June 1 Presentation: The Meaning of Trump’s Election
Who: Dr. Richard Bishirjian
What: The Meaning of Trump’s Election
Where: Tidewater Libertarian Party (TLP). www.TidewaterLP.com
When: June 1, 2019. Breakfast meeting 9 a.m. ($9.95)
Where: Providence Square Grill, 941 Providence Square Shopping Center,
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
The meaning of Trump’s election in 2016,
Pros and cons (good, bad and ugly) aspects of Trump’s Administration
Trump’s likely Dem opponent in 2020
What I believe we should expect “After 2020”
The election of Donald Trump implied a rejection of the policies of George W Bush (2001-2009)
Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution by Michael Tanner.
First, “the Republican Revolution”
I prefer the concept “Rebellion” to describe reaction of American citizens to oppression in 1776;
The modern conservative rebellion was aimed at LBJ’s War on Poverty and other Great Society programs and was shaped by three important events:
1/ the founding of National Review (1955)
2/ the intellectual insight into the meaning of “Conservative” of Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind (1953) and the political theory of Edmund Burke and
3/ appreciation of classical liberalism of Frederich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom (1944).
That rebellion led to the election of Ronald Reagan. Reagan said that he was not seeking to repeal the New Deal, he aimed to repeal Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.”
Dinesh D’Sousa distinquishes the “Great Society” from the “New Deal. “Though the Great Society was portrayed as the fulfillment of the New Deal,” D’Sousa writes:
It vastly expanded the reach of the central government with a battery of new programs and entitlements. Suddenly the federal government was building mass transit systems, funding collee loan programs, subsidizing the arts, and getting involved in all kinds of activites that were previously reserved for the states and the private sphere, (62)
Between 1989 and 2001 when George W. Bush took office, the rebellion against the Great Society had expired.
Michael Tanner writes “Total government spending under the first President Bush grew twice as fast as it had under Reagan and domestic discretionary spending began to rise again.”
In 1994 the federal budget was $1.9 trillion.
When Bush 43 took office in 2001 the federal budget was about $2.1 trillion and by 2006 it was $2.7 trillion.
The percentage of spending in relation to GDP was 18.5% when Bush 43 took office but quickly rose to 20.6% of GDP, the most rapid growth since FDR.
The invasion of Iraq by Bush 43, championed by the “Imperial War” faction within the GOP, was largely responsible for the increase.
Bush 43’s domestic discretionary spending rose by an annual average of 4.5% compared to 2.1 percent under President Clinton.
The 2005 Highway Bill authorized an expenditure of $300 billion over five years.
Bush 43 increased the U.S. Department of education’s budget from $33.6 billion to $60 billion-plus.
Despite a largely complaisant Congress, Bush asserted presidential authority over laws applied to the executive branch, giving the President de facto legislative authority.
The political attitude of Bush 43 is encapsuled his statement, cited by Michael Tanner:
“We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.” (74)
George W. Bush destroyed the Republican brand and only Rand Paul and Donald Trump ran against those policies. All the other GOP candidates drank the Bush “Kool Aid.”
Trump was assisted also by a negative feature of American political culture.
Few exceptional men and women today seek political office.
Scrutiny of the media, paticularly of political or social conservatives, is extreme and intense.
Do you want your past actions closely scrutinized and disseminated for all to see?
All of Donald Trump’s opponents in the GOP primary of 2016 offered no indication that Republican primary voters blamed Bush 43 for destroying the limited government GOP brand.
The destruction of limited government conservatism began when Ronald Reagan was persuaded to choose George H. W. Bush as his Vice President instead of Paul Laxalt, Governor of Nevada.
That gave the internationalist wing of the GOP a grasp on the future of the Republican Party.
Though the elder Bush had excellent Republican credentials, few noticed that the only election he had won was a Congressional seat from Harris County, Texas. Bush was defeated twice, in 1964 and 1970, when he ran for the U.S. Senate from Texas. The reason: Texans knew that he was an import from New England and his father, Prescott Bush, was a liberal Republican Senator from Connecticut.
That long history of liberal Republicanism from 1964 through the end of the Administration of Bush 43 in 2009 shaped the election of 2016.
I will make two assertions today:
1. Trump’s election signaled that our two-Party system is broken;
2. We are going to see the development of a multi-party system like the multi party systems of West and Eastern Europe:
But, first, examine The Good aspects of Trump’s election and I’ll follow that with observations on the Bad and Ugly aspects:
Despite appeals by the most prominent Republican politicians who stood in the Liberal wing of the GOP, Donald Trump broke off the GOP from the Internationalist, big government, wing of the Republican Party.
That tradition was established by Woodrow Wilson’s imperial foreign policy that shapes the idea dominant today that America must live up to its ideals and not seek the national interest.
“Make America Great Again” is Trump’s way of rejecting Wilsonian internationalist idealism.
Donald Trump pulled a rabbit out of his hat by advocating closing down Mexican illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration to much lower levels than made possible by the 1965 Immigration Act.
Borrowing from the rhetoric of a 1960s Conservative MP, Enoch Powell, Trump appealed to traditional Democrats who were aggrieved by policies benefiting non-Northern European immigrants.
That’s the good.
Now for the Bad:
1. Current U.S. government spending is $4.746 trillion.or 21% of gross domestic product according to the Office of Management and Budget Report for FY 2020. In fiscal year 2015, the federal budget was $3.8 trillion or about 21 percent of GDP.
