Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Friday, a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. Also in April, the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes.
Vladimir Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it.
Friday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work announced that 4,000 NATO troops, including two U.S. battalions, will be moved into Poland and the Baltic States, right on Russia’s border. “The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the border with a lot of troops,” says Work, who calls this “extraordinarily provocative behavior.”
But how are Russian troops deploying inside Russia “provocative,” while U.S. troops on Russia’s front porch are not? And before we ride this escalator up to a clash, we had best check our hole card.
Germany is to provide one of four battalions to be sent to the Baltic. But a Bertelsmann Foundation poll last week found that only 31 percent of Germans favor sending their troops to resist a Russian move in the Baltic States or Poland, while 57 percent oppose it, though the NATO treaty requires it.
Last year, a Pew poll found majorities in Italy and France also oppose military action against Russia if she moves into Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or Poland. If it comes to war in the Baltic, our European allies prefer that we Americans fight it.
Asked on his retirement as Army chief of staff what was the greatest strategic threat to the United States, Gen. Ray Odierno echoed Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, “I believe that Russia is.”
He mentioned threats to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine. Yet, when Gen. Odierno entered the service, all four were part of the Soviet Union, and no Cold War president ever thought any was worth a war.
The independence of the Baltic States was one of the great peace dividends after the Cold War. But when did that become so vital a U.S. interest we would go to war with Russia to guarantee it?
Putin may top the enemies list of the Beltway establishment, but we should try to see the world from his point of view.
When Ronald Reagan met Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik in 1986, Putin was in his mid-30s, and the Soviet Empire stretched from the Elbe to the Bering Strait and from the Arctic to Afghanistan. Russians were all over Africa and had penetrated the Caribbean and Central America. The Soviet Union was a global superpower that had attained strategic parity with the United States.
Now consider how the world has changed for Putin, and Russia.
By the time he turned 40, the Red Army had begun its Napoleonic retreat from Europe and his country had splintered into 15 nations. By the time he came to power, the USSR had lost one-third of its territory and half its population. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were gone.
The Black Sea, once a Soviet lake, now had on its north shore a pro-Western Ukraine, on its eastern shore a hostile Georgia, and on its western shore two former Warsaw Pact allies, Bulgaria and Romania, being taken into NATO.
For Russian warships in Leningrad, the trip out to the Atlantic now meant cruising past the coastline of eight NATO nations: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Great Britain.
Putin has seen NATO, despite solemn U.S. assurances given to Gorbachev, incorporate all of Eastern Europe that Russia had vacated, and three former republics of the USSR itself.
He now hears a clamor from American hawks to bring three more former Soviet republics—Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine—into a NATO alliance directed against Russia.
After persuading Kiev to join a Moscow-led economic union, Putin saw Ukraine’s pro-Russian government overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup. He has seen U.S.-funded “color-coded” revolutions try to dump over friendly regimes all across his “near abroad.”
“Russia has not accepted the hand of partnership,” says NATO commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, “but has chosen a path of belligerence.” But why should Putin see NATO’s inexorable eastward march as an extended “hand of partnership”?
Had we lost the Cold War and Russian spy planes began to patrol off Pensacola, Norfolk and San Diego, how would U.S. F-16 pilots have reacted? If we awoke to find Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and most of South America in a military alliance against us, welcoming Russian bases and troops, would we regard that as “the hand of partnership”?
We are reaping the understandable rage and resentment of the Russian people over how we exploited Moscow’s retreat from empire. Did we not ourselves slap aside the hand of Russian friendship, when proffered, when we chose to embrace our “unipolar moment,” to play the “great game” of empire and seek “benevolent global hegemony”?
If there is a second Cold War, did Russia really start it?
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Whether the establishment likes it or not, and it evidently does not, there is a revolution going on in America.
The old order in this capital city is on the way out, America is crossing a great divide, and there is no going back.
Donald Trump’s triumphant march to the nomination in Cleveland, virtually assured by his five-state sweep Tuesday, confirms it, as does his foreign policy address of Wednesday.
Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.” Right down the smokestack!
Gutsy and brazen it was to use that phrase, considering the demonization of the great anti-war movement of 1940-41, which was backed by the young patriots John F. Kennedy and his brother Joe, Gerald Ford and Sargent Shriver, and President Hoover and Alice Roosevelt.
Whether the issue is trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.
By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.
When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”
He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled.
Is he wrong here? How have all of these wars availed us? Where is the “New World Order” of which Bush I rhapsodized at the U.N.?
Can anyone argue that our interventions to overthrow regimes and erect democratic states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have succeeded and been worth the price we have paid in blood and treasure, and the devastation we have left in our wake?
George W. Bush declared that America’s goal would become “to end tyranny in our world.” An utterly utopian delusion, to which Trump retorts by recalling John Quincy Adams’ views on America: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”
We are “overextended,” he declared, “We must rebuild our military.” Our NATO allies have been freeloading for half a century. NAFTA was a lousy deal. In running up $4 trillion in trade surpluses since Bush I, the Chinese have been eating our lunch.
This may be rankest heresy to America’s elites, but Trump outlines a foreign policy past generations would have recognized as common sense: Look out for your own country and your own people first.
Instead of calling President Putin names, Trump says he would talk to the Russians to “end the cycle of hostility,” if he can.
“Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave,” sputtered Sen. Lindsey Graham, who quit the race to avoid a thrashing by the Donald in his home state of South Carolina.
But this writer served in Reagan’s White House, and the Gipper was always seeking a way to get the Russians to negotiate. He leapt at the chance for a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva and Reykjavik.
“Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”
Is that not an old and good Republican tradition?
Dwight Eisenhower ended the war in Korea and kept us out of any other. Richard Nixon ended the war in Vietnam, negotiated arms agreements with Moscow, and made an historic journey to open up Mao’s China.
Reagan used force three times in eight years. He put Marines in Lebanon, liberated Grenada and sent FB-111s over Tripoli to pay Col. Gadhafi back for bombing a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. troops.
Reagan later believed putting those Marines in Lebanon, where 241 were massacred, to be the worst mistake of his presidency.
Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East.
The New York Times headline declared that Trump’s speech was full of “Paradoxes,” adding, “Calls to Fortify Military and to Use It Less.”
But isn’t that what Reagan did? Conduct the greatest military buildup since Ike, then, from a position of strength, negotiate with Moscow a radical reduction in nuclear arms?
“We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump.
“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No more surrenders of sovereignty on the altars of “globalism.”
Is that not a definition of a patriotism that too many among our arrogant elites believe belongs to yesterday?
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
In a recent column Dennis Prager made an acute observation. “The vast majority of leading conservative writers … have a secular outlook on life. … They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.”
These secular conservatives may think that “America can survive the death of God and religion,” writes Prager, but they are wrong. And, indeed, the last half-century seems to bear him out.
A people’s religion, their faith, creates their culture, and their culture creates their civilization. And when faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, and the people begin to die. Is this not the recent history of the West?
Today, no great Western nation has a birthrate that will prevent the extinction of its native-born. By century’s end, other peoples and other cultures will have largely repopulated the Old Continent.
European Man seems destined to end like the 10 lost tribes of Israel—overrun, assimilated, and disappeared. And while the European peoples—Russians, Germans, Brits, Balts—shrink in number, the U.N. estimates that the population of Africa will double in 34 years to well over 2 billion people.
What happened to the West? As G. K. Chesterton wrote, when men cease to believe in God, they do not then believe in nothing, they believe in anything.
As European elites ceased to believe in Christianity, they began to convert to ideologies, to what Dr. Russell Kirk called “secular religions.” For a time, these secular religions—Marxism-Leninism, fascism, Nazism—captured the hearts and minds of millions. But almost all were among the gods that failed in the 20th century.
Now Western Man embraces the newer religions: egalitarianism, democratism, capitalism, feminism, One Worldism, environmentalism. These, too, give meaning to the lives of millions, but these, too, are inadequate substitutes for the faith that created the West.
For they lack what Christianity gave man—a cause not only to live for, and die for, but a moral code to live by, with the promise that, at the end a life so lived, would come eternal life. Islam, too, holds out that promise. Secularism, however, has nothing on offer to match that hope.
Looking back over the centuries, we see what faith has meant.
When, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the West embraced Christianity as a faith superior to all others, as its founder was the Son of God, the West went on to create modern civilization, and then went out and conquered most of the known world.
The truths America has taught the world, of an inherent human dignity and worth, and inviolable human rights, are traceable to a Christianity that teaches that every person is a child of God. Today, however, with Christianity virtually dead in Europe and slowly dying in America, Western culture grows debased and decadent, and Western civilization is in visible decline.
Rudyard Kipling prophesied all this in “Recessional”: “Far-called our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!”
All the Western empires are gone, and the children of once-subject peoples cross the Mediterranean to repopulate the mother countries, whose native-born have begun to age, shrink and die.
