Saturday, February 6, 2016

What's Wrong With Trump?

There's a lot of support for Donald Trump as a presidential candidate with good reason:  he says a lot of the things people want to hear.  Demagoguery* on its own isn't enough to make me dislike a politician, because all politicians have to engage in it to some degree at some point.  Trump also thumbs his nose at the establishment, and the Republican party is severely in need of a reminder that they serve the people, not the other way around.  There's real appeal there.

I hope if you're a Trump fan you give me a fair read rather than just being upset.  If you've read much of my blog, you've probably noticed I strongly believe in maximizing human freedom with a strong focus on individual freedom.  My reasons for not supporting Trump are founded in a desire for individual liberty, and I can illustrate why I believe Trump is a threat to it.

There is an undeniable appeal to a man who speaks his mind and says a lot of the right things.  Those skeptical of Trump have wondered about his appeal, though, because he's made it pretty clear he'll say whatever people want to hear, and usually people are smart enough to catch on to that.  So many Trump opponents have decided his supporters are just stupid, but they're wrong.  In fact, when a national poll was conducted, there was only one powerful unifying affinity of Trump supporters, whether wealthy or poor, educated or not:  authoritarianism.

Here's one paragraph to get you reading the whole article:

"My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter."

Trump's language is telling.  He will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.  He will bomb the crap out of terrorists.  He will raise tariffs to punish companies leaving the U.S.**  He believes that once elected he will be an all-powerful dictator capable of doing anything he likes.  This is backed by the ceding of power by Congress to President Obama, a trend that's continued through several presidencies.***

There's ample evidence Trump will be happy to sacrifice individual rights and liberty to achieve his goals.  The National Review Online has done a great job of highlighting why conservatives and libertarians shouldn't back Trump, but one example stands out to me most strongly. 

Even in private business, Trump has been happy to use government power to seize private property through eminent domain.  For a full but easy to read explanation, have a look at this article:  Donald Trump and Eminent Domain. 
That brings us to the story of the...elderly widow in Atlantic City, which starts at about the same time. The woman, Vera Coking, had owned property near the Trump Plaza Hotel for three decades, and didn’t want to move. Trump thought the land was better suited for use as a park, a parking lot, and a waiting area for limousines.

He tried to negotiate, at one point offering Coking $1 million for the land. But she wasn’t budging. So New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority filed a lawsuit, instructing Coking to leave within 90 days and offering compensation of only $251,000.

Perhaps the only upside to this story is that in neither case did Trump succeed. The Bridgeport plan fizzled. Coking fought in court, and — in part because these were the days before Kelo was decided, no doubt — she was lucky enough to win. In 1998, a judge threw out the case.
If you're interested in the second case, please read the NRO article Donald Trump and Eminent Domain.

Trump is fine negotiating to get what he wants, but if he can't get his way, he'll bring down the might of the government on the person who dares to disagree with him. 

This philosophy isn't new.  It's Progressivism (click the label if you think it's a good thing--it isn't).  That's why Trump was a Democrat until 2009.  The label R or D doesn't much matter these days, because most of them are simply progressives (big government, lots of control). 

If you want a king, Donald Trump is your man.  If you want someone who will protect individual liberty and thumb their nose at the establishment, try Ted Cruz.  He isn't perfect, either, but he's a lot better than Trump if you like liberty.

*Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on their rational side. Demagoguery is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people.

**Tangent:  As a smarter tactic, try lowering corporate tax in the U.S. to make us competitive again.  This is especially smart because corporations don't actually absorb taxes-they pass them on in the form of slight price increases for goods and services, so any corporate tax is really just a hidden tax on everything you buy. 

***Congress, please get your act together.  Being a coequal branch is a serious responsibility.  Even liberals say your handing over power is dangerous:  http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/03/liberal-law-prof-obamas-unconstitutional-power-grabs-are-creating-a-very-dangerous-and-unstable-system/

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