As the GOP Plays with Trumpism, Hillary and the Democrats Work to Shape the New American Economy

 

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs a U.S. flag as he takes the stage for a campaign town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire August 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Donald Trump’s policy views have a high degree of plasticity, even for a politician. But the retrograde version he currently espouses — mass deportation, protectionism, maybe even the gold standard — and the harsh way he espouses them have a foothold in the GOP. Columnist George Will may be correct that each “sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency.”

And what might that mean, beyond the obvious of probable GOP defeat in November 2016? In the Financial Times, Labour Party campaign guru and Blairite Peter Mandelson warns of the potential damage if his party makes hard left Jeremy Corbyn its new leader:

It would be a sad and possibly final chapter in the British Labour party’s history. If the leadership election that closes in two weeks’ time is won by Jeremy Corbyn, the current favourite, his policies — printing money, state ownership of major industries, unilateral disarmament and quitting Nato — will make the party unelectable. That would be a very bad outcome for anyone who cares about fairness in our society or Britain’s place in the world. … The Conservative party, which won a majority in May’s general election, is being given a free ride in coming to terms with this modern world. We have to reforge Labour’s tools for creating prosperity and sharing it more widely. The scale of the task is enormous. The price of failure would be immense.

Much the same goes for the possible Trumpification of the GOP, even if Trump himself is not the presidential nominee. Not only is it an electoral loser, but it gives the left-lurching Democrats the upper hand in shaping policy to meet modern economic challenges. As Marco Rubio said on CNBC last week:

Part of it is recognizing we’re not dealing with a cyclical economic downturn that we are trying to climb out of. This is a massive economic restructuring. This is a massive shift in the very nature of the economy. It’s akin to the Industrial revolution expect it’s happening faster than the Industrial Revolution. We need policies that allow us to be globally competitive. We need policies that allow us lead on innovation. That is why I’m for tax reform and regulatory reform. We need have to compete with dozens of other markets and economies. We also have to revolutionize what we mean by higher education. The 21st  Century new economy is going to produce better paying jobs than the 20th Century economy. But those new jobs will require additional skills that perhaps weren’t required in the past. We do not have a higher education system that delivers those skills or that is affordable for the people who need it the most.

But so far the GOP campaign overall doesn’t seem to be about any of that stuff. It doesn’t seem to be about applying empirically sound ideas and solutions, informed by conservative values, toward today’s problems. Instead, it has been dominated by Trump’s zero-sum vision of a besieged America hunkered down in crouch position hoping to hold its own against the technological tide. “We don’t win anymore!”

But listen to Hillary Clinton. Her campaign is shoveling out ideas on everything from worker benefits in the “gig” economy to corporate short-termism. Disagree with her solutions if you will, but Team Hillary is outlining a broad response to a changing economy. Right now, at least, Republicans are missing the opportunity to do the same. My favorite Tim Geithner quote is appropriate: “Plan beat no plan.” When Trump is out of the picture — if he is ever out of the picture — will the GOP be ready to offer a policy path that comes to terms with the modern world or will it offer little more than a base-pleasing, watered-down version of closed, backward-looking Trumpism with a sprinkling of fantasy tax plans?

There are 23 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    James Pethokoukis: …But so far the GOP campaign overall doesn’t seem to be about any of that stuff….

    They were trying, and then along came Trump.

    • #1
  2. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    James Pethokoukis: When Trump is out of the picture — if he is ever out of the picture — will the GOP be ready to offer a policy path that comes to terms with the modern world or will it offer little more than a base-pleasing, watered-down version of closed, backward-looking Trumpism with a sprinkling of fantasy tax plans?

    The latter.

    • #2
  3. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    James Pethokoukis:
    Donald Trump’s policy views have a high degree of plasticity, even for a politician. But the retrograde version he currently espouses… maybe even the gold standard …

    It would be a sad and possibly final chapter in the British Labour party’s history. If the leadership election that closes in two weeks’ time is won by Jeremy Corbyn, the current favourite, his policies — printing money…

    The lulz write themselves.

    Elsewhere on Ricochet, right now, there is a post asking someone to make our criticism of China “manipulating its currency” square with “quantitative easing,” “ZIRP,” etc. If you have the slightest shred of intellectual honesty, you must admit it cannot be done: there is no difference, economically speaking. It’s pure “OK because us; bad because them.” Fiat currency is as fiat currency does, which is “competitive devaluation” if you feel like being polite and “currency wars” if you don’t.

    So weeping, wailing, and gnashing your teeth about “protectionism” and other “retrograde” thinking by Trump is… for CoC’s sake, I’ll stick to “pretty rich.” You can’t wave the free market flag, then bitch about fiat currency manipulation.

    Well, I mean, you obviously can, as the Progressive-Lite Party has demonstrated lo these 100 years.

    • #3
  4. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Great Ghost of Gödel: You can’t wave the free market flag, then bitch about fiat currency manipulation.

    While I like the general thrust of this post, I’ll note that since fiat currency manipulation has nothing to do with a free market, you certainly can “wave the free market flag, then bitch about fiat currency manipulation.”

    They’re not related… In fact they’re inversely related.

