Napoleon is on the march

It’s early 1815, and Napoleon has returned to France from exile in Elba, landing on the coast.  The French people have mixed views of this:

Napoleon drew most of his support from the workers and peasants. They loved him not so much because he was an “Emperor”, but because they believed he was a true son of the Revolution who would never reverse the Revolution’s reforms, something many feared Louis XVIII might soon do. Furthermore, Napoleon pledged himself to constitutional government in hopes of winning more support. The aristocracy and the middle class were unsure of how to feel about Napoleon’s return. However, since he had the support of the lower classes, the aristocracy and middle class said little, waiting to see what would happen. Thus, Napoleon was able to regain control of France bloodlessly; indeed, not a shot was fired. Yet, while beloved in France, Napoleon was hated in the rest of Europe: international conflict was inevitable.

The French king sent an army to stop him:

The 5th Regiment was sent to intercept him and made contact just south of Grenoble on March 7, 1815. Napoleon approached the regiment alone, dismounted his horse and, when he was within gunshot range, shouted to the soldiers, “Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish.”[167] The soldiers quickly responded with, “Vive L’Empereur!” Ney, who had boasted to the restored Bourbon king, Louis XVIII, that he would bring Napoleon to Paris in an iron cage, affectionately kissed his former emperor and forgot his oath of allegiance to the Bourbon monarch. The two then marched together towards Paris with a growing army. The unpopular Louis XVIII fled to Belgium after realizing he had little political support.

When Napoleon landed in France, the Paris newspapers warned that the “traitor” was on the march.  As he approached Paris the coverage steadily got better, day by day. (Someone find me a link.) The media greeted him as a hero as he entered the capitol.

And here’s the Washington Post:

Late Thursday night, National Review, the storied conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, published an issue denouncing Donald Trump.

“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editors wrote. “Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.”

The Republican National Committee reacted swiftly — immediately revoking the permission it had given National Review to host a Republican presidential debate next month. “Tonight, a top official with the RNC called me to say that National Review was being disinvited,” the magazine’s publisher wrote online. “The reason: Our ‘Against Trump’ editorial.”

That soft flapping sound you hear is the Grand Old Party waving the flag of surrender to Trump. Party elites — what’s left of the now-derided “establishment” — are acquiescing to the once inconceivable: that a xenophobic and bigoted showman is now the face of the Republican Party and of American conservatism.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page had long criticized Trump’s candidacy, publishing an editorial in July arguing that the conservative media who applaud Trump “are hurting the cause.” The editors opined: “If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him.”

A week ago, the Journal reversed course. “Mr. Trump is a better politician than we ever imagined, and he is becoming a better candidate,” the editorialists wrote, speculating that “he might possibly be able to appeal to a larger set of voters than he has so far.”

I’m 60 years old and this is by far the worst humiliation I’ve ever seen a political party experience, much worse that the 1968 Democratic convention (which I recall vividly).  Seriously, will someone just kill off the GOP and put it out of its misery? Perhaps the Whigs could be brought back.

The only thing worse than a two party system is a one party system, and that’s what we’ve now got in America.

It’s the Democrats. Period. End of story.

Next up . . . Waterloo.

Update:  Miguel Madeira sent me the Napoleon story I was looking for.  Even if your French is as bad as mine, you can probably read it without translation:

Maintenant, si on veut le suivre dans sa marche victorieuse jusqu’à Paris, on n’a qu’à consulter le Moniteur. Pour guider nos lecteurs dans cette recherche historique, nous allons en donner un extrait assez curieux. On y trouvera la marche graduée de Napoléon vers Paris, avec la modification que son approche produisait dans les opinions du journal.
– L’anthropophage est sorti de son repaire.
– L’ogre de Corse vient de débarquer au golfe Juan.
– Le tigre est arrivé à Gap.
– Le monstre a couché à Grenoble.
– Le tyran a traversé Lyon.
– L’usurpateur a été vu à soixante lieues de la capitale.
– Bonaparte s’avance à grands pas, mais il n’entrera jamais dans Paris.
– Napoléon sera demain sous nos remparts.
– L’empereur est arrivé à Fontainebleau.
– Sa Majesté Impériale et Royale a fait hier son entrée en son château des Tuileries au milieu de ses fidèles sujets !

