The GOP presidential race is currently America’s biggest circus. Ring leader Donald Trump has made headlines with his take-no-prisoners attitude toward the media and political correctness. Although he has been rude at times, I commend his brazen moves to push back. When it comes to matter of principle, however, Trump has none. His entire campaign has thus far been one giant scream into the microphone.
His tactics have captivated the republican base and he surges in every poll. But why? I suspect it’s most likely due to his bullish moves, such as wondering whether Megyn Kelley is “on the rag”. While he might entertain at times, his policies are either nonexistent or senseless.
The republican base has become fed up with so-called conservative politicians, or RINOs. They look for a DC-outsider, and understandably so. Why they look to Trump is beyond me. I have seen Fox News drones compare him to Ronald Reagan. Trump is anything but conservative, let alone relative to Reagan.
His current tactics work because of his personality, but I have yet to see another candidate go for his Achilles heel: principled constitutional and free market positions. I’m not sure why this hasn’t happened because clearly he has none. Rand Paul feebly made an attempt during the debate. Trump’s overwhelming personality crushed any chance Paul had.
I think the support for Trump comes out of emotion and frustration. Trump is also a master of the pulpit. He can verbally overpower anyone by deploying unorthodox tactics that no one else will use. Reporter asks you to take a stance on the free market? Call them stupid and degrade them because then you can say “I don’t take nothin’ from the media”. Nor do you give them anything except click bait so they could not care less.
To challenge Trump, someone needs to employ equally bullish tactics while articulating the principles of liberty, the constitution, and free markets. Rand Paul could make that attempt while proclaiming himself a DC-outsider. His debate performance and resulting anti-Trump ad campaign make him seem weak and desperate, which is right where Trump wants him. Paul should have called him out on principle, but instead went for character. Trump will win that battle every time.
In fact, the only issue I have seen Trump take a stance on is immigration. His “solution”? Build a wall, expand the federal government, and send them home. Not only is this politically impossible, but it’s also downright stupid. Immigration is a net positive for the economy because it increases our total factor productivity. By introducing low-wage labor, we can increase output and productivity at a lower marginal cost. This is, as any economist will tell you, always a good thing.
Keep in mind, the republican voting base has a supposed distrust in government’s competency to do anything without waste and corruption. Why they think building a gigantic wall and wrangling up immigrants will be any better is beyond me.
In their frustration, the republican base has fallen for the most dubious of candidates who will do nothing except corner votes away from candidates with actual principles, whether it be Paul, Cruz, or Walker. The last two were smart enough to not poke the bear and did not take such a hit in the post-debate polls.
Trump has masterfully played to their emotions without taking a positive stance on a single issue except immigration, which is as much an emotional issue for republicans as economic inequality is for democrats. He has boxed out other candidates from debating actual issues by captivating the media.
The only “tough questions” Trump receives are something like “what did you mean in that tweet” and “but on the Apprentice”. These are not tough questions. These are media circus questions driven by ratings. Ask Trump to articulate his stance on constitutional originalism, classical economics, and judicial activism. I guarantee he will be flat footed and completely fumble the question.