Recently, our American friend, the Political Animal, wrote to explain, The End of the Republican Party As We Know It. And then we picked up on a Trump supporter explaining why he is on his way out of the GOP. Both these guys are Yankee flagwavers.
Yet they are filing for divorce from the GOP.
Trump, I have long sensed, is just their way of saying, We don’t care what he is like, long as he isn’t one of you serial liars and betrayers, getting rich off selling out everything we have fought for and believed—all the while thinking that we are too stupid to notice. Next time you wave a flag in our faces, we will wet it and whack you all in the faces with it.
Either that mood grows or the United States is finished.
But, guys. After you slam the door and drive away, where are you going?
Trump’s all over the map on the issues; on the other hand, he doesn’t matter that much. He is sort of like the bear busting out of the jailhouse, and leaving a plenty big enough hole for you two, and many others.
And so now? One thing we need to talk about is free trade.
You guys were always told it was a Good Thing. Good for who? Did you know that, far from being the Holy Grail of conservatism, it wasn’t always even a conservative position?
Here’s what I told the Animal recently:
I learned at U that free trade was once a liberal cause and later became a conservative cause. It shouldn’t be a conservative cause today.
A nation state protects those who live by right within its borders. Its relationships with other states, including what may be imported or exported, should be based on what is good for its own citizens. Other states are free to do the same.
Free trade between the US and Canada works because the economies are similar. The disputes at the World Trade Court between the two nations are minor uproars over stuff like softwood lumber. So?
Global free trade is something different. It means free trade with unfree nations that can undercut prices by forcing destitute people to work for low wages, thus closing factories in North America. The cheaper goods are not worth the social costs of the lost jobs and undermined communities.
The GOP donor class achieves billionaire status at the price of the Rust Belt, and sneers at the American worker as unmotivated. (If they mean that he isn’t motivated by fear of starvation or the lash, that is true.)
It’s not true that protectionism never does any good. It depends on what one wants to achieve. Canada gained a place at world financial conferences by protecting six big banks. (What if we had had six hundred little ones?) France became famous for food and wine by protecting its food and wine industries. Japan rose from post-war destitution to prosperity via a controlled economy that focused capital on the sectors most likely to lead to international success (auto, electronics). Etc.
Of course protectionism can be bad! But it is usually bad when it is protecting something that isn’t earning its keep. Sure, it’s a bad investment then. In the cases I have mentioned, it protected something that IS earning its keep.
So the next big discussion for the post-GOP traditional society is how to protect the American working class and middle class from free fall due to competition from just any unfree or failed society that can undercut prices or send in waves of migrants.
I don’t promise it will be an easy discussion, but it might help to focus energy on something beyond I-hate-the-GOP-donor-class. That’s healthy for now, but can only go so far.
Of course, all of this only matters if there is a post-GOP traditional society.
The Animal gets mad at me when I say this kind of thing, but I told him, re the current round of primaries:
I fear we are at a historical juncture when people typically lose their nerve. The donor class will survive, triumph via a Republicrat nominee, and form an alliance with the Dem donor class against the rest of traditional North America—with legacy media braying the lies and distractions that keep the audience from seeing where their true interest lies.
Again, guys, Trump is just a way of saying No! to all that. Later you must say yes to something.
That is why I bring up an honest evaluation of free trade.
Next we should look at media and defamation law, where Trump—if you are lucky enough to be stuck with him—needs some serious schooling.