OK, OK, for you Trump supporters here’s the google translate:

Now if we want to follow him in his victorious march to Paris, we only need consult the Monitor. To guide our readers in this historic research, we will give a curious extract. We will find the graduated march of Napoleon to Paris, with the modification that the approach produced in the opinions of the newspaper.
– The cannibal went out of his lair.
– The Corsican ogre just landed the Gulf of Juan.
– The tiger arrived at Gap.
– The monster slept in Grenoble.
– The tyrant has gone through Lyon.
– The usurper was seen at sixty leagues from the capital.
– Bonaparte is advancing with great strides, but it will never enter Paris.
– Napoleon will be under our ramparts tomorrow.
– The Emperor arrived at Fontainebleau.
– His Imperial and Royal Majesty yesterday made its entry into the Tuileries surrounded by his loyal subjects!

Update#2:  As I expected, Bloomberg’s likely to run if it’s Sanders vs. Trump.


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97 Responses to “Napoleon is on the march”

  1. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 08:03

    I’m 60 years old and this is by far the worst humiliation I’ve ever seen a political party experience, much worse that the 1968 Democratic convention (which I recall vividly). Seriously, will someone just kill off the GOP and put it out of its misery? Perhaps the Whigs could be brought back.

    You need to get a grip. Neither political party is going anywhere and the position the GOP maintains in federal and state legislative bodies is the best it has managed since 1928. If you wish to locate the parties responsible for this spectacle, their offices are on Capitol Hill. The most to blame is known as “A.M. McConnell”.

    The Democratic nominee of 2008 had no executive experience, was, after 11 years in legislative bodies, not known as a maven in any area of policy, had published no scholarly papers in 12 years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, had practiced law only fitfully and allowed his license to lapse, had run the Chicago Annenberg Challenge into the ground, but had published two memoirs about his sorry-assed life. Nominating such a vapid motormouth would be a humiliation, were the Democratic Party and the social nexus from which it is drawn composed of people who had any non-frivolous reasons to experience embarrassment.

    The world you live in is not the world you fancy you live in.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. January 2016 at 08:12

    Art, You said:

    “You need to get a grip. Neither political party is going anywhere and the position the GOP maintains in federal and state legislative bodies is the best it has managed since 1928. ”

    Please tell me something I don’t know.

  3. Gravatar of Miguel Madeira Miguel Madeira
    23. January 2016 at 08:27

    http://www.dumaspere.com/pages/bibliotheque/chapitre.php?lid=v1&cid=6

    Maintenant, si on veut le suivre dans sa marche victorieuse jusqu’à Paris, on n’a qu’à consulter le Moniteur. Pour guider nos lecteurs dans cette recherche historique, nous allons en donner un extrait assez curieux. On y trouvera la marche graduée de Napoléon vers Paris, avec la modification que son approche produisait dans les opinions du journal.
    – L’anthropophage est sorti de son repaire.
    – L’ogre de Corse vient de débarquer au golfe Juan.
    – Le tigre est arrivé à Gap.
    – Le monstre a couché à Grenoble.
    – Le tyran a traversé Lyon.
    – L’usurpateur a été vu à soixante lieues de la capitale.
    – Bonaparte s’avance à grands pas, mais il n’entrera jamais dans Paris.
    – Napoléon sera demain sous nos remparts.
    – L’empereur est arrivé à Fontainebleau.
    – Sa Majesté Impériale et Royale a fait hier son entrée en son château des Tuileries au milieu de ses fidèles sujets !

  4. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    23. January 2016 at 08:38

    And William F. Buckley rolls in his grave. .

    Nice Napoleon analogy

  5. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    23. January 2016 at 08:42

    Another French comparison to today’s GOP is the Vichy Regime as the party is now occupied.

