A Libertarian Evaluates Trump
Well, for starters, allowing liberals to determine my level of anxiety — which would be full-blown, round-the-clock histrionics — over what’s nothing more than another election would be foolish. Until it’s not. The era of Trump hasn’t even started yet, and the entire establishment keeps using the term “era of Trump” as if things have actually changed.Trump, in other words, has been a much better President Elect than he was a candidate — a few crazy tweets to the contrary.
They haven’t. If you’re genuinely interesting in being an effective critic of the next president, acting like Adolf Hitler is pounding at your doorstep every time Trump tweets something might not be the most effective plan in the long run.
Not to mention, the left has been such an astonishing hypocrite on so many issues related to Trump that it’s a bit difficult to move forward without pointing it out. Joining activists who’ve spent years attacking the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Amendments— and now the Electoral College — in a newfound veneration of the Emoluments Clause is a bit much. Of course, Trump should be held accountable for his potential conflicts of interest, and one hopes conservatives who value good government will stand up when tangible evidence emerges that they exist. But the critics on the left aren’t serious about the Constitution. They’re serious about the Democratic Party.
Who can take journalists seriously — who’ve never once uttered a word of concern over the Democratic Party’s crusade to empower government to ban political speech by overturning Citizens United — when they lose it over a tweet about flag-burning? If it were up to them over the past eight years, Trump would now be imbued with far more power to achieve the things they fear — unilaterally. There was more angst over the president-elect ditching a reporting pool to have a steak than there was over any of President Obama’s numerous executive abuses. So when you hear people say democracy needs journalism “now more than ever,” remember that they’re admitting they weren’t doing their job yesterday. We also needed journalism more than ever back then.
Those who kept telling us that Hillary Clinton’s corrupt foundation and blatant favor-trading with the world’s most illiberal regimes were merely a conspiracy theory now act as if the republic will crumble if Trump’s hotel hosts the same Bahraini princes that were buying access in the Obama administration. The same people who told us Clinton’s emails were “bullshit” and a silly distraction are now horrified that former Gen. David Petraeus — who, like Clinton, shouldn’t be in any Cabinet, but who, unlike Clinton, actually paid a price for his mishandling of classified information — is under consideration for a position in the new administration.
Moreover, Trump hasn’t really done anything out of the ordinary — not yet.
What’s really upset Democrats, it seems to me, is that traditional conservative policy proposals — the sorts of thing Republicans have campaigned on for years, and the policies that have helped them win over 1,000 local seats and governorships and two wave elections — will probably be moving forward. The overwrought rhetoric used to describe the overturning of Obamacare or the reforming of entitlements — “gutting,” “privatizing” etc. — would be precisely the same if we had President-elect John Kasich.
Trump’s Cabinet nominees are the kind of run-of-the-mill selections any Republican would pick. You’ll remember that last week America was supposed to freak out about the chaos and sluggishness of the transition process. Then it was supposed to freak out about the potential white-maleness of the Cabinet. Well, his Cabinet members Nikki Haley, Elaine Chao, Seema Verma and Betsy DeVos are going to be just as extreme to the left as an actual extremist.
Harsanyi (the author of the piece) goes on to criticize Trump on sound libertarian grounds: his crony bailout of Carrier Corporation and his massive infrastructure proposal. But Harsanyi adds that these don’t signal a new era of American politics. They are a very traditional, if deplorable, way of doing things.
Trumps actions vindicate those, like local talk show host Mark Belling, who decided to suck it up and support Trump as the least bad of two bad choices. As for the never Trump people, like talk show host Charlie Sykes, they are slightly embarrassing — but only slightly, since Trump was a truly terrible candidate.
American democracy will survive, and its prospects are a lot better than they seemed a mere month ago.