2. Trump has done nothing to lower the cost of college tuition, yet that can be achieved by taking two administrative measures: FTC restraint of Trade action against the “regional accrediting” agencies and directing the six regional agencies to change the Standard for accreditation that requires that courses be offered from physical classrooms.
3. Trump has forsaken the GOP commitment to free trade.
Recently I saw an interview with the president of a company that wants to manufacture bicycles in the U.S. and seeks a subsidy to put that in place.
Or consider automobiles. I was in the parking lot of Costco recently and didn’t see a single American-made automobile. Trump wants to bring back automobile manufacturing to the United States.
4. Trump has left Entitlement spending untouched.
5. Trump has avoided nominating appointees to federal agencies. He says we have too many people.
Those are some of the bad aspects of the Trump Administration, now for the ugly:
1. Trump has hired his son-in-law and daughter as Special Assistants. I refer to this aspect of Trump’s policies as “Kindergarten White House.”
2. Trump with few exceptions (Mike Pillsbury and Larry Kudlow) does not listen to conservatives.
He junked the nomination of Supply-side economist Steve Moore because Moore said that we do not need to lower interest rates.
3. He has given too much credit to men who achieve the rank of Admiral or General.
Resistance to a standing army was strong during the early years of American government and that was evident in common understanding that Cabinet agencies of the federal government should be managed by civilians.
The National Security Act of 1947 that created the Defense Department also made it a requirement that only civilians could lead the Department. Service agencies were also required to be led by civilians.
Gradually, however, the appointment of former Generals and Admirals came into prominence. Here is a list.
Ronald Reagan: Gen. Al Haig, Secretary of State
Gen. Colin Powell, National Security Council
Bush 41 Gen. Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor
Bush 43: Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Barack Obama: Gen. Eric Shinseki, Veterans Affairs
The damn burst with the election of President Donald Trump who did not serve in the U.S. military, but has demonstrated a loyalty to, and fondness for, former General and Flag Officers. Some point to President Trump’s education at New York Military Academy where his parents sent him when they felt he needed to acquire discipline.
Gen. James N. Mattis, Secretary of Defense
Gen. Michael T. Flynn, first National Security Advisor
Gen. H.R. McMaster, second National Security Advisor
Gen. John F. Kelly, Homeland Security and Chief of Staff
Brig. General, Mitchell Zais, Deputy Secretary of Education
Rear Admiral Eric C. Jones, Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security
Adm. Harry Harris, Ambassador to South Korea
4. Trump hasn’t read a book on fifty years. This is important because basic principles of the Trump Administration were learned when Trump was a cadet at New York Military academy.
All this suggests that the 2020 election will be a classic contest between an incumbent inclined to a new nationalism prominent in the UK and other countries from Hungary to Germany and a radical Progressive.
Who will Trump’s likely Dem opponent in 2020 be:
Appearances count for much in American politics. Being a male and good looking, fit and tall, are definately advantages.
Among Democrat aspirants, six men are good looking
- Michael Bennet (D)
- Joe Biden (D)
- Bill de Blasio (D)
- Cory Booker (D)
- Pete Buttigieg (D)
- John Hickenlooper (D)
Name Recognition is also important. These 8 are well known
- Joe Biden (D)
- Bill de Blasio (D)
- Cory Booker (D)
- Pete Buttigieg (D)
- Elizabeth Warren (D)
- Beto O’Rourke (D)
- Bernie Sanders (I)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Finally, appeal to the “base” of the Democrat Party is essential.
Of those who look good and are well known only two candidates resonate with the Democrat base:
I predict that Joe Biden will be the Democrat nominee unless his health fails. As long as Biden looks good and vigorous he will win.
Elizabeth Warren’s strength is her personal struggle from economic hardship. Her life story is compelling, but because she was a college professor, she thinks voters want to hear what her ideas and programs are.
If she can shut up, she could be the Democrat Party’s choice, if Biden shows his age. I predict Warren will be on the ticket as Vice President
There are so many also-Rans that I won’t bother you with their names:
The Coming Multi-party System
Our Two-Party system emerged in 1796 when the Federalists were challenged by Democratic-Republicans, which suggested that they were more fully committed to extending the Revolution to ordinary people. Adams was elected President with 71 electoral votes defeating Thomas Jefferson with 68.
The election of 2016 revealed that “Celebrity” was something to be reckoned with, not longstanding service to party, and the reason is clear: our party systen does not generate leaders.
Challenged by a Celebrity a Party candidate will lose.
The good aspect of Celebrity is that it is not long lasting.
The election of 2018 saw the election of more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives than were elected in 1964.
That, I believe, is the first sign that the U.S. Senate will change Parties in 2020 and that the Democrat candidate will win.
In future elections we may see the growth of a Social Democrat Party and Libertarian Party and a founding of a National Conservative Party.
Coalitions with these Parties with Democrat and Republican Parties will shape American politics.
At the state level in New York the Conservative Party surpassed the Liberal Party in numbers of votes and elected Conservative Party candidates to the U.S. Senate, Jame Buckley and Al D’Amato.
During those years, I registered as a Republican, but voted the Conservative Party line in general elections.
Who will lead the Social Democrat Party?
New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez
Who will lead the National Conservative Party?
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan
The Libertarian Party was formed in 1971 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, by David Nolan. As of November 2017, 154 Libertarians held elected offices in 33 states. In the 2016 election, Gary Johnson was the party’s presidential nominee and William Weld was the Vice President Nominee.
I expect a Women’s Party will be founded by Mika Brzezinski in time to present candidates for election in 2024.