Donald Trump’s candidacy for president of the United States has been somewhat unique. It is not unique in the same sense as Ron Paul’s campaigns, but there are a few similarities.
There is obviously a tide of discontent in the nation as several outsiders have made a splash. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have both done surprisingly well. Although Sanders is a sitting U.S. senator, he is still something of an outsider in the sense that he is not in favor with the establishment.
These two candidates have tapped into the discontent. While I think their proposed solutions are way off base for the most part, they are acknowledging that major problems exist. Americans don’t want to be told that everything is fine when they know that everything is not fine.
I have seen a wide range of reaction from libertarians on the Trump candidacy. I would like to clarify my own positions and present a libertarian perspective.
While Trump is nothing close to being a libertarian, there are certain positions that can be encouraging for libertarians.
The most divisive thing about Trump is his politically incorrect rhetoric. I think this is divisive even amongst libertarians. In my opinion, some of the things he says are stupid and childish. He sometimes sounds like a third-grader calling another kid names. In addition, there are a few things Trump has said and done that really probably are offensive.
With that said, I think Trump’ political incorrectness is one of the most refreshing things about him. He is not anti-women as many accuse. He insults men at about the same rate as women. The bottom line is that Trump attacks others after he himself has been attacked. Perhaps it is childish and immature, but his “victims” are usually the ones who started it.
I just get so tired of listening to politicians mince their words. They are so afraid to say anything that might offend someone. They don’t want the wrath of the establishment and the mainstream media. For this, Trump is a nice change.
Another nice thing to say is that Trump cannot be bought, or at least not easily. This bugs the establishment to no end. So although Trump ultimately takes many establishment positions, the establishment still hates him because the elites feel they cannot fully control him.
Trump has also been decent on foreign policy some of the time. He is not afraid to call the Iraq War exactly what it is – a complete disaster. It is nice that we have come far enough where he can say this in a Republican race and he is not instantly disqualified.
Trump has also been decent when it comes to dealing with Russia. Of course, compared to the other Republican candidates, that is not hard. He says we should let Putin defeat ISIS if they want to take on that role. He says we should talk to Putin and deal with him in a civilized manner. In other words, Trump does not want to provoke a war with Russia.
Unfortunately, Trump is quick to contradict himself and talk big about dropping bombs and defeating other countries.
On economics, Trump is terrible for the most part. His tax plan may be one of the best of the candidates out there, but again, that isn’t saying much. He is terrible on free trade and he offers little in the way of specific spending cuts.
In terms of civil liberties, I get quite concerned as a libertarian. While I like some of Trump’s political incorrectness, I don’t like it in terms of his collectivist thinking with foreigners, and even Muslims.
This country has a blemish (one of many) for setting up internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. This was the wonderful (note the sarcasm) F.D.R. who did this. This is the guy hailed by so-called progressives, and even many conservatives. If something similar were to happen again – say, to Muslims – then Trump would be just the kind of guy to implement it.
And that is the main problem with Trump. He shows occasional streaks of being a major authoritarian. We just don’t know what we are going to get if he gets in the White House.
From what I have heard and seen, Trump actually seems like a gentleman, despite his public battles. He may be less corrupt and less deceptive than most of the others. It is hard to imagine that Trump could be any worse than a Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio, or even Ben Carson. At this point, Trump actually seems far less likely to start another major war.
As a libertarian, I will not support Trump with any money or any votes. Still, I think he has been good so far in terms of shaking things up. It is nice to see the establishment worry, and it is nice to see political correctness take a step back.
If Trump actually makes it to the White House, I really don’t know what to expect.