This column begins a new series on tR, “The Election”. The series will run through November. We welcome contributions from other writers, including people associated with one or another campaign.
Why have we launched this column series? Because 2016 is shaping up to be the most important election since 1952. In 1952, the east coast Establishment engineered the nomination of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in place of the man who should have gotten it, Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft.
Taft was a real conservative. He opposed America playing the great power game, because he knew that game would endanger liberties here at home and also in time lead to national bankruptcy. By depriving him of the nomination, the Establishment set us on the course of world empire, a trillion-dollar-a-year military (that usually loses) and a vast federal deficit and debt. Taft was right, and his book, A Foreign Policy for Americans, is still worth reading.
2016 promises to be as important as 1952 because the course of the campaign thus far, with Donald Trump leading in the fight for the Republican nomination and Bernie Sanders repeatedly embarrassing the Wicked Witch of the North, reveals the real political fault line. That fault line is not Republicans vs. Democrats or conservatives vs. liberals but anti-establishment vs. establishment. In both parties, people are rebelling against failed policies that are repeated over and over regardless of which wing of the Establishment party, Republican or Democrat, is in power. The Establishment represents more stupid wars that kill our kids, more giving Wall Street whatever it wants at the expense of Main Street, and more stinking political correctness, which is really cultural Marxism. The public has had it with all three, and it is supporting presidential candidates who represent rejecting it. (As a socialist, Sanders accepts cultural Marxism, but he may be the best candidate on foreign policy and defense.)
Trump and Sanders represent a political earthquake, an earthquake that is also shaking Europe where anti-Establishment parties and movements are also surging. This is democracy, real democracy, and the Establishment is terrified by it. Its definition of democracy is elections where the only choice is between them and them. God forbid the people can actually vote for someone who believes what they do.
In the end, I do not expect either Trump or Sanders get nominated, much as I would like to see both head their respective parties (giving us a choice, not an echo). The Republican Establishment will manipulate the convention rules to deny Trump the nomination; I predict they will nominate Paul Ryan, a fresh, telegenic face who is wholly Establishment. The blacks will give Hillary the Democratic nomination, which is appropriate since the Democrats have become the party by, of, and for blacks. White Democrats appear to be voting heavily for Sanders, but in most states the blacks will overwhelm them.
My hope is that Trump and Sanders will then join on an independent Trump/Sanders ticket. If Bernie could get over his cultural Marxism, that would not be so unlikely as it first sounds. They appear close on foreign policy, both rejecting more involvement in Fourth Generation wars overseas. Both question what we get for our trillion dollar annual spending on the Pentagon, which is now 0-4 against Fourth Generation opponents. (Hillary, in contrast, was the main architect of our disastrous intervention in Libya.) Trump sometimes sounds as if he shares some of Sanders’ belief that the rest of the country should not be sacrificed to Wall Street. Politically, any time you can sandwich the Establishment between left and right, you can win big.
A Trump-Sanders ticket might win a plurality of votes. In the Electoral College, one of the two Establishment winners might withdraw and instruct his electors to vote for the other. If that did not happen, the election would be decided by the House of Representatives, which would of course give the presidency to a representative of the Establishment.
But when that happened, the curtain would be rent and every voter would see that American democracy is a fraud. All that matters to the Establishment is that it remains the Establishment, the public be damned. With that revelation the legitimacy of the whole American political system would collapse.
What comes after that? Read Thomas Hobbes’ Victoria.