Congratulations to the Republican base for its incredible accomplishment of wrenching the GOP away from elite control without using media managers, super PACS, focus groups, and almost no TV ads. Democrats who sneer at this accomplishment have yet to gain similar control of their own party. If they're so smart, how come Wall Street and the Israel fanatics remain in control of their party?
Republican elites are aghast at the popular takeover of "the party of Lincoln," on the basis of the usual tortured reasoning. To wit:
(1) Trump has proposed a (temporary) ban on Muslim immigration!
But what sense has it ever made to have mass immigration from Muslim dominant regions of the world while simultaneously engaged in a "war on terror" against them? Reduce their cities to rubble, then take in the orphans. Our humanitarianism is a sight to behold.
(2) Heaven forbid, Trump favors protectionism in trade policy, and calls for elimination of the Trans-Pacific Partnership!
Yes, he does, but his protectionism at least has the virtue of being directed at "bringing back American jobs," whereas the protectionism preferred by the Republican establishment (going under the improbable name "free trade") protects nothing but limitless profits for the all-important one tenth of one percent of the American people with decisive control over the private economy. And no, these profits do not trickle down. Note to Bernie Sanders supporters: job-killing "free trade" agreements are an issue that could bring unity to anti-establishment voters currently divided by affiliation with establishment parties.
(3) Trump once was pro-choice and currently says that Planned Parenthood has helped "millions of women" with its health screenings.
Well, health screenings do indeed help people, while on abortion Trump has evolved from a pro-choice position to a pro-life with exceptions position. It's not clear what is wrong with this evolution, as many Republicans make exceptions on abortion in cases of rape and incest, for example, while Hillary Clinton has a pro-choice with restrictions position. What is the difference between pro-life with exceptions and pro-choice with restrictions?
(4) He's backtracked on opposition to a minimum wage.
Yes, to his credit, he is now saying that "you have to have something you can live on." And the problem with this is?
(5) He opposes plans for means-testing Social Security and other benefit cuts.
Means-testing violates the whole idea of social insurance, which is based on solidarity and mutual aid, not whether or not an individual "qualifies" to receive such human dignity. Everyone qualifies, by definition. Trump apparently sees this, while his elite critics do not.
(6) He favors the government negotiating bulk discounts with Big Pharma, so Americans can get cheaper drug prices, a violation of "free market" principles.
And this is a problem? If you want to know why the Republican base loathes establishment politicians, look no further. Elites prefer to push sick and injured people into financial ruin paying for their drugs, rather than arrange reasonable prices in return for the taxpayer's having underwritten pharmaceutical research and development, as well as other unprofitable production costs.
(7) Trump supports raising taxes on the rich.
God forbid. And Dwight Eisenhower declared that any politician opposing New Deal policies had no place in American political life. Let's recall that progressive taxation (higher tax rates on those with higher incomes) was an essential element of the New Deal, so what this essentially means is that the Donald is trying to move the extremist GOP back toward the political center. And what's wrong with that?
(8) Trump used to support single-payer health care as exists in Canada.
God help us if Trump helps us de-commodify health care as not just the Canadians, but every developed country in the world has long since done. Single payer would mean an end to multiple overlapping private bureaucracies and their parasitic middle-men, who currently drain off 1.2 trillion dollars a year in unnecessary costs, while interfering with the delivery of quality health care. It is unfortunate that Trump is not currently promoting such a solution to our price-gouging medical system, which costs the American people twice as much per capita as the people in any other developed country, with much worse health outcomes.
(9) Trump wants to avoid a new generation of nuclear weapons valued at $1,000,000,000,000.
Trump wants to "rebuild the military" but avoid this colossal waste expenditure. And the problem is?
(10) Trump wants to eliminate job killing "free trade" treaties like TISA, TPP, and TPIP.
Offshoring U.S. production in the name of "free trade" has had devastating effects on American working people, who have lost their jobs, pensions, and hope for the future. The bright side of this is supposed to be "broad prosperity," but that doesn't exist. Score another point for Trump.
(11) Trump falsely accused "thousands of Muslims" in New Jersey of cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 911.
This is a slander on them, but there WAS widespread satisfaction that the U.S. was getting a taste of its own medicine on 911, and not just among Muslims. The civilian death toll from unjust U.S. wars since WWII is well into the millions, and how can people not resent it? Trump, though not intentionally, is merely reminding us that "what goes around comes around." Why should the U.S. government be able to indulge mass killing with impunity and never suffer terrorist retaliation?
Republican elites are certainly right that the foregoing is ample evidence that Trump is "not a real conservative." But so what? He just set a record for votes received by a candidate in a Republican primary season, which is the only thing that is supposed to count. The grand principles of the "party of Lincoln and Reagan" - endless war for the many and limitless wealth for the few - just aren't popular. Boo hoo.