  6. Gravatar of asdf asdf
    23. January 2016 at 08:48

    @ssumner

    What do you believe in? Is it just progressivism but you hate paying taxes?

    Whose interests do you support? Is there anyone you really care about beyond yourself and a small circle? Don’t say, “maximizing global population utility function” or something absurd like that. I’m not going to waste time taking that idea down, we both know its a farce.

    If you join the democrats, what is there for you? They don’t just hate your economics, they actively hate who you are, from birth. You’re the evil white man, and no amount of groveling is going to change that. You know this.

    Do you think multiple parties would matter? Europe has that, they have growing Trump movements in every country.

    Again, I don’t know when supporting mass immigration of people who hate you and are guaranteed to destroy everything you love became issue #1 of what it means to be a conservative. For whatever reason (none of the ones I can think of being very flattering), you’ve chosen this hill to die on. This value to hold higher then any other conservative value.

    Though perhaps that is the problem. Are there many conservative values left in the conservative party? Or is it mainly the party of hallow opportunism these days. It’s not hard to hold this value above other values when you have no other values.

  7. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 08:48

    Please tell me something I don’t know.

    No clue as to what you ‘know’ and do not ‘know’. Your analogies may be to offer an assessment, or they may be satirical. Clown nose on, clown nose off. You can claim one or the other, depending on what you’re trying to parry.

  8. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 08:50

    Where does Bloomberg fit into the narrative?

    Not sure about Napoleon, but he could head up the Whigs I guess.

  9. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 08:53

    Google translate:

    Now if we want to follow him in his victorious march to Paris, one has only to consult the Monitor . To guide our readers in this historic research, we will give a curious extract. We will find the graduated march of Napoleon to Paris , with the modification that the approach produced in the opinions of the newspaper.
    – The cannibal went out of his lair.
    – The Corsican ogre just landed the Gulf of Juan .
    – The tiger arrived at Gap.
    – The monster slept in Grenoble.
    – The tyrant has gone through Lyon.
    – The usurper was seen at sixty leagues from the capital.
    – Bonaparte great strides , but it will never enter Paris .
    – Napoleon will be tomorrow under our ramparts.
    – The Emperor arrived at Fontainebleau.
    – His Imperial and Royal Majesty did yesterday its entry into the Tuileries among his loyal subjects !

  10. Gravatar of Ram Ram
    23. January 2016 at 08:54

    Trump has had a long career prior to his pursuit of the presidency, which points to interesting possibilities. In every position he has occupied, enormous numbers of people have had a lot at stake with respect to his decisions, and time and again he has convinced them to defer to him, only to then make the decision in his own best interest. This is not always regrettable. Economists more than most should be able to appreciate that pursuit of self-interest is very often a Good Thing. And what separates our system of government from many in the most underdeveloped countries is that when ambitious and self-interested people like Trump take control of the reigns, the system greatly constrains what they can do, and to some extent aligns their interests with the public interest. In North Korea, Trump might have been worse than Kim-Jong Un, but in the US I think there’s a decent possibility he will be better than the average president. The reason is simply that it’s very hard for a president to personally gain a lot while doing a lot of unambiguous damage to the country. This is especially so given that Trump is not beholden to anyone but himself. An ideologue in such a position might be dangerous, since she might pursue her agenda to the fullest extent under the misguided belief that she knows exactly what the country needs, but a guy who has no ideas of his own and frankly doesn’t seem to care what people think he believes, but who cares a lot about himself, is going to be driven more by pursuit of a grand legacy than anything else. And that may mean deferring to the experts on most important decisions. Yes, he seems very willing to throw bones to the ignorant masses, but the masses aren’t just ignorant about good policy, but also about what the president is actually up to. It’s a lot better for him to create a booming economy by whatever means, and obtain peaceful resolutions of international conflicts, and then enjoy the love of the masses for it, than to actually implement their terrible ideas and watch them turn on him when they inevitably backfire. So I think there’s a real possibility Trump will be an unusually positive president.

