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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Why does the Republican establishment fear Trump?

There's been a fair amount of publicity about how the functionaries in the Republican Party dislike and fear Trump. But why, exactly?

If you ask them, they'll say he's not electable. They've felt this way from the beginning, and backed Jeb Bush instead.

Some Republican stalwarts have also said Trump isn't a "true conservative" because in the past he's supported abortion and a national health care plan. But Trump is in fact more conservative on the issues which have resonated with voters than the Republican establishment has been.

Trump has spoken out against illegal immigration more strongly than any other candidate. This makes the establishment uncomfortable because they are terrified of being accused of racism. But turning a blind eye to illegal immigration helps also big business by driving down their labor costs.

This is the issue on which their -- i.e., their donors' -- interests are most directly aligned against the middle class.

Big business also likes to farm plants out to India, China, the Philippines, and Mexico without penalty. They also like being able to reincorporate in Ireland and other tax havens.

Trump has spoken out against these practices. He has also suggested that hedge fund managers out not to have their management earnings taxed at the long term capital gains rate. (Hint as to where the Republican establishment stands on this issue: hedgies donate big bucks to the GOP.)

There's also the discomfort caused by Trump's criticizing of Republican orthodoxy. But who has more credibility: Trump, for saying that the Iraq War was a mistake, or the Republican Party, for refusing to acknowledge that?

Trump also ignores the rules of political correctness. Before him, no major Republican figure dared suggest that illegal immigrants from south of the border committed crime disproportionately, or even raise the possibility that we might reconsider allowing Muslims in until we can screen the terrorists better.

The Republican establishment, naturally, found this embarrassing. But polls show that a majority of Republicans and plurality of all voters agree with Trump about Muslim immigration.

Trump has also denounced the soft corruption of campaign contributions. This scares not only the big business donors, but also all the Senators and Congressmen hoping to eventually make a handsome living on K Street.

The Republican Party has always paid lip service to the middle class, but has enacted policies which favor their rich donors. And that's where Trump really scares them. If they can't control him, donors would have less reason to give the Party money. Even worse, Trump might try to reform that system.

It is true that Trump has turned every criticism he's received into a personal vendetta, and part of the job description for the Presidency is "thick skin." Calling Carly Fiorina ugly was ugly, saying Megan Kelly was "bleeding from her wherever" was a poor choice of words, and saying John McCain wasn't a war hero was ridiculous. But so far, none of the salvos from this loose cannon have backfired.

Yes, Trump is a bully and an egomaniac. But that's not why the Republican establishment fears him.  The real reason is, they want to keep their donors happy.

Otherwise, their spigot gets turned off, and then who would support them?


whorefinder said...

You're exactly right. This is about elites v. populace. Trump is the first populist we've seen since Nixon/Wallace. Nixon's political career was supposed to be done following his loss of the California governor race, yet he roared back and took the white house based on a populist streak---which is why the Elites had such venom for him; they would have accepted a controlled Republican they chose, but not one without their support ("How did Nixon get elected? I don't know anyone who voted for him!") Thus they had the long knives out for him, which they used to turn Watergate,a minor scandal, into a reason for resignation.

Wallace, too, was a populist, and the Elite feared him re-taking the Democrats from the Elite. An assassin's bullet stopped his attempts.

I doubt there's a personal scandal that would kill Trump; he's such a loudmouth who's open about his past---and proud of them!--that he's teflon. So watch for the Elite to stoke and instigate assassination against him.

John Craig said...

Whorefinder --
Thank you. Yes, Trump, as a NY real estate tycoon, seems an unlikely populist, but that's exactly what he is. Or, at least, that's exactly what he's running as. (I still have a few doubts as to what he'll do once in office.)

Funny, though I've always had a soft spot for Nixon (partly just because he was so unpopular with the elites), I'd never really thought of him as a populist.

I hope you're right about the scandals. We already know about the Polish illegal aliens who worked on one of his construction sites decades back, and evidently he's hired a lot of foreign workers over American workers at Mar-A-Lago. So far he's been Teflon; I just hope it continues that way. I wouldn't be surprised if he's fooled around with a couple of those Miss Universe contestants, and somebody manages to dredge that up. And I wouldn't be surprised if someone manages to prove that he's not worth what he says he is, or if he's "abused" the eminent domain laws, or if his donations to veterans etc. aren't quite what he had claimed. I wouldn't even be surprised if someone assassinates him.

But, as I said, I hope none of these things happen.

mark said...

Well here is a rational reason for fearing Trump. Trump seems like a boom or bust candidate and if I was in the Congress or the Senate I would be worried about the bust part. This year might be the year when average is good enough to win the White House for the GOP against wealthy old Clinton but Trump don't play average. I like the boom or bust part but I am not running for reelection. Also, some pundits love to use the phrase "going nuclear" but that is redundant when describing Trump so they will have to invent new cliches and who wants that much work. I am not at all worried about Trump's finger on the nuclear button because I assume he will have worn out that button shortly into his first term anyway.

Mark Caplan said...

A second tier reason why the GOP establishment fears Trump is they really do believe Republicans need to pander to the rapidly and relentlessly expanding population of Mexicans, Middle Eastern Muslims, and other brown people living inside our borders or they'll never win another presidential election. Hence, the dream candidacy of Marco Rubio/Nikki Haley.

