescend, laugh at their “wacky” proposals, and move on.

Perhaps the folks at CNN have realized how fragile the post-World War II political equilibrium now is. Perhaps they understand, belatedly, that they are partly responsible for the current mess, and are looking for intellectual cover.

Or perhaps they are just flailing about for extra viewers. Even grifters and con artists have been known to try honesty and virtue on the ignominious way down. At least, you might say, as a play for pity.

Weld-Johnson

The moderates are coming!

The most droll irony of this election, however, has been brought to us by the Libertarian Party. The Libertarians sport the most radical platform in American politics, but of late have been nominating rather uncharacteristically non-radical candidates. Former Clinton scourge Rep. Bob Barr, for example. And former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

Johnson was bequeathed the baton in 2012, and received more votes from American voters than had any other Libertarian in U.S. history. (Though, admittedly, the vote count was still disappointingly low, even under the percentage of the total vote that Ed Clark won in 1980.) This year he was once again elected to bear the Libertarian banner. And, immediately after receiving the honor, he begged the LP conventioneers to pair him up with his hero in governorship, former Massachusetts head honcho William Weld. After much anguish and in-fighting, the Libertarian conventioneers went in all the way. The two now often appear in front of interviewers and crowds together, P and VP for the LP ticket.

Much can be said about this dynamic duo, pro and con. I like the both of them — not as libertarians so much, but as moderate politicians with some common sense. Paul Jacob, the “This is Common Sense” citizens’ activist, dubs Johnson a “moderate libertarian” and Weld a “libertarian-leaning centrist.”* And Beltway libertarian/classical liberal Walter Olson explores the centrist element of these candidates at greater length:

In Europe liberal parties, often seen as the nearest analogue of libertarian, are often perceived in just this way as occupying centrist/middle positions between labor or revolutionary parties on the left and blood-and-soil or religious parties on the right. European liberal tendencies vary but often they’re secular, business oriented, pro-trade, modern, internationalist but not militarist, and interested in meliorist reform rather than street politics or national crusades. Sound familiar?

So on general principle we shouldn’t assume that if you squeeze the libertarians out of the GOP coalition, they’ll pop out on the far right. (Or far left.) They might pop out in the center instead, as Bill Weld clearly has and Gary Johnson shows signs of doing as well.

I think it is more fundamental than even this. Libertarianism, like classical liberalism, has never been a creature of the Left or the Right, not really. It has always provided a moderating principle.

Indeed, better than socialists and conservatives, the individualist liberals have consistently offered a more moderating, balancing principle for civilization. I have long looked at libertarian principles as refinements of practical, mediating mores that have been discovered in the course of civilization’s cycles of evolution and decline.

Liberty is a perennial principle for a reason, and more in line with the Aristotelian mean than other principles.

The “deal” of a civilized morality, as understood by individualists, is to balance the vast social cosmos of competing interests upon the Schelling Point of the non-initiation of force — of liberty —  thus providing the mid-point equilibrium for humanity in constant potential conflict. We settle on liberty as the first principle of justice the better to avoid and resolve conflict. And, consequently, it provides that most amazing platform for mutual advance: voluntary coöperation. This is classical liberalism at core, libertarianism in its quiddity.

Libertarianism is not an extremism. It is a centrism.

Even the most radical-seeming notion of modern libertarianism, the so-called “anarcho-capitalism” of Murray Rothbard and David D. Friedman — which is, by the way, mostly just a repackaging of Gustave de Molinari’s 19th century proposal of “competitive government,” and of Benjamin R. Tucker’s “plumb-line” anarchism, individualist anarchism sans crank economics — was once, back in the 1970s, designated “middle of the road” by one of its more sophisticated enthusiasts. (Or at least so goes my memory of the book, which is subtitled “A Right Wing Alternative,” after all. So, caveats.)

Libertarians may seem radical, even to themselves. But, at heart, the libertarian idea is not to scare everybody off with a complete remaking of society, but to moderate the rough edges of political governance with that non-radical idea of non-aggression.

So, in selecting two moderates, more “libertarianish” than strictly libertarian, this year’s Libertarians have given America a way out of the current debacle.

Graph it and go

In previous installments (such as my May 3 post, “Realignments”) of the Matter of 2016, I have suggested that the Trump phenomenon must be seen, in part, as a takeover of the GOP by authoritarian-leaning independents.

On the famed “Nolan Chart,” I mapped the realignment as follows, reading left graph to right graph:

GOPcomplexion

To make this clearer, let me (hastily) redraw this, distinguishing the Trump center (brown-orange) from the Johnson-Weld center (green):

NolanChart-newCENTERS

No matter where Trump really belongs on this familiar ideological map, the new people he has pulled in to support him come not from “the right” as such, but from the statist, authoritarian part of the population. The new center navigated by Johnson-Weld borders the libertarian sector, but it does remain moderate, neither very far left nor right.

