What if Trump wins, and disappoints?

15 Mar

Many are predicting he’ll ditch all the positions that have gotten him this far; in fact, perhaps he already has:

But over the past few months, there has been a lot of evidence that Trump’s populist-nationalism is disintegrating. In September he released a tax-reform plan that is much beloved by the most anti-nationalist conservative thinkers around. In fact it is the very thing that Beltway creatures like Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth cite when they try to explain their sudden and perplexing support for Donald Trump.

Trump has also sounded completely out of his depth on immigration, much to the chagrin of his restrictionist fans. In a debate in Detroit, where Trump would supposedly have some of his most nationalist-minded fans, Trump said, “I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in.” He described his position on immigration as “softening” and then long-windedly explained why Americans would not take seasonal jobs on some of Trump’s American properties. One of the reasons he offered was the weather. That’s right, the pro-American-worker Trump says that America is just too hot for American workers. Trump also pushed “touchback” amnesty, where illegal immigrants are granted legal status if they go home and obtain a guest-worker pass from an employer. Suddenly the “big beautiful door” in the Mexican border wall sounds a lot bigger. As Trump has begun to emphasize about immigration, “everything is negotiable.”

Trump’s non-interventionism also seems to be on the table. In the Detroit debate he talked about creating “safe zones” in Syria to stem the refugee flow. And in the Miami debate he said he would commit ground troops to Syria and Iraq: “We really have no choice, we have to knock out ISIS… I would listen to the generals, but I’m hearing numbers of 20,000-30,000.” It is unclear which generals have Trump’s ear, but the number of troops he cited sounds remarkably like he has been told about Frederick Kagan’s white paper on defeating ISIS. Essentially, Trump endorsed the plan for Iraq and Syria that has been promoted lustily by Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. In other words, gone is the America-first foreign policy, in comes the non-credible plan to transform the region again through force of arms, with America leading a mythical, and surely quite moderate, Sunni fighting force.

As Ben Carson aptly put it last week, “There are two Donald Trumps.” Indeed, Trump has confessed he plans to change from nationalist caterpillar into establishmentarian butterfly. “When I’m president I’m a different person. I can do anything. I can be the most politically correct person you have ever seen.”

Indeed, the transformation is already showing. On policy, Trump is caving to normal Republicanism. He’s trying to get elected by pining for someone to finish the dang fence but has amnesty on the mind. He’s promising to protect American workers from unfair competition, but angling to pass a plutocratic tax reform. By the end of his campaign the only thing he’ll have added to the Republican Party is a reputation for crudity and disorderly violence.

His nationalist challenge to the status quo is disintegrating before our eyes. Instead of the inevitable transformation of the American right, Donald Trump is just the most successful huckster, selling gold coins and survival seeds to a scared public.

So, if that happens, that he completely dashes the hopes of those who vote for him by doing nothing of what they believed he would?

Again, they’ll become dis-illusioned. They’ll lose their illusions, and stop the farce of bothering to vote, unless someone arises who actually gives them a reason to vote.

They’ll henceforth withdraw their consent, and show the system to be the farce it already is…

Something will have to give; the ruling class will have to give people a reason to believe in liberal democracy, or they’ll stop doing so, and with good reason.

Then things will get really interesting. There will be some sort of resolution, though it may not be what many would like.

Bring it.


22 responses to “What if Trump wins, and disappoints?

  1. hank

    March 15, 2016 at 8:23 am

    He may not have any fight left in him once in office and may not accomplish anything but I don’t see what his motivation would be to adopt anti-nationalist positions, which would antagonize his supporters and discredit him completely. He already knows the people such positions would appeal to are set on destroying him.

    • Will S.

      March 15, 2016 at 11:06 am

      I hope you’re right, but what to make of his apparent softening, as above?

  2. Zoodles

    March 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

    He will disappoint. His only true value is the way in which he has shifted the overton window and further assisted in the radicalization of the right.

    • Will S.

      March 15, 2016 at 11:08 am

      That’s my hope, too, that his candidacy will at least have widened the Overton window. I guess we’ll see.

  3. feeriker

    March 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

    If Trump wants to be president and continue breathing, he’ll do exactly what the Establishment puppetmasters tell him to do. Matter o’ fact, he’s probably already been “spoken to” by some of their representatives, hence the beginning of the “waffle dance.” I have no idea what kind of threats such people put forward (in Trump’s case, “Room 101” probably involves a certain three-letter agency that collects taxes), but I have to believe that they’re pretty horrifying (to one’s loved ones if not oneself), given some of the other political and anti-establishment stalwarts who have done an about-face or suddenly “retired” from politics in the past.

    Regardless, it seems incredible to me that anyone over the age of ten with a normal IQ would still believe that electoral politics is anything but carefully crafted theater.

    • Will S.

      March 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

      I don’t know; I think politics is usually carefully crafted theatre, but the way the GOP Establishment has freaked out about The Donald seems real and unscripted to me.

      As to why he’s seeming to moderate his positions, I don’t know. Maybe he’s trying the old tactic of first hew right, then run back to the centre. Maybe he just wants everyone to like him. Or maybe someone has something over him, and his hand is forced, as you suggest.

  4. realgaryseven

    March 15, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Interesting to contemplate. As a monarchist, it is my view that democracy itself is the problem; it cannot deliver. There is so much hope being projected onto Trump from the Right that it is difficult to discern the difference between his implications and one’s own inferences. On the other hand, as a monarchist I recognize that Trump is smarter and more powerful and more capable than I am and in any event I am not the king. I think that many on the right are hoping that Trump will win the election and use that legitimacy as a mandate to do… well, something reign in democracy.

