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Trump Would Demolish Business as Usual

Trump Would Demolish Business as Usual
(Andrew Harnik/AP)

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Monday, 29 February 2016 10:57 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The greatest single political problem in the Western world is sclerosis of the imagination. In Congress, on the hustings, and in the media, the United States is reduced to two camps.

One side is calling for swinging strokes of a spending scythe on the government with the threat of a shutdown behind it, and the other side is offering more redistributive taxing and, through the quaint and incompletely recycled ex-communist Bernie Sanders, a trillion-dollar bribe in the forgiveness of all student loans. In the media, we have shrieking heads with very few people saying anything intelligible.

In Canada, there are cries of alarm over the deficit, though it is hardly a surprise and seems to top out at less than a third, as share of gross domestic product, than where the U.S. sat for seven years (1.5 percent against 5 to 7 percent).

Donald Trump horrifies Canadians as a caricature of an ugly American of the 1950s vintage: loud, boastful, boorish, ignorant, obscenely materialistic, and illiberal in every respect, as nauseating a personality as he is reassuring to us of our comparative civility, culture, and equability, our inoffensiveness and niceness, if not exactly our style.

There is some reason for this judgment of Trump from what we have generally seen of him in public now for 30 years. In private, he is charming, solicitous, engaging, and companionable, never pompous, devoid of prejudice, abstemious, and a traditional and conscientious family man.

He is a generous civic leader in New York, a quality builder, and a generous employer and philanthropist and friend. His company and ours had a joint venture in Chicago and he delivered on every clause, managed the redevelopment of our property there with great skill and it was a very satisfactory experience all round.

I scarcely recognize the self-obsessed blowhard I see on television, but the fact that he is doing so well in preferential elections in the nominating process must be taken not as a sign of the triumph of the belligerent, clumsy, bullying America the world knows and dislikes, but rather as indicative of the rage of scores of millions of Americans as they work themselves to the bone to stumble from pay check to pay check with maxed-out credit cards and loud rumors of recession.

They are angry about rising crime rates, the many thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars that have been squandered in the Middle East to produce an appalling humanitarian crisis, the debasement of the currency and the reduction of their great country to the status of a laughing stock.

These are legitimate grievances and for Trump to stare at audiences with an Ozymandian curled lip and say, as he did in winning the Nevada primary this week, "I love the poorly educated people," to applause, and take nearly half the Hispanic vote despite being falsely reviled as a racist, only means that he knew how angry the people were and knew how to give voice to that anger, to be its evocator and its voice.

American politics is less predictable than that of most large countries, but at this point, he looks like the nominee. From March 15 on, most of the Republican primaries are winner-take-all states and much will depend on Florida and Ohio, if Trump beats Marco Rubio and John Kasich in their home states, he will win. Next (Super) Tuesday, Ted Cruz should take Texas but Trump almost everything else.

Any of the Republicans still standing should crush Hillary Clinton, who will be carried to the goal line even against Bernie Sanders, a fugitive from the Stalinist kibbutz movement of early Israel and still convalescing from septuagenarian socialist Vermont cabin fever.

Clinton carries the baggage of the Obama administration and has scarcely uttered a sentence of unchallengeable truthfulness since she was first noticed in the crucifixion party that bustled Richard Nixon to his Golgotha more than 40 years ago.

If elected, Trump would have a clear mandate to clean up the scandalous quagmire of American political campaign financing that has reduced every candidate except him and Michael Bloomberg to Oliver Twist mendicants, with cupped hands and begging bowls, and has brokered most legislation among the special interests that finance the members of Congress.

He would have a mandate to dispense with Obamacare, over which the president misled the public about keeping their own doctors and avoiding higher medical costs, an untruth more certainly deliberate and of more relevance to most American families than George W. Bush's ultimately unfounded claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Trump would enter office with a mandate to define the U.S. national interest in the world realistically and in cooperation with allies and to enforce it. He would have a mandate to streamline and decentralize the federal government, bring in bipartisan entitlement reform that would make government affordable, and produce tax reform, which he has already defined as meaning no breaks for the billionaires (not the phony, if entertaining, grandstanding of Warren Buffett).

Trump knows how to run a large enterprise and how to make a deal. You don't have to like, or even be able easily to endure, some of his histrionics to see his rise as the admirable wrath of a self-governing people reaching for a prospective leader untainted by the 15 to 20 years of bipartisan, inter-branch failure in the U.S. government.

This has been a freakish affliction that struck at the hour of its greatest (and most bloodless) strategic triumph with the collapse of international communism and the disintegration of its only rival. This garish carnival could be for the best.

This article originally appeared in the National Post.


Conrad Black is a financier, author and columnist. He was the publisher of the London (UK) Telegraph newspapers and Spectator from 1987 to 2004, and has authored biographies on Maurice Duplessis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard M. Nixon. He is honorary chairman of Conrad Black Capital Corporation and has been a member of the British House of Lords since 2001, and is a Knight of the Holy See. His most recent book is "Rise to Greatness, the History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Trump knows how to run a large enterprise and how to make a deal.
trump, clinton, hillary
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2016-57-29
Monday, 29 February 2016 10:57 AM
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