I argued with Michael Brendan Dougherty for months about this:
“Was this what you bargained for?
Donald Trump is softening on NAFTA. His advisers are trying to talk him down from any substantial trade conflict with China. He agrees, absentmindedly, with Dianne Feinstein on immigration legislation, betraying that he has no clue what his own policy might be, or a legislative strategy to achieve it. …
Where’s the Trumpian revision of foreign affairs? American policy in the Middle East still seems to have a “made in Riyadh” label underneath it. Our troops are in Syria without legal mandate, and without the enemy, ISIS, being routed there. Same old wars. The only new thing is the depth of incompetence in the diplomatic corps, who insult our allies.
Instead of an industrial policy, and a national medical system that takes care of “everyone” as he promised, Trump has delivered an enormous corporate tax cut. …
But the returns are in for the populists, and I have to ask, are you really putting up with all the embarrassments of the Trump presidency for a “mirror tax” in Canadian lumber?
Trump’s governing style makes Mitt Romney seem like the real populist firebrand. It was Romney who advocated self-deportation for those who could not legally work in America. It was Romney who seemed determined to confront China over state policies that harm the American worker. …”
No, it wasn’t for this.
I don’t have any problem admitting that I was wrong about Donald Trump. I only supported the “America First” policies on trade, immigration and foreign policy. I never cared about the cult of personality. My first impression of Trump in 2011 was that he was a rogue billionaire and a vain opportunist who could potentially inflict a lot of damage on the system.
I also considered the possibility that Donald Trump was a con artist. At the end of the day, I concluded that it really didn’t matter because if he betrayed his own supporters he would have advanced the cause of nationalism and populism while opening himself up to devastating criticism on that basis. He would have also damaged conservatism and proven that it is impossible to reform the system.
The situation we are in now is probably the most destabilizing. The Trump presidency has shown the futility of “Taking Back America” or “Making America Great Again.” You can vote for reform, win the election, but it doesn’t matter because the policies don’t change. The donors control both parties and unelected judges can always be counted on to shoot down legislative victories.
Anyway, that’s why I am a secessionist. Hopefully, more people will come around to our point of view. Voting for the Republican Party isn’t going to change the status quo. We’re going to continue to thrash around for a while in tantrum elections until things get really interesting.