By Doug Casey – Re-Blogged From International Man
It appears there are two candidates running from the left wing of the Demopublican Party (Hillary and Bernie), and two and a half from the right wing (Trump, Cruz, and Kasich). Note: The media identifies the Lefties by their first names, a friendly and personal thing, unlike the Righties.
I find it distasteful discussing current political figures. But since somebody new is going to be president come November, it makes sense to figure out who that might be, in order to insulate yourself as much as possible from the damage they’ll do.
Let me start by saying that this is not just the most entertaining election I’ve ever witnessed. But after the 1860 election, which Lincoln won with 40% of the popular vote (the remainder split between Stephen Douglas and two other candidates), I suspect it will also be the most divisive, hostile, and critical to the future of the country. Ever.
Why do I say that? Because the U.S. hasn’t been this unstable since the unpleasantness of 1861–1865.
The figures show that the average American’s standard of living has been dropping since about 1971. This is manifestly true relative to the rest of the world. But it’s also true in absolute terms, especially after you back out extraneous factors. For instance, today’s families usually need two breadwinners just to make ends meet. Huge amounts of debt have also helped disguise the decay. The situation is becoming critical with real unemployment closer to 20% than the official 5%. Interest rates are being held at zero to maintain unsupportable levels of debt.
But this isn’t the place for a full economic analysis of the Greater Depression. Let’s just say times are going to get very tough.
When times are tough, people vote for something new. That’s why, at the height of the 2008 crisis, the electorate chose Obama over John McCain. Aside from being old, hostile, and mildly demented, McCain was sure to continue on the then current and unsustainable economic path. Obama’s re-election in 2012 is explained by the fact things improved during his first term. That, and the Republican, Romney, was widely (and correctly) perceived as a politically wired beneficiary of the Deep State.
As you know, I believe we’re now leaving the eye of the great financial hurricane we entered in 2007. Even with (or in many ways because of) the trillions of dollars created over the last eight years, the average guy’s standard of living has continued falling.
People are now widely aware that the rich have been getting radically richer because of QE and ZIRP, and they resent it. Any further hardship occasioned as we go into the hurricane’s trailing edge will likely cause that resentment to become violent.
That accounts for the popularity of Trump and Sanders, but especially Trump. Let’s take a look at the candidates. But first, let’s look at the two dysfunctional wings of America’s Warfare/Welfare Party
The Two-Party Charade
I find there’s actually little to distinguish the Democrats and the Republicans, besides their rhetoric and the type of people who join them. In terms of what they do and the direction they steer the country, the differences are surprisingly marginal. The ethos of 300 million people has a life of its own; changing it is like turning a super tanker. But I suspect there’s a huge change afoot. The country itself is fragmenting.
There’s a good chance that, at a minimum, this election will destroy the Republican Party, no matter who they nominate. And will take the Democrats even further to the left.
Remember, there are essentially two types of freedom. Economic freedom (mainly how you can produce and own things) and social freedom (mainly what you can say and do regarding other people). The principal difference between the parties is that the Reps say they believe in economic freedom—which is a lie—while they definitely, and overtly, don’t believe in social freedom.
The Dems, on the other hand, say they believe in social freedom—which is a lie—while they definitely, and overtly, don’t believe in economic freedom. Pretty much the difference between Hitler and Stalin. And in the popular mind, Hitler was the devil incarnate, while Uncle Joe was only good bad, not evil.
The Dems, therefore, come off as morally superior. They claim to care about people, while the Reps appear to care mostly about things. The Dems are “progressive,” believing we should move toward collectivism and more State control, which they posit as good and fair and moral.
In contrast, the Reps don’t really believe in anything. In fact, they completely accept the Dems underlying premises. Their only real objection is the lefties are going too far too fast. So, of course they never have the moral and philosophical high ground and always come off looking like selfish hypocrites. The Republicans are the Stupid Party, and the Democrats are, in fact, the Evil Party.
