[The real-estate developer] gave a "serious foreign policy speech" this week and it actually had much to recommend it. To be sure, it had contradictions. He channeled John Quincy Adams when he said that under his administration, "The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies." He savagely critiqued the Cheney Doctrine. Thoughtful people would be unsettled by "America First," because that echoes the isolationism of Charles Lindbergh. And while he challenged free-rider allies to do more, he said, "We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests, and the shared interests of our allies." Perhaps the key word is shared. Because many interests of our allies, especially Benjamin Netanyahu's Israel, do not serve our national interest.
But overall, it was a serious and compelling address, one to make the foreign policy elites squirm. Things such as this make him a very dangerous opponent for the Democrats in the fall.
He has already found the sweet spot for Republican voters, a combination of economic nationalism and xenophobia on Muslims and Mexicans. Most average conservative voters don't really care about the dogma peddled by Ted Cruz and the right-wing elites. Jim Kunstler is willing to write what is forbidden in liberal circles but widely felt elsewhere:
In terms of sheer persona on persona, Trump is not much better (than Hillary Clinton), a walking hood ornament on the faltering beater car that America has become. But at least he recognizes that the beater beneath him needs a complete overhaul, even if he can barely cobble up a coherent list of particulars, or name the mechanics who might be able to fix the damn thing. And, of course, a broad swathe of Americans whose lives have also come to resemble beater cars are very sympathetic to the impulses Trump radiates.
For example, I happen to agree that the nation needs to act on immigration, both on the problem of illegal immigrants and on limiting the quotas of legally admitted newcomers. The Left, sunk in its sentimental sob stories of “dreamers,” and its nostalgia for the Ellis Island romance of 1904, can’t conceive of any reason why the nation might benefit from, at least, a time-out on invitations. The idea undermines their world-saving fantasies. In my little corner of America, the computer chip factory run by Global Foundries (owned by the Emirate of Dubai) has just laid off the majority of its homegrown American technical labor force and replaced them with foreign technicians on H1B visas, thus creating x-number of new Trump voters among the laid-off, and rightfully so, I think.
The number of foreign-born Americans is at a record, higher than even the enormous wave of immigrants from the 1890s to 1920, after which the nation implemented just such a time-out.
Also, [the real-estate developer's] party — and that is what the GOP is now — is not attracted to Clinton's constant message of inclusion. Most people on this blog are fine with LGBTQ, elevating women to their rightful place, etc. But it doesn't play in the New Confederacy, including big parts of must-win states. (Clinton did give an excellent speech on Tuesday night; if she has found her Ted Sorensen, keep him).
Plain speaking is much needed in scripted, thought-police America. But [the real-estate developer] is no Harry Truman. He is a demagogue who denies climate change, a bad combination. We already have too many clever businessmen who believe their success and luck makes them experts on every issue. He lacks any government or foreign policy experience. He would get no further with a Republican Congress than President Sanders. But he would have the nuclear codes.
Don't underestimate him. He's tapped into something as profound as #FeelTheBern.
As Charles M. Blow of the New York Times tweeted, "Everyday that I wake up and realize that we have to take Trump seriously, I just want to go back to sleep…"
No. Stay very awake.