Friday, March 16, 2018

Once Again Revisiting Trump vs. Hillary

By Robert Wenzel

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the proposition of Libertarians for Trump was that Donald Trump would be "better" than Hillary and therefore he should be supported for the presidency.

Immediately after the election on November 10, 2016, I wrote:
Heading into the election, I felt that for strategic reasons Hillary Clinton was the best alternative for libertarians. Not because she is good on many issues, she is not, but because she would come with a ready-made opposition that would listen to libertarian arguments against her.

It would have been a great opportunity to reach out to Trump supporters and spread the libertarian message. That opportunity is now gone with the Trump victory. Trump supporters are rabid, they will likely follow him down almost any hell hole.

These people are not going to listen to our arguments for smaller government. Their man is in power.

There will be opposition to Trump but it will be coming from the left, not the Trump right.

The left is all about expanding the state. Thus, it will be very difficult to reach out to these people and present state shrinking anti-Trump ideas. They are a perfect target for the socialists...

 The socialists are going to experience a boom in followers under Trump.

Thus, neither the left nor the right is going to be open to libertarian ideas at the present time.
And so it has come to pass. In his latest column, Pat Buchanan warns with plenty of justification that in the mid-term elections Republicans may face the type of losses not seen since the mid-term 1930 Democratic victories that ultimately led to FDR.

 After the victory of Donald Trump in 2016, the GOP held the Senate and House, two-thirds of the governorships, and 1,000 more state legislators than they had on the day Barack Obama took office.

"The Republican Party has not been this dominant in 90 years," went the exultant claim.

A year later, Republicans lost the governorship of Virginia and almost lost the legislature.

Came then the loss of a U.S. Senate seat in ruby-red Alabama.

Tuesday, Democrats captured a House seat in a Pennsylvania district Trump carried by 20 points, and where Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in 2014 and 2016.

Republicans lately congratulating themselves on a dominance not seen since 1928, might revisit what happened to the Class of 1928.

In 1930, Republicans lost 52 House seats, portending the loss of both houses of Congress and the White House in 1932 to FDR who would go on to win four straight terms. For the GOP, the '30s were the dreadful decade.

Is the GOP staring at another 1930?


Democratic turnout has been reaching record highs, while GOP turnout has been normal. And even in the special elections Democrats have lost, they are outperforming the Democrats who lost in 2016...

Trump seems fated to be the primary target of attack this fall, and not only in districts Clinton carried. For an average of national polls shows that disapproval of his presidency is 14 points higher than his approval rating. And this is when the economy is turning up good numbers not seen in this century.

At the national level, Democrats will turn 2018 into a referendum on the Trump persona and Trump presidency. For while the Trump base is loyal and solid, the anti-Trump base is equally so, and appreciably larger.
The anti-Trump crowd is being energized by their opposition to the buffoonish Trump, especially the kids. Buchanan again:
[M]illennials, who have many elections ahead of them, are more liberal than seniors, who have fewer elections ahead and are the GOP base.
And so what did Libertarians for Trump gain for their support of Trump?

 A Trump Fed nominee that wants to put magnetic strips in currency and charge negative interest rates.

The nomination of war hawks to the positions of Secretary of States and director of the CIA.

A Trumpian call to intensify the horrific war on drugs by executing drug dealers.

And, to make us all sleep better at night, Trump is considering or has already approved (they don't even make announcements about these sorts of things anymore under Trump) the expansion of the rules of engagement for nuclear weapons.

To be sure, there may be an issue or two that Trump is good on but it probably isn't North Korea and it sure as hell isn't Iran.

Maybe he recognizes the reality, that social justice warriors won't, that blacks are better basketball players than whites. But is this a reason to support a President, when he is driving the country in a poor direction to start with and apparently will be the cause of driving voters this fall into the hands of Democrats?

How could Hillary have been worse when she had been cutting crony deals with Russia which means no way no how was she going to attack Russia as some have alleged?

And the entire Trump crowd, and far beyond, hate Hillary. There would have been wonderful hate for the state amongst the crowd that has largely been co-opted by the militaristic, nationalist in the worst sense of the word, Trump. And, as I have said before, Hillary wouldn't generate any enthusiasm about anything except among women who don't shave their legs.

Buchanan knows this:
Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton, not the most charismatic candidate the Democrats...
We are going in a bad way with Trump. Just how bad is still to be determined.

I hope it is clear now that by his personnel and policy decisions, his co-opting of the right, and his driving the country leftward that Trump is no use to libertarians.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of Foundations of Private Property Society Theory; Anarchism for the Civilized Person and The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.


  1. I actually view the weakening of the GOP as a silver lining to the Trump presidency, rather than a problem. The far bigger issue is the way he’s inspired the right to shed its lingering skepticism of the exercise of state power.

    1. Agreed. The other silver lining is the way he's inspired the left to indulge in nullification / civil disobedience (on narcotics and immigration), to dare to discuss secession, and to ponder the concept of the illegitimacy of the presidency. Soon they might even be able to mention "states' rights" without the obligatory attachment to slavery.

  2. Now because of Trump so many people are outraged at _standard_ behaviors of the federal government and those who operate it. Things that have been going on for decades or over a century. It's as if overnight more than half of everyone who pays the least bit of attention became "conspiracy theorists". It's as if they have learned of these things for the first time. But I see little to know effort from libertarians to point this out. To leverage this into hating the state. Once the D's are in the media is going to stop reporting on them.

  3. Nationalists like Pat Buchanan helped elect Trump, so Pat can’t blame anyone else.

    "The anti-Trump crowd is being energized by their opposition to the buffoonish Trump..."
    They’re energized by both Trump and the Republican Party’s control of both chambers of Congress, as the Congress is no check on his and his administrations power. The idea that one party Republican (or Democrat) rule will result in greater economic and individual liberty overall is at odds with history and human nature.

    Further, if the Democrats take over the House, they’ll likely release the Presidents tax returns and subpoena and investigate the hell out of he and his administrations entitled and corrupt ass(s). Great.

    1. To follow up: Trump is hardly just a buffoon; no one with the power of a US President is just a buffoon. Trump less so.