The following is a guest post from Mike Banzet, a retired major in the U.S. Air Force, and author of A Flower Shop in Baghdad:
Donald Trump has been much in the news lately. Republicans seem to really hate him, Democrats really, really hate him, the media hates him, and apparently, everyone in the rest of the world hates him. He uses course language: “stupid” is the favorite descriptor for a wide range of dysfunctions, and his policy solutions are usually a three step process.
1. I’m Awesome.
2. I’ll find Awesome people.
3. There will be an Awesome result.
And yet Trump is well ahead of the field, blowing through super Tuesday like a hairy tumbleweed. Of the other top Republican contenders one is an accomplished lawyer who has won the right kinds of cases, including at the Supreme court; articulate, smart, patriotic, but unfortunately, looks a bit like “Count Chocula”, and people seem to think that’s “creepy”. The other believes that the reason this country exits is to provide a place for refugees to come to and thinks he is running for President of Cuba.
Then there is John Kaisich, who apparently is there to get snacks for the candidates. In a just world, Ted Cruz would be measuring the drapes in the White House. But he’s not.
Donald Trump is no great conservative champion: he has proven through the years to take whatever positions are most advantageous to him at the time. To be fair, that was his only responsibility; growing his business, making more money and employing thousands of people while getting fabulously wealthy himself. In order to do that he has paid for many politicians, including the Clintons. He overpaid.
But so what? What have the great conservative champions done for the party of the right? The recently passed omnibus bill has pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of the exclusive Washington club.
Where the little folks who elected this bunch of integrity traders are a distant, if considered, thought.
The omnibus was a complete invalidation of the reasons that conservatives were elected in the first place. So all of grade A, super conservative, by-the-book, National-Review-Approved-Conservatives accomplished no more than if all conservatives had voted for liberals.
I don’t even need to know a thing that was in the bill. If the opposition gushes that it was a complete victory and they got more than they expected, that’s good enough for me to condemn Republicans.
Whether by cowardice, incompetence or corruption, the Republican party is ineffective. In spite the inherent disadvantages of being the party of grownups, America sent alleged conservatives to state and federal positions in historic numbers in recent elections. And have produced nothing of note, except smug Democrats. If the other team is doing celebrations, you are in the wrong end-zone.
And what does that have to do with Trump? Everything. As mentioned above, he doesn’t have much on the way of provable bona-fides for the conservative club. He seems like a blue collar guy who just happens to have tons of money, fame and lots of hair products. He doesn’t have a lot of specifics on his positions, and isn’t super articulate in the ones he does have. Ironically, he’s really not a good candidate for either the Republicans OR the Democrats. So what is he?
Donald Trump is a step in the continuum that, if not interrupted, ultimately results in the exercise of the Second Amendment. When the First Amendment loses its voice, the Second clears it’s throat. For so many in this country, the government has become unresponsive to them; growing ever more oppressive and aloof. The voting booth is where those issues are supposed to be rectified, but what happens when, through the proper exercise of voting; the government still tacks ever more leftward? The people haven’t; the government has. A large swath of the electorate feels alienated and oppressed by elected officials who refuse to live under the laws they pass.
The Founders had a remedy for that. After penning the rulebook for how the U.S Government is supposed to work, they realized that they should probably write down the rights of the people, just in case anyone got confused about who was supposed to serve who. And to serve as a restraint on an overreaching government, they put a couple of steps in the part of the rulebook that talks about people’s, individual (not collective, or as agents of a state) rights.
The first safeguard was speech. Through speech, and lots of it, there would be redress for an ever expanding government and any muffling of speech that was noxious to the ruling class. Like, “Don’t Tread on Me”. Now, the muffling is accomplished through safe spaces, trigger warnings, and the ever tiresome “-phobic, or -ist” slurs. And the shrinking violets we’ve elected allow themselves to be bullied into compliance with outrageous initiatives. Common sense, fiscal restraint and the will of the people evaporate as representatives that were elected based on one set of values suddenly see that looking the other way on illegal immigration or continuing racial and sexual discrimination results in them being able to command a slightly higher price for their integrity as they sell it off, slice by slice.
And then comes Trump.
Whatever the man’s failings, giving a hoot about what people think is not one of them. His narcissism is second only to the current White House Occupant. But it also makes him resistant to being swayed by negative comments, and the constant bullying of the left. If anything, he seems to thrive on negative energy. Not by rethinking positions, but by taking his ball and going home or doubling down. Don’t think he can build a wall? Well, he will, AND he will make Mexico pay for it. Mexico says no? It just got ten feet taller. An incredibly vain person has their strengths, and if their issue lines up with yours, you have a huge ally.
So, I don’t care about Trump’s conservative pedigree. We elected a whole raft of conservatives to the Senate and the House who’ve been waiting for something, I guess. If he just controls immigration, strengthens the military, and puts some discipline into government spending, that would be a HUGE win. The shrieking, mewling, crass bleats of the left will mean nothing to him, and may embolden him to greater issues. He can be a loud, obnoxious spine for the conservative cause.
The fact that he’s a candidate at all is an indicator of the times, the growing restlessness of a population that is frustrated that no one is listening. And every time someone criticizes Trump for the things he says, they are merely reinforcing the fact that the normal methods are becoming less and less effective.
In other words, Mitt should shut his pie hole. It’s ludicrous to have to defend thinking that illegal immigration is bad. That the Iraq War was a huge victory until the Democrats forfeited the sacrifices of their betters in order to skulk away from our young allies. That a country should be able to pay its bills.
Even if that means that trans-gendered tree frog mating habits in Zimbabwe must go un-studied.
The only thing that will hurt Donald Trump is if he starts backtracking on his signature issues. If he starts smelling like another politician, then he’s toast, and people will start applying the same rules to him as they do to others. Right now, he gets a pass. A scent of betrayal and he won’t.
He’s not the best candidate, but he’ll do. At least he’ll be crazy on our behalf.