    But I also think there’s a real possibility he’s a historically catastrophic president, for all the reasons others have mentioned again and again, so maybe risk aversion argues for someone more predictable. I’m not voting for Trump (or anyone else), but I do think ideology and partisanship are poisoning the country, and that a mostly competent, self-serving but non-ideological and non-partisan clown might just be able to turn the tide. Food for thought in any event.

  11. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    23. January 2016 at 09:00

    Ditto 1955. Trump is the biggest political story ever in American history.

    There is a bit of Trumpstein here: decades of fear-mongering by the GOP coming home to roost.

    And forget not a central bank practicing economic asphyxiation.

    Sadly, Trump may actually be the best of the lot, both sides of the aisle.

  12. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:03

    What do you believe in?

    A somewhat exasperated reader of the sundry pensees of Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok suggested that their worldview was animated not by libertarianism but cosmopolitanism. Another suggested they shared a ‘nerd-bourgeois’ worldview wherein real cultural distinctions were mistaken for the trivial disputes that nerd-bourgeois have among themselves. Another description might be ‘faculty libertarianism’, wherein libertarian notions are subject to artful excisions so they offer no serious challenge to what’s non-negotiable among those who run arts-and-sciences faculties. Note that a mainline Democrat like KC Johnson or an idiosyncratic character like Camille Paglia or Jonathan Haidt are far more trenchant and effective critics of academe than any soi-disant libertarian from cohorts younger than Richard Epstein.

  13. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 09:07

    @asdf,

    individualism =/= tribalism

    What’s conservative about tribalism? I can see what’s fascist about it.

    @Ram,

    Interesting comment. I tend to think we’d be better with a boring government. Exciting governments aren’t worth it. Putting so much importance on a cult of personality or even a cult of government might be exciting, but I don’t think it’s ultimately what makes individuals’ lives better. You still have to go home from the “big football game” to your actual life. The illusion of you being part of the team is fleeting at best.

    Not being a sports fan myself, I’ve never understood the vicarious thrill people are apparently getting.

  14. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:07

    Another French comparison to today’s GOP is the Vichy Regime as the party is now occupied.

    By whom? Its own voters? Your analogy would work better were you to assess just why those pushing open borders among Capitol Hill Republicans have such influence.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. January 2016 at 09:08

    Thanks Miguel, I love that quote. I added an update.

    asdf, Trump is horrible for America and the world, it has nothing to do with my cosmopolitanism. Have you looked at his views on the issues? He’s just joking with you, he’s teasing you, he won’t even tell you what he believes. His plans are so absurd they can only be viewed as a joke.

    It’s far more likely that Trump is another Obama, or another Hillary, than that he will actually do the things that he says he will do.

    Ram, He’s views on the issues are horrible, so then people say maybe he doesn’t really believe it. But the man is also a horrible human being. So if you can’t vote for the issues, and you can’t vote for the man, what are you voting for?

    Tom, See my update on Bloomberg.

  16. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:09

    What’s conservative about tribalism? I can see what’s fascist about it.

    Than you’re not seeing what’s salient about fascism, which is revanchism, a cult of action and violence, constitutional authoritarianism, and a conception of the economy as something that has to be organized. Trump’s not pushing any of this.

  17. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    23. January 2016 at 09:13

    Trump was inevitable, the emperor has been parading in the streets naked for far too long.

    What did you expect, for the past 30 years the coastal elites have been saying that straight white men are to blame for everything that is wrong in the world.

    Trump is the face of their anger.

  18. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    23. January 2016 at 09:17

    I am 66 years old and I told you the Republican Party was cursed for doing 9/11. But what does an old man know? Even the other candidates are total buffoons. Don’t bring back the party of the rich, the Whigs. Find an Eisenhower.

  19. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 09:27

    “But the man is also a horrible human being. So if you can’t vote for the issues, and you can’t vote for the man, what are you voting for?”