Just like libertarians. And totalitarians. Neither left nor right, but extremes on the moderate axis.†

What if the Electoral College flunks out?

While Libertarians have offered a slate that can appeal to moderates, and thus shake up the political landscape, the sheer inertia of the two-party system almost guarantees the success of Clinton, if not Trump. Of course, a startling-to-the-masses revelation about one or both of the candidates — like, say, Clinton being very ill and not in her right mind, as many now speculate, or Trump revealing that his whole candidacy was a lark, a whimsical stunt — could place a lot of votes in Johnson’s tip jar.

And were Gary Johnson included in the presidential debates, he might so far outshine his competition that he could snatch victory away from Hillary to . . . well, could he really win a popular vote? It seems unlikely.‡

More likely, if Johnson-Weld capture a state like Utah (which in Rep. Mia Love’s district has them at 26 percent), and the Johnson and Stein campaigns take enough votes from the Democratic candidate, now in the lead, the Electoral College could offer up to Congress no majority winner.

At that point, it goes to the House to vote for the President, and to the Senate to vote for the VP. The Twelfth Amendment instructs the House to immediately, after the official presentation before Congress of a stalemate (majority-free) Electoral College vote, select a President from the Top Three, which would, one would think, include the R, D, and L party candidates. (Jill Stein seems a non-starter, as she will not be on all ballots.)

In that scenario, the next president of the United States might be the one most qualified by experience, and least disqualified by flagrant abuse of power and privilege. Yes, there is a possibility that the Republican majority House will make Gary Johnson the next Commander in Chief. The House is not in any way bound to select the plurality winner in either the popular vote or the Electoral selection.

House members would not hesitate at all, I think, were William Weld  on the top of the LP ticket. But reason might prevail, even in the case when Gary “I used to smoke pot regularly” Johnson is in play . . . and a moderate, rather than a Clinton or Trump wild card, might be selected.

In modern life, the best option is often the long shot.

 

twv

NewCenturyDictionary


* Jacob also calls Hillary Clinton a spokesperson for “the neo-con left,” which is about a perfect characterization, I’d say.

† Alas, a better graphic demonstration of my moderating vision of liberty will have to wait for another day.

‡ Hillary having to step down before the election, leaving her weak flower running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, to take her place — that could throw everything into chaos. And Mrs. Clinton does have two looming issues: legal on many fronts, and medical. For all I know, she being the recipient of so much telepathic hatred, her head could explode on stage, Scanners style.

 

 

When the political violence started, last summer, the media tried hard hard hard to pin it on Donald Trump. He incited it, you see.

Further, Trump’s willingness to defend those who would punch the interlopers and bullies (called, euphemistically, “protestors”) who infiltrated Trump rallies was seen as an excuse for the “protests” and their latent violence, crazed outbursts, and constant obstructionism. Tackling a Trumpeter(In the photo at right, taken from DrHurd.com, of a self-described Black Muslim tackling a white Trump supporter, we see a fine — and, in this case, not gruesome — example of the violence.)

So . . . one thing happened and two things didn’t.

Trump and his followers backed away from some of their rhetoric and violent responses. Meanwhile the protestors manqué did not let up — their tactics did not really change.

The other thing that didn’t happen? Trumpsters, conservatives, and libertarians didn’t make a big show of protesting, much less derailing and obstructing, Bernie and Hillary rallies.

So what we have is an overwhelming amount of invasion and violence perpetrated generally by the “left” against what is seen as the “right.”

Dr. Hurd Dr. Michael Hurd asks the obvious question: “Why Violence Against Trump Supporters, But Not Sanders/Clinton Supporters?” The doctor concludes what many of us have been saying all along: it is no surprise. Leftism is the channeling of violence in the adoration of the State in its many massive (and allegedly messianic) social intrusions. It is entirely fitting for a subset of the left to turn violent. They are just doing what comes naturally, given their pro-force, pro-coercion, pro-violence beliefs.

Further, this has been the case for centuries. Socialism has long been associated with violence on its behalf. Hence the talk of “revolution,” few of which are bloodless.

To conclude, I give it over to the doctor: “The initiation of violence at the Donald Trump rallies foreshadows the force to come when socialism — an ideology of force — continues to gain ground in what was once the land of individual liberty, private property, freedom of association and freedom of speech.”

image

Two months ago I advanced the thesis that the Left (generally speaking) bred its own Nemesis, in the form of Donald Trump. Interestingly, Trump has succeeded largely for the same reason left-leaning Democrats have achieved so many of their successes, by leveraging the attention of the major media.

