Why Republicans Will Be Fine with Donald Trump in the General Election

Donald Trump and the ReformoconsBrian Beutler wrote an interesting article yesterday, Anti-Trump Conservatives Are Embracing the Liberal Critique of the Right. But you get a better idea about what it is about from the subtitle, “And they will disavow every word of it on the first day of the general election.” This, of course, is one of the most entertaining reasons for wanting Donald Trump to win the nomination: it’s going to be great to watch Republicans tie themselves in knots explaining why it is that the demagogue who was totally unacceptable is still the better general election choice than Hillary Clinton.

Of course, as Beutler noted, there aren’t that many Republicans making a real argument against Trump because to do so would be to make an argument against themselves. How is it that Donald Trump is so different from the other Republicans? For a while, I did think that Trump was a real populist. And then he came out with his tax plan. And what do you know?! It was just like Jeb Bush’s tax plan and Marco Rubio’s tax plan — except more so. It was a big giveaway to the rich. There is nothing that more defines a modern Republican.

So what are Republicans going to say against Donald Trump? Almost none of them are willing to say that his tax plan is unreasonable because there is nothing in it that is qualitatively different than what is Republican orthodoxy. In fact, the worst things in it are what Republicans love most. It gets rid of the estate tax and lowers the capital gains tax. The estate tax cut doesn’t just help the rich, it helps only the super rich. The capital gains tax cut isn’t as bad, but it would be a highly regressive cut.

So instead of substantive attacks on him, we mostly get stuff like this:

Now this is a liberal critique. And as Beutler noted, “But if and when the Republican campaign against Hillary Clinton descends into misogyny, you will hear these same conservatives dismiss accusations of sexism as unfounded liberal intimidation.” Indeed, Frances Langum over at Crooks & Liars brought my attention to a hilarious letter sent out by a pro-Cruz group to Reince Priebus. The letter itself is about how he better not allow anyone but Ted Cruz to be nominated if Donald Trump doesn’t get the necessary votes. But it included this bit of delusion:

Equally important will be an aggressive appeal to young voters and minority voters. We believe the GOP has the policies to successfully appeal to all these voters and should welcome them into the coalition.

Other than Trump being more vulgar (and we always knew this about him), he’s no different from Cruz. At least Donald Trump has some amount of charisma. Compare that to the fact that, Ted Cruz Doesn’t Believe You Have the Right to Masturbate. And then, I like Steve M’s analysis of Cruz’s notion about states and marriage, Ted Cruz: States Should Be Able to Ban Interracial Marriages. Ted Cruz: moderate!

Let’s look at one of the vaunted reformocons: Reihan Salam. Yesterday at Slate, he wrote, Why I’m Voting for Ted Cruz. And his only substantive policy point is that he is just as much of a xenophobe as Donald Trump, but that he doesn’t think that Trump is up to the challenge. That is: Ted Cruz would be a more effective xenophobe. (Obviously, Salam doesn’t put it that way.)

But Salam’s other big reason for voting for Cruz is that it would be good for the Republican Party. Fair enough. But do you think that Reihan Salam — who is, again, a reformocon who Ryan Cooper gave a 7/10 on his reformish scale — will sit out the general election if Donald Trump is nominated? No, like pretty much every Republican everywhere, he will get behind him. Sure, Trump’s an authoritarian who doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he’s better than anyone from the other side.

I’ve only ever seen two reasons why the Republican establishment dislikes Donald Trump. The first is that he’s too blunt: he says things that are only supposed to be implied. The second is that they think he can’t win. Neither of those things will make them abandon him in the general election.

Democracy and Humanum Genus (Anniversary)

Pope Leo XIII - Humanum GenusI know I’m recycling a lot of stuff these days, but you should give me a break. First, I’m overworked and really tired pretty much all the time. Second, much of my old work is really good! Like this article. Humanum Genus is important stuff!

On this day in 1884, Pope Leo XIII released the papal encyclical, Humanum genus. Oh, that Catholic Church! It is always angry about something. And at that time, it was angry about, well, democracy. Or more precisely, it was not keen on popular sovereignty — the idea that government has the right to rule because of a mandate by the people and not because God decided it. Or as Dennis puts it in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!” Pope Leo begged to differ.

It also isn’t keen on separation of church and state. So basically, the whole damned thing was very un-American. The funny thing is that now a good 35% of the country — almost exclusively protestants — would totally agree with Leo the Pope. Among conservatives, democracy itself is out of favor. And most of these ninnies think the Constitution itself — you know, that document that rather pointedly doesn’t mention God — is divinely inspired. I really do wonder what kind of American history these people learned. Or is it just anything to justify getting what they want?

Anyway, back to the Humanum Genus, most of it was presented as an attack on the Freemasons. That makes sense, because they were a secular force. And they were of what is fast becoming my favorite American religious group: those who just don’t care enough to have much of an opinion about God. They are much more sensible than atheists like me who spend a lot of time on it. I mean, I would save a lot of time if I just became a Catholic and went to Mass each Sunday.

The Pope was also concerned about public education. Basically, the Pope was concerned that the people would be self-reliant and not dependent upon the hierarchy that God himself set up. In other words, Pope Leo was the same as the power elite at any time: he was just complaining about trends that were threatening his power. I think people should give Pope Francis a little slack in that regard. But it’s a different time. At least in America, it isn’t the pope who is oppressing us. It is the corporate state. And just like the many Catholics in 1884 who loved the oppression of Humanum genus, so there are many today who love their modern subsistence wage economy.

Happy anniversary Humanum genus!