Politics & Policy

There Is No Intellectual Case for Donald Trump Over Ted Cruz

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Item one: Last week Donald Trump said he could pay off the entire national debt, roughly $19.2 trillion, in eight years — while slashing taxes. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog went to the trouble of running the numbers and discovered that Trump’s plan would require 24 percent economic growth, every year, for eight years. To put that in perspective, the previous record for growth was 19 percent in 1942, the first full year of America’s involvement in World War II. For Trump to deliver on his prediction, the economy would have to grow from $17 trillion to $90 trillion in only two presidential terms.

Or, as the Post put it, “There is math, there is fantasy math, and then there is Donald Trump’s economic math.”

Item two: Last week a fellow by the name of Mytheos Holt wrote an extended piece for The Federalist headlined, “The Intellectual Case for Trump I: Why the White Nationalist Support.” Holt’s piece essentially breaks down into two parts. In part one, Holt tells us in detail exactly how smart and well-educated he is. In part two, he proceeds to say a series of incredibly stupid things, culminating in an extended analysis of how Trump can appeal to a woman he calls “Sylvia,” a rather radical white nationalist (also known as white supremacist) who can apparently dig Trump’s alleged “pro-Western” philosophy.

Well, we already knew Trump had the racist vote nailed down. But there is a difference between a self-styled “intellectual” making a case for Trump and an actual “intellectual case.” An actual intellectual case depends on such things as facts, logic, and reason — all of which are notably missing in virtually any statement mouthed in support of the Donald.

RELATED: Why Ted Cruz Is Poised to Stop Trump in Wisconsin

We have long since passed the twilight-zone stage of the race for the GOP nomination. In one corner is Ted Cruz, arguably one of the smartest men in Washington, a person with unquestioned anti-Establishment street cred, a man who helped block the infamous Gang of Eight’s misguided immigration reform, a constitutional scholar, and a person with intimate knowledge of the workings of every level of American government. In the other corner is a man so completely ignorant — so completely venal — that his best rhetorical tactic is to bury his countless gaffes in an avalanche of insults and lies.

Even if one skips over the monumentally important matters of law and policy and simply stampedes straight to the political horserace itself, there is no logical or reasonable argument for Trump over Cruz.

RELATED: Cruz Must Be the Anti-Trump

Trump’s supporters say, “No one likes Ted.” Yet their man has the highest unfavorable rating in the history of unfavorable ratings.

Trump’s supporters say, “Ted can’t beat Hillary.” Yet their man is getting crushed in head-to-head polls against Clinton, while Cruz remains close.

Trump supporters call Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Yet if honesty is the hallmark of a proper presidential candidate, their man would have disqualified himself in the first week of his campaign.

#share#This is a race where a segment of the Right didn’t simply lose its mind, it decided that the mind doesn’t matter. Arguments about policy are greeted with accusations of arrogance. The pointing out of contradictions is cast as condescension. Indeed, the very act of arguing against Trumpism is seen as irrefutable proof of weakness, of “selling out,” and of fear. “Don’t tell me what to do,” shouts the Trump fan. But an argument isn’t a command — and shutting down debate is the last refuge of the desperate.

EDITORIAL: National Review Endorses Ted Cruz

Let’s dispense with this pretense. The core “argument” for Trump is essentially the following. Step 1: Elect Trump. Step 2: ????? Step 3: America is great again. Given the contradictions and nonsense that issue routinely from the Trump campaign, no one can credibly claim they know what Trump will actually do in office. But his supporters are sure it will be awesome. Like Trump Tower is awesome. Like Trump resorts are awesome. Like Trump University is . . . oops.

#related#By contrast, the case for Cruz is a case for the return of constitutional government. It’s not a case for utopia. But it is a case for substantial reform. There is nothing “business as usual” about Cruz’s campaign. Just ask the Left. Progressives will cast a Cruz nomination in near-apocalyptic terms — and not because he’s ignorant of law and policy, but because he knows exactly what he’s doing. Cruz is a threat to progressivism. Trump is its great ally.

The irony of this campaign is that angry GOP voters don’t even have to choose between conservatism and sending a message to the Establishment. Cruz can do both. But don’t tell that to a die-hard Trump supporter. He’ll just call you a snob.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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