A take on Trump that is entirely more interesting than my own on the man:
Trump is probably the least qualified candidate who ran for the Republican nomination this year. If you didn’t know that, you’d have to be a hermit to avoid finding it out. He also has far more delegates than any other candidate. I would think that would send a clear message to the Republican elite, particularly the country club establishment; but like the Bourbon kings of France restored after the Revolution, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
Wouldn’t I want a more qualified, somewhat more experienced candidate? Well, of course. But the establishment wasn’t about to let anyone not within its ranks to get anywhere close to the nomination. In 1956 the goal was “anyone but Reagan” among the Republican elite. Now it’s anybody but Trump. Before Trump they made it clear to all: it’s going to be one of us, like it or lump it. We can deal with upstarts.
But they didn’t intimidate Trump, and now he’s laid all of their compliant candidates low, and they’re turning to an old enemy, Cruz, in despair. The notion is that he’ll “grow” in office; it’s for sure that Trump won’t grow under their definition of grow.
But in fact he’s likely to. He has some good advisors and he has a definite point of view that may be hard to discern because it’s masked by his blatant – loudmouthed and irritating, if you like – tactics. But he has never wavered on his desire to fill the Supreme Court with Justices as near in scholarship and view to Scalia as possible; that alone would be enough to get me to the polls for Trump if he’s nominated.
He has consistently said we need to turn control of the schools to the local districts and stop dictating to them from Washington. This has been taken as meaning that he doesn’t know what to do on a nation al scale. Well, I have news: neither does anyone else, and the attempt, even with the best of will, will always fail. The schools worked better, over all, when they were paid for by local school district taxes and run by local school boards elected by the people who paid those taxes. If you don’t believe that, get a copy of the California Sixth Grade Reader from a hundred years ago and compare it to your child’s present day ninth grade reader. Then weep.
No, he’s not a “movement conservative”, but I’m not sure I still am, and I was a protégé of Russell Kirk and Stefan Possony, and a friend of Bill Buckley and Willmore Kendall. I’ve been in that “movement” a long time. Long enough to see National Review use the egregious Frum to read most of us out of the movement.
Trump is not a movement conservative, but his inclination is to set goals and get people working on them, not to jail and fine them for not doing so. He understands that being served by mindless minions is not the path to glory or wealth. Compared to Hillary or Sanders or anyone in Obama’s train, I’ll take Trump any day. I would prefer someone with government experience – some, not one whose only experience is in government – but we seem to be fresh out of those. I suppose I’d rather have establishment country club Republicans than anyone likely to be nominated by the Democratic establishment even if a plague took all the present candidates; we tried that with Bush I, who cleared the White House of Reagan people the day after inauguration, and proceeded to saddle us with the Americans With Disabilities act and a new Federal bureaucracy; but that’s another story.
Trump is a pragmatic populist. I can live with that.
Considering the manifold failures of what we’ve been told are principled ideology, pragmatic populism is sounding pretty good right now. Whatever gets the borders closed and starts the respections. Say what you will about Dr. Pournelle, but he’s not only smart, he has accumulated a fair bit of wisdom along the way.