Trump: The Low Risk Option

Elections have become big business with tens of thousands of people making a living off politics. It’s not just the politicians and their handlers. There’s a massive consultant class that does nothing but setup and operate campaigns. Then you have the commentariat that exists solely to comment about campaigns. The result is a wall of bravo sierra obscuring even the most obvious things about elections.

Elections turn on three categories of issues that are bound together by a fourth issue, which I’ll touch on last. The three main categories are security, economics and culture. Everything we debate falls into one of those broad categories. Immigration, for example, is a culture issue, even though the political class tries hard to jam it into economics. That’s why Trump owns it and Rubio does not.

These categories work at all levels of politics. The small-town mayor will run on taxes, crime and the fact he grew up in the city. The Senate candidate will talk about spending caps, foreign affairs and reforming the culture of Washington. Depending upon the election and the events of the day, these broad categories have varying weights on the election. In bad times, for example, economics will dominate the discussion at the expense of culture.

It’s why single issue candidates can win elections. If one issue is dominating all else, the guy that is best on that issue is going to win. Sometimes a category falls off the table entirely like we saw in 1992 with security. The strong suit of Bush was off the table so the voters were willing to consider an amiable degenerate promising to “fix” the economy. Bill Clinton would have had no chance when the Cold War was raging.

When looking at the candidates, you can do a little math in your head to figure out why Rubio, for example, is doing better than Bush in the primary. Rubio appeals a certain type of Republican. The guys the alt-right call “cucks” on twitter see Rubio as the one they would like to bring home to the wife. Even though Bush is infinity more qualified and has all the same positions, he is out and Rubio is giving third place victory speeches.

The thing that holds it all together, that fourth issue I mentioned at the start, is trust. Can the candidate be trusted to be what he claims to be on these three categories of issues. That’s why experience in office is so important. Candidate X can say, “When I was town dog catcher I did these things and when I’m mayor I’ll keep doing them.” If it’s true, people can trust him on that issue.

Mitt Romney’s main problem in 2012 was no one believed him. His record was the opposite, in many cases, of his positions as a candidate. Even though he had a carefully crafted platform that ticked all the boxes for a majority of voters, no one really believed he would do any of it. When that big fat women from CNN pushed him around in one of the debates, a lot of people were reminded why he could not be trusted.

That’s the problem the modern GOP has with the voters. No one believes them any more. They have no credibility with their core voters. That’s why the voters are flocking to candidates the party seems to hate. In part it is spite, but it’s also a natural instinct. When confronted with a habitual liar, you naturally assume the opposite of what they say is close to the truth.

That’s what was so offensive about that Charlie Cooke article the other day. Buckley Conservatism is nothing but technocratic managerialism these days. They are convinced conservatism is just a collection of policy positions. Tick the right boxes and you are conservative. Tick other boxes and you’re a liberal. Of course, tick the bad boxes and you are a racist xenophobic hater. That’s not who we are!

That’s simply not how humans view the world. The tick list is fine for a trip to the market or a list of chores around the house. Human beings don’t judge one another that way outside the managerial class. It’s a gut instinct about whether you can be trusted to do what you say you will do. Nixon may have been a crook, but normal people could trust him to punch the hippies.

That’s the thing with Trump and why he is winning. He’s all over the map on the issues and some of his statements are nuts. People still support him because they trust he will be what they expect him to be in office. He’s a pugnacious fighter who loves the country as much as normal Americans. He’s pissed at the same stuff and he pisses off those jerks sneering at us on TV.

It’s entirely possible Trump will be another Obama or another Bush, once he gets into office. He may end up doing nothing about immigration, trade, spending, taxes etc. So what? The generic GOP option is not going to do anything good on those issues. In fact, they could start another war or pass open borders. Even if Trump is a dud in office, he’s still a safer bet than Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

The truth of modern mass media democracy is that voters only have a heckler’s veto. It’s simply too easy to dress up an actor with the help of party-run media and fool the voters. When sorting through the options for a vacancy, we’re rolling the dice, hoping the winner is not a fink. What we know is whether or not the guy holding the office has done what he said he would do. Our duty as voters is to vote out the bums and liars. It’s the best we can do.

Donald Trump is, in many respects, a vehicle to clear the decks of the GOP and the political class in general. He’s a protest vote that people hope will force reform on the GOP and maybe do some good in office. Voters are increasingly aware that he is the safe choice, if they want change. The down side is he turns out to be more of the same. The upside is we actually get something useful done.