Since 1975, only two European nations, Muslim Albania and Iceland, have maintained a birthrate sufficient to keep their peoples alive. Given the shrinking populations inside Europe and the waves of immigrants rolling in from Africa and the Middle and Near East, an Islamic Europe seems to be in the cards before the end of the century.
Vladimir Putin, who witnessed the death of Marxism-Leninism up close, appears to understand the cruciality of Christianity to Mother Russia, and seeks to revive the Orthodox Church and write its moral code back into Russian law.
And what of America, “God’s country”?
With Christianity excommunicated from her schools and public life for two generations, and Old and New Testament teachings rejected as a basis of law, we have witnessed a startlingly steep social decline.
Since the 1960s, America has set new records for abortions, violent crimes, incarcerations, drug consumption. While HIV/AIDS did not appear until the 1980s, hundreds of thousands have perished from it, and millions now suffer from it and related diseases.
Forty percent of U.S. births are out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the illegitimacy rate is over 50 percent; for African-Americans, it’s over 70 percent. Test scores of U.S. high school students fall annually and approach parity with Third World countries. Suicide is a rising cause of death for middle-aged whites.
Secularism seems to have no answer to the question, “Why not?”
“How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure,” wrote Samuel Johnson. Secular conservatives may have remedies for some of America’s maladies. But, as Johnson observed, no secular politics can cure the sickness of the soul of the West—a lost faith that appears irretrievable.
In Samuel Eliot Morison’s The Oxford History of the American People, there is a single sentence about Harriet Tubman. “An illiterate field hand, (Tubman) not only escaped herself but returned repeatedly and guided more than 300 slaves to freedom.”
Morison, however, devotes most of five chapters to the greatest soldier-statesman in American history, save Washington, that pivotal figure between the Founding Fathers and the Civil War—Andrew Jackson.
Slashed by a British officer in the Revolution, and a POW at 14, the orphaned Jackson went west, rose to head up the Tennessee militia, crushed an Indian uprising at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, in the War of 1812, then was ordered to New Orleans to defend the threatened city. In one of the greatest victories in American history, memorialized in song, Jackson routed a British army and aborted a British scheme to seize New Orleans, close the Mississippi, and split the Union.
In 1818, ordered to clean out renegade Indians rampaging in Georgia, Jackson stormed into Florida, seized and hanged two British agitators, put the Spanish governor on a boat to Cuba, and claimed Florida for the USA. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams closed the deal. Florida was ours, and Jacksonville is among its great cities.
Though he ran first in popular and electoral votes in 1824, Jackson was denied the presidency by the “corrupt bargain” of Adams and Henry Clay, who got secretary of state. Jackson came back to win the presidency in 1828, recognized the Texas republic of his old subaltern Sam Houston, who had torn it from Mexico, and saw his vice president elected after his two terms.
He ended his life at his beloved Hermitage, pushing for the annexation of Texas and nomination of “dark horse” James K. Polk, who would seize the Southwest and California from Mexico and almost double the size of the Union.
Was Jackson responsible for the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears”? Yes. And Harry Truman did Hiroshima, and Winston Churchill did Dresden.
Great men are rarely good men, and Jackson was a Scots-Irish duelist, Indian fighter, and slave owner. But then, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were slave owners before him.
To remove his portrait from the front of the $20 bill, and replace it with Tubman’s, is affirmative action that approaches the absurd. Whatever one’s admiration for Tubman and her cause, she is not the figure in history Jackson was.
Indeed, if the fight against slavery is the greatest cause in our history, why not honor John Brown, hanged for his raid on Harper’s Ferry to start a revolution to free the slaves, after he butchered slave owners in “Bleeding Kansas”? John Brown was the real deal.
But replacing Jackson with Tubman is not the only change coming.
The back of the $5 bill will soon feature Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and opera singer Marian Anderson, who performed at the Lincoln Memorial after being kept out of segregated Constitution Hall in 1939. That act of race discrimination came during the second term of FDR, Eleanor’s husband and the liberal icon who named Klansman Hugo Black to the Supreme Court and put 110,000 Japanese into concentration camps.
And, lest we forget, while Abraham Lincoln remains on the front of the $5 bill, the war he launched cost 620,000 dead, and his beliefs in white supremacy and racial separatism were closer to those of David Duke than Dr. King.
Alexander Hamilton, the architect of the American economy, will stay on the $10 bill, due in part to the intervention of hip-hop artists from the popular musical, “Hamilton,” in New York. But Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, who fought for women’s suffrage, will be put on the back of the $10. While Anthony and Stanton appear in Morison’s history, Sojourner Truth does not.
Added up, while dishonoring Andrew Jackson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is putting on the U.S. currency six women—three white, three African-American—and King. No Catholics, no conservatives, no Hispanics, no white males were apparently even considered.
This is affirmative action raised to fanaticism, a celebration of President Obama’s views and values, and a recasting of our currency to make Obama’s constituents happy at the expense of America’s greatest heroes and historic truth. Leftist role models for American kids now take precedence over the history of our Republic in those we honor.
While King already has a holiday and monument in D.C., were the achievements of any of these six women remotely comparable to what the six men honored on our currency—Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jackson, President Grant, and Ben Franklin—achieved?
Whatever may be said for Eleanor Roosevelt, compared to her husband, she is an inconsequential figure in American history.
In the dystopian novel, 1984, Winston Smith labors in the Ministry of Truth, dropping down the “memory hole” stories that must be rewritten to re-indoctrinate the party and proles in the new history, as determined by Big Brother. Jack Lew would have fit right in there.
Donald Trump has brought out the largest crowds in the history of primaries. He has won the most victories, the most delegates, the most votes. He is poised to sweep three of the five largest states in the nation—New York, Pennsylvania, and California. If he does, and the nomination is taken from him, the Republican Party will be seen by the American people as a glorified Chinese tong.
Last week, Ted Cruz swept 34 delegates at the Colorado party convention. Attendees were not allowed to vote on whom they wanted as the party’s nominee. This weekend, Cruz shut out Trump in Wyoming the same way. What does this tell us? Cruz has a better “ground game.” His operatives work the system better. Ted Cruz is the king of small ball.
But having gone head-to-head in some 30 primaries and caucuses, Cruz has fallen millions of votes behind Trump, and will fall millions further behind after New York, Pennsylvania, and California. Cruz will soon join John Kasich in being mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination on the first ballot. His fallback strategy is to keep Trump just short of the 1,237 votes needed for victory on the first ballot, and then steal the nomination on the second.
How? Poaching and pilfering. In state after state, he is getting Cruz loyalists elected as Trump delegates. After casting an obligatory vote for Trump on the first ballot, the turncoats will go over the hill and vote for Cruz on the second ballot. Faithless delegates are preparing to switch to give Ted Cruz a nomination that he could not persuade Republican voters to confer upon him.
Like the 1919 World Series, the fix is in.
The rules are the rules, says Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus in defense of what went down in Colorado and Wyoming. Priebus is correct. The rules are the rules. But what is also true is that the rules have been and are being manipulated by party elites to frustrate the expressed will of a Republican electorate, and to impose a nominee other then the clear winner of the primaries.
Republican elites are engaged in a conspiracy to frustrate and overturn the democratic decision of the Republican electorate.
Prediction: If Trump sweeps the remaining major primaries, comes to Cleveland with millions more votes than any other candidate, and then has the nomination stolen from him, the Grand Old Party will be committing hara-kiri on worldwide TV.
This political race ranks among the most exciting in American history. Seventeen Republicans entered the lists last summer in what party officials hailed as “the strongest Republican field since 1980.”
Then Trump came down the escalator, took them on, and bested them all. Can Republican Party elites think they will be celebrated if they substitute their wants for the will of the voters?
A Cruz nomination would be like taking the gold medal away from the man who won it, and handing it to a runner-up. The GOP elites would be about as popular as those Olympic boxing judges in South Korea.
The deeper problem here is the refusal of party elites to realize that the world has changed. The Bush dynasty is done. Jeb Bush, the Prince of Wales, understands this. He will not be going to Cleveland. The primaries have starkly revealed that a new era is upon us.
Even the neocons, the dominant element among the 121 foreign policy experts who declared in an open letter that they will never work for a President Trump, testify to this. They see Trump’s victories as a repudiation of their legacy, and a Trump presidency as the end of their post-Cold War ascendancy. And given the disasters they have produced for America, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the nation would be well rid of them.
Indeed, Trump’s victories, and the energies he has unleashed, are due, not only to his outsized persona but to his issues. People believe Trump will secure the borders, halt the invasion, embrace tariff and trade policies to reduce imports, and restart the production of goods, Made in the USA, by and for Americans.
In his first inaugural, Woodrow Wilson said, “The success of a party means little except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.” Bush Republicans saw their “large and definite purpose” as creating a “New World Order” and “ending tyranny in our world.”
