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Data point one: An exchange yesterday with my auto mechanic, a lifelong Democrat — such a convinced Democrat, indeed, that he voted against Reagan both times. What did he have to say? “On immigration, I’m with Trump.”
Data point two: Lunch later in the day with a table of with-it Silicon Valley investors. (I get invited to these things from time to time as a charity case.) When I asked if anyone thought he could support Trump, they all laughed and hooted and picked up bread rolls as if to pelt me.
Then I asked a different question. “Imagine Donald Trump were elected–force yourself. Do you believe the country would be better off in four years.” There followed a moment of silence. And then? Every man at the table answered “yes.”
Just-published minutes from the Fed’s July 28-29 meeting indicate that most officials saw conditions for a rate liftoff as “not yet” achieved. They may be approaching a rate-hike moment, but they’re not there yet.
Good call. That’s right: Good call.
As I noted in my most-recent column, important forward-looking, inflation-sensitive market indicators are actually heading down, not up. These include soft commodities, sinking oil, weak gold, a strong dollar, declining Treasury break-even inflation spreads, and a flattening yield curve. Add to that slow nominal GDP, a sluggish money supply, and falling velocity.
With the notable exception of Carly Fiorina, all of the non-Trump candidates have been — how to put this politely? — soporific this past month. Doubtless, many of them have been simply waiting for the Trump thing to burn itself out, and have busied themselves with fundraising, flesh-pressing, policy paper issuing, and hoping that something about an email server will wake Americans up from a quarter century of toleration for the the Clintons’ lawlessness. But — however smart that strategy might have seemed a few weeks ago — it isn’t working. Trump is bigger than ever, and no one is paying attention to any of you, largely because you’ve done so little that’s attention-worthy.
As a conservative, I like my politics boring: The less that’s going on in publicly-owned mansions and domed capitols, the more space there is for important things to happen in business, religion, science, and civil society in general. I don’t — or at least shouldn’t — want politics to be any more entertaining than necessary, but this has been too little of a bad thing. We’ve an important election coming up, with a surplus of important issues and interesting candidates with some very different takes on them. And what are they doing? Trying to lay low and wait for things to blow over. On this point if no other, the Trumpsters have my full sympathy.
So here’s my general suggestion: The Republican candidates — all of them, including Trump — need to find some way to constructively tap into the frustration so many people are feeling and turn it into something constructive. Get some attention. Have some fun. Mix it up. Go rogue. Give people reason to think there’s cause for excitement on our side.
Kurt Wisdom, Host: All right, it’s time to bring in our panel! Joining me at the desk tonight are J. Gareth Van Dusen, former assistant deputy speechwriter for Adlai Stevenson; Candyce R. Horowitz-Jones, director of The People’s Council for Neo-Leninism, a non-partisan think tank based here in Alexandria; Dan, the guy who feeds Maureen Dowd’s parrot when she’s out of town; and the stuffed remains of Amy Carter’s cat, Misty.
Let’s start with you, Professor Van Dusen. How do you explain Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls?
Professor Van Dusen: Donald Trump reminds me a lot of Dwight Eisenhower. Trump supporters are just down-home folk looking for a candidate willing to tell the unvarnished truth without all the political–
In the newest installment of The Classicist podcast from the Hoover Institution, VDH uses Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy as a lens through which to view this moment in American politics. Are popular passions out of control? Has there been a fundamental break with the governing class? Are Americans beginning to reject the elite consensus on issues likes immigration and foreign policy? Listen in to hear his diagnosis.
Want to take The Classicist on the go? You can subscribe to the show via iTunes. Want it right now? Listen in with the embed after the jump.
What does our own Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies make of the plan that The Donald released over the weekend?