    Exactly. In 2000 I decided I’d vote GOP. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics. I was a McCain guy, but when Bush got the nomination, … no biggie. First Gore / Bush debate, I had to abandon watching after 5 min: I didn’t realize how stupid Bush sounded. It was too embarrassing. I never tried watching again, but I told myself “Well, he’ll surround himself with smart people” Hahahahaha! I was fooling myself.

    After 2003 I vowed to never to vote for an out and out moron again. Now I’m extending that vow to cover clowns. Sad clowns, evil clowns: no clowns.

    The more intelligent you are, the more clever your justification will be. Just like for cultists. There are intelligent cultists: they construct the best justifications.

  20. Gravatar of CA CA
    23. January 2016 at 09:33

    I’m a center-right person. I vote for both Dems and Reps, but mostly Reps. Voted for McCain and Romney against Obama. Part of me hopes Trump wins the Republican nomination and then gets completely clobbered by Hillary, thus ending the Republican party as we know it. But I also worry that an even worse monster could rise if the Republican party completely caves in. Strange times indeed.

    America needs a new center-right party. Relatively low taxes, reasonable immigration policy (please don’t talk to me about deporting 12 million people), sensible monetary policy (please don’t talk to me about the gold standard), moderate social policy (I’m fine with gay marriage). I just don’t know how we get there.

  21. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:34

    After 2003 I vowed to never to vote for an out and out moron again.

    The ‘out and out moron’ was a graduate of Yale College and the Harvard Business School and trained as a fighter pilot. There’s a corps of people who respect Bush’s intelligence: people who’ve actually worked for him face-to-face.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. January 2016 at 09:36

    CA, I still believe there are lots of people out there like you and me.

  23. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:36

    Part of me hopes Trump wins the Republican nomination and then gets completely clobbered by Hillary, thus ending the Republican party as we know it.

    You can check RCP polling. Neither Hellary nor Sanders has more than a notional lead over any of the leading Republican candidates, if that (though I suppose in this forum only prediction markets would be considered worthy of checking).

  24. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. January 2016 at 09:44

    I thought exactly of Napoleon’s coverage steadily getting better and better with how the media’s treating Trump just a few days ago.

    And ssumner, have you not realized all the major Republican candidates except Trump are much worse people (personally, for America, and for the world) than him? If you know the policies are fake, and you know all the candidates are horrible human beings (Trump least of all), then why oppose him? Signaling? Russophobia? Islam? Trump 2016!

    Tom, enough use of the F-word. I can call Obama a Stalinist; that won’t make it true or increase my credibility.

    Ram, Ben Cole, good points.

  25. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. January 2016 at 09:46

    Art, You said:

    “A somewhat exasperated reader of the sundry pensees of Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok suggested that their worldview was animated not by libertarianism but cosmopolitanism.”

    Gotta love all those Christians who support Trump. I guess Jesus’s message was that the well-being of relatively rich Americans is more important than foreigners.

    Daniel, You said:

    “What did you expect, for the past 30 years the coastal elites have been saying that straight white men are to blame for everything that is wrong in the world.

    Trump is the face of their anger.”

    I agree. I mentioned that problem in a post just last week.

  26. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 09:46

    The “Woe is me… I’m white” rational is especially amusing. This crowd ends up sounding just like the whiny SJWs they say makes them feel so put upon.

  27. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 09:47

    … Tribalism run amok.

  28. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. January 2016 at 09:48

    CA, you’re a big part of what’s wrong with America. Bush was a terrible and unsophisticated speaker, but not the complete moron many made him out to be. Maybe slightly less intelligent than Obama.

  29. Gravatar of CA CA
    23. January 2016 at 09:49

    Art Deco, agreed about W. Stupid people don’t graduate from two Ivy league schools and fly fighter jets. I think history will be kinder to GWB.

    Could Trump win the general election? Maybe. I really don’t know. But I sure hope not.

  30. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 09:49

    But the man is also a horrible human being.