Trump seems to see repairing, rebuilding and restoring America to greatness as the “large and definite purpose” of the party he would lead. And a new emerging Republican majority seems to agree. If Trump had been routed, as first expected, then his message could rightly have been regarded as outside the mainstream. But Republican voters rallied to the issues he raised.
To either ignore the clear instructions of its electorate, or renounce their chosen messenger, would be for the Republican Party to forfeit its future, and cling to a discredited and dead past.
I am “not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” Donald Trump told the New York Times last weekend. “I like the expression.”
Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “We will not be ripped off anymore.”
Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments—especially NATO. For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.
This week, SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes carried no missiles or bombs. Message: What are you Americans doing here?
In the South China Sea, U.S. planes overfly, and U.S. warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing. In South Korea, U.S. forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to a North Korea that is testing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles that can reach the United States.
U.S. warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf. In January, a U.S. Navy skiff ran aground on an Iranian island. Iran let the 10 U.S. sailors go within 24 hours. But bellicose demands for U.S. retaliation had already begun.
Yet, in each of these regions, it is not U.S. vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam. And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.
And as we have no claim to rocks or reefs in the South China Sea—Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines do—why is this our quarrel? If these rocks and reefs are so vital they are worth risking a military clash with China, why not, instead, impose tariffs on Chinese goods? Let U.S. companies and consumers pay the price of battling Beijing, rather than U.S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen.
Let South Korea and Japan build up their forces to deal with the North, and put Beijing on notice: If China will not halt Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, South Korea and Japan will build their own nuclear deterrents. Half a century ago, Britain and France did.
Why must we forever deter and, if need be, fight North Korea?
And why is the defense of the Baltic republics and East Europe our responsibility, 5,000 miles away, not Germany’s, whose economy is far larger than that of Russia?
Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, U.S. presidents refused to take military action in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Poland. When Moscow intervened there, the U.S. did nothing. When did the independence of Eastern Europe become so vital an interest that we would now risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia to ensure it?
Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack upon any of 28 allied nations is to be regarded as an attack upon all. But is this the kind of blank check we should give Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, a few months back, ordered a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish territory for 15 seconds be shot down? Do we really want to leave to this erratic autocrat the ability to drag us into a war with Russia?
When Neville Chamberlain in 1939 handed a war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, who also had an exaggerated opinion of their own military power and prowess, how did that work out for the Brits?
America should not write off the Baltic Republics or Eastern Europe. But we should rule out any U.S.-Russian war in Eastern Europe and restrict a U.S. response to Russian actions there to the economic and diplomatic. For the one certain loser of a U.S.-Russian conflict in Eastern Europe—would be Eastern Europe.
As for Iran, the U.S. intelligence community, in 2007 and 2011, declared with high confidence that it had no nuclear weapons program. Since the Iran nuclear treaty was signed, 98 percent of Iran’s enriched uranium has been shipped out of the country; no more 20 percent enriched uranium is being produced; the Arak reactor that could have produced plutonium has been scuttled and reconfigured; and nuclear inspectors are crawling all over every facility.
Talk of Iran having a secret nuclear-bomb program and testing intercontinental missiles comes, unsurprisingly, from the same folks who assured us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The goal is the same: Stampede America into fighting another war, far away, against a nation they want to see smashed.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this country has been steadily bled and slowly bankrupted. We are now as overextended as was the British Empire in the 1940s.
And like that empire, we, too, are being challenged by nations that seek to enlarge their place in the sun—a resurrected Russia, China, Iran. And we are being bedeviled by fanatics who want us out of their part of the world, which they wish to remake according to the visions of their own faiths and ideologies.
Time for a reappraisal of all of the war guarantees this nation has issued since the beginning of the Cold War, to determine which, if any, still serve U.S. national interests in 2016. Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.
This is not isolationism. It is putting our country first, and staying out of other people’s wars. It used to be called patriotism.
In the race for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would seem to be in the catbird seat. He has won the most states, the most delegates and the most votes—by nearly two million. He has brought out the largest crowds and is poised for huge wins in the largest states of the East, New York and Pennsylvania.
Yet, there is a growing probability that the backroom boys will steal the nomination from him at a brokered convention in Cleveland.
Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump’s popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party’s nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.
In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot. The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections.
In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive—to thieve delegates for Cruz. “This is a crooked system, folks,” says Trump, “the system is rigged. … I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. … Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. … I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You’re going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don’t like what’s going on.”
Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.
“I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning,” said Trump in Rochester. “And then I see, he’s got no chance. They always say he’s got no chance. Why doesn’t he have a chance?
“Because the system is corrupt.”
Sanders seems to be shorted every time he wins a primary or caucus. And the insurmountable hurdle he faces was erected against folks like Sanders some time ago — the 700-plus superdelegates.
These are Democratic congressmen, senators, governors and Party officials. By more than 10-1, close to 500 of these superdelegates have lined up to back Hillary Clinton and stop Sanders. The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point—that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.
Richard Nixon’s 49-state triumph in 1972 cured the Democrats of their naive belief in democracy. Henceforth, the George McGoverns and Bernie Sanderses can run. But they will not be allowed to win.
Yet, since it is Trump and Sanders who have stirred the greatest passion and brought out the biggest crowds, if both are seen as having been cheated by insiders, then the American political system may suffer a setback similar to that caused by the “corrupt bargain” of 1824.
Andrew Jackson ran first in the popular vote and the Electoral College, but was short of victory. John Quincy Adams, who ran second, got Speaker Henry Clay to deliver the House of Representatives, and thus make Adams president. Clay became Adam’s secretary of state.
In 1828, Jackson got his revenge, winning the presidency. Clay would never make it. On his deathbed, Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.
While the turnout in the Democratic primaries and caucuses has not matched the Obama-Clinton race of 2008, Sanders has rallied the young and working class, turned out the biggest crowds and generated the greatest enthusiasm.
But on the Republican side, the Party has had the largest turnout in American history. And the reason is Trump. And if, after having won the most votes and delegates, Trump is seen as having been swindled out of a nomination he won, by intraparty scheming in Cleveland, the GOP could suffer a self-inflicted wound from which it might not recover.
Another matter that could prevent a return to national unity? The deepening split over trade and foreign policy, both between the parties, and within the parties.
Sanders, last week, was saying that what disqualifies Clinton as president is her support for free trade deals that gutted American industry and cost millions of jobs, and her support for an Iraq War that was among the costliest, bloodiest blunders in U.S. history. On both issues, Trump agrees with Sanders. Cruz, an uber-hawk and free trader, is more aligned with Clinton.
If the “America First” stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.
If Sanders and his revolution are sent packing in Philadelphia, and Trump is robbed in Cleveland of a nomination Americans believe he won, political disillusionment, and political realignment, may be at hand.
After winning only six delegates in Wisconsin, and with Ted Cruz poaching delegates in states he has won, like Louisiana, Donald Trump either wins on the first ballot at Cleveland, or Trump does not win.
Yet, as that huge, roaring reception he received in his first post-Wisconsin appearance in Bethpage, N.Y., testifies, the Donald remains not only the front-runner, but the most exciting figure in the race.
Moreover, after the New York, New England, mid-Atlantic and California primaries, Trump should be within striking distance of the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
He will then have to persuade uncommitted delegates to back him, and perhaps do a deal with one of the defeated candidates, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to win the remaining few needed to go over the top.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan, shy of the delegates he needed to defeat President Ford, offered second place on his ticket to Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate from Pennsylvania.
This brainstorm of Reagan campaign manager John Sears did not produce the required delegates, and Reagan received an envelope from a conservative Congressman with 30 dimes in it—30 pieces of silver.
Still, Reagan was right to roll the dice.
But assume Trump reaches 1,237 on the first ballot.
Would the GOP establishment accept his leadership, back his ticket, and help to bring together all the elements—nationalist, Tea Party, conservative and moderate—of a grand coalition to defeat Hillary Clinton?
Or would the establishment refuse to endorse Trump, ensure his defeat, and hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered party, as Govs. Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney assumed they would do after they deserted Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Prediction: If the GOP establishment does collude to steal the nomination from the candidate who has won the most states, most delegates and most votes, not only could the party be crushed in November, but that establishment could be discredited in perpetuity.
For those who have come out for Trump, and have given the GOP the largest turnouts of any party in a primary season in history, will not be give their allegiance to a Beltway elite that cheated them of the prize they had won.
Sullen and angry, they will be going home, not soon to return.
An establishment embrace of a rule-or-ruin course—Better to lose, than win with Trump!—seems irrational. But it is not irrational if one’s preeminence and position are the summum bonum of one’s political existence.
To avoid the Hobbesian choice—back Trump or abandon Trump—the establishment must block him from a first-ballot victory. And indispensable to the Anybody-But-Trump coalition is Ted Cruz, whom the establishment, if possible, detests even more than Trump.
