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Trump: Shoot First, Aim Later?

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Trump evokes lots of anger. Some say, “Vote blue no matter who! There’s too much at stake to let the Republicans win!” I say there’s too much at stake to let the establishment win.

Trump evokes lots of anger. Some say, “Vote blue no matter who!  There’s too much at stake to let the Republicans win!”  I say there’s too much at stake to let the establishment win.

Some are angry with Trump, others are angry at Trump.  Either way, Trump evokes lots of anger.  Trump has claimed that Mexico sends its worst people into America, including rapists and drug dealers.  To be fair, he also said “…some, I assume, are good people.”  Trump’s views on Islam are far more disturbing.  He has called for shutting down mosques in the US, and banning Muslims from entering the country.  Some have tried to justify this by bringing up former President Carter’s temporary ban on Iranians during the hostage crisis.  It’s one thing to ban people from a particular country with whom we have hostility.  It’s another to ban an entire world religion, especially considering that some Muslims are native born American citizens.  How do you ban them?

Trump: Shoot First, Aim Later

I am deeply concerned that all of the anger he is able to invoke will cause large segments of the middle and working class population in America to vote against their own interest by simply voting for Hillary Clinton.  Trump, for all his faults, knows that we can’t continue to allow China to erode our manufacturing sector.  Though he may seem like a “shoot first, aim later” type, he also has enough sense not to get us tangled up in the Syrian civil war trying to attack both sides (The Assad regime and ISIS).  

Trump wants to focus on going after ISIS, while Clinton seems to think we should try to take out ISIS AND Assad.  Most of the political establishment wants to take out ISIS AND Assad.  You don’t go into the middle of a bloody civil war, and start attacking both sides.  If you must get involved, pick a side. Otherwise, instead of killing each other, they both kill you instead.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is the establishment.  She’s Dick Cheney in a pants suit.  She has a long history of supporting “free trade” agreements and her husband dealt a crippling blow to American manufacturing by “normalizing trade with China” in his last year in office.

On foreign policy, Clinton, like any Republican neocon, claims that ISIS exists because we didn’t take out Assad.   She seriously thinks that we can take out ISIS by attacking the very regime that is also fighting to take out ISIS?

The base of Trump’s support is highly emotional

The base of Trump’s support is highly emotional, and often dismissed as a bunch of narrow minded poorly educated whites who hate diversity.  Trump does appeal particularly to working class whites who have been feeling the shaft from the establishment for decades.  He also seems to have a sizeable portion of the black community supporting him, for many of the same reasons.  They are angry at career politicians, and they are angry that their job opportunities are diminishing.  As whites are losing their middle class status, blacks who were reaching so close for middle class status that they could feel it at the tip of their fingers have had it yanked away and sent to China.  Most of them haven’t considered the policy positions I’ve laid out above.  They vote for Trump with their hearts, not their heads.  But even if by pure chance, emotions have led many to the perfectly logical conclusion that Trump is preferable to the establishment, were there better choices?  Of course!  Jim Webb and Rand Paul, to name two.  But neither of them could have stirred the emotions of the masses like Trump, or Sanders.

We live in an era of congressional obstructionism

Let me break it down for you.  None of these candidates will get much of what they propose in domestic policy.  None of them.  We live in the era of congressional obstructionism.  Congress has learned that the people praise the president when things get done, and blame the president when they don’t.  Therefore, it is in the best interest of the opposite party in Congress to block anything and everything until they get 110% of what they want.

If Clinton becomes president, the only way she’ll get funding for whatever domestic programs she wants from Republicans (and remember, Republicans only need 41 out of 100 Senators to block everything via filibuster), is to give, give, and give.  I’m sure if she bloats the military budget by another $200 billion, slaps new sanctions on Iran and stations troops on their border, the Republicans will let a little birth control subsidy or two slip into an omnibus budget bill which will include massive tax cuts for Wall Street.  And Clinton will say, “See?  I’m a progressive who gets things done!”  Nothing will be done about job loss to SE Asia, and little to nothing will be done to curb risky behavior by the big banks.  

What would a Trump presidency look like?

A Trump Presidency would probably look more like this.  There will be no wall on the border of Mexico.  Yes, technically the President is already legally authorized to build a wall, but that cost bucks!  We ain’t got ‘em.  And Mexico is not going to build a wall for the US on their border.  Here’s the good news for you Trump supporters, if he wins…and for all of us who work for a living (including Sanders supporters and misguided Clintonites).  Even if Congress does nothing about trade, simply based on current trade agreements, Trump can enforce portions of these agreements against currency manipulation.  He can and will slap tariffs on China at least, if not many others who suck our jobs.  On foreign policy, there will be no ban on Muslims.  It’s blatantly unconstitutional and impossible to enforce. But here’s the good news.

Trump knows that ISIS is the enemy.  Not Assad, not Iran, and certainly not Russia.  He’ll be firm when negotiating with Iran, but he knows that we need to focus on ISIS.  While the establishment candidates seem to think we can take out all of the bad buys and democratize the world, Trump knows better.

Regarding racial minorities, Trump’s presidency would yield mixed results.  African Americans would likely benefit the most from Trump’s trade policies.  The claims that Trump is racist are based on his immigration policies, so unless we’re talking about undocumented Jamaicans, Haitians, or actual Africans, blacks in America need not worry.  On the subject of criminal justice reform, Trump’s policies may not be so favorable.  Trump is generally favorable to “law and order” and has made it very clear that he wants to fight drugs.  The “drug war” has been shown to disproportionately punish African Americans, while making it much more difficult for them to turn their lives around.  It’s hard for a former drug dealer to start a new life when he/she can’t get a job due to a criminal record.  For Hispanics, it clearly depends on their legal status.  Trump is unlikely to make it easier for even legal immigrants to achieve citizenship, much less the “undocumented”.  Hispanic American citizens, however, will likely reap the same benefits from Trump’s trade policies as working class blacks, whites and every other ethnicity for that matter.  

So, in short, I am not moved by Trump’s populism.  If the Democrats nominate Sanders, I’d choose Sanders over Trump.  Sanders can win, but it’s an uphill battle for him.  In the more likely “Clinton vs. Trump” scenario, I’ll take a reality show patriot over a “serious” candidate whose loyalty is with the international community, Wall Street, and the global banksters.  Some say, “Vote blue no matter who!  There’s too much at stake to let the Republicans win!”  I say there’s too much at stake to let the establishment win.    

 

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About the author

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is not talking politics, Richard is an aspiring novelist, and culinary hobbyist. Richard holds MSc from London School of Economics in Political Science.

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