Days of Change

A Hard Pill to Swallow

September 15, 2016

The unfortunate reality in political campaigns is that the candidate who lies most effectively is the one who wins. The lies don’t have to be big. In fact, being vague or misdirecting people is a good way to not tell anyone anything while sounding like you did. George Bush Sr. promised no new taxes but got in trouble by redefining taxes. Bill Clinton promised to bridge the divide between the left and the right and was inadvertently forced into it when his first two years helped Democrats lose the CongressĀ for the next six.

Obama used the total gibberish of “hope and change” to argue that his mere presence would make America different. His presence as a self-identified Black president (he’s actually mixed-race, the real fastest growing racial group in the country) was not a role model for Black communities. Obama simply used his race as part of a progressive theory that the economic underclass should be coddled for opposing the police and government trying to keep order.

This is where Donald Trump comes in. He is essentially Pat Buchanan from 1992, except that no one wanted to listen to Pat in 1992. The idea to make America “great” again is not about some throwback to the 1950’s, (which is a trope the left has been using since the premiere of Happy Days in the 1970’s) but a rejection of Obama-ism and most of Clintonism. Mitt Romney was right about everything 4 years ago, but Buchanan was right about the last 24 years.

Donald Trump has entered the bargaining stage of the campaign where getting shushed at Black churches and creating a new entitlement (almost every Republican president in the modern era has created one) are the way to shore up the groups needed to win the election. The reluctant Trump voters (I wouldn’t go as far as supporters) are worrying that they have entered the acceptance stage of a Trump presidency on the way to the death of conservatism.

Back to reality for a second. Conservatism in both parties went dormant almost a century ago. Calvin Coolidge was the last of the Republicans and Grover Cleveland was the last of the Democrats to really shrink government influence and money. The next incarnation was with Barry Goldwater who lost his election, then chose not to warm up to Ronald Reagan. What Reagan did was to redirect government toward military expansion and cutting what was a 70% top tax rate to 28%. It’s still only up to around 40% now. He also attempted comprehensive immigration reform and it failed. Sometimes you have to try something different.

The Trump opposition among Republicans is less about economic conservatism and more about the moral majority, interventionist conservatism that Trump appeals to the least. That group is also tiny these days. You can tell because Gary Johnson would be at 30% if it was about limited government. Reagan gave away free landline service and increased the deficit. IS a child care tax credit really a deal breaker?


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