One testament to the esteem in which Cruz is held is that only two of his 53 Senate GOP colleagues have endorsed him, and one of these, Lindsey Graham, did so as the lesser of two evils.
Here is the second peril for the GOP elites.
If Trump is stopped on the first ballot, the delegates who leave him on the second ballot may go to Cruz, and the stampede could be on.
Yet, it is hard to see how a Cruz nomination is better for the party than a Trump nomination.
For Cruz cannot win in Cleveland, unless the man with the most votes and delegates is deprived of a nomination to which he has a far stronger claim, if this country remains a democratic republic.
A Cruz victory in Cleveland would likely lead to the angry and bitter departure of the Trump delegates, and, in the fall, to a mass defection of the blue-collar, Middle-American Trump voters, especially above the Mason-Dixon line where Cruz is already weak.
The latest poll of Republicans in New York has Trump above 50 percent, with Cruz running third at 17 percent. Even in the South, which was to be Ted Cruz’s firewall, Trump beat him repeatedly.
And while Cruz can claim to be a more reliable conservative than Trump, how does that translate into electoral votes in the fall?
Is the Republican establishment, having been repudiated in the primaries in a historic turnout by the party base, now engaged in a willful act of self-deception?
Can that establishment believe it can rob Trump of a nomination he has all but won, then hold off a right-wing Cruz surge that would ensue, then trot out of the stable one of its own, Speaker Paul Ryan, crown him at the convention, and then win in November?
This is delusional. And what this tells us is, to borrow from The Gipper, that the Republican establishment is not the solution to the party’s problems; the Republican establishment is the problem.
While the GOP appears headed for a train wreck in Cleveland, the principal ingredients of a Republican victory and a Republican future will all be present there: Cruz conservatives and Tea Party types, Trumpite nationalists and populists, Rubio-Kasich-Bush centrists and moderates.
Political statesmanship could yet bring about unity, and victory.
Unfortunately, the smart money is on ego getting in the way.
As Wisconsinites head for the polls, our Beltway elites are almost giddy. For they foresee a Badger State bashing for Donald Trump, breaking his momentum toward the Republican nomination.
Should the Donald fall short of the delegates needed to win on the first ballot, 1,237, there is growing certitude that he will be stopped. First by Ted Cruz; then, perhaps, by someone acceptable to the establishment, which always likes to have two of its own in the race.
But this city of self-delusion should realize there is no going back for America. For, whatever his stumbles of the last two weeks, Trump has helped to unleash the mightiest force of the 21st century: nationalism.
Transnationalism and globalism are moribund.
First among the issues on which Trump has triumphed—”We will build the wall—and Mexico will pay for it!”—is border security. Republican candidates who failed to parrot Trump on illegal immigration were among the first casualties. For that is where America is, and that is where the West is.
Consider Europe. Four months ago, Angela Merkel was Time’s Person of the Year for throwing open the gates to the “huddled masses” of the Middle and Near East. Merkel’s Germany is now leading the EU in amassing a huge bribe to the Turks to please take them back, and keep them away from the Greek islands that are now Islam’s Ellis Island into Europe.
Africa’s population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. With 60 percent of Africans now under 25 years of age, millions will find their way to the Med to cross to the Old Continent where Europeans are aging, shrinking and dying. Look for gunboats in the Med.
If immigration is the first issue where Trump connected with the people, the second is trade. Republicans are at last learning that trade deficits do matter, that free trade is not free. The cost comes in dead factories, lost jobs, dying towns and the rising rage of an abandoned Middle America whose country this is and whose wages have stagnated for decades.
Economists who swoon over figures on consumption forget what America’s 19th-century meteoric rise to self-sufficiency teaches, and what all four presidents on Mount Rushmore understood.
Production comes before consumption. Who owns the orchard is more essential than who eats the apples. We have exported the economic independence that Hamilton taught was indispensable to our political independence. We have forgotten what made us great.
China, Japan, Germany—the second, third, and fourth largest economies on earth—all owe their prosperity to trade surpluses run for decades at the expense of the Americans.
A third casualty of Trumpism is the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus among liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. Trump subjects U.S. commitments to a cost-benefit analysis, as seen from the standpoint of cold national interest.
What do we get from continuing to carry the largest load of the defense of a rich Europe, against a Russia with one-fourth of Europe’s population?
How does Vladimir Putin, leader of a nation that in the last century lost its European and world empires and a third of its landmass, threaten us? Why must we take the lead in confronting and containing Putin in Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia? No vital U.S. interest is imperiled there, and Russia’s ties there are older and deeper than ours to Puerto Rico.
Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. Pacific Fleet to defend the claims of Hanoi, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Brunei, to rocks, reefs, and islets in the South China Sea—against the claims of China?
American hawks talk of facing down Beijing in the South and East China Seas while U.S. companies import so much in Chinese-made goods they are fully subsidizing Beijing’s military budget. Does this make sense?
Patriotism, preserving and protecting the unique character of our nation and people, economic nationalism, America First, staying out of other nation’s wars—these are as much the propellants of Trumpism as is the decline of the American working and middle class.
Trump’s presence in the race has produced the largest turnout ever in the primaries of either party. He has won the most votes, most delegates, most states. Wisconsin aside, he will likely come to Cleveland in that position.
If, through rules changes, subterfuge, and faithless delegates, party elites swindle him out of the nomination, do they think that the millions who came out to vote for Trump will go home and say: We lost it fair and square?
Do they think they can then go back to open borders, amnesty, a path to citizenship, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and nation building?
Whatever happens to Trump, the country has spoken. And if the establishment refuses to heed its voice, and returns to the policies the people have repudiated, it should take heed of John F. Kennedy’s warning:
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
The Wisconsin primary could be an axle-breaking speed bump on Donald Trump’s road to the nomination.
Ted Cruz, now the last hope to derail Trump of a desperate Beltway elite that lately loathed him, has taken the lead in the Badger State.
Millions in attack ads are being dumped on the Donald’s head by super PACs of GOP candidates, past and present. Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Cruz. Conservative talk radio is piling on Trump.
And the Donald just had the worst two weeks of his campaign.
There was that unseemly exchange with Cruz about their wives. Then came the pulling of the woman reporter’s arm by campaign chief Corey Lewandowski, an atrocity being likened by the media to the burning of Joan of Arc.
Then there was Trump’s suggestion, instantly withdrawn, that if abortion is outlawed, then women who undergo abortions may face some punishment.
This gaffe told us nothing we did not know. New to elective politics, Trump is less familiar with the ideological and issues terrain than those who live there. But the outrage of the elites is all fakery.
Democrats do not care a hoot about the right to life of unborn babies, even unto the ninth month of pregnancy. And the Republican establishment is grabbing any stick to beat Trump, not because he threatens the rights of women, but because he threatens them.
The establishment’s problem is that Trump refuses to take the saddle. Again and again, he has defied the dictates of political correctness that they designed to stifle debate and demonize dissent.
Trump has gotten away with his insubordination and shown, with his crowds, votes, and victories, that millions of alienated Americans detest the Washington establishment and relish his defiance.
Trump has denounced the trade treaties, from NAFTA to GATT to the WTO and MFN for China, that have de-industrialized America, imperil our sovereignty and independence, and cost millions of good jobs.
And who is responsible for the trade deals that sold out Middle America? “Free-trade” Republicans who signed on to “fast-track,” surrendered Congress’ rights to amend trade treaties, and buckle to every demand of the Business Roundtable.
The unstated premise of the Trump campaign is that some among the Fortune 500 companies are engaged in economic treason against America.
No wonder they hate him.
As for Trump’s call for an “America First” foreign policy, it threatens the rice bowls of those for whom imperial interventions are the reason for their existence.
If the primary goals of U.S. foreign policy become the avoidance of confrontations with great nuclear powers and staying out of unnecessary wars, who needs neocons?
Should Trump lose Wisconsin, he can recoup in New York on April 19, and the following week in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland.
Yet, a loss in Wisconsin would make Trump’s climb to a first-ballot nomination steeper.
Still, if Trump goes to Cleveland, having won the most votes, the most states and the most delegates, stealing the nomination from him would split the party worse than in 1964.
The GOP could be looking at a 1912, when ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, who won the most contested primaries, was rejected in favor of President Taft. Teddy walked out, ran on the “Bull Moose” ticket, beat Taft in the popular vote, and Woodrow Wilson was elected.
Cruz says the nomination of Trump would mean an “absolute trainwreck” in November. But, Cruz, 45, with a future in the party, would be foolish to walk out as a sore loser, as Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney did in 1964.
A Cruz rejection of a nominee Trump would mean the end of Cruz. The elites would hypocritically applaud Ted’s heroism, publicly bewail his passing, then happily bury and be rid of him.
Cruz, no fool, has to know this.
If the nomination is taken from Trump, who will be 70 in June, he has nothing to lose. And as “Julius Caesar” reminds us, “such men are dangerous.”