John Craig said...

Mark Caplan --
True; but as you know, all of that pandering hurts their base. Thus, the growing anti-cuckservative movement and the strong enthusiasm for Trump, who has been the first to speak up for that base, albeit obliquely.

I do find it a little weird that both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are considered ethnics. Cruz is obviously 100% European, and if Rubio has non-white blood, it can't be more than 12% or so. Rubio would look right at home walking on the streets of Madrid, and Cruz would likely be mistaken for a tourist from further north.

South Asians (Indians) vary greatly in their skin color, from vaguely Aryan-lookng to vaguely Melanesian-looking. But my understanding is that on average, they are more closely related to Europeans than they are to East Asians. In any case, Haley definitely falls into the first category; she looks more like a European than she does like a dark-skinned Sinhalese.

Anonymous said...

So, the Republican party just "pays lip service," to the middle class. That is incredibly sad. These politicians that we elect seem incredibly greedy, lazy, etc. For our country to head in a different - more prosperous, law-abiding direction, we need a definite leader (in my opinion, Trump) who has a clear vision of what needs to be done and goes and does the job, getting our nation back on track. This is an exciting election year. I am very concerned about our country.


Anonymous said...

Good analysis.

I've recently heard two leftist friends comment on Trump:
The first said something like "He's popular because the US has become so stupid that they are attracted to a realty TV personality". The second responded to an analysis of Trump's support to roots in Scots-Irish rebelliousness with "there has to be *something* to explain this madness".

I summarize Trump to people with three giant policy points:
- clamp down on and control illegal immigration / illegal immigrants
- bring manufacturing home
- abandon rampant US warfare in the Middle East, and encourage those directly affected Middle East countries to fight their own wars.

Trump also has a number of policy papers on his web page.

None of that is stupid, or madness.

I hear people say "Trump is too extreme, I'm afraid of what will happen under a Trump presidency".

These are typically the same traditional Republicans who WOULD vote for a candidate frothing at the mouth to fight Iran, drive Russia out of Syria and topple Assad, and fight Russia in Ukraine.

Trump wants none of that, and says he could deal with Putin (which seems believable).

Two other things refreshing about Trump: he's tapped into voter anger, and shown resolute toughness.

The Republican party has cowered in fear of the 'anger' label for decades, since the left uses it to brand Republicans as 'angry', 'hateful', etc. Trump has been politically skilled enough to counter all the Left's attacks.

And toughness: the Republican party has run on populist ideas (immigration, budget, health care), and caved time after time (admittedly some of this is because they run on populist ideas and govern to the big money's desires).

Trump appears to be tough enough to fight the fight and win.

People in the US are tired of getting the losing end of the stick. After eight years of 1% raises, extremely limited job opportunity, and the continuing gush of illegal (and legal) immigration undermining the job market, endless outsourcing of manufacturing, and pointless foreign wars - people are angry. Trump has had the savvy to tap into it, and the political skillfulness to parry the media (pretty much all media is against him, both traditional and FOX news), and the establishment Republican party.

- Ed

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Yes, Amen.

John Craig said...

Thank you, and I agree with everything you said.

I've pointed out on a number of occasions that peoples' insults most frequently center around their own weaknesses. For your leftist friend to say that people are so stupid they are attracted to a reality TV star is in itself an incredibly stupid analysis, missing all of the reasons why rump is popular. The analysis of your second leftist friend just sounds sort of lazy. And both people demonstrated that primary behavior of leftists, which is to insult without ay realistic analysis.

Anyway, yeah, thank you for that analysis, you're right on every point.

jova said...

They fear Trump because he is changing the Republican party....He is reaching out to the working class voters who were abandoned by the democrats, which started with Clinton. Bringing in a long ignored segment of Americans , pushing out the neo-cons.

they truly fear he will reduce immigration, resulting in higher wages and slower growth for our multi-national corporations...they know the wall will work, and this is why it has never been built...Establishment Republicans also fear the end of military interventions and they refuse to admit the Iraq war was a mistake. The financial backers of the GOP will lose their influence with a Trump presidency.

at this point They know he is a viable candidate and he can beat Hillary in November, which has increased their fear and they are in panic mode. Trump will destroy the power the neo-cons have within the party. If the GOP wins without the Neo-cons , they know their days are numbered. Trump's immigration stance will actually help the republicans get 12% of the Black vote in November with Trump on the ticket. The evangelicals will support Trump , because he is better than Hillary., and his moderate position on social issues will help him win states like Pennsylvania and make him competitive in New York and New Jersey. Trump's platform may prove to be a winning formula in November because Hillary is a weak candidate. Only Trump has the ability to win big in November because he is not seen as an extremist in the northeast , and his immigration policy is so popular with Americans. Contrary to what the pundits say, Rubio has reduced odds of beating Hillary.

John Craig said...

Jova --
That's a good analysis. It does all boil down to the neocons' fear of being displaced, and of losing their power. The funny thing is, the neocons were actually more socially/culturally liberal, and so is Trump. The difference, as you say, is that they ignored the working class in favor of big business, whereas Trump is not. Also, he doesn't want to keep us constantly involved in the Middle East the way the neocons do.

I hope you're right about his chances of beating Hillary.