At this point, the Republican Party is religious fundamentalists, social conservatives, and those who feel the government should spend even more on the bloated military congregate. Those who oppose foreign intervention and those who are friendly to free markets hang around its edges because there’s nowhere else for them to go; the Libertarian Party is laughably ineffectual, a non-starter. But the Republican party is not a natural or comfortable fit for them. The party should splinter. In fact, it will likely self-destruct if it doesn’t accept the nomination of Trump if he wins the popular vote. Which I believe he will.
The popularity of Sanders, who’s got the youth totally on his side and has won eight out of nine of the last caucuses and primaries, shows where the Democratic Party’s heart, and future, lies. But the Party machine won’t give him the nomination, which will increasingly reveal the Democratic Party as being very non-democratic.
With a little luck, this election will expose both parties as the corrupt machines that they are and destroy them both. But will the evil two party system be replaced by something even worse?
Let’s review them in decreasing order of disastrousness.
Sanders is a lifelong government employee (like Hillary, Cruz, and Kasich). The self-declared socialist is an economically ignorant, hostile, mildly demented old man—the Democrats answer to John McCain. He gets traction by pushing the envy button effectively.
This works in a world where many are not only ignorant of economics but have a distorted set of moral principles and no respect for property rights, while some others are cynically exploiting the system to become super wealthy. The machine approves of his basic principles, which are like Obama’s. But he’s probably just a bit too rabid to win a general election in 2016. Obama got in because, unlike Bernie, he seems so reasonable and nice.
I know the pundits believe Hillary will win the Dem nomination and then the election, but I don’t buy it. For one thing, she’s (correctly) seen as the Establishment personified. And in a time of widespread resentment—especially if we’re in the middle of a meltdown by November—that’s the kiss of death.
Assuming she’s not already indicted for any of a number of crimes. I’m not just talking about Benghazi and the email brouhaha, although some think that alone will sink her ship of state. Additionally, there are the persistent rumors of health issues. So, if neither Hillary nor Bernie gets the nod, who will it be? I expect the Dems will find a left wing general. Americans do love their military at the moment. Which is especially scary.
If Trump is the Republican nominee, he’ll draw attention to a long string of corruption that surrounds Hillary like a miasma, starting in 1978 with the $100,000 bribe disguised as cattle-trading profits. And her numerous friends and associates that have died suspicious deaths in years past, not the least of them Vince Foster and Ron Brown. And her abetting Bill’s sleazy rape episodes with lower-middle-class bimbos. And persistent rumors (which I tend to credit) that she’s an aggressive lesbian.
These things aren’t going to help her. Nor will the fact she’s a woman automatically help her with other women. To believe that is to believe that women are less perceptive than men. In fact, they tend to be shrewder at reading personalities. And Hillary’s personality traits scream “liar,” fraud,” and “dishonest.”
What about Cruz? His shifty, beady, squinty little eyes speak of duplicity. He seems to be a genuinely dislikable person, which itself is the kiss of death in an election. Elections, after all, have very little to do with ideology; they’re really just popularity/personality contests among the hoi polloi. He’s a borderline religious fanatic, a Christian version of the type of Muslim imams that really scare people. He’s a genuine warmonger. And his wife, an ex-Goldman partner, an ex-Condi Rice counselor, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is exactly the kind of Deep State person that voters are rejecting and despise. He may have beaten Trump in a few Heartland states with big fundamentalist populations, but even the tone deaf management of the Republican Party will see that he’s a complete non-starter in a general election.
Kasich? A lifelong politician, with nine terms as a congress critter, a stint as a governor, and one as a managing director of Lehman Brothers when it failed. These are the opposite of qualifiers in today’s world. He’s on the conventional statist side of almost every important issue—guns, global warming, drugs, medical care, and civil liberties. He’s about as dangerous as Hillary or Cruz when it comes to involving the U.S. in foreign adventures. He’s getting traction only because he seems low-key and “reasonable”—a Republican Obama. My guess is that the Deep State will try to give him the Rep nomination. After all, anyone but Trump…
So let’s look at Trump. I’m not a fan, per se, and I explained why at length here. But in October, I said I thought he was going to go all the way. I’ll explain why below. It’s not because I believe polls, or pundits, or keep my finger on the pulse of the capita censi (i.e., those who inhabit the ghettos, barrios, and trailer parks of the U.S.).