Trump and Cruz, though bitter enemies, are both despised by the establishment. Yet both have a mutual interest: insuring that one of them, and only one of them, wins the nomination. No one else.
And if they set aside grievances, and act together, they can block any establishment favorite from being imposed on the party, as was one-worlder Wendell Willkie, “the barefoot boy of Wall Street,” in 1940.
All Trump and Cruz need do is instruct their delegates to vote to retain Rule 40 from the 2012 convention. Rule 40 declares that no candidate can be placed in nomination who has failed to win a majority of the delegates in eight states.
Trump has already hit that mark. Cruz almost surely will. But no establishment favorite has a chance of reaching it.
With Cruz and Trump delegates voting to retain Rule 40, they can guarantee no Beltway favorite walks out of Cleveland as the nominee—and that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump does.
No matter who wins in Cleveland, the establishment must lose.
I am “not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,'” Donald Trump told the New York Times last weekend. “I like the expression.”
Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “We will not be ripped off anymore.”
Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments—especially NATO. For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.
The first NATO supreme commander, Gen. Eisenhower, said in February 1951 of the alliance: “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.”
As JFK biographer Richard Reeves relates, President Eisenhower, a decade later, admonished the president-elect on NATO. “Eisenhower told his successor it was time to start bringing the troops home from Europe. ‘America is carrying far more than her share of free world defense,’ he said. It was time for other nations of NATO to take on more of the costs of their own defense.”
No Cold War president followed Ike’s counsel. But when the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 nations, a new debate erupted.
The conservative coalition that had united in the Cold War fractured. Some of us argued that when the Russian troops went home from Europe, the American troops should come home from Europe.
Time for a populous prosperous Europe to start defending itself. Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began handing out NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees, to all ex-Warsaw Pact nations and even Baltic republics that had been part of the Soviet Union.
In a historically provocative act, the U.S. moved its “red line” for war with Russia from the Elbe River in Germany to the Estonian-Russian border, a few miles from St. Petersburg. We declared to the world that should Russia seek to restore its hegemony over any part of its old empire in Europe, she would be at war with the United States.
No Cold War president ever considered issuing a war guarantee of this magnitude, putting our homeland at risk of nuclear war, to defend Latvia and Estonia.
Recall. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956. Lyndon Johnson did not lift a hand to save the Czechs, when Warsaw Pact armies crushed “Prague Spring” in 1968. Reagan refused to intervene when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, on Moscow’s orders, smashed Solidarity in 1981.
These presidents put America first. All would have rejoiced in the liberation of Eastern Europe. But none would have committed us to war with a nuclear-armed nation like Russia to guarantee it.
Yet, here was George W. Bush declaring that any Russian move against Latvia or Estonia meant war with the United States. John McCain wanted to extend U.S. war guarantees to Georgia and Ukraine. This was madness born of hubris. And among those who warned against moving NATO onto Russia’s front porch was America’s greatest geostrategist, the author of containment, George Kennan:
Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era. Such a decision may be expected to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.
Kennan was proven right. By refusing to treat Russia as we treated other nations that repudiated Leninism, we created the Russia we feared, a rearming nation bristling with resentment.
The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.
While Trump is focusing on how America is bearing too much of the cost of defending Europe, it is the risks we are taking that are paramount, risks no Cold War president ever dared to take.
Why should America fight Russia over who rules in the Baltic States or Romania and Bulgaria? When did the sovereignty of these nations become interests so vital we would risk a military clash with Moscow that could escalate into nuclear war? Why are we still committed to fight for scores of nations on five continents?
Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared around 1991.
He is suggesting a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S. vital interests are imperiled. And when we agree to defend other nations, they will bear a full share of the cost of their own defense. The era of the free rider is over.
Trump’s phrase, “America First!” has a nice ring to it.
“We are not at war with Islam,” said John Kasich after the Brussels massacre, “We’re at war with radical Islam.” Kasich’s point raises a question: Does the Islamic faith in any way sanction or condone what those suicide bombers did?
For surely the brothers and their accomplice who ignited the bombs in the airport and set off the explosion on the subway did not do so believing they were blasting themselves to hell for all eternity. One has to assume they hoped to be martyrs to their faith if they slaughtered infidels to terrify and expel such as these from the Islamic world and advance the coming of the caliphate of which the Prophet preached.
And where might they have gotten such ideas?
Kasich’s word, radical, comes from the Latin “radix,” or root. And if one returns to the roots of Islam, to the Quran, does one find condemnation of what the brothers did—or justification?
Andrew McCarthy was the prosecutor of the “Blind Sheikh” whose terrorist cell tried to bring down a World Trade Center tower in 1993, and plotted bombings in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. The U.S. government depicted the sheikh as a wanton killer who distorted the teachings of his faith.
Yet, McCarthy discovered that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was no imposter-imam, but “a globally renowned scholar—a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence who graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning for over a millennium.” Seeking to expose the sheikh as a fraud who had led his gullible followers into terrorism, against the tenets of their faith, McCarthy discovered that “Abdel Rahman was not lying about Islam.”
When he said the scriptures command that Muslims strike terror into the hearts of Islam’s enemies, the scriptures backed him up. When he said Allah enjoined all Muslims to wage jihad until Islamic law was established throughout the world, the scriptures backed him up.
“[T]he Blind Sheikh’s summons to Islam was rooted in a coherent interpretation of Islamic doctrine. He was not perverting Islam,” writes McCarthy in the Hillsdale College letter Imprimis. McCarthy goes on:
Islam is not a religion of peace. … Verses such as ‘Fight those who believe not in Allah,’ and ‘Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war’ are not peaceful injunctions….
In its formative first century, Islam conquered the Middle and Near East, North Africa and Spain with sword and slaughter, not persuasion and conversion.
Undeniably, there are millions of Muslims in America who love this country and have served it in every walk of life, from cops, firemen and soldiers, to doctors, scholars and clergy. Yet when “moderate, peaceful Muslims” were called to testify as defense witnesses, says McCarthy, they could not contradict the Blind Sheikh’s claim that he had correctly interpreted the Quran.
The questions that arise are crucial.
When we call Islam a “religion of peace,” are we projecting our own hopes? Are we deceiving ourselves? Are the Muslims we respect, admire and like, as friends and patriots, assimilated and “Americanized” Muslims who have drifted away from, set aside, or rejected many core beliefs of the Quran and root teachings of their own faith?
Are they simply secularized Muslims?
When the Afghan regime we installed sought to cut off the head of a Christian convert, was that un-Islamic? Or does Islam teach that this is the way to deal with apostates? Is the hate spewing forth from the Ayatollah toward Americans and Jews un-Islamic? Is the Saudis’ cutting off of heads and hands of adulterers and thieves and suppressing of women un-Islamic? Or is that what the Quran actually teaches?
Have the Islamists of al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq—who daily die fighting in the name of Islam—misread their sacred texts? Are they all heretics who fail to understand the peaceful and loving character of their Islamic faith?
Or is the West deluding itself? Is it possible we are the ones misreading the sacred books of Islam and what the triumph of Islam would mean for our civilization—because we lack the courage to face the truth and do what is necessary to avoid our fate?
Islam is rising again. Of its 1.6 billion adherents worldwide, many are returning to the roots of their faith, seeking to live their lives as commanded by the Prophet, the Quran, and Sharia.
Western survival would seem to dictate a halt to all immigration from lands where this deadly virus we call “radical Islam”—with which Kasich concedes we are at war—is rampant, just as we would halt immigration from lands where the bubonic plague was rampant.
That would surely contradict the cherished beliefs of Western liberals. But, then, as James Burnham reminded us, “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”
“Things reveal themselves passing away,” wrote W. B. Yeats.
Whatever one may think of Donald Trump, his campaign has done us a service—exposing the underbelly of a decaying establishment whose repudiation by America’s silent majority is long overdue.
According to the New York Times, super PACs of Trump’s GOP rivals, including PACs of candidates who have dropped out, are raising and spending millions to destroy the probable nominee. Goals of the anti-Trump conspirators: Manipulate the rules and steal the nomination at Cleveland. Failing that, pull out all the stops and torpedo any Trump-led ticket in the fall. Then blame Trump and his followers for the defeat, pick up the pieces, and posture as saviors of the party they betrayed.
This is vindictiveness of a high order. It brings to mind the fable of the “The Dog in the Manger,” the tale of the snarling cur that, out of pure malice, kept the hungry oxen from the straw they needed to eat.
Last week came reports on another closed conclave of the “Never Trump” cabal at the Army and Navy Club in D.C. Apparently, William Kristol circulated a memo detailing how to rob Trump of the nomination, even if he finishes first in states, votes, and delegates.
Should Trump win on the first ballot, Kristol’s fallback position is to create a third party and recruit a conservative to run as its nominee. Purpose: Have this rump party siphon off enough conservative votes to sink Trump and give the presidency to Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose policies are more congenial to the neocons and Kristol’s Weekly Standard.
