Trump’s Speech: Not Insane
Crime Is Increasing, Cops Are Being Killed, I’m Going to Stop That
I’m more with BLM, but this isn’t a surprising message. In fact, as he’s a Republican, I’d be shocked if he had not used it. (It’s also not true that crime is increasing, but that hasn’t stopped others from proposing hard-on-crime policies. And the perception of high crime is real, because of mass shootings and attacks on police.)
Illegal Immigrants are a Big Part of the Crime Wave, I’ll Deport Them
Immigrants commit less crime than native born Americans, but this isn’t that crazy; he’s just going to do more of what Obama and Bush did. The irony is, of course, that Obama has deported more immigrants than any US president of which I’m aware, but, hey, executing Republican policies doesn’t get you credit with Republicans if you’re a Democrat.
Stop Immigration from Countries Where Terrorists Might Originate
Okay. It’s not going to make much of a difference. But as a logical construct: “There are terrorists over there, we shouldn’t let them come here”, it’s not crazy. I disagree, America has some responsibility (okay, a lot of responsibility) for the refugee crisis, and if you broke it, you get to pick it up. But given how many countries are already refusing Syrian immigrants, this isn’t that far out.
He starts with African American poverty stats. He pivots to the fact that Obama is a failure for ordinary people, their wages are down, etc.
America has lost jobs because of trade and has an 800 billion dollar trade deficit. He’s going to fix that with bilateral trade deals. And an 800 billion trade deficit is a LOT of jobs. And, no, other countries aren’t going to stop selling to Americans.
This is not crazy. It is, in fact, sane.
He starts with Iran, and moves on to trade deals. He throws a bone to Israel, and so on. The Iran and Israel bits are crazy, but his rhetoric is no worse than Clinton’s. The Iran deal happened after Clinton was no longer secretary of state for a reason.
Attacking Hillary’s Record
I don’t agree with the entire laundry list, but the argument isn’t a bad one. Libya is in ruins, Syria is in ruins. The Iran nuclear weapons bit is a lie, but it’s one Democrats tell all the time.
And he’s completely right that if Clinton wasn’t so important, the way she handled her email would have destroyed her life. An ordinary person would not have skated on that.
He’s right in the uber argument too: Clinton is corrupt, beholden to various special interests, and to judge on her record in an actual position of power? Incompetent.
I Care for Americans
I’ve hugged this American and listened to that American’s tale of woe. I love you all and I’m going to look out for you.
Any politician who does not say this sort of thing is incompetent.
I am Part of the Corrupt System, but I Will Now Fight for You
Because I’m a billionaire, I know how the system works. But because I’m already rich, I owe nobody anything and I’ll work for Americans. A friend calls this the “sleazy version of FDR’s class traitor.” It’s a good argument, even if one doubts him.
I’ll fix crime by appointing the best people. I’ll fix the inner cities. (Sub Voce: I will care even for those who don’t vote for me.)
An End to Nation Building
Sorry, this is just the right policy. Especially since Libya and Iraq clearly illustrate the results of American “nation building” these days. While I supported the Arab Spring, its success or failure was no damn business of the US’s.
NATO Is Obsolete
People have been squealing about this, but Trump’s position is that Russia is not particularly a threat, terrorism is, and NATO does little against terrorism. He also notes that America foots most of the bill for NATO, while it is intended to protect others (for instance, if Russia does attack, it won’t be sending tanks into D.C.).
I think that the way NATO has been used for the last 20 years (Estonia? Estonia?) has made a nuclear war more likely, not less. Trump’s wrong about the purpose of NATO in a way (control of Europe), but I think Europeans will be better off without large American garrisons.
Bring the Troops Home
They cost less to keep at home.
Sorry, people, but it is way past time for most US overseas bases to be shut down. Sorry.
Immigration Is a Bad Idea Right Now
It can bring in terrorists when it is from countries which breed terrorists, and there aren’t enough good jobs for the people who are here already.
Practically his signature, not surprising it gets a call out.
I’m Going to Look after Americans FIRST
That’s the job description, people. That is not going to go across badly. If America can’t employ the people already in America, decreasing immigration until that is fixed is not insane. And it especially doesn’t look insane to the poor and working class who compete with immigrants for jobs.
The economics on this is dodgy, but the case can certainly be made (in England a BOE study found that immigration was decreasing wages for the poorest 20 percent).
Bring Back the Manufacturing Jobs
Covered above: Initiate bilateral trade deals to bring these jobs back. It’s not insane, despite what the neoliberals and economists who have given you the wonderful economy will say.
Cut Taxes and Regulations
I disagree, but this is a Republican nominee. And many Dems have said (and done) the same thing.
Fix the TSA
Ummm, any politician not for this is committing political malpractice. (Correction: Turns out the platform says this means not allowing unionization. Sigh.)
Allow Political Churches
I disagree, but he’s the Republican candidate. In any case, he just said he’ll fight for it, he’s unlikely to be able to do it except that he will tell the IRS to stop going after said churches, which was the status quo under Bush.
I Love You, I Love You, I Love You
“I grew up around regular people, even if I’m not one now, and I think you’re wonderful. Honest!” This is at least as believable as Clinton trying to pretend to like working class people. Slightly more, even, as with Trump it’s obvious that if they make him feel good about himself, he’ll like them.
Clinton Is the “More-of-the-Same Candidate,” I’m the “Candidate of Change.”
Whether you agree with Trump’s plans or not, if he follows through on even half of them, this is completely true.
My Concluding Remarks
Pundits have been screaming about the conflation of crime and terrorism, and wailing about his NATO remarks. I don’t like the first, and I actually agree about his NATO remarks, but I am not super worked-up about this.
“I’m going to super deport illegals” is not a radical idea. “I’m going to be tough on crime,” which I disagree with about 95 percent, is not a radical idea. Clinton’s husband was responsible for one of the toughest on crime bills ever passed in America.
Now, depending on how far it goes, Trump’s NATO policy could be radical, as could be bringing back troops to America. But it’s not a radical I necessarily disagree with, as noted above.
His trade policies: Well, these could go disastrously wrong, or could go brilliantly right. They’re certainly not stupid prima facie. But if you’re a working class or poor American, the status quo is not in your favor, period. You need a roll of the dice.
I don’t support Trump, nor do I support Clinton, but the demonization of Trump is off the scale. I very much doubt he is Hiter reborn. He actually seems less likely to start a nuclear war than his opponent. I despise some of his policies, but some of what he is proposing is not in the least nuts, it is just not acceptable to the guardians of the neoliberal status quo.
Trump’s positions are reasonably consistent.
Trump is a nativist populist authoritarian. He does not believe in the American Empire.
More on Trump later. And judge for yourself, read the transcript of Trump’s speech.
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