    He refers to the New York Times building as a “cathedral” and talks about the need to get the media under control. Yesterday, he refused to apologize to a whining Indian (feather, not dot) for American history. He talks about the futility of America’s wars that earn the country nothing. And he says he will be more “neutral” in the Middle East. He is the only candidate who says that we must have secure borders, and that Islamic immigration cannot be allowed to take place.

    The alternative to Trump is capitulation to foreigners in the short-term and South Africanization in the medium term.

    Americans of all political perspectives intuitively feel that Something Bad is about to happen, and there is a feeling among many that Trump may be our last hope to avoid it’s occurring.

    We shall see, shan’t we?

    • Will S.

      March 15, 2016 at 11:16 am

      I’m a monarchist, too, but of the Canadian, liberal democratic, constitutional monarchy kind. I still hold out hope for liberal democracy, rare as that is in reactionary circles; if the Donald can change things, it may demonstrate that all is not lost; that maybe it’s still a viable system, and can be reformed.

      However… If things can’t and/or don’t or won’t change… Maybe then, it may be time to reconsider. And I wouldn’t blame anyone for, in their dis-illusionment, coming to the conclusion that liberal democracy itself is an illusion.

      • infowarrior1

        March 17, 2016 at 3:01 am

        I wouldn’t mind traditional Kingship where the role is more than ceremonial coming back.

      • Will S.

        March 17, 2016 at 3:13 am

        I wouldn’t mind a monarch with more power than the largely ceremonial role our monarchy today has, but I wouldn’t want a return to absolute monarchy.

      • infowarrior1

        March 17, 2016 at 3:54 am

        No problem the model of the early middle ages provides the answer:

        The King Arthur(1st Knight) and his round table of Knights model.

      • Will S.

        March 17, 2016 at 4:01 am


  5. Socially Extinct

    March 15, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I’ve given up on much of the political process in the U.S. The system is asymmetrically entrenched in favor of wealth, socioeconomic status, and all qualities that follow and presage this paradigm. I’m supporting Trump in the most lukewarm manner; I’m not a zealot and I sure don’t understand the many Trump zealots out there.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Donald Trump is getting some kind of orgasmic rise out of this kinetic energy the race is supplying him and once it’s over, the recoil/refractory period will trickle down to his Presidency, as well.

    • Will S.

      March 16, 2016 at 2:27 am

      I don’t quite follow; what do you think the result of this orgasmic rise will be on how he rules, should he win?

      • Socially Extinct

        March 16, 2016 at 6:44 am

        One he is (maybe) elected, will the routine minutiae that is the tedious political process of give and take put the brakes on his insanity?

        I feel as if much of his behavior during the Presidential campaign is a matter of him siphoning the energy from the competition and public’s involvement; will he be able to sustain this once it’s business as usual and the circus has packed up and left town?

      • Will S.

        March 16, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Oh, I see what you’re saying.

        My hope would be that rather than get bored, he leaves the minutiae to bureaucrats, and satisfies himself with carrying out the very controversial things that got him elected, to engender more controversy. 🙂

  6. Mark Citadel

    March 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Trump’s impact on the Overton Window is already evident. The majority of his usefulness has been delivered. What happens to him now isn’t so important, although some outcomes would be preferable.

  7. Lucius Somesuch

    March 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Having watched Trump’s stump speeches now some dozen times, over the time window from weeks prior to Iowa till the cusp of the Ohio/FL/etc. primaries (when protests started getting nasty), I can say that most of the quibbling in the quoted essay is partial at best, and probably deliberately misleading.

    While it’s true Trump strikes a tough pose on foreign policy (“I’m the most militaristic guy you ever saw”), he also makes it clear he sees the military’s main role as deterrence. He’s complimented Putin on his engagement in Syria. And, critically, he has cast doubt on the official 9-11 narrative, including with his promises to release redacted materials classified to conceal the involvement of a country “in the Middle East”, all which betoken real awareness of Israeli/Neo-Con perfidy in world affairs.

    He claims to “believe in Free Trade” but immediately contradicts this with “but I believe in fair trade. Our deals have to be smart,” etc. Clearly he is using “free trade” in a vernacular sense: what he is really pitching is more like merchantilism. And the terror of the C of C and other establishment soapboxes (including Club for Growth) shows.

    I hope a Pres. Trump will continue to push for forbidding Islamic immigration, abolishing “birthright citizenship”, and at least give us e-verify and everything else to make deportation and “self-deportation” the only options. I am absolutely convinced he is serious about The Wall. This is a 69 or 70 year old man, a billionaire with supposedly vulgar taste and an ego massively gratified by world fame and huge towers bearing his name. I believe him when he asks people why they think he’d give himself the stress of this run if he didn’t believe in it.

    And if he has friends in the NY mafia, so be it. Probably he needs them. I maintain great confidence that Trump will win, and inspire very positive change in America and in Europe & the Commonwealth. His campaign has already lifted spirits tremendously. He remains a non-violent agent of possible change to rid this country of tens of millions of unassimilable aliens, bring rapproachement with our natural ally Putin, and even (he has expressly talked about this!) advocate for gun rights IN EUROPE. Trump is worth our efforts and hopes.

    • Will S.

      March 19, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      I hope you’re right. I think the wall should be cheap enough to build, no Mexican payment necessary. He could have his name ‘Trump’ on it, visible by satellite from space. 😉


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