Among the candidates Kristol is reportedly proposing are ex-Governor Rick Perry of Texas and former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, both respected conservatives.
Kristol contends a third-party conservative candidate can win. He can’t be serious. It is absurd to think Gov. Perry, whose poll numbers were so low that he dropped out of the race last September without winning a single primary, caucus, or even a delegate, could capture the White House on a third-party ticket.
Perry would not even be assured of winning his home state. Trump and Perry would split the conservative vote in the Lone Star State and deliver its 36 electoral votes to Clinton, thus assuring a second Clinton presidency. Does Perry want that as his legacy?
As for Coburn, he is not nationally known. But his name on the ballot would take votes, one-for-one, from the Republican nominee. How would that advance the causes for which Tom Coburn has devoted all of his public life?
Indeed, if the supreme imperative for Kristol and the “Never Trump” conservatives is to defeat him, they have become de facto allies of George Soros and MoveOn.org, Black Lives Matter, and Occupy Wall Street—and the party of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton.
However, if the oligarchs, neocons, and Trump-loathers, having failed to stop him in Cleveland, collude to destroy the GOP ticket in the fall, they have a chance of succeeding. And Clinton’s super PACs would surely be delighted to contribute to that cause. But, again, what will they have accomplished?
Do they think that Republicans who stay loyal to the ticket will not see them for the selfish, rule-or-ruin, wrecking crew they have become? Do they think that if a Trump-led ticket is defeated, they will be restored to the positions of power and preeminence that a majority of their fellow Republicans have voted to strip away from them?
The Beltway has to come to terms with reality. It has not only lost the country; it has lost the party. It is not only these elites themselves who have been repudiated; it is their ideas and their agenda.
The American people want their borders secured, the invasion stopped, the manufacturing plants brought back and an end to the conscription of our best and bravest to fight wars dreamed up in the tax-exempt think tanks of neoconservatives.
Trump is winning because he speaks for the people. Look at those crowds.
Establishment pundits are now wailing that they have gotten the message, that they understand that they have not been listening. But still, they refuse to act on this recognition.
In June of 1978, Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who had fought tirelessly against Proposition 13, which would slash property taxes across California, did a U-turn when it passed in a landslide. And Brown himself implemented the tax cuts he had opposed. He got the message and acted on it. One sees none of this flexibility in the Beltway establishment, none of this acceptance of the new realities, only obduracy.
Donald Trump is only the messenger.
If these conservative defectors from a ticket led by Trump collude with Democrats, by running a third party candidate to siphon off Trump’s votes, they may succeed. But they delude themselves if they think they will have solved the problem of their own irrelevance, or that they have a future.
The party will survive. They won’t.
“If his poll numbers hold, Trump will be there six months from now when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four, and he will likely be in the finals.” My prediction, in July of 2015, looks pretty good right now.
Herewith, a second prediction. Republican wailing over his prospective nomination aside, Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton like a drum in November.
Indeed, only the fear that Trump can win explains the hysteria in this city. Here is the Washington Post of March 18: “As a moral question it is straightforward. The mission of any responsible Republican should be to block a Trump nomination and election.”
The Orwellian headline over that editorial: “To defend our democracy, the GOP must aim for a brokered convention.” Beautiful. Defending democracy requires Republicans to cancel the democratic decision of the largest voter turnout of any primaries in American history. And this is now a moral imperative for Republicans.
Like the Third World leaders it lectures, the Post celebrates democracy—so long as the voters get it right. Whatever one may think of the Donald, he has exposed not only how far out of touch our political elites are, but how insular is the audience that listens to our media elite.
Understandably, Trump’s rivals were hesitant to take him on, seeing the number he did on “little Marco,” “low energy” Jeb, and “Lyin’ Ted.” But the Big Media—the Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times—have been relentless and ruthless.
Yet Trump’s strength with voters seemed to grow, pari passu, with the savagery of their attacks. As for National Review, The Weekly Standard and the accredited conservative columnists of the big op-ed pages, their hostility to Trump seems to rise, commensurate with Trump’s rising polls.
As the Wizard of Oz was exposed as a little man behind a curtain with a big megaphone, our media establishment is unlikely ever again to be seen as formidable as it once was.
And the GOP? Those Republicans who assert that a Trump nomination would be a moral stain, a scarlet letter, the death of the party, they are most likely describing what a Trump nomination would mean to their own ideologies and interests.
Barry Goldwater lost 44 states in 1964, and the GOP fell to less than a third of Congress. “The Republican Party is dead,” wailed the Rockefeller wing. Actually, it wasn’t. Only the Rockefeller wing was dead.
After the great Yellowstone fire in the summer of ’88, the spring of ’89 produced astonishing green growth everywhere. 1964 was the Yellowstone fire of the GOP, burning up a million acres of dead wood, preparing the path for party renewal. Renewal often follows rebellion.
Republican strength today, on Capitol Hill and in state offices, is at levels unseen since Calvin Coolidge. Turnout in the GOP primaries has been running at levels unseen in American history, while turnout in the Democratic primaries is below what it was in the Obama-Clinton race of 2008.
This opportunity for Republicans should be a cause for rejoicing, not all this weeping and gnashing of teeth. If the party in Cleveland can bring together the Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich forces, the White House, Supreme Court, and Congress are all within reach.
Consider. Clinton was beaten by Bernie Sanders in Michigan, and pressed in Ohio and Illinois, on her support for NAFTA and the trade deals of the Clinton-Bush-Obama era that eviscerated American manufacturing and led to the loss of millions of factory jobs and the stagnation of wages.
Sanders’ issues are Trump’s issues.
A Trump campaign across the industrial Midwest, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey featuring attacks on Hillary Clinton’s support for NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China—and her backing of amnesty and citizenship for illegal immigrants, and for the Iraq and Libyan debacles—is a winning hand.
Lately, 116 architects and subcontractors of the Bush I and II foreign policy took their own version of the Oxford Oath. They will not vote for, nor serve in a Trump administration. Talking heads are bobbing up on cable TV to declare that if Trump is nominee, they will not vote for him and may vote for Clinton.
This is not unwelcome news. Let them go.
Their departure testifies that Trump is offering something new and different from the foreign policy failures this crowd did so much to produce. The worst mistake Trump could make would be to tailor his winning positions on trade, immigration, and intervention—to court such losers.
While Trump should reach out to the defeated establishment of the party, he cannot compromise the issues that brought him where he is, or embrace the failed policies that establishment produced. This would be throwing away his aces.
The Trump campaign is not a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. It is a rebellion of shareholders who are voting to throw out the corporate officers and board of directors that ran the company into the ground.
Only the company here is our country.
Friday evening’s Donald Trump rally in Chicago was broken up by a foul-mouthed mob that infiltrated the hall and forced the cancelation of the event to prevent violence and bloodshed.
Brownshirt tactics worked. The mob, triumphant, rejoiced.
And the reaction of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich?
All three Republican rivals blamed—Donald Trump.
With his “dangerous style of leadership,” Trump stokes this anger, mewed Rubio, “This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of bitterness and anger and frustration.”
Rubio implies that if Trump doesn’t tone down his remarks to pacify the rabble, he will be responsible for the violence visited upon him.
Kasich echoed Rubio: “Donald Trump has created a toxic environment (that) has allowed his supporters and those who sometimes seek confrontation to come together in violence.”
But were the thousands of Trump supporters who came out to cheer him that night really looking for a fight? Or were they exercising their right of peaceful assembly?
Cruz charged Trump with “creating an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discord,” thus offering absolution to the mob.
Friday night cried out for moral clarity. What we got from Trump’s rivals was moral mush that called to mind JFK’s favorite quote from Dante: The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
As news outlets have reported, Friday’s disruption at the University of Illinois-Chicago auditorium was a preplanned assault.
Behind it were the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Hispanics hoisting Mexican flags and cop-haters carrying filthy signs to show their contempt for police.
People for Bernie, a pro-Sanders outfit, tweeted, “[This] wasn’t just luck. It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work.”
Now, Sanders did not order this assault on the civil rights of Trump supporters. But MoveOn.org has endorsed him and “Bernie” signs and T-shirts were everywhere among the disrupters. Hence, he has a duty to disavow this conduct and those who engaged in it.
If Sanders refuses, he condones it, and is morally complicit.
Can one imagine how the media would pile on Trump if working-class white males in Trump T-shirts invaded a Hillary Clinton rally and shut it down?
Can one imagine how the networks and cable TV channels that host town halls with the candidates would react if hell-raisers snuck into their audiences and shouted obscenities during discussions?
The keening over the First Amendment would not cease for weeks.
Some of us have been here before, and know how this ends.
When the urban riots broke out in the ’60s, Hubert Humphrey declared that, if he lived in a ghetto, “I could lead a pretty good riot myself.”