    Compared to whom and in what sphere? His opposition consists of the Clintons, for chrissakes, and Marco Rubio. Trump’s domestic history isn’t any worse than John McCain’s, bar that none of Trump’s five children are anywhere near as vulgar and irritating as Meghan. The current incumbent gave you government according to the precepts of Lois Lerner and Eric Holder. Flying off to a fundraiser the day after issuing a stand-down order re Benghazi (something he’s never had the character to acknowledge having done) was cute too. So was attending the Million Man March while his mother was dying of cancer in Honolulu.

  31. Gravatar of CA CA
    23. January 2016 at 09:51

    E. Harding, when I was young and stupid I voted for Gore. Then I voted for Bush when he ran for re-election. I’m not a Bush hater.

  32. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    23. January 2016 at 09:54

    E. Harding, you’re right: Bush probably wasn’t really an out and out moron. Not that bad, but he did sound retarded, and I couldn’t bear listening to the man. The point is that hoping his advisers and cabinet will compensate that is fooling yourself. Evidence? The Iraq War.

    Also, I don’t see what’s controversial in linking tribalism to fascism.

  33. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 10:00

    Gotta love all those Christians who support Trump. I guess Jesus’s message was that the well-being of relatively rich Americans is more important than foreigners.

    You do realize this is non sequitur?

    As is, my own personal concerns re immigration are distinct from those articulated by Trump. As for the well-being of people abroad, it’s only marginally affected by the size of immigration streams to the occident, and can in select circumstances be injured by those streams. Improvement in living conditions abroad will come from economic development in those loci, not from skimming a favored few for immigration to the occident or making Americans foreigners in their own country. Unlike Tyler Cowen, I think the government can see its way clear into providing better sustenance to Syrian refugees without importing those refugees and placing them in incompatible matrices. Dr. Cowen’s argument for Syrian refugee imports was how fond he was of his old pal Kathleen Fata, a fourth generation American whose Syrian ancestry was limited to one grandparent.

  34. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 10:06

    Bush was a terrible and unsophisticated speaker,

    You’re forgetting that his father was painful to listen to, far worse than the son’s garbled syntax. As for Clinton, he was so oleaginous you had to take a shower afterward when you viewed even five minutes of one of his talks. I would refer you to Henry Fairlie’s treatment of political rhetoric at the Presidential level a generation ago. Capable public speaking is just not part of the skill set which makes political careers in this country. John Kennedy was a huge exception, but also one which indicates that articulateness is over-rated (and one might say the same about the current incumbent).

  35. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. January 2016 at 10:11

    CA, my biggest problem with your statements was this:

    “Voted for McCain and Romney against Obama. Part of me hopes Trump wins the Republican nomination and then gets completely clobbered by Hillary, thus ending the Republican party as we know it.”

    Tom, I see what’s controversial about linking anti-tribalism to Stalinism. Do you?

    “This crowd ends up sounding just like the whiny SJWs they say makes them feel so put upon.”

    -Hey, if their tactics work…

    CA, I hope for a TRiUMPh. Clinton’s bad, but the mainstream Republicans are worse.

  36. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 10:12

    all the major Republican candidates except Trump are much worse people (personally,

    Marco Rubio is an effortless liar. There aren’t any scandals attaching themselves to Ted Cruz; he’s disliked by certain sorts, but the prominent examples are two men (A.M McConnell and Craig Mazin) with manifest character defects. There’s nothing notably the matter with Dr. Carson.

  37. Gravatar of Ram Ram
    23. January 2016 at 10:26

    To clarify, I agree that Trump says horrible things, is encouraging horrible people to do horrible things, and may even believe some of what he’s saying. I would not want to be friends with him, would not do business with him, and do not want him to be president.

    The question I’m asking is, in the increasingly likely event that he becomes president, is there a silver lining? And I think there might be, in the sense that he comes to the job with unusual incentives–he doesn’t owe anyone anything, he doesn’t seem to believe anything (everything he says now he’s either said the opposite of in the past, or is transparently throwing red meat to his nutty voting base), but he seems willing to do whatever he needs to do to achieve greatness. It’s conceivable that could lead to outcomes that are on the whole good. Some of the best things ever done by humans have been done by the most opportunistic and craven among us. But I’ll admit that this isn’t my average-case scenario for a Trump presidency. The conditional distribution of social welfare under Trump has fat tails on both ends.

