It will not be possible in November for Americans to elect a “good” President of high character. Both candidates are unlikeable and tainted with very shady, if not illegal behaviour; and both are cut-throat and tough as nails. If I had to shake hands with either one I would count my fingers afterward.
But America is not faced with a choice between two different personalities. It is faced with a choice between two radically opposed worldviews, and the incompatible policies necessary for their realization. For almost a century, with only feeble reversals along the way, America has been mutating into a big government, high-tax, high-debt regime that has turned what was once the freest, lowest-taxed, least-regulated nation in the world into a top-heavy, socialist-style democracy in all but name. And that has meant that America is now living in open contradiction with its own founding principles, because socialism can only work with lots of top-down control, and democracy with lots of bottom up liberty. President Reagan was the last national symbol of the battered bottom-up trend, just as President Obama is the symbol the top-down trend – of the all-providing Nanny-state. Clinton and Trump are the living expressions of these two starkly-opposed historical forces in the sense that if there had never been Obama – Hillary is just his administrative reflection, ideologically committed to consolidating his dream – we would never have gotten Trump.
From this perspective, Donald Trump is clearly a revolutionary. He is the first man in history to run for President under the name of a major political party whose top brass and house-intellectuals he has almost completely alienated. This alone is simply incredible. Against all odds, using his own money, and floating high on a tide of astonished media mavens, the man has done an end-run around every political-scientist, pundit, and pollster – even around his own party – and is sprinting alone for the Oval Office.
Whether he gets there or not, one thing is for sure: what we are witnessing is a wholly unique and highly-creative one-man assault by a successful, crafty, arrogant, and wealthy SOB, who remains beyond the power or punishment of America’s disapproving political elites. There is a lot to dislike in such an apparently distasteful man. But that he is a force of nature cannot be doubted. That is what is upsetting his enemies and delighting his fans. Like him or not, he is first a super success, then a super failure; a man who falls then rises by his own bootstraps, flipping everyone the finger on the way; then he’s a big-shot, big-mouth TV star with a make-believe hair-style; then he decides he wants to run for President without any party support, using only his own money. My son says okay, but he’s just not a good man. I reply: what is the connection between being a good man, and being a good leader? Many great leaders, like many of the world’s most influential brainers and culture-heroes, have been terrible people.
Trump’s first brilliant move was to unite two seemingly-unconnected protest movements at one stroke. He is a billionaire (okay, maybe just a multi-multi-millionaire) and so, one would think, should be a target of the one-percent protesters against the rich. But it’s the opposite, because the envy-oriented anti-rich mobs are not really angry at the rich. Not the honest, hard-working rich. They would like to be rich themselves some day. What they are angry at is the Wall Street brand of rich: the arrogant, high-living, stock-market hustlers, bankers, and investment manipulators, making millions on margins, currency fluctuations, and stock flipping. Screwing around with numbers, and screwing the country and the ordinary worker in the process. In other words, the smart-ass rich who don’t do anything that working people can possibly recognize as real work. These folks are wild about Trump because he’s the opposite. He actually works. He puts up huge buildings, on time, and fully-leased – work you can see. And for this, he hires thousands of people just like them. So he’s got their vote.
The other protest movement he has united is the coast-to-coast anti-Big-Government movement. Millions of Americans and small business owners are finally, desperately, eager to get the suffocating Big-Government foot off their necks. They want to be free again. The total government debt of a nation is always a good, if rough indicator of the real presence of government in the lives of citizens. When Obama came to power, America had about eight trillion dollars in total government debt accumulated over the previous 270 years. Almost three centuries! that was bad enough, and a huge drag on the national economy. But after the eight years of Obama’s Presidency the national debt-load is closing in fast on twenty trillion (not counting additional, unfunded government liabilities, which are unimaginably massive).
So crass, inelegant, swagger-rich Donald Trump, haranguing, shouting, and repeating his basic solutions, over and over, rides into town with promises he has all but forced upon the Republican party, to lower taxes on corporations and hard-working individuals, to create more real jobs via investment (not by “creating” them via expensive tax-funded programs), to kill unfair trade deals, and to slash top-heavy bureaucracy and red tape. He also wants to snuff out (and defund) the anti-industry global-warming hoax, to get all that shale oil out of the ground to halt dependency on Arabian oil forever, to halt illegal immigrants coming to America to steal jobs, to give students vouchers for choice in education – and even … to get rid of our Canadian marketing boards. Perhaps most stunning of all, morally and constitutionally, in that order: he wants to stop the wholesale slaughter of abortion, and to appoint strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court. For this reasons, he’s got the anti-government vote, too. His success, simply in imagining he could unite these two protest movements and restore America to at least some of its own inspired founding principles, could be enough to sweep him into power and launch America on its most sustained period of productivity in recent history.