Of course, as is known, the political and cultural Left garners loving attention and intellectual cover from the media. Trump garnered media attention more in the way celebrity gossip and train wrecks garner attention: out of prurient interest. Trump egged on the media, and gained hatred of many, by taunting the establishment arbiters of taste. That is, more accurately, by fearlessly breaking the taboos the Left had set on political speech in America and around the world.

And many Americans ate it up. Trump’s core constituency, the “under-educated” (“I  love the under-educated,” Trump said, and I am sure he meant it) amongst the GOP voters and the growing  mass of independents, has been seriously mistreated by America’s liberal elites, who despise Flyover  Country.  And Trump gave mouth to the deepening rage against the intelligentsia  and government-employee classes, and profited thereby.

And he also instantiated the proof against this class’s favorite hobbyhorse, campaign finance reform. The Left generally likes regulating campaign finance because leftists pretend that, without Big Corporate Money, there would be a more level playing field, “for the little guy.” But that is hardly the whole story. Since the Left instinctively realizes that it has the advantage, ideologically, in the marketplace of ideas, with the schools and media outlets mostly square and set in the Left’s own camp, campaign finance reform is a way for the Left to secure a raw advantage.

Donald Trump showed that anyone willing to play the media’s weakness for spectacle can get around much of the financial regs. He leveraged  billions of dollars worth of attention, just by speaking out to Power. Campaign finance reform is a way for the Left to rig the system in their favor, and the Nemesis the Left bred found the Achilles Heal in this contest.

But there are other lessons to be learned. The Republican Establishment bred its Nemesis, too. As I have been writing these last few days, Trump’s appeal comes in part from his utter contempt for the “stupid people” who run the country . . . including those who run the party he contends within.

The long history of betrayal by the official GOP spokespeople of nearly everything the party stands for (except war) placed manure on the field that Trump now harvests.

By these betrayals, the Establishment Right weakened the direction and sense of purpose that the Reaganites have tried to muster, and which the Tea Party tried to re-focus more narrowly.

It is probably true that the GOP insiders never really believed in the Reaganite vision. “Limited government” has limited appeal to a major party, which lives and dies by granting special favors, by inculcating a general sense of grievance and hope for advantage. And because of this realpolitik, Republican politicians ground their gears for three decades, never really limiting government, always contributing to its growth, especially of its debt. They were all talk and no action.

The modern, Reaganite GOP has always been a lie.

And lies have consequences. People begin to figure things out. And many, many Republicans, along with a large swath of Democrats and independents, begin to look not for principled leadership, but, instead, charismatic leadership (note: it is still the case that Trump has won mostly in open primary states, and lost, generally, in closed ones, thus showing that his most important constituency is not Republican as such, but populist-independent). The Tyrant thus appears on the scene, offering vague promises of greatness, and a barely sub rosa agenda of destruction.

That destruction is not just set against the mainstream Left, but against the mainstream Right. The Republican Party itself.

The Right, too, bred its Nemesis.

As I have been explaining here, and on Facebook, I believe the Republican Party is, in effect, undergoing a hostile takeover. Sheldon Richman notes (on Twitter) that the mechanism of this takeover, the open primary, is just the kind of “rigged system” that The Donald likes to bitch about, but which he actually benefits from.

Here, a neoconservative and a neopopulist debate the whole thing, not quite recognizing the true nature of the shift in the GOP:

O’Reilly and Krauthammer call it a “split in the party.” But that merely explains why the GOP is weak, not why Trump is winning. They do recognize that Trump is really appealing to independent voters and Democrats. Hence the realignment.

It is especially droll that Republican witlessness and cowardice, combined with Democratic loyalty to a much-hated party hack and corrupt insider, may give us a Socialist in office, next year.

American Exceptionalism, 1776-2016.

It appears, from what I’ve been watching on video, that Trump has long confused public sovereign debt with trade deficits, and is a mercantilist at heart. Which makes him a protectionist, too. Hence his earnest pushing of anti-immigrant demagoguery.

The fact that the Republican votership goes for this nonsense is not surprising to me. FREE TRADE was always a Democratic Party principle, not a Republican Party one. The GOP started out as the Whig Party redivivus, and Republicans were protectionists for their first hundred years. But at least since William Jennings Bryan, a strong protectionist streak has run down the yellow backs of populists in both parties. Most people don’t see the peace dividends of free trade. They only think of managing “their” advantages, while avoiding all talk of secondary and tertiary effects.

Trump is dangerous because he is a protectionist (as is Bernie Sanders), but (unlike Sanders) sometimes pretends to be free trade. The fact that America engages in massive mutual trade agreements rather than the less expensive and corrupting policy of unilateral free trade, plays into both Trump’s and Sanders’s hands. And Hillary Clinton’s, too.