Why the GOP Should Reconcile with Donald Trump


I am a non-ideological fiscal conservative. I don’t judge government as being either too large or too small.  I just want to pay for however much government we do have without going into debt.  Such an approach normally leads to political compromise whereby Congress tries to operate efficiently and hold costs down, only raising taxes as a last resort when it is impossible to squeeze any more low priority programs out of the system.
Such common sense used to be a fundamental operating principle, adhered to by both political parties.  Unfortunately in recent years we have moved away from this model.  In fact our public debt (on which we pay interest) has rapidly accumulated to $13 trillion, 74% of GDP, and will continue to grow much higher unless we strongly change our ways.
In some ways our current presidential campaign is following a conventional path.  Both of the major Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, want to expand federal programs and raise taxes to pay for the new spending.  The Republican Tea Party candidate, Ted Cruz, is a constitutional and social conservative and wants to cut back on government programs.  The leading Republican establishment candidate, Marco Rubio, supports modest new programs, such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and also modest tax reform to stimulate the economy.
Capture0The wild card in the presidential race is Donald Trump.  He is a secular populist with unconventional and even contradictory policy views.  He not only leads the Republican field in most polls, he is steadily pulling ahead.  He is doing all this by attracting huge support from working class white voters who have fallen away from the Democratic Party.  In other words, he is potentially expanding the Republican base and therefore should be taken very seriously.
Question. Can a fiscal conservative (who just wants to balance the budget!) but who also wants to address the very serious social problems in American society, support a Donald Trump candidacy for president?  I am struggling with this question.  Stay tuned!

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6 thoughts on “Why the GOP Should Reconcile with Donald Trump

  1. Jack,
    I hope you make your decision on more than your pocket book. A person’s general character and moral base will play a major role in any decision-making that he/she must decide. If I compare Trump to any of what our general consensus is about presidents, particularly those on a mountainside in South Dakota, I shudder. Sadly, those lower, white class voters that left the Democratic party in the 60s were reacting to LBJ’s Civil Rights legislation. Trump’s followers today have a similar position whether Democrat or Republican. So first, I ask what is your moral and political base that you may use to select your choice?

    Second, are there any other issues that you might consider besides seeking a balanced budget? Here, I am thinking of voter’s rights, selecting the next Supreme Court justice or justices and foreign policy decisions.

    Third, I am confused about the ‘non-ideological’ conservative. Don’t Conservatives have ideas or ideals about the way a society should be created?

    I do respect your directness.


    • As usual you ask questions which are very direct and difficult to answer. I’m very concerned about our huge debt, as you know. If that were the only issue that mattered to me, I perhaps would support Rand Paul because I think that he really is serious about over-spending and would make it a priority to cut back. But I think he has drawbacks in other areas that are also important. And, most of all, I think he’s fading in popularity and will probably soon drop out of the race.
      Many presidents have moral failings which may or may not affect their ability to get things done in office. Trump is crude and undignified but is addressing issues like immigration and foreign trade that affect the lives of ordinary working people. This is what I’m responding to and trying to sort out in my own mind.
      More later.

      • Jack,
        I think our dialogue is good for both of us.

        Conflicting positions merit close scrutiny. I suppose I am pretty ‘direct’ with my questions. I hope I am not offensive. The historic, British Conservative Edmund Burke who began in favor of the American and later French Revolution became terribly alarmed with the Reign of Terror in France and revised his more liberal tendencies to support the monarchies. He debated with the likes of Thomas Paine and others who sought major change and greater advantages for the entire citizenry. Burke left many ideas that have bolstered the ideas of the Conservatives to the Present. Those ideas center the ideology of Conservatism. In matters of the family I am very supportive of his ideals. I have a respect for order similar to that of Burke. However, I bring a very different viewpoint to his trust in authority.

        I forget the author of the quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I have a deep suspicion of anyone with authority. For instance, after the Civil War, the term ‘Master’ was challenged by white workers who worked for a master craftsmen or whomever. So, owners of wage laborers chose a new term, the ‘Boss”. Humorously or not, “Boss” is the word for master in Dutch. Obviously, the leopard’s spots are still present.

        In that light, I am most troubled how the government and the corporations have united with one another since WWII. Just as the conservative President Eisenhower, and George Washington for that matter, displayed some concern for the less ‘fortunates’. Both had a common fear of the military becoming too strong. Washington spoke of ‘entangling alliances’ in his Farewell Address; Eisenhower cautioned the public about the Military Industrial Complex. Those industrial complexes have spread to all corporate activities, as can be addressed with the TPP that is before Congress. So, I am suspicious of that support from both parties. Still, right now I see no one in the Republican leadership that I could feel any comfort. What troubles me most is the reactionary intent of the group Trump and Cruz are attracting. Immigration is a concern; however, the world problem of the refugees causes me greater concern. For immigration matters I think the guidepost should be the Statue of Liberty.

        As you know I could go on and on.

        Take care,

  2. I am impressed by your extensive historical knowledge, much greater than mine, even though I like history.
    Cruz is a complete Tea Party candidate and a social conservative as well. I agree with you that he is reactionary. But I don’t see Trump in the same light. He is appealing to the white working class who do have legitimate gripes about issues such as immigration and foreign trade (see my latest post). Both of these issues affect their livelihood. Trump’s appeal to this group will likely make the GOP more sensitive to their problems.
    There do need to be restrictions on immigration into the U.S. An Open Door policy worked 100 years ago but it won’t work today. We simply can’t take everybody who wants to come here.
    I also very much enjoy our exchange of views.

  3. Jack,
    I will respond briefly, for I am weary from shoveling snow and playing with the dogs.

    Yes, I have studied a lot of history. But mostly I am interested in the history of ideas. As a general rule, Americans are too lost in material things even the ones that control their time, i.e. the internet and video games. So much is, at best entertainment meaning that little is offered but brief pleasures. As the world expands with population, we have little choice, unless we wish to live in a police state, but to find room for more of the earth’s peoples.

    I don’t know how we are going to get beyond an imperial army. This issue will have to be put aside for tonight.


    • There are about 7 billion people in the world right now. Fortunately world population is expected to level off at about 9 billion by 2050. The U.S. is accepting about one million new immigrants per year by normal procedures. I’m in favor of increasing quotas for highly skilled and highly educated immigrants, because they will help increase economic growth. Also to limit immigration for the low skilled, in order to protect our own low wage workers.
      This may appear to be elitist, by favoring the high skilled over the low skilled, but it recognizes that low skill immigrants hold down wages for Americans at the lower end of the income scale. So it is addressing their concerns.

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