Why is Trump as popular as he is? Two reasons. First, he’s outspoken and politically incorrect. He doesn’t read from a script, like all the others. He says what his supporters are thinking, things that no other public figure is willing to say. Second, he’s not part of the Establishment, the Deep State. He’s the only candidate that’s not a professional politician. These are simple things but extremely important characteristics for this election, which is going to take place during a social and economic hurricane.
By the time November rolls around, however, three other qualities will come to the fore, and they’ll be even more important.
First, he’s a businessman, and therefore presumed to know how to make things work. People, at least those who aren’t Democrats, don’t want a politico. They know politicos are just about lies and self-dealing. What most people will want in the face of a collapsing economy is somebody who has credentials saying they’re competent to kiss things and make them better. A truth teller who says that the U.S. is in trouble and thinks markets are overpriced. Someone whose slogan is “Make America Great Again!”
Second, he projects certainty. In times of fear and confusion, which is what I expect in six months, certainty trumps everything in a public figure. No other candidate even comes close. A man who exudes certainty gets the confidence of voters.
Third, the Establishment hates him. Despite all the free press he gets, practically all pundits and public figures loathe him. They label him as an unqualified, irresponsible, dangerous clown and a reality show star. But since the general public now despises the Establishment in general and the media, in particular, this will help him, not hurt him.
P.S. Here’s Some Full Disclosure
You may be wondering, having said all this, if I will vote for Trump. The answer is: no. He’s an authoritarian, not a libertarian. He’s got only a marginal grip on either economic freedom or social freedom, and he says lots of stupid things that he may actually believe. That said, I still signed up for my friend Walter Block’s Libertarians for Trump movement. Why? Partly because he’s vastly less scary than any other candidate. And he’s certainly the least likely to start World War 3—which is actually the biggest risk with any president.
So why won’t I vote for him? Longtime subscribers are aware that I don’t choose to be complicit in crimes, including national elections. I give five reasons why you, too, should consider opting out. But I hope Trump wins. Not just because he’s actually the least warlike but because he’s the only candidate who’s not a puppet on a string. He stands a chance of upturning the Deep State’s apple cart and spilling all the rotten apples it carries. A small chance, perhaps, but probably the only chance.
Could he succeed in doing it? Unlikely, but it’s important someone try. He’d be no more likely to succeed than Ron Paul, if he’d won the last election. As I pointed out then, anyone who steps out of line would first get a sit-down with the heads of the praetorian agencies and a bunch of generals. They’d politely, but firmly, explain the way things work. Failing that, Congress would impeach him. Failing that, I expect he’d meet with an unfortunate accident.
In conclusion, you can put the Rolling Stone’s “Street Fighting Man” on continuous loop to replace the audio whenever you watch the news. I expect a long, hot, violent summer. That’s somewhat counterintuitive, in view of the fact that the American public is more apathetic than ever.
Apathy and ignorance. How else to explain their complacence at getting 0% on their savings? How better to explain that they’re more driven by fear than ever, evidenced by so many things, from the acceptance of “helicopter parenting,” to the bizarre hysteria over practically non-existent terrorism. Americans seem like zombies in many ways. Maybe that’s because something like 25% of the population are on medically prescribed psychoactives, like Ritalin, Prozac, Ambien, and scores of others. And even more are addicted to sugar, alcohol, overeating, recreational drugs, and Kardashian-style TV. Even so, as Ferguson, Missouri, proved last year, they’re still capable of rioting.
America, which was much more a concept than a place, is long gone. What’s left of the white middle class correctly feel they’re losing what’s left of the U.S. Their children are being both bankrupted and corrupted by politically correct schooling. To them, the society appears to have been captured by gender feminism, LGBT preferences, and racial quotas. And I’d say they’re basically right.
That’s why, even if they won’t admit it out loud, most Americans (hard-core Democrats excepted, of course), will vote for Trump.