Short of diving head-first from atop his eponymous tower, Donald J. Trump seems unable to satisfy the Never Trump crowd.
Perhaps the most aggravating thing about Trump’s mortal enemies on the right — many of whom I have known and admired for decades — is that they refuse to take “yes” for an answer.
No doubt, Trump’s trade policies violate conservative doctrine on the free exchange of goods and services across borders. Still, it was good to hear Trump say on Monday, “Trade has big benefits, and I am in favor of trade. But I want great trade deals for our country that create more jobs and higher wages for American workers. Isolation is not an option, only great and well-crafted trade deals are.”
Also, Trump’s frequent inability to mute his internal monologue maddens even his most avid supporters.
Start with Trump’s most important choice: his pick for vice president.
As the person who would serve a breath from the presidency, Trump could have tapped a blowhard governor who barely has improved the Garden State. Thankfully, Chris Christie remains trapped in Trenton. Trump could have recruited Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), a milquetoast moderate whose convoluted legislative strategy against President Obama’s dreadful nuclear deal with Iran made it virtually unstoppable.
Instead, Trump selected Governor Mike Pence. The Indiana Republican was the Right’s True North in Congress. He earned a 99 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. This darling of the pro-market Club for Growth repeatedly cut taxes as governor and resuscitated the Hoosier State’s economy. This socially conservative economic libertarian unites the GOP’s twin wings.
Recognizing that the Supreme Court has devolved into America’s election-free über-legislature, Trump unveiled eleven prospective justices. The conservative Heritage Foundation recommended several of these stalwart constitutionalists. They all are affiliated with the Federalist Society, the Vatican of rightist jurisprudence. Confirming his originalist intent, Trump said Tuesday on Hannity that he wants nominees “as close to Justice Scalia as we can get.”
Trump’s foes moaned that he had raised too few donations to battle the magnificently funded Duchess of Chappaqua. And then, in July, Trump collected a competitive $80 million, averaging $69 per contribution, versus Clinton’s $90 million, averaging $44.
Trump on Monday calmly delivered a serious, focused speech to the Detroit Economic Club.
Trump on Monday calmly delivered a serious, focused speech to the Detroit Economic Club. With the very significant exception of its trade-policy language, Trump’s address could have been written by Bill Kristol, Charles Murray, or any other conservative thinker now sticking red-hot needles into his Donald Trump voodoo doll. Declaring “We will Make America Grow Again,” Trump passionately tied Clinton’s left-wing faith to Detroit’s (and America’s) economic disease and then prescribed nearly every major conservative economic reform.
Simplify today’s seven-tiered tax structure (with a top rate of 39.6 percent), down to three (maximum: 33).
Chop corporate taxes from a crippling 35 percent — the developed world’s highest rate — to a refreshing 15.
Bury the Death Tax. Said Trump: “It’s just plain wrong.”
“Repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare,” Trump proposed, “saving another 2 million American jobs.”
Impose a moratorium on new regulations until this listless economy rebounds.
Order Washington bureaucrats to identify rules that “are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs,” Trump said. “Those regulations will be eliminated.”
Stop the VA’s fatal abuse of America’s veterans and help them find dignified medical care outside this sadistic, corrupt bureaucracy.
Terminate Obama-Clinton’s job-incinerating War on Coal.
Build the Keystone Pipeline.
For oil and gas: Drill, baby, drill.
Clinton “supports the education policies that deny your students choice, freedom, and opportunity,” Trump said in Detroit. “Our education reforms will help parents send their kids to a school of their choice.”
These malcontents should help Trump develop the best conservative ideas and present them to the voters as attractively as possible. Supply-side heavyweights Arthur Laffer, Larry Kudlow, and Steve Moore helped craft Trump’s economic proposal. The man who Never Trumpniks say “never listens” heeded these free-marketeers on taxes and the Heritage Foundation on judges. Conservative Trump haters should do something productive: Offer the GOP nominee issues and ideas he can use to win.
Supply-side heavyweights Arthur Laffer, Larry Kudlow, and Steve Moore helped craft Trump’s economic proposal.
Evidently it’s more fun, though, to flee reality and reside in Fantasyland. If only, they say, an unknown candidate — such as Evan McMullin — could ride to the rescue, vanquish the entire GOP apparatus and its nominee, leapfrog Clinton, and then land softly in the Oval Office. Never mind that McMullin already has missed ballot-access deadlines in two dozen states.
The charisma-free Libertarian party candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, faces a similar 90-degree climb.
The inescapable fact is that no third-party candidate has won the White House since Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans defeated the Democrats and Whigs in 1860. The Never Trumpniks should Google Henry Wallace, George Wallace, John Anderson, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader. The closest any of them got to the White House was the South Lawn during the annual Easter Egg Roll.
Turning to McMullin, Johnson, or any other Never Trumpnik would splinter the Center-Right without garnering enough votes to prevail. Meanwhile, the Left will march in lock-step, as it usually does, when things really matter.
The result? Crooked Hillary wins, likely with a large enough margin to claim a mandate. Clinton rarely awaits green lights. But if the signal is any brighter than pistachio ice cream on November 8, she will floor it on January 20, and go from zero to socialism in seven seconds.
Conservative elites on Capitol Hill, in the commentariat, and among the campaign-consultant complex know this perfectly well. Thus, Hillary Clinton enjoys a cadre of de facto conservative supporters.Even when a flawed candidate promises to practice most of what the Right has preached for decades, and even as these desperately needed solutions enjoy a fighting chance of being signed into law by a President Trump, Crooked Hillary’s conservative comrades reject Trump – the only candidate who can stop Hillary. Instead, they are building the gallows on which the Left’s Lady High Executioner will hang their ideas until dead.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. He is a veteran of the 1980 and ’84 Reagan for President campaigns and was a communications consultant to Forbes 2000, the presidential bid of publisher Steve Forbes. Murdock has participated in numerous events sponsored by the Club for Growth, the Federalist Society, and the Heritage Foundation.