    • #4
  5. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I had a thing against voting for legislators for the presidency but Marco Rubio is looking better and better each day.  I don’t know if Rubio has the solutions but he certainly articulates the issues very well.  Trump is an unmitigated disaster for the GOP.  This was an election that was ours to lose and we are on a path to losing it.

    • #5
  6. LilyBart Inactive
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    The politicians have failed the average American.  They’re been busy serving their own interests and the interests of their friends & donors.  And busy putting out lots of (my) money to the poor and ‘downtrodden’ (and the not so poor and downtrodden too).   But they’re utterly failing the average middle/working class American.  And they don’t seem to care.  They pretend not to notice because they don’t want to change- they like the status quo.

    But the Voters do not.  And THIS is why Trump has gained traction.

    If the establishment would correctly assess the problem, and adjust THEIR course – Trump would fade (IMO).   But they don’t want to adjust and change – they want the voters to continue to support their quest for power, while ignoring what their policies  and actions are doing to our lives and our kids’ futures.

    So, quit blaming the voters for being so dogged tired of being your chump that they’d look to just about anyone else for some relief.

    (FYI – I’m not a Trump booster, but I’m tired of the status quo and have given up on the republican party.  They are worthless to me these days)

    • #6
  7. LilyBart Inactive
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    Manny:I had a thing against voting for legislators for the presidency but Marco Rubio is looking better and better each day. I don’t know if Rubio has the solutions but he certainly articulates the issues very well. Trump is an unmitigated disaster for the GOP. This was an election that was ours to lose and we are on a path to losing it.

    Talking is not enough for me any more.  I’m tired of being fooled.  What has he done, in action, but show himself as the typical deal-making, careerist politician?

    • #7
  8. Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive
    Great Ghost of Gödel
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Tuck:

    While I like the general thrust of this post, I’ll note that since fiat currency manipulation has nothing to do with a free market, you certainly can “wave the free market flag, then bitch about fiat currency manipulation.”

    They’re not related… In fact they’re inversely related.

    Good point. I was imprecise.

    You can’t preach free markets and support your fiat currency manipulation while opposing the other guy’s fiat currency manipulation. I’ll argue that you can’t preach free markets and support fiat currency at all—no market has voluntarily adopted a fiat currency, ever. But let’s attempt to be generous and suppose fiat currencies do arise in markets and nations are examples of markets (stop laughing, at least for a minute). Would not the “free market” position then be that each market/nation can price its money commodity at whatever others are willing to pay for it?

    I don’t know what “X is bad for manipulating its currency” is when coming from “free marketeers” most: hypocritical or incoherent. I chose the nested quote above to highlight, in this case, the incoherence.

    • #8
  9. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Great Ghost of Gödel:

    …But let’s attempt to be generous and suppose fiat currencies do arise in markets and nations are examples of markets (stop laughing, at least for a minute).

    Fiat currencies are a fundamental violation of the principle of a free market: since fiat currencies are inherently valueless, the first thing a government looking to promote one must do is outlaw the alternative with inherent value.  See FDR, or Gresham’s Law.

    Would not the “free market” position then be that each market/nation can price its money commodity at whatever others are willing to pay for it?

    Yes, there would be competition between socialist States, just as there is competition between ant nests.  But the ants aren’t free.  It’s not free individuals participating in a market.

    I don’t know what “X is bad for manipulating its currency” is when coming from “free marketeers” most: hypocritical or incoherent. I chose the nested quote above to highlight, in this case, the incoherence.

    I think it’s both.  It’s also a bit delusional, as the fundamental risk for a fiat currency is manipulation.  That’s why you create one.

    • #9
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tuck:

    Great Ghost of Gödel:

    …But let’s attempt to be generous and suppose fiat currencies do arise in markets and nations are examples of markets (stop laughing, at least for a minute).

    Fiat currencies are a fundamental violation of the principle of a free market: since fiat currencies are inherently valueless, the first thing a government looking to promote one must do is outlaw the alternative with inherent value. See FDR, or Gresham’s Law.

    Would not the “free market” position then be that each market/nation can price its money commodity at whatever others are willing to pay for it?

    Yes, there would be competition between socialist States, just as there is competition between ant nests. But the ants aren’t free. It’s not free individuals participating in a market.

    I don’t know what “X is bad for manipulating its currency” is when coming from “free marketeers” most: hypocritical or incoherent. I chose the nested quote above to highlight, in this case, the incoherence.

    I think it’s both. It’s also a bit delusional, as the fundamental risk for a fiat currency is manipulation. That’s why you create one.

    Well played.

    • #10
  11. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    What’s the point about Hillary?  Is her campaign talking?  I just hear “server” and “foundation” and “coverup” when she talks.   Too late for her so at this point what difference does it make about her policies?

    • #11
  12. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Trump this weekend said he would raise taxes on the rich (he mentioned hedge fund managers). Before last week, raising taxes on the rich was a litmus test Republicans would use to determine that a candidate was far too liberal. It’s as if the conservative base isn’t listening to Trump’s terrible ideas – instead being absorbed in his ability to insult people with impunity which is more fun.