  38. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    23. January 2016 at 10:30

    George W Bush was no moron or retard. He was a very sophisticated individual who understood the workings of his father’s New World Order. Some say HW was in Dallas the day the New World Order was fully realized. HW said he didn’t remember where he was the day JFK was assassinated. Everyone remembered where they were.

    Continuing, Romney could have been a W Bush clone as I wrote on Business Insider where I wrote for a few years. There was motive for and knowledge of 9/11 in the neocon past. The Taliban had gone to Texas in 1997, and then rebuffed the Bush family business, a pipeline to Haliburton/Dresser investments in the Caspian Sea. That was the motive. PNAC called for a new Pearl Harbor. That was the knowledge as Jeb Bush and Dick Cheney were members of PNAC: http://www.businessinsider.com/mitt-romney-and-the-neocon-mind-pre-911-2012-10

  39. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    23. January 2016 at 10:30

    The Trump phenomenon is multi-faceted but I think you are starting to understand with your Napoleon vs the Bourbons analogy.

    There are a lot of things going on:

    1- In the age of social media and iPhones, everyone has changed their mind or gaffed once. All of this is recorded. The personalities that win are the ones that are teflon, that use bravado rather than argument. This isn’t a good thing, but it is what technology has brought us.

    2- The Republican field is fragmented. In NH, Bush is running vicious attack ads on Rubio for being pro-immigrant. You read that right. He’s spent an absurd amount trying to tear down the rest of the field, something like $20 million. If the dead weight (Bush, Christie, Carson, Paul) would drop out, we could have a real race.

    3- Most of the establishment money comes from banks and health care, none more flagrant than Clinton and Bush. These are the “Bourbon kings” of our society. What is owed in return? Can they be trusted not to screw the peasants? The only differentiation between the parties is that Media Money goes Dem, while Oil/Manufacturing Money goes Rep.

    4- Back to technology, people are afraid. The world is unfamiliar, with waves of job losses to tech and offshoring every few years. Trump and Sanders are both drawing support from the economically fearful. I think technology is driving us toward a new wave of jingoist politicians, both because of the job losses, and because of the effect of technology on the media.

    5- Trump (and Sanders) are differentiated in key ways, in that both opposed the Iraq war. I know you think this is xenophobic, but Trump draws support from a rejection of internationalism, both the people who view America as part of world government, and the people who are very calculating about adding immigrants into their electoral math.

    6- The Media is so powerful today, people want a strong leader who can unify by controlling the media, instead of being controlled by the media and its 24 hour news cycle. Look at all the polling, and fake sound bites used by Obama (and Clinton State) to try to keep media at bay. This extends to social media, where fake stories go viral in a millisecond.

    7- I don’t think Trump himself is racist, but agree his blurry policy views and politically incorrect talk do appeal to racists.

    On your previous post about big government, I think there is a difference between big dollar spend, and big regulatory meddling. I think a majority of Americans, including many Repubs, want to protect social security and medicare.

    Seemingly reasonable establishment Repubs like Kudlow want to means test social security (or age it as Christie wants). But people realize you don’t save much by taking away Buffett’s social security; you have to dig down to people with less than a million in retirement save and trim their ss benefits too, and that’s not popular.

    The key problem in the Republican party is that there are some, as asdf said, who are basically progressives who dislike paying taxes. This group is popular but can’t make the numbers add up.

    There is another group that want to trim back the sometimes capricious regulatory and legal control that the federal government exerts on society, but can’t figure out how to sell the message to a majority.

  40. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    23. January 2016 at 10:31

    Sumner: “Seriously, will someone just kill off the GOP” – Sumner advocates violence, noted, even if metaphorically. And Sumner apparently never understood the Republican Party stood for giving breaks to Big Business. The talk about cutting the size of government, all the while increasing it with “borrow and spend” politics, and nonsense like “starve the beast” (postponing tax increases, which made for more borrowing) was obvious to everybody except ideologically hidebound Sumner with his blinders on. And we are to trust his judgement on economics?