At his 1968 convention in Chicago, radicals baited and provoked the cops in the front of the Conrad Hilton, and as this writer watched, their patience exhausted after days of abuse, Chicago’s finest tore into the mob and delivered some street justice.
“Richard Nixon,” wrote Hunter S. Thompson, “is living in the White House today because of what happened that night in Chicago.”
Hunter got that one right.
That fall, Humphrey was daily assailed by the kinds of haters now disrupting Trump rallies. Everywhere he went, they chanted, “Dump the Hump!” At times, Humphrey came close to tears.
That fall, Humphrey realized the monster he helped nurture.
My tormentors, he said, are “not just hecklers, but highly disciplined, well-organized agitators … some of them are anarchists, and some of these groups are destroying the Democratic Party and destroying this country.”
In 1970, when President Nixon sent U.S. troops into Cambodia to clean out Viet Cong sanctuaries, and students rioted, Ronald Reagan called them “cowardly fascists,” and declared, “If there’s going to be a bloodbath, let it begin here.”
Not much Cruz-Rubio-Kasich equivocating there.
When radicals stomped down Wall Street desecrating Old Glory, construction workers came down from the building sites they were working and whaled on them.
Union president Peter J. Brennan was soon in the Oval Office—and in Nixon’s Cabinet. “Secretary Bunker,” we called him.
Prediction. Given their “victory” in Chicago, MoveOn.org and its allied nasties will try to replicate it, again and again. And as Americans came to despise the ’60s radicals, they will come to despise them.
And, as in the 1960s, the country will take a turn—to the right.
America has changed from the land we grew up in. But she is not yet ready to allow ugly mobs screaming obscenities at Trump and his folks inside and outside that hall in Chicago, or their paragons like socialist senator Bernie Sanders, to take over the country.
Those raising hell in the street in Chicago and that convention hall are unfit to be citizens of this democratic republic.
For as Edmund Burke reminded us, “Men of intemperate minds can never be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Napster’s Sean Parker, Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, and other members of the super-rich were jetting in to the exclusive Georgia resort, ostensibly to participate in the annual World Forum of the American Enterprise Institute.
Among the advertised topics of discussion: “Millennials: How Much Do They Matter and What Do They Want?”
That was the cover story.
As revealed by the Huffington Post, Sea Island last weekend was host to a secret conclave at the Cloisters where oligarchs colluded with Beltway elites to reverse the democratic decisions of millions of voters and abort the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Among the journalists at Sea Island were Rich Lowry of National Review, which just devoted an entire issue to the topic: “Against Trump,” and Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the Trumphobic New York Times.
Bush guru Karl Rove of Fox News was on hand, as were Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, dispatched by Trump in New Hampshire and a berserker on the subject of the Donald.
So, too, was William Kristol, editor of the rabidly anti-Trump Weekly Standard, who reported back to comrades: “The key task now, to … paraphrase Karl Marx, is less to understand Trump than to stop him.”
Kristol earlier tweeted that the Sea Island conclave is “off the record, so please do consider my tweets from there off the record.”
Redeeming itself for relegating Trump to its entertainment pages, the Huffington Post did the nation a service in lifting the rug on “something rotten in the state.”
What we see at Sea Island is that, despite all their babble about bringing the blessings of “democracy” to the world’s benighted, AEI, Neocon Central, believes less in democracy than in perpetual control of the American nation by the ruling Beltway elites.
If an outsider like Trump imperils that control, democracy be damned. The elites will come together to bring him down, because, behind party ties, they are soul brothers in the pursuit of power.
Something else was revealed by the Huffington Post—a deeply embedded corruption that permeates this capital city.
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a 501(c)(3) under IRS rules, an organization exempt from U.S. taxation.
Million-dollar corporate contributions to AEI are tax-deductible.
This special privilege, this freedom from taxation, is accorded to organizations established for purposes such as “religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary … or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.”
What the co-conspirators of Sea Island were up to at the Cloisters was about as religious as what the Bolsheviks at that girls school known as the Smolny Institute were up to in Petrograd in 1917.
From what has been reported, it would not be extreme to say this was a conspiracy of oligarchs, War Party neocons, and face-card Republicans to reverse the results of the primaries and impose upon the party, against its expressed will, a nominee responsive to the elites’ agenda.
And this taxpayer-subsidized “Dump Trump” camarilla raises even larger issues.
Now America is not Russia or Egypt or China.
But all those countries are now moving purposefully to expose U.S. ties to nongovernmental organizations set up and operating in their capital cities.
Many of those NGOs have had funds funneled to them from U.S. agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy, which has backed “color-coded revolutions” credited with dumping over regimes in Serbia, Ukraine, and Georgia.
In the early 1950s, in Iran and Guatemala, the CIA of the Dulles brothers did this work.
Whatever ones thinks of Vladimir Putin, can anyone blame him for not wanting U.S. agencies backing NGOs in Moscow, whose unstated goal is to see him and his regime overthrown?
And whatever one thinks of NED and its subsidiaries, it is time Americans took a hard look at the tax-exempt foundations, think tanks and public policy institutes operating in our capital city.
How many are like AEI, scheming to predetermine the outcome of presidential elections while enjoying tax exemptions and posturing as benign assemblages of disinterested scholars and seekers of truth?
How many of these tax-exempt think tanks are fronts and propaganda organs of transnational corporations that are sustained with tax-deductible dollars, until their “resident scholars” can move into government offices and do the work for which they have been paid handsomely in advance?
How many of these think tanks take foreign money to advance the interests of foreign regimes in America’s capital?
We talk about the “deep state” in Turkey and Egypt, the unseen regimes that exist beneath the public regime and rule the nation no matter the president or prime minister.
What about the “deep state” that rules us, of which we caught a glimpse at Sea Island?
A diligent legislature of a democratic republic would have long since dragged America’s deep state out into the sunlight.
Narrow victories in the Kentucky caucuses and the Louisiana primary, the largest states decided on Saturday, have moved Donald Trump one step nearer to the nomination.
Primaries in Michigan, Mississippi, and Idaho on March 8, and in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina on March 15, may prove decisive. If Marco Rubio does not win his home state of Florida, he is cooked, as is Gov. John Kasich if he does not win Ohio.
Ted Cruz already looks to be the last man between Trump and a GOP nomination that has gone, in the last seven elections, to George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
All five of those nominees since 1988 seem appalled by Trump’s triumphs, and only slightly less so by the Cruz alternative.
Not in memory has the leadership of a party been so out of touch. The Republican rank and file are in revolt, not only against the failures of their fathers but the policies of their present rulers.
Some among the GOP elites, who have waited patiently through the Obama era to recapture control of U.S. foreign policy, are now beside themselves with despair over Trump’s success.
Fully 116 members of the GOP’s national-security community, many of them veterans of Bush administrations, have signed an open letter threatening that, if Trump is nominated, they will all desert, and some will defect—to Hillary Clinton!
“Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,” says Eliot Cohen of the Bush II State Department. According to Politico‘s Michael Crowley, Cohen helped line up neocons to sign the “Dump-Trump” manifesto.
Another signer, Robert Kagan, wailed in The Washington Post, “The only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Are they serious?
Victory for Clinton would mean her remaking the Supreme Court, killing all chances that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, or that we could get another justice like Antonin Scalia before 2021.
What are these renegades and turncoats so anguished about?
Trump calls the Iraq War many of them championed an historic blunder. Trump says that, while a supporter of Israel, he would be a “neutral” honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians in peace negotiations, as was Jimmy Carter at Camp David.
Trump says he would “get along very well” with Vladimir Putin, as Richard Nixon got along with Leonid Brezhnev and Mao Zedong.
Trump would launch no new crusades for democracy. He would not oppose Russia bombing ISIS. He would build that wall on the border. He would transfer from U.S. taxpayers to rich allies more of the cost of defending themselves.
Do not most Americans agree with much of this?
Yet this neocon ultimatum about deserting should the voters nominate Trump testifies eloquently to their loyalty.
With every ex-president and ex-nominee repudiating Trump, and foreign policy elites going rogue, the GOP hierarchy is saying: We will cut Trump dead, just as the Rockefeller-Romney crowd cut Barry Goldwater dead.
This is pure my-way-or-the-highway politics.
But it raises anew the question: Can the establishment stop Trump?
Answer: It is possible, and we shall know by midnight, March 15. If Trump loses Florida and Ohio, winner-take-all primaries, he would likely fall short of the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination on the first ballot.
How could the anti-Trump forces defeat him in Ohio, Florida and Illinois? With the same tactics used to shrink Trump’s victory margins in Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky to well below what polls had predicted.
In every primary upcoming, Trump is under a ceaseless barrage of attack ads on radio, TV, cable and social media, paid for by super PACs with hoards of cash funneled in by oligarchs.
But Trump, who is self-funding his campaign, has spent next to nothing on ads answering these attacks, or promoting himself or his issues. He has relied almost exclusively on free media.
