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Thursday February 25 2016

I am greatly enjoying the progress of Soon-To-Be President Trump.  File under: guilty pleasures.  My libertarian friends mostly express horror at Trump’s irresistible rise, and his terrible opinions, and his terrible hair, but surely you never really know what you’ll get with a new President.  During the Thatcher years some of the people who most agreed with me did very little that I liked, while others, impeccably governmental sorts, who were just doing what seemed sensible to them, did quite a lot of good things.  See: privatisation.  Maybe Trump will turn out like that.  Maybe he will even decide to have dignified hair.

Trump seems to me like he’s going to be the USA’s first Television President, by which I mean someone who got to be President via television.  Didn’t they have one of them in Brazil not so long ago?  Some guy who had got well known by being some kind of TV talent show host, or some such thing, and then, to the horror of the Horrified Classes parlayed that into being President.  It was probably a disaster, but Brazil usually is.  And now, Brazil has one of the strongest libertarian movements in the world, does it not?  Maybe that’s how libertarianism wins.  First you have a crazy TV guy, and then libertarianism.  I can hope.

Anyway, Trump.  This piece about Trump by Scott Adams is a good laugh, as are comments on it like this:

I liked the one in Arkansas when the manager of the facility announced that Trump broke the all time attendance record set by ZZ Top in 1978. lol

He is certainly a canny operator, as Adams explains very cannily, cataloguing Trump’s many previous successes, such as a best selling book on how to negotiate.

Part of the skill of getting the Republican nomination is to behave like a guy the Mainstream Media are confident they can easily destroy, in due course.  Which means that instead of destroying you straight away, they destroy all the other fellows, who they thought were stronger than you, which by definition they can’t have been, can they?  You have to be like Russia, and look either much weaker than you are, so the media don’t bother with you, and then much stronger than you are, so the media then grovel, as they do when they face a force of nature, in other words a force bigger than them.

I could of course be quite wrong, but I reckon Trump is going to walk it, when he gets around to dealing with whichever car crash of a candidate the Dems stick in front of him.  And it will either be Clinton or that old socialist guy, the ones already in the race.  Nobody else will want to join, because the prize for winning the Dem nomination will be getting Trumped all over, and who needs that?  Those two old crocks both joined the race while Trump was still in his ridiculous phase.

No wonder the Chinese are nervous.  They surely know a true son of Sun Tzu when they see one. 

JFK was the first television president.

Trump will be the first reality TV president.  He provides me with much schadenfreude.  Those that refused to field a legitimate candidate (all of them promise to violate the constitution) deserve to get routed by someone with a better command of the genre that they’ve turned the elections into.

Posted by August Hurtel on 25 February 2016


No, what I had in mind was Trump being the first guy who actually came FROM television, and now does politics the way regular television has long been done.  What JFK (and Reagan - another fine TV user) did was stick regular old school political speechifying onto telly.  What Trump is doing is transforming politics into what television already is.

Hence all the crowds, like in a TV studio.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 25 February 2016

I share your sentiments. For some time I’ve been meaning to write something on what I call Trump Derangement Syndrome. The main point is that Trump is addressing the concerns of the electorate and the others aren’t. Therefore, he wins. It doesn’t matter if his solutions are any good or not.

Mark Steyn is also something of a fan mainly because he hates the Republican establishment. “The people who backed last year’s losers are excited about this year’s loser” as I think he says.

The other great thing about Trump is that he annoys all the right people.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 25 February 2016

Trump is an expert salesman and deal-maker so it may be that his current bombastic style is just a sales pitch to voters in the Republican primary. He would then need a different pitch to the country as a whole in order to win the election. But if he continued with that approach after being elected he would also try to do a deal with the party establishment and the permanent bureaucracy. That would allow him to implement his political program – whatever that turns out to be – with relative ease, at the expense of disappointing many of the people who voted for him in the primary. A Trump administration could be far less radical than most people expect.

Posted by AndrewZ on 27 February 2016

Can’t share your optimistic p-o-v.
As people-smarter-than-me noted long ago, we are a Nation of Salesmen. We live surrounded by salesmen and their pitches. Anyone who’ve lived in the country for 5yrs knows he has to divide any sales spiel by at least 2 - and divide Trump speeches by 10.
Those who don’t (all those crowds at Trump’s rallies) will be taken for a spin in a used ford sold to them as a sparkling ferrari.

I have a nagging suspicion, born from dealing with bombastic salesmen, that he’s already made a behind-the-curtains deal with Hil&Bill;. Judged by his previous deals w/Clintons, his many-decades dealing with socialist nomenklatura administrations in this city (NY) - he is a statist when it suits his RE asquisition and a salt-of-the-Earth natural libertarian when it benefits his moneybags.

If he wins, this will be a Traitorous Administration on a truly humongous scale.

Posted by Tatyana on 28 February 2016

Oh, I’m not optimistic.  Frankly, whoever is President, it looks now like being a disaster.  All that seems to be left is (a) enjoy it and (b) explain what sort of disaster.

I see that Kevin Williamson has written “The Case Against Trump”.  I must read that.  Libertarians are right to oppose Trump.  He is against us on just about everything.

I really do mean GUILTY pleasure.  I’m not proud of liking him, at all.  As for him annoying all the right people, well, you could say the same about Hitler.  To whom Trump is often and I think quite properly compared - which is not to say that he will be nearly as bad as Hitler.  Just that his opinions seem to tick many of the same boxes.  Maybe Mussolini is actually more accurate.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 28 February 2016

The only source of optimism is to hope, as I said towards the beginning of the posting, that he will not do what he says, but do better than that.  To hope he’s lying, in other words.  Politicians often do this, I find.  Lie, I mean.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 28 February 2016

I think that Trump is treating the primary like a sales pitch and is telling people whatever he thinks they want to hear, but saying it so loud that it dominates the media and drowns out his opponents. I see it as a more vulgar version of Obama’s “Hope and Change” routine from 2008, which in reality was just “bait and switch” - promise the marks everything and once they’ve voted you can do whatever you like, not least because it will be years (if ever) before many of them will be able to admit to themselves that they were duped. Of course, it was easier for Obama because he had friendly media coverage and his core audience was educated and affluent liberals who would find it particularly hard to admit that they had been so gullible.

I believe that if Trump gets elected he will simply make deals with the political establishment and the bureaucratic vested interests, because deal-making is what he does. Therefore a Trump administration would be a “business as usual” administration that did nothing to challenge corruption and cronyism. As a result it would increase public cynicism about politics and lead to an even stronger demand for a genuine “burn it all to the ground” candidate in the next election.

Posted by AndrewZ on 28 February 2016

"All that seems to be left...” - you know that old Russian trope ?
“if your fighting skills are not a match to your rapist’s, relax and try to enjoy it”

It looks to me like a first election since I became eligible to vote to skip it altogether.

Even hoping that Trump is lying is a double-edged sword. If he is lying, I suspect the reality will be worse than what he’s promising.

Posted by Tatyana on 28 February 2016

Oh, how naive I was.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 02 March 2016

Hey thanks for this! So nice to see what others think of Trump’s ways for once… I must add he is a damn good business man & he is especially good at putting together Real Estate Deals… My Favorite! Apparently hes not a bad politician either. I mean I think hes winning, what do you think?


#IWantToBeLikeTrump ... or do I?

Posted by Charles Khouri on 09 March 2016
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