Donald Trump has removed any principles that remained in the Republican Party.
Donald Trump has completed the gutting of a principled Republican party that began in the Bush years.
You reap what you sow.
For a generation since Ronald Reagan left Washington — that would be the Ronald Reagan who knew that “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” was a punch line — the “conservative” Republican party has sown an incoherent statism that has trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys.
On Thursday night came the harvest: The party was formally taken over by an incoherent statist whose “conservatism” is not done justice by scare quotes.
Oh . . . and he has trouble telling the good guys from the bad guys.
Of course, you wouldn’t get that from his acceptance speech. Donald Trump doesn’t know much, but he has a genius for self-promotion and marketing.
The conservative intellectuals and Washington political class so dismissive of his bravura 72-minute performance for its high-decibel staccato and occasional rambling repetitiveness are missing the point, as they have throughout Trump’s ascent.
From 30,000 feet, which is as close as most Americans get to government policy in all its intricacies, Trump gave a great speech.
If you knew nothing of Trump, if your only impression was the Donald bestriding the Manichaean world he portrayed Thursday night, you wanted to be with him.
He’s with the cops against the thugs who shoot them down. He’s with peace-loving Americans (and don’t forget the “Q” after “LGBT”) against the barbaric Islamic terrorists who besiege them.
He’s with wall-deprived communities preyed upon by illegal aliens. He’s now with the upright American middle class screwed over by the cabal of Beltway insiders and crony capitalists (of which he was, until moments ago, a member in good standing).
He is the embodiment of law and order, pitted against Hillary Clinton, a recidivist felon in the court of public opinion — one the throng in Cleveland wants “locked up,” pronto.
You can see why it would drive an informed person nuts. But a note to all eggheads: Save your dissertation on why free trade does not actually undermine the dignity of work.
Forget the stubborn facts that manufacturing is thriving in America, that a trade war with China is a moronic idea, and that Trump has forsworn any action on the entitlement spending that drives the ruinous $19 trillion national debt he decries.
And don’t dare mention the bombshell Trump conveniently omitted in his stemwinder: his commitment to give legal status (pssst– that means amnesty) to millions of the illegal aliens he risibly promises to deport.
As every demagogue from Huey Long to Saul Alinksy to Barack Obama knows, what the masses want is a villain to seize on.
There’s a right side and a wrong side, good and evil. Trump gets that the power of caricature triumphs over fact and complexity in modern America.
Just ask “Lyin’ Ted.”
Trump’s speech was a paean to centralized power — which, personified by Trump, would become larger-than-life government. That’s why “Crooked Hillary” ought to be nervous.
Trump is more ill-suited for the presidency than anyone who has ever sought it . . . with the exception of Mrs. Clinton herself.
She is an atrocious enough candidate that she could forfeit the Democrats’ electoral-map advantages, just as she managed to lose a shoo-in primary contest in 2008 and nearly botched her coronation this time around.
Trump could very well win. That ought to make the rest of us nervous. And no, the specter is made no less nerve-wracking by the patent unfitness of the former secretary of state — who, as I argue in the current issue of National Review, ought to be impeached now, before she can darken the Oval Office doorstep.
Trump’s speech was a paean to centralized power — which, personified by Trump, would become larger-than-life government. As sloganeering, “Make America Great Again” may not be quite as bold as Obama’s “hope and change,” which was to have healed the earth and lowered the sea levels by now.
But Trump vows to end ISIS, violent crime, illegal immigration, bad trade deals, and (of course) wasteful government spending — all, evidently, in the first days of his administration.
He will do all this and more by flexing Leviathan’s muscles.
If you were waiting for Trump to champion individual liberty and limits on state power, you waited in vain — except for a couple of throw-away lines about preserving the Second Amendment and free-speech rights . . . which were impressive only if you were unfamiliar with Trump’s history of support for President Clinton’s ban on “assault weapons” and for looser libel laws that would make it easier for him to sue his legions of detractors.
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