Thursday, May 05, 2016

Is Donald Trump A Capitalist?

by JASmius

On last Saturday's edition of Constitution Radio, the Director justified closing ranks behind Donald Trump on the grounds that "at least Trump is a capitalist, while Hillary Clinton is a communist".  Had we had a two or three hour program in which for me to elaborate at length, I would have pointed out that Hillary Clinton was a pure-strain Marxist-Alinskyist at one time, but has long since laterally moved to being a corrupt plutocrat with hard-left instincts - much like Trump himself.  What I did manage to get on the air is that Donald Trump is not an ideological capitalist, but a crony capitalist.  Which is to say that he is a businessman, which is far from the same thing.

If you are having any confusion about that at which I'm getting, ask yourselves this question: Are Michael Bloomberg, Tom "King Coal" Steyer, or George Soros "capitalists"?  Your natural response would be, "Of course not, they're all leftwingnut, nanny state extremists".  And you'd be right about that.  But they ARE all filthy stinking rich, are they not?  How did they get that way?  By using capitalism to enrich themselves without ever ideologically believing in the principles of capitalism itself for everybody else.  They're crony capitalists, businessmen, believing in economic liberty only for themselves and perfectly willing to turn and use the police power of the state for their own pecuniary ends.

Donald Trump is absolutely no different:

Ayn Rand once noted how “elections are won in every month of the year except November.”  A presidential race can’t change ideas, it just cashes in on those already accepted as truth.

I start with the premise that the only thing that can save the country is capitalism.

Yet sixty-three percent of Democrats and 49% of Republicans view Wall Street as detrimental to the economy, as reported by Daily Wire. Barely half view global free trade positively, according to Pew. The majority of young people now reject capitalism outright.

Reversing the trend will require decades of education. For Americans, capitalism remains the unknown ideal.

In this context, Donald Trump’s business credentials are exactly what makes him so dangerous. In the minds of voters, Trump represents capitalism. But as was pointed out in this space five years ago, Donald Trump is explicitly anti-capitalist on issues ranging from taxes to anti-trust to trade.

Trump’s use of the term “rape” in describing global trade is a horrid but telling indicator of just how he views voluntary relationships....

Because he is in business, Trump’s progressive taxes, threats to CEOs and tariffs against consumers will be legitimized as capitalist, as moral, as just. They’re not.

And when Trump’s policies fail, as they will, American capitalism will unquestionably get blamed. [emphases added]

This is why Jonathan Hoenig is, despite being an Ayn Rand disciple, holding his nose and voting for Hillary Clinton, on the premise that "in a choice between two liberal Democrats, better to have the one that doesn't have the 'R' after his name":

In Hillary Clinton, voters get another term of Obama, and Bush before him. She’s a mixed-economy power-luster, same as the old boss. If they are to survive, Republicans must present a capitalist alternative. Right now, they can’t.

And when Hillary’s policies fail, as they will, her socialist ideas will rightfully be denounced....

Long term, the damage levied by Donald Trump to capitalism in America will be immeasurably worse than that wrought by Hillary Clinton. [emphases added]

Hence the reason why many of us have described Trumpmania from day one as a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.  Because, by his background, track record, and temperament, he stands for none of the values and principles on which the GOP was founded, and many, if not all, of its opposites.  But he will be perceived as standing for them, and thoroughly and irretrievably discredit them, and the party, for years to come in the bargain.

I disagree with Mr. Hoenig 's intended voting choice - I'm #NeverHillary as much as I am #NeverTrump - and given that Mrs. Clinton is going to win easily anyway, she would hardly need his or my votes in any case.  But he does nail the point of The Donald effectively being an anti-capitalist in terms of what his candidacy and, God forbid, his presidency would do to the cause of capitalist ideals:

Consider that the most catastrophic financial collapse in U.S. history came under President Herbert Hoover, the Republican businessman who enacted trade restrictions to “bring back jobs.”

What followed wasn’t just economic misery, but the subsequent election of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the institutionalized welfare [state] that hasn’t stopped metastasizing since.

In effect, what worries me most isn’t Trump, but what comes after Trump. “We tried free markets under Donald Trump,” they’ll say. “Look how it failed!”

At that point, with capitalism completely discredited, the path is very short to dictatorial rule. There’s nobody left to stand in the way. [emphases added]

"All this," as the Cylons say (apart from Herbert Hoover not being an asshole), "has happened before".  The difference is, eighty-eight years ago, we hadn't tried "hiring" a "Republican businessman" to "run the country like a business".  We did, and boy did it fail, sending America's falling away from the United States Constitution into a terminal freefall.  Toss the past seven-plus years of Obamunism on top of that as the immediate context, with the abject Hoover lesson squarely in front of our noses, and what excuse would We, the People, have for repeating it?

"BUT WE HAVE TO STOP HILLARY!" you shriek.  All other things being equal, I would certainly share your sentiments.  But the way to do that was to not nominate Donald Trump.  Now that that ship has sailed, President Rodham is a fait accompli that no amount of "activist's fallacy"/"If we close ranks behind Trump and FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT! hard enough, he can win!" delusionalism can avert.  We #NeverTrumpers simply refuse to flush our principles and intellectual integrity in that futile endeavor that could have been so easily avoided.

UPDATE: Remember that George Soros parallel I made above?  Guess from where the Trump campaign's new finance chair hails:

Donald Trump has hired a Wall Street tycoon who has donated more than twice as much to Democrats as to Republicans to be his campaign’s finance chair, according to a review of Federal Election Commission filings.

Trump’s campaign announced Thursday that Steve Mnuchin, co-founder of Dune Capital Management and OneWest Bank Group LLC, would serve as the presumptive Republican nominee’s national finance chair.

Although Mnuchin has given to Republicans, his financial ties to the Democrat Party and liberal causes appear to be significantly deeper. Overall, Mnuchin has given more than $125,000 since 1998 to candidates and committees that disclose their donors — more than half of which went to Democrats, according to FEC records.

He contributed to Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Chris Dodd in the 2008 presidential election cycle. He also gave to Obama and [Mrs.] Clinton’s Senate campaigns, and supported Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer and the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee. [emphases added]

Wait for it....wait for it....

Beyond his contributions, Mnuchin’s past employers don’t fall in line with Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs partner and worked for liberal mega-donor George Soros’s hedge fund.

He also contributed to a group called America Coming Together, which was largely funded by Soros and unions.

But then I suppose that's appropriate for a GOP that is now a center-left state corporatist rump entity, isn't it?

Exit Tweet from Tom Nichols (via AP):

Imagine if Jeb or Marco hired a Goldman Sachs guy with big donations to Dems and ties to Soros. Trump-humpers would be apoplectic.

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