Given that we may be saddled a year hence with President Trump, it may be no bad idea to prepare some self-defense by discovering what he is likely to do. To that end, I recently paid a visit to his campaign position web site, here.
He has merit, mind, compared to other candidates who are professional Pols. He has made fortunes by honest trading, unlike them. He speaks his mind plainly, unlike them. Early on, he exposed the real banality of politics by frankly admitting that making campaign contributions was purchasing influence. And unlike them, he's not begging for any; his bid is mostly self-funded.
Donald Trump also has a fine sense of what a lot of voters want - ugly though much of it is - and proposes to give it to them. And so we come to his position papers, and find a confusing mix.
The best bit I noticed was under Second Amendment Rights, starting with that title, itself a great improvement on the usual "gun control." He actually recognizes that "The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away." That understanding is accurate, and very rare. (Except of course that in practice that piece of parchment has ensured no such thing.) Trump then wanders off to a discourse about locking up violent criminals, showing he has no grasp at all of the concept of justice, but being half right is better than being wholly wrong.
Next, there are some merits in the Trump Tax Plan; the death tax is to be abolished and the corporate profit tax slashed in half; the latter would bring a major boost to business and therefore jobs and prosperity. He wants also to simplify the grab by "remov[ing] nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls" and at first sight that's a huge benefit. However, it also reveals Trump hasn't grasped the essential nature of tax and the political system. Voters vote for goodies in the belief that "someone else" will pay for them - usually "the rich" - and this one move will confirm for 75 million Americans that the process of voting is, indeed, a way to get something for nothing. It will therefore tend to prolong the political system, not abolish it. Finally I noticed that his plan is "revenue neutral", meaning it doesn't even attempt the vital task of slashing the government spend.
Clearly, Trump fails to understand that taxation is theft and that progressive tax (which he plans to retain, albeit modified) is Marxist; two facts at the head of ten which Laurence Vance presents in an excellent recent article. He did well recently to answer on Matt Lauer's show "I fight like hell not to pay taxes. I hate the way the government spends my money" but even that fails to address taxation's basic immorality.
In Open Immigration I showed that Trump's position on that subject too is dead wrong, and that again exemplifies his aversion to laissez faire. So while in several respects his presence on the campaign trail is a breath of fresh air, Donald Trump is, alas, no libertarian.
The fifth foundation of Trump's presidential platform has to do with veterans, and while his view that they are being shamefully treated is correct, that's true of most if not all programs of government and his strident calls for a militarily strong America augur no respite in the flow of new vets. Nor does he propose anything by way of taking the VA out of government "care", into that of charitable foundations for example. Again, he sees government as a solution and not the problem; he's no anarchist.
Following Trump's sweeping victory in the Nevada Primary, Politico at last picked up why he is the voters' favorite: they are angry with government, and as a clear outsider who speaks to that anger, he is touching the right nerve. As we've seen above, though, his fix is not to scrap government but to make it more efficient. As a successful businessman he is well qualified to do that. Is it however desirable?
If forced to choose, which would you rather have: a bumbling, incompetent government or a tightly-run ship that frequently fulfills what it sets out to do? - which of those would better move public opinion towards a recognition that it is always repugnant to liberty? It's debatable. Probably the most efficient government in recent history was Hitler's. It doesn't excite the taste buds.
In any case, that debate is sterile; what is favored here is None of the Above. Trump does not want a zero government society, and nor do any of the others; why would they, when they are in the game for power over other people? And even if one of them was, he'd be going about the job in the wrong way. Government won't vanish because voters vote for that; it will vanish when, and only when, nobody will work for it.