Basically, Mark likes it:
The first notable thing about Trump’s immigration plan are the three principles it lays out. Immigration policy must be based exclusively on the interest of We the People of the United States, not wealthy donors, not corporations, not union bosses, not big-city politicians, and not foreign citizens. Why every candidate of every party hasn’t already said this is a mystery. Many of the specifics are also sound: E-Verify, visa-tracking, cutting off aid to sanctuary cities, making overstay of a visa a criminal offense, tightening up on H-1B visas, etc. His support for moderating our current very high levels of legal immigration is welcome, though I look forward to more specifics — which visa categories should be reduced or eliminated? Also, I think the antagonism toward Mexico in the first section is not helpful — Mexico is indeed obstructionist in many areas, though it is helpful in others (for instance, by interdicting many of the Central American illegals headed north). Our approach to our neighbor to the south must be firm, but not ham-handed. But overall, none of the other Republican (or Democratic) candidates (with the exception of Rick Santorum) has as sound and as well thought-through an immigration plan.
Donald Trump has made public his policy proposals for immigration reform. I checked the websites of the other candidates, and his is the most detailed proposal on immigration so far. There are some items, such as e-verify, which I think most candidates would be in favor of. For the purpose of this post, I focused on those items that I found […]
Dear Grand Old Party — particularly all candidates, consultants, and media:
I know how you want to respond to this. Don’t do it. You’re outraged — it’s crazy, unworkable, and a political disaster. I agree. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with you on everything, but you’re right about that.
But here’s what you should have learned by now: When you furiously attack Trump, even on policy, you make his fans ever more defensive and ever more loyal. Moreover, to debate policy with Trump is to wrestle Proteus. Lay hand on him and he changes shape. Two blinks ago he supported complete amnesty. On air today he said he’d round up and deport everyone, including children born here. (He can’t, by the way.) But he also says he’ll let most of them right back in. The actual written plan says only that he’ll deport all aliens with criminal convictions. What’s real? Don’t bother trying to figure it out; it’ll be different tomorrow.
Now’s a perfect time to return to Donald Trump’s kick-off speech, wherein lies an extended passage that puts the lie to the notions that Trump is incoherent and short on specific policy proposals. This digression — presumably delivered with benefit of neither notes nor teleprompter — is a hypothetical scenario describing how President Trump would handle Ford’s announcement that it plans to build a new car factory in Mexico.
Savor the gorgeous prose that wafts from the Trumpian tongue. Marvel at his recognition that a U.S. president has dictatorial powers. Admire his willingness to be vindictive when defied. Drink in the policy mastery and wisdom demonstrated by the leading GOP candidate.
Now Ford announces a few weeks ago that Ford is going to build a $2.5 billion car and truck and parts manufacturing plant in Mexico. $2.5 billion. It’s going to be one of the largest in the world. Ford – good company.
It is with some mixed feelings that I’ll explain the mystery of Donald Trump and how Republicans can beat him. He did us a favor: he reminded the GOP that we’re unpopular. In foreign affairs, even as about 7 in 10 Americans distrust Obama’s handling of Iran , they’d still rather see Obama in charge […]
Let us give a moment of thanks to Donald Trump. Amid the swirl of political spin he has given the American people a frank and brilliant lecture on the nature of modern capitalism. The thesis of Mr Trump’s discussion, whether he understands it or not, is that capitalism is dead in America.
The spectacle of the primetime debate was impressive. Here is a billionaire, standing as a semi-serious candidate for the presidency, who openly brags about his use of political influence in acquiring his fortune. Witness this exchange early on between Rand Paul and Donald Trump:
PAUL: Hey, look, look! He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent…
For years, conservative frustration slowly built against the go-along-get-along crowd in Washington that values seniority, committee appointments, and admittance to those legendary cocktail parties over implementing a real conservative agenda. Conservatives grew tired of the excuses, tired of the rough-riding, and tired of being told to be patient and wait until circumstances improve. Then along came a candidate who not only understood their frustration, but who championed it as his raison d’être. Suddenly — and to the shock and horror of Republican Party dons from K Street to Wall Street — his take-no-prisoners, never-mind-maneuvers, telling-it-like-it-is message shot him to the top of the polls among 2016 contenders.
Why isn’t that man Senator Ted Cruz?
