Last night was probably the most unscripted shout match of desperation I have ever witnessed in the Republican Party Primary Debate.
National Review made it’s typical anti-Trump case that is, it was Trump on the ropes. He wasn’t. Matter of fact he held his own just fine. Each and every one of the three last night had each other on the ropes at different times, and in different segments, and finally on different topics. None of the Rubio/Cruz praise can defy the eyes that Trump, in several respects, left them speechless by ridicule, or by fact of his own positions.
Peter Lawler makes the best case for Rubio. His is the appeal to a polite and pointed discourse and on many levels Rubio fits that bill. He’s also young and attractive and brings in possibly the Spanish speaking future majority into the party.
I am less sure that Rubio scored as many blows as many see it:
- Rubio tried to score on health care, but seemed to not understand how free markets work, and that includes competition.
- Rubio claimed he hired illegal Polish workers: wrong.
- Rubio claimed he received $200 million: wrong.
- Rubio claimed he does not or will not back Israel: wrong.
- Trump U? Students liked it, will testify they liked it and got their money’s worth. If students can sue because of dissatisfaction, I hope higher ed is ready for many a lawsuit.
On almost every point, Rubio and Cruz simplified Trump’s positions to the point of literally being deceptive. Is Trump conservative? Sure. Is he left of center on some issues? Yes. This is what conservative triangulation looks like.
My heart breaks for my good friend Ben Boychuk who has had it and is throwing in the towel. he does not believe that Trump is conservative, nor that he can do the things he says he will do. Fair enough. But Trump is conservative in significant respects:
- taxes: he has one of the lowest rates proposed of all the candidates
- war/military: he’s the most supportive of “overwhelming force” if and when we enter conflict. He is also pro-vet and talks about the problems with caring for the vets more than any candidate.
- Government Size: No other candidate talks with frequency of eliminating the DoE, or the IRS.
- Pro second amendment: he is seemingly for conceal and carry, and for carrying guns on campus.
Yet, the Trump wave is coming. The Republican wave is coming. The parties are over, at least in this iteration. The end of an era is at hand, and out of those ashes, there is opportunity.
Rubio and Cruz act like they have planned their entire life for this moment. Their resumes are perfect, all things being equal. As a result, they look stiff, scripted, unable to be “normal” and unable to identify with the average person.
Trump is who he is and acts like a man who knows something of living a life blue collar while scratching and clawing for every dime. He is one of us and talks like one of us. That is what drives the elites crazy. He is a traitor to his class. He has not forgotten from whence he and his family came.
The way to think about Trump is not to focus on all his un-PC rhetoric, and his killer instinct which is foreign to public speech these days. Usually the F-word is only laced in semi public (Hillary Clinton to Obama on the Tarmac in DC, or the Kennedy’s talking about the girls they want to trade off with each other in the presence of others, Nixon, too had his moments in semi-public, etc.)
I think the way to talk about it is that Trump represents the people taking back their natural rights of consent, and the rule of law under the Constitution. Trump also represents the spiritedness of making America a place of praise and admiration, after all we are unique to the world. This taking back of consent of the governed is something not readily evident to those who are most affected by the spectacle of elections. Trump’s language covers the fact that what he is doing is something serious and something intellectually necessary.
He and his wife speak in terms of the Declaration, though they never refer to it formally by name. Everything to them is not about gender, or race, but the human beingness of Our Nature. It’s easy to believe because when they speak of it, it is obviously unrehearsed. Being in New York City, Trump has had to adapt to the culture in ways that make claims of him being a racist or misogynist fall flat. No businessperson can be successful in that city being any of those things. Trump is a cosmopolitan who seems to have given women promotion and pay ahead of his times.
Trump is unabashedly a defender of the principles of safety and happiness. It is perhaps his appeal to safety that’s most obvious. But in that, he takes the word safety seriously—as much as Jefferson did when he sent the navy off to defeat the Barbary, or when Adams, et. al., wrote how astonished they were about the fervent muslim spirit in some parts of the world. In that, he is squarely on the side of the Founders. Trump’s desire for victory is not mere victory for victory’s sake. It is political victory because we have something worth preserving that 1) other nations don’t, and 2) that other candidates are too afraid to speak of. That is what makes him the most patriotic candidate in the race—and it is why he is the ONLY one to ever bring up the vets with any regularity (think of the Pericles oration in Thucydides).
His “brashness” is not brash to be brash, but brash because the stakes are that high. The parties, and especially the Republicans, have sold the country down the road despite all their talk they would not. Their patriotism and dedication to equality is a sham. He knows it and so do we all. Trumps is a modern appeal to consent of the governed. For the first time, we have a national candidate (since Reagan) who is deliberating with us, not speaking to us as if we are too stupid to realize what is before us. He is actually trying to persuade, not dictate (like Obama, Cruz, Hillary, Sanders, and countless establishment candidates).
His stated spiritedness is a representation of that reality. More and more, because I think he is deliberating with us in simple terms, it suggests that the rational part of the soul holds an higher place than the passionate. He is saying that our country and our constitution mean something, and are worth defending over all others (though I do understand there are problems with his desired use of executive order, but even then he is the only candidate to realize there are problems with using it, and that makes him likely the least progressive of the bunch). The lackluster spirit from our ruling elites have sacrificed the honorable history of the United States for fecklessness—Bush, Bush, Bush, Paul, Rubio, Cruz, and most the other candidates also fall into this category.
Furthermore, his entrepreneurial spirit represents an unleashing of the potentiality of happiness, which comes from solvency and provision of the household. He is a free trader, but not an amoral one. For example, he is for tariffs like the first Republicans/Whigs/etc were when they placed economic disincentives on slavery. His is one to jump start the family and its ability to provide for itself. The Wall, is not a wall to seal off the country, but a recognition that a country that cannot protect it’s borders, is no nation. Think Rome here. However, the wall is also an unleashing of the American spirit, and a recovery that WE can do things, and do great things. Candidates left and right–but especially Bush–said it was “impossible” to build a wall. Apparently in the times since the Great Wall of China, human beings have become incapable of great things in accord with entrepreneurialism. Trump says, why can’t we? In a time when we have lost the ability to send rockets into space, Trump represents a rebirth of the American spirit that, “yes we can do that” even if we fail initially. We don’t give up. Bush and every Republican candidate said, initially when Trump proposed the wall that “it can’t be done.” Trump said, “watch me.”
For the most part, the people are disgusted by the two parties. This is the case when not in divided government eras too, when there is a plausible reason for government to work even more inefficiently than when under single party rule.
Under the current conditions, the Republican party is slowly strangling that which gave it birth. Trump may not be a New Birth of Freedom, but he is the baptizer of it.