‘No Trump’ Bid, Democrat Grand Slam - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
‘No Trump’ Bid, Democrat Grand Slam

Five years ago I published “Donald Trump’s Miracle Presidential Win” in TAS, presenting it as a long-shot scenario, rather than prediction. It included these paragraphs:

Pundits chuckled when Donald Trump claimed presidential ambitions, calling him unserious. But events in 2011 dramatically reframed the picture, vaulting Trump from unlikely nominee to contender. If a dour Ross Perot won 19 percent in 1992, the supremely self-assured Trump might double it in far worse times.…

In running as an Independent, Trump jettisoned much of the baggage he accumulated in having publicly switched positions on major issues several times. He ran as a pragmatist who, unencumbered by ideology of any stripe, could manage the government, bring true fiscal discipline and regain respect abroad.

On policy Trump turned out to be far more scattershot than I thought possible, coupled with gratuitous displays of vituperative vulgarity that I never imagined a major presidential candidate would engage in, let alone get away with. Many in the GOP are understandably appalled by what conservative legend William F. Buckley might have called Trump’s ideological tergiversations and serial breaches of elementary public decorum.

Also infuriating is how Trump used the Republican Party as a vehicle to gain more voter exposure than an independent candidacy likely would have — especially in his dominance of the GOP debates. His threats to blow up the party if he does not get the nomination with the largest plurality evince no loyalty to the party whose brand name he used to his personal advantage. He accepts party rules so long as he benefits — winning 45 percent of pre-April 19 delegates, 22 percent more than his 37 percent share of the primary popular vote.

The deep disenchantment felt by no-Trumpers has led some prominent pundits to declare that if Trump wins the GOP nomination they will either sit out the election; or worse, back a (hopeless) third-party bid; or even worse, vote for — shades of Joseph Conrad’s Col. Kurtz (“The horror! The horror!”) — America’s Stalin Lite, i.e., Hillary Rodham Clinton. For such folks the old adage applies: you cannot reason people out of positions they were not reasoned into.

Underlying this view is a gigantically flawed political proposition: falsely equating 2016 with 1964. Per Dorothy telling Toto post-tornado that they were no longer in Kansas, we are not in 1964. A GOP loss in 2016 would very likely cede power to the Democrats for at least eight more years — making the Obama/Hillary years as long as the interregnum between Barry Goldwater’s landslide defeat in 1964 and Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980.

Begin with the proverbial elephant in the room: today’s Democratic Party is not anything like that of 1964. What was once the mainstream vehicle for mid-20th century liberalism — the party of LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, and Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, hawkish on defense but economically and culturally left of center — lies on history’s ash-heap. In its place stands a party utterly and irrevocably transformed: Euro-socialist in its quasi-official ideology (Bernie Sanders), Euro-corporatist in its transactions with the private sector (Hillary Clinton), Euro-communist in its internal party discipline (Debbie Wasserman Schultz), and Euro-multicultural in its anti-Western worldview and in its obsession with categories of race, gender, and family structure (Barack Obama).

Second, moderation usually prevailed. Half the sixteen conservative wilderness years were then passed under moderate Republican presidents. In all, during the presidencies of LBJ, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, America’s public finances improved. Jimmy Carter made zero-based budgeting a main theme in his 1976 campaign, but a left-wing Congress rejected this. Consider the ratio of public debt to Gross Domestic Product since 1945 (the end of World War II). In round figures, it started at a postwar peak of 120 percent in 1946, fell to 30 percent in 1974, and again crossed 100 percent in 2013, where now it rests. In 1964, the first full year of LBJ’s presidency, it stood at 46 percent. (When Ronald Reagan took office it stood at 32 percent, and reached 50 percent when he left office.)

Third, compare 1960 to the present, as to the total pages in the Code of Federal Regulations, whose volume and page count indicates growth of federal executive branch regulatory reach and hence power. In 1960 the CFR totaled 68 volumes and nearly 23,000 pages. By 1975 it reached 133 volumes (roughly double 1960’s) and 71,000 pages (more than triple 1960’s); at the end of George W. Bush’s administration, in 2008, the page count reached 158,000 (more than twice 1975 and nearly seven times 1960’s). After the first five Obama years (end-2013) the page count topped 175,000, growing at a 40 percent faster rate than under Bush. Expect far faster regulatory growth as President Obama seeks to cement his legacy, using executive orders and regulatory expansion to bypass a GOP Congress. The CFR will be over eight times larger come 2017 than it was in 1960.

Fourth, imagine what Hillary — who openly proclaims she seeks a third Obama term — will do, by executive fiat if confronted with a GOP legislature, or in tandem with a Democratic Congress. Does anyone believe that the public debt and growth of federal regulations will slow? True, Trump might well prove to be an agent of these trends, but why does anyone believe he will push as hard as will Hillary?

And who will fill the seat formerly held by nonpareil conservative jurist Justice Antonin Scalia’s? There will zero surprises if Hillary gets to choose. The next president could possibly pick four justices. This makes it imperative to defeat Hillary. Do not expect Hillary to emulate JFK and pick the likes of Byron White, a centrist judge who wrote the dissent calling Roe v. Wade an “exercise of raw judicial power.… an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review.” A Hillary presidency for even one term, let alone, two, will tilt the Supreme Court leftward for at least a generation. Put simply, it will not matter who controls Congress if a left-wing Supreme Court strikes down conservative legislation. Electing Hillary flips the Court.

And what of Hillary the Hawk? Don’t believe a word of it. A Hillary presidency will be about progressive transformation. Ask residents of Russia, Ukraine, the Baltics, Israel how much of a hawk Hillary is. Will she prove a pragmatic compromiser? The Hillary that will emerge in the Oval Office will be the Hillary whose vaulting ambition since college days propelled her single-minded pursuit of political and economic power. Her leftist ideological conviction is far stronger than Trump’s non-ideological core. True, as noted above, Hillary is Euro-corporatist in her dealings with large companies; but like Obama she will harness them in pursuit of her progressive goals, by economic blandishments and, if that fails, by raw regulatory intimidation — as Obama did in pushing Obamacare, when he co-opted key industry players — major lobbying groups and the insurance companies.

Trump may try to rule tyrannically, and his skill at inciting mass adulation should not be underestimated. It is a skill that Hillary, thankfully, lacks. But her focused ambition, totalitarian tendencies, and sure-to-be favorable coverage of the first woman president (so long as she is a Democrat) from progressive media, will compensate for her charisma deficit much of the time.

In Ian Fleming’s Moonraker, an early Bond book (1954), Bond meets the villain, Hugo Drax, at the (fictive) posh London club, Blades. He fixes the cards with the Culbertson hand, named after bridge legend Ely Culbertson. Drax thinks he has a lay-down grand slam, but a freak distribution of the cards means that the bidder loses every trick.

Hugo Drax, meet the stop-Trump crowd. Hillary, a modern Rosa Klebb (2:55) — except as to how the fictional Klebb dealt with classified information (watch the clip) — will stop at nothing to win. Though like Hugo Drax she can only win her candidate card game by playing (electoral) footsie, the GOP will be grand-slammed at the polls if it misplays its electoral hand.

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