To be sure, Cruz has his flaws. He’s been in the Senate — where his record and decisions are controversial — for just a few years, has never held executive office, and often speaks with an odd, smug assurance that every word he utters “deserves to be an applause line.” Like Rick Perry, Cruz also faces a general electorate that is unlikely to be hankering for another conservative Texan as its chief executive.
Donald Trump must be relieved that Wyatt Scott is Canadian. I know I am: Preview Open
And this cycle keeps getting weirder. From Phillip Rucker at the Washington Post:
Presidential candidates usually don’t run on promises to vacate the White House once they get in office, but that’s what Lawrence Lessig said he might do as he begins exploring a protest bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
Lessig, a Harvard law professor and government reform activist, announced Tuesday morning that he was launching a presidential exploratory committee to run as what he called a “referendum president” with the chief purpose of enacting sweeping changes to the nation’s political system and ethics laws.
In the 1980 Presidential Election, Republican candidate Ronald Reagan faced a third party challenger, in the form of disaffected Republican Rep. John Anderson. He was a ‘moderate’ who wanted to raise gas taxes, register guns, and was skeptical about the effect of energy deregulation on solving the energy crisis. He initially ran for the GOP nomination but went third party when he didn’t get anywhere in the Republican primaries. I am old enough to remember how the Main Stream Media swooned over him, how they said he was the harbinger of a new era in politics. On Election Day, Ronald Reagan buried him. While he got 6.6% of the popular vote, he didn’t win a single state. Even with a splinter candidate on the ballot, Ronald Reagan still managed to win over 50% of the popular vote.
Considering that Republican Party of today has another loose cannon – this time in the form of Donald Trump — I was wondering if there are lessons in Reagan’s handling of Anderson that would be applicable to the current situation. I think there are. The most important is that you actually have to campaign for something. Ronald Reagan clearly did. Everybody knew where he stood. Anderson? Well, he’s in the middle, at least that’s what Walter Cronkite told me. John Anderson is a moderate like me. What’s he stand for? I dunno, moderation I guess? You see Anderson’s problem.
Trump is obviously different in this regard. Everybody knows Trump is against Mexican immigration, and that this has fueled his rise. It is fueling him because conservatives feel stabbed in the back by the GOP establishment over it. To beat Trump, you must champion immigration with the same zeal that he does. Hug Trump on immigration, not allowing an inch of daylight between your position and his. This will have the effect of neutralizing immigration in the primaries. Of course, to do this effectively, you have to act as if you really believe what you say and — to do that — you really have to believe it, advice that can’t really be followed either by Sen. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. With immigration effectively dealt with, you are free to go after Trump for his liberal and anti-conservative past, and the electorate will now listen to you.
The MSM does not understand Donald Trump. After the fracas in and after the debate, Trump emerges like a great battleship in a high sea, water streaming off all the decks, and plunging forward. We conservatives know why, but nobody else seems to. Well, nobody who is quoted in the press seems to. This is […]
After Thursday’s debate and aftermath, with the Donald loving on Scottish healthcare and ripping on that darned cute Megyn Kelly, it’s hard to imagine what the man could say that would make a dent in his approval ratings. But there must be something. Would any of these ten things Donald Trump might say or do […]
A political column appeared in, I believe, the Washington Post way back in the 1980s that a graduate school buddy at the time brought to my attention. I can’t swear to the details and would love to hear if someone knows where to find it, but it went something like this:
The columnist had a friend who was studying marine biology — specifically researching the schooling instinct of minnows. A minnow, it seems, swims with the school because if it strays too far from the group in pursuit, say, of a piece of food, an alarm goes off in the minnow’s brain forcing it back to the safety of the school.
The biologist had succeeded in identifying the portion of the brain in the minnow that was responsible for this warning signal and, with a tour de force of delicate brain surgery, managed to remove that portion of the brain from a single minnow (without killing it) and ultimately place it back in the school. The result was that the “brainless” minnow immediately became the emperor of the school. Wherever it wanted to go, everyone else was bound to follow.