    • #12
  13. Jojo Inactive
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    will the GOP be ready to offer a policy path that comes to terms with the modern world or will it offer little more than a base-pleasing, watered-down version of closed, backward-looking Trumpism with a sprinkling of fantasy tax plans?

    Wouldn’t it be a good thing for a party to have a plan that pleases “the base” ?

    Seems like you think the Republican Party would be fabulously successful if only it didn’t have a core of reliable voters.

    You do correctly describe the lack of leadership in the Republican Party but getting rid of Donald Trump is at best a very minor part of the solution.   He is not stopping the GOP from doing anything, is he?

    Well perhaps he is stopping them from ignoring the immigration issue.  That sure makes some folks mad.

    • #13
  14. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tommy De Seno:Trump this weekend said he would raise taxes on the rich (he mentioned hedge fund managers). Before last week, raising taxes on the rich was a litmus test Republicans would use to determine that a candidate was far too liberal. It’s as if the conservative base isn’t listening to Trump’s terrible ideas – instead being absorbed in his ability to insult people with impunity which is more fun.

    I am not on the bandwagon, but I do enjoy what Trump’s support says about priorities, mood, etc., specifically:

    If we don’t have a sovereign nation and deal with illegal immigration as priority #1, taxes, spending, currency manipulation, etc. doesn’t matter much.

    • #14
  15. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Well, Warren Buffet and his radical-left-wing  billionaire buddies have been clamoring about not paying enough taxes. I say we help them out .. give them all higher taxes and give it to them good and hard. Especially Uncle Warren’s second in command .. uber-elitist crony capitalist Charlie Munger.

    • #15
  16. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    jetstream:Well, Warren Buffet and his billionaire buddies have been clamoring about not paying enough taxes.

    Nothing stops him from cutting a check.  He’s really clamoring about other people not paying enough.  People should just tell Mr. Buffet to write a check and to stop badgering people.

    • #16
  17. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    jetstream:Well, Warren Buffet and his billionaire buddies have been clamoring about not paying enough taxes.

    Nothing stops him from cutting a check. He’s really clamoring about other people not paying enough. People should just tell Mr. Buffet to write a check and to stop badgering people.

    An odd statistic about billionaires, most of them are lefties.

    • #17
  18. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    jetstream:

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    jetstream:Well, Warren Buffet and his billionaire buddies have been clamoring about not paying enough taxes.

    Nothing stops him from cutting a check. He’s really clamoring about other people not paying enough. People should just tell Mr. Buffet to write a check and to stop badgering people.

    An odd statistic about billionaires, most of them are lefties.

    Are they really lefties or do they just play one on TV?

    • #18
  19. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    jetstream: An odd statistic about billionaires, most of them are lefties.

    I wonder if at some point, you make some much money that you don’t appreciate how hard it is for others to make it.

    • #19
  20. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    LilyBart:…

    (FYI – I’m not a Trump booster, but I’m tired of the status quo and have given up on the republican party. They are worthless to me these days)

    Plus One

    • #20
  21. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    BrentB67:

    jetstream:

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    jetstream:Well, Warren Buffet and his billionaire buddies have been clamoring about not paying enough taxes.

    Nothing stops him from cutting a check. He’s really clamoring about other people not paying enough. People should just tell Mr. Buffet to write a check and to stop badgering people.

    An odd statistic about billionaires, most of them are lefties.

    Are they really lefties or do they just play one on TV?

    There is some schizophrenia about their political positions. They often profess to be faithful followers of brother Karl Marx about the latest progressive buzz .. but, if the topic turns to the redistribution of their personal assets, they develop instant amnesia, Karl who?, that’s when they think you must be talking about Groucho Marx.

    • #21
  22. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Tommy De Seno:Trump this weekend said he would raise taxes on the rich (he mentioned hedge fund managers). Before last week, raising taxes on the rich was a litmus test Republicans would use to determine that a candidate was far too liberal. It’s as if the conservative base isn’t listening to Trump’s terrible ideas – instead being absorbed in his ability to insult people with impunity which is more fun.

    I must disagree. I prefer a flat tax, but to be honest I’m thoroughly tired of the complaints by the rich that they have to pay taxes.

    Get over it. Plus, I figure any statement by Trump is the initial bargaining position of a potential Trump presidency.

    I’m fine with that.

    • #22
  23. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Great Ghost of Gödel: Elsewhere on Ricochet, right now, there is a post asking someone to make our criticism of China “manipulating its currency” square with “quantitative easing,” “ZIRP,” etc. If you have the slightest shred of intellectual honesty, you must admit it cannot be done: there is no difference, economically speaking. It’s pure “OK because us; bad because them.” Fiat currency is as fiat currency does, which is “competitive devaluation” if you feel like being polite and “currency wars” if you don’t.

    GGG, reading through this thread I saw this reference to what sounds very close to my comment:

    Where is the line between ‘fraud’ and manipulation? Many believe QE and ZIRP has marginally worked in barely keeping the economy from technical recession while delayed repercussions are simply managed and alleviated, not resolved.

    If this is the comment to which you refer, how would you see this as anything but a free market perspective?

    • #23

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.