Yet no amount of free media can match the shellfire falling on him every hour of every day in every primary state.
Our Principles PAC, backed by Nebraska’s billionaire Ricketts family, has poured millions into trashing Trump. American Future Fund is dumping $1.75 million in Florida this week; Club for Growth $1.5 million.
Hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer is backing the Conservative Solutions PAC, which has dumped millions into anti-Trump ads and plans to spend more than $7 million between March 1 and 15, with $4 million of that going into Florida. The super PAC pile-on is unprecedented.
How well Trump fares in Michigan and Mississippi, measured against how well he was doing in polls last week, will reveal just how successful super-PAC savagery has been in changing hearts and minds.
Can millionaires and billionaires who back open borders, mass immigration, globalization and the disappearance of nation states into transnational collectives overwhelm with their millions spent in ads the patriotic movements that arose this year to the wonderment of America and the world?
Has that proud 18th-century boast of Americans, “Here, sir, the people rule!” given way to the rule of the oligarchs?
Donald Trump “appeals to racism.”
“[F]rom the beginning … his campaign has profited from voter prejudice and hatred” and represents an “authoritarian assault upon democracy.”
If Speaker Paul Ryan wishes to be “on the right side of history … he must condemn Mr. Trump clearly and comprehensively. The same goes for every other Republican leader.”
“Maybe that would split the (Republican) party,” but, “No job is worth the moral stain that would come from embracing (Trump). No party is worth saving at the expense of the country.”
If Republican leaders wish to be regarded as moral, every one of them must renounce Trump, even if it means destroying their party. Who has laid down this moral mandate? The Holy Father in Rome?
No. The voice posturing as the conscience of America is the Washington Post, which champions abortion on demand and has not, in the memory of this writer, endorsed any Republican for president—though it did endorse Marion Barry three times for mayor of D.C.
Anticipating the Post’s orders, Sen. Marco Rubio has been painting Trump as a “scam artist” and “con artist,” with an “orange” complexion, a “spray tan” and “tiny hands,” who is “unfit to lead the party of Lincoln and Reagan.”
The establishment is loving Rubio, and the networks are giving him more airtime. And Rubio is reciprocating, promising that, even if defeated in his home state of Florida on March 15, he will drive his pickup across the country warning against the menace of Trump. Rubio, however, seems not to have detected the moral threat of Trump, until polls showed Rubio being wiped out on Super Tuesday and in real danger of losing Florida.
Mitt Romney has also suddenly discovered what a fraud and phony is the businessman-builder whose endorsement he so avidly sought and so oleaginously accepted in Las Vegas in 2012. Before other Republicans submit to the ultimatum of the Post, and of the columnists and commentators pushing a “Never Trump” strategy at the Cleveland convention, they should ask themselves: For whom is it that they will be bringing about party suicide?
That the Beltway elites, whose voice is the Post, hate and fear Trump is not only undeniable, it is understandable. The Post beat the drums for the endless Mideast wars that bled and near bankrupted the country. Trump will not start another.
The Post welcomes open borders that bring in millions to continue the endless expansion of the welfare state and to change the character of the country we grew up in. Trump will build the wall and repatriate those here illegally.
Trump threatens the trade treaties that enable amoral transnational corporations to ship factories and jobs overseas to produce cheaply abroad and be rid of American employees who are ever demanding better wages and working conditions. What does the Post care about trade deals that deindustrialize America when the advertising dollars of the big conglomerates are what make Big Media fat and happy?
The political establishment in Washington depends on Wall Street and K Street for PAC money and campaign contributions. Wall Street and K Street depend on the political establishment to protect their right to abandon America for the greener pastures abroad.
Before March 15, when Florida and Ohio vote and the fates of Rubio and Gov. John Kasich are decided, nothing is likely to stop the ferocious infighting of the primaries. But after March 15, the smoke will have cleared.
If Trump has fallen short of a glide path to the nomination, the war goes on. But if Trump seems to be the near-certain nominee, it will be a time for acceptance, a time for a cease-fire in this bloodiest of civil wars in the GOP. Otherwise, the party will kick away any chance of keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House, and perhaps kick away its future as well.
While the depth and rancor of the divisions in the party are apparent, so also is the opportunity. For the turnout in the Republican primaries and caucuses has not only exceeded expectations, it has astonished and awed political observers.
A new “New Majority” has been marching to the polls and voting Republican, a majority unlike any seen since the 49-state landslides of the Nixon and Reagan eras. If this energy can be maintained, if those throngs of Republican voters can be united in the fall, then the party can hold Congress, capture the While House and reconstitute the Supreme Court.
Come the ides of March, the GOP is going to be in need of its uniters and its statesmen. But today, all Republicans should ask themselves: Are these folks coming out in droves to vote Republican really the bigoted, hateful, and authoritarian people of the Post’s depiction?
Or is this not the same old Post that has poured bile on conservatives for generations now in a panic that America’s destiny may be torn away from it and restored to its rightful owners?
The first four Republican contests—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada—produced record turnouts.
While the prospect of routing Hillary Clinton and recapturing the White House brought out the true believers, it was Donald Trump’s name on the ballot and his calls for economic patriotism, border security, and an end to imperial wars that brought out the throngs.
The crowds that continue to come out for his appearances and the vast audiences he has attracted to GOP debates testify to his drawing power.
Moreover, Trump has now been endorsed by Governor Chris Christie, ex-chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the most respected conservatives on Capitol Hill.
Yet, with polls pointing to a possible Trump sweep on Super Tuesday, save Texas, his probable nomination, and a chance for the GOP to take it all in the fall, is causing some conservatives and Republicans to threaten to bolt, go third party, stay home, or even vote for Clinton.
They would prefer to lose to Clinton than win with Trump.
A conservative friend told this writer that Trump, unlike, say, Ted Cruz, has never shown an interest in the Supreme Court, which, with Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat vacant, hangs in the balance.
Yet, surely, a President Trump, hearing the clamor of those who elected him to find a Scalia, would be responsive.
With President Clinton, the court is gone for a generation.
We hear wails that the nomination of Trump would mean the end of the conservative movement. But how so?
If Trump won and conducted a conservative government, it would validate the movement. If Trump won and turned left, it would inspire an insurgency like Ronald Reagan’s in 1976, when the Ford-Rockefeller-Kissinger administration moved too far toward detente.
If Trump ran and lost, the conservative movement would have President Clinton to unite and rally the troops against.
One recalls Barry Goldwater’s historic wipeout in 1964. But, in 1966, Republicans made the greatest gains in a generation, and went on to win the presidency for 20 of the next 24 years.
Undeniably, a Trump presidency would mean an end to the Bush and establishment policies on trade, immigration, and intervention.
But those policies have already been repudiated in the primaries, as they have proven to be transparent failures for America.
As long ago as the early 1990s, populist conservatives were imploring George H.W. Bush to secure our Mexican border, as tens of thousands poured across in the San Diego-Tijuana corridor. Governor Pete Wilson turned near-certain defeat into a stunning comeback victory in 1994 by promising to send the National Guard.
Why did the establishment not respond then to the electorate? Why, instead of trashing Wilson for imperiling future party prospects with Hispanics, did the establishment not do what the people had demanded and move decisively to secure our southern border?
What is conservative about uncontrolled borders?
Why, as trade deficits with China and the world rose from the tens of billions to hundreds of billions, did the establishment not wake up and see the shuttering factories, the lost jobs and the ghost towns arising across America—and react?
Could they not see that, as we celebrated globalization, Beijing and Tokyo were practicing ruthless mercantilism and protectionism?
At the end of the Cold War in 1991, many Americans urged that, with the Soviet Empire dissolved and Soviet Union disintegrating, it was time to bring our troops home and let the rich fat nations that had been freeloading for half a century provide the soldiers and pay the cost of their own security.
Instead, the establishment opted for empire, for expanding old alliances, dumping over regimes, crusading for democracy, sending our soldiers out to remake Third World countries in the image of Iowa and Vermont.
Who now thinks all these wars were worth the cost?
Whether Trump wins or loses the nomination, the immigration, trade and foreign policies pursued by the elites since the end of the Cold War are dead letters. The nation has declared them to be so in the primaries.
Who is campaigning, in either party today, for open borders, or passing The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or sending troops back to Iraq or into Syria?
The Bernie Sanders insurgency appears to have been turned back by the vested interests of his party. But like the George McGovern insurgency in ’72, which also relied heavily upon the enthusiasm of the young, Sanders’ socialism may be the ideological future of his party.
The same may be said of the Trump insurgency. Whatever happens at Cleveland, the returns from the primaries look like the passing of the old order, the death rattle of an establishment fighting for its life, and being laughed at and mocked as it goes down.
As in 1964 and 1980, a new Republican Party is taking shape.
Defections are to be expected, and not altogether unwelcome.