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Severian
Guest

I think you can safely change that to “the generic GOP option will pass open borders and start another war.” Because whatever technocratic managerialism the GOP thinks it’s pulling off in theory, in practice it always seems to boil down to “eliminate borders and bomb Muzzies.” Even though I should know better, I’m flabbergasted at how many people think elections are about “issues.” When was the last “issues” election, really? 1932? 1860?

michael x
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michael x

My problem with Jeb is that he is a naturally weak man – even weaker than his brother – and that he would be easily manipulated by anonymous Chamber of Commerce and Neo-Con types once in office. Trump, on the other hand, is naturally strong and his mistakes, if any, would be his own. With Trump, at least you know what you are getting.

BillH
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BillH

‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’

joe
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joe

We know that Trump is a devil, a good man for jabbing asses with a pitchfork, he deserves a medal for that. We don’t know how he will behave as president, and his past behavior gives very little reason to think he will be conservative. ?His attack on Pam Geller for hosting a show that attracted terrorists? ?His belief that bush lied us into Iraq? Not only an extreme leftist thing, It shows that he’s willing to call a mistake a lie, and rewrite history for a political attack. After having been beat over the head for the last decade… Read more »

Doug
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Doug

With not a little bit of glee I find it delightful Donald trump has won in such a resounding fashion. If for no other reason than the political elite are having to discover to their dismay what such a vast number of people in this country have experienced and have been subject to for far far too long, has to do with payback…Screw You! For me, if Trump becomes POTUS, I could care less what the guy does. Just the chance to vote for a guy who isn’t a chosen member of those dirty rat bastard’s oligarchy is good enough… Read more »

UKer
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UKer

It has been said that there are essentially only two messages in elections: “A new beginning” or “Back to basics.” As a Brit I cannot comment on which candidate uses which theme in your election process. The odd thing however is that while people are utterly pissed off with politicians and lies and mistrust and all the rest, they will still go and vote. But equally you have to admit it is a clever system this democracy malarkey: if only three people eventually vote and two cast their support for one guy and only one votes for the other, irrespective… Read more »

Samantha
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Samantha

I dont think that you see the enormity of this particular election upon this country. This election determines whether we get to STAY America or we are taken over by the liberals and the muslims that Obama has tactically put in place around the country like well placed snipers. There IS NO OTHER candidate who WILL and CAN take these foreign invaders meant to kill this country OUT and KNOWS HOW to fix the economy after GW went on his spending spree and broke it and Obama made sure it stayed broken. EVERYONE up there i either FOR the New… Read more »

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[…] Trump: The Low Risk Option […]

Member

Yes, Trump is the low risk alternative. With all the other candidates you know what you are getting and many of us do not want more of the same old party hash.. That said, Trump is not some johnny-come-lately to the real world. Say whatever else you may about his personality, he has been there, done that and built a hotel on it. What have any of the other pretenders accomplished in their cloistered worlds? Yes, I will roll the dice for Trump and watch the cockroaches scuttle out from the dark places that Trump will uncover.

john sarich
Guest
john sarich

this election, if you boil it all down to the basics, is about Makers vs Takers. Nothing more complicated than that. Listen to The Bern and all he spouts is how he is going to take, take, take. What Trump should do is to count up all of the employees that Trump, Inc has as well as all of the jobs that Trump, Inc creates with vendors, subcontractors and so on. And just basically ask The Bern or the Liar, “exactly how many jobs have YOU created?” The Trump constituency is largely made up of people that have or are… Read more »

joe
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joe

It has been fun watching Trump scare the GOPe, maybe they will learn. But all along I have been hoping for someone with an ACTUAL CONSERVATIVE RECORD – Cruz to take up the cry – against immigration, refugees, outsourcing. The MSM has given Trump more coverage than anyone else, while acting outraged – we are being manipulated: THEY KNOW WE WILL LIKE ANYONE THE MSM HATES. A MSM outraged about Trumps immigration stance is an attack ad against him(as the left sees it), and it obscures the guy with an actual conservative record – Cruz(as the right sees it). NOTICE… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

From the German perspective, President Obama was only popular because G.W. Bush was so unpopular. None of us (at least anyone with an IQ above a french fry), really saw Obama turning America into the dreaded ‘socialist” state. Though I will admit, it was whispered amongst many of my colleagues, that his speeches and charisma were similar to those of Hitler, but no German was about to say that out loud. America, despite who’s in the White House, will never become socialist, at least not on the scale that China, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand or… Read more »

Audacious Epigone
Guest

Perhaps I’m a naif, but I find it hard to conceive of Trump winning the nomination and not building a substantial physical barrier between the US and Mexico. It was his campaign-launching promise, has been a perpetual promise on the campaign trail, he’s made videos about it, he has his crowds shout in unison “Mexico!” when he asks who will pay for it, he brings it up in the debates, etc. If he does that, it’s something, something more than we should rightly expect from any of those with the establishment’s stamp of approval on them.