    @Gary Anderson – Eisenhower cut his teeth working for MacArthur in the Philippines (and the former correctly thought the latter a pompous ass); and MacArthur’s father also worked in the PH. If you can make it here you can make it anywhere.

    @Art Deco- you’d make a good “Beltway Bandit” consultant in Washington, DC, as you are too clever by half and nobody would understand you, but respect you.

  41. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. January 2016 at 10:37

    Sumner, your http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2016/01/keynesians_econ.html

    is really good. But do you mean “right in the 1990s”?

    “If you want to see the opposite extreme of my blogging ability, go the TheMoneyIllusion, where I post on politics. And that gets all the comments. :)”

    -Bingo. Because Econlog has an overactive mod and spam filter and you have an irrational dislike of the Donald.

    And one of the finest refutations pf Neo-Fisherism is Venezuela.

  42. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    23. January 2016 at 10:38

    So, then when everyone thought Romney was going to win, Patrick Clawson, who was on the Cheney task force, came out with a false flag announcement.

    Listen carefully. He speaks of faking an Iranian attack, but he also listed what he thought were false flags, conveniently leaving out 9/11. Attacking the US by claiming Iran did it was not out of the question if you listen to Clawson, who is a neocon and Israeli lobbyist:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M84l19H68mk

  43. Gravatar of jonathan jonathan
    23. January 2016 at 10:39

    Simply put, a large part of the Republican base is not “conservative” in any pure sense. They don’t like government and elites, they admire honest successful businessmen in a general sense, they don’t like paying taxes personally, and they’re culturally religious but not particularly devout. But they’re not pure libertarian free marketers, and they’re not very religious evangelicals.

    This is Trump’s base. And he’s pitched to them perfectly. This category also includes plenty of independents and some democrats.

    Of course, the other side of this is that the other candidates running have been pretty unsuccessful. Some of that is down to Trump hanging effective one-liners on them and sucking away the media oxygen, but I think the other candidates are legitimately weak.

  44. Gravatar of JimP JimP
    23. January 2016 at 11:26

    From the FT – this weekends lead editorial

    Begin quote:
    To some degree, market-based inflation expectations seem to follow the price of oil. To the extent that oil price changes cause only temporary increases in inflation while the effect of the price level change works its way through, such measures should therefore be treated with some caution. But at a time when inflation expectations are already so low and fears of excess capacity and deflation remain, central bankers need to reassure that they are prepared to loosen policy if inflationary pressure falls further.

    In this context, not only does the Fed’s quarter-point rate rise in December look ever more premature but its forecast of more rises to come makes it look out of touch with reality. The markets this week were pricing in a less than 1 per cent chance that the Fed’s expectation of four more rate rises in 2016 would be met.
    end quote:

    The Fed looks “out of touch with reality”. Which means they are either lying or insane.

    I believe Janet Yellen is a simple liar. She no more believes we will have 2% inflation in the medium term than Donald Trump does. Or anyone else.

  45. Gravatar of JimP JimP
    23. January 2016 at 11:34

    And of course it is not good when the Fed Head looks the country straight in the face and then openly lies. That is just not good.

    Nixon did that and we all know where it got him.

  46. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    23. January 2016 at 11:47

    You kids all noted that SCOTUS is bringing up Takings Clause with Obama on Immigration, right?

    You think they aren’t acting NOW, bc they see POTUS TRUMP and realize that NOW Cons will still cheer?

    Do we NOT want a Congress unified in taking power away from the Executive?

    Do we NOT want a Congress happy to pass the money down to states in block grants, rather than let Executive touch it?

    The lesson here is anytime you don’t run the US software the right way, you get a Obama / Trump virus.

    Look, I’m not a soft ideologue Libertarian like Scott, my favorite rand character has always been Danneskjöld, Dems created Obama, got themselves a new freebie, to me all that matters is that we take it away, demoralizing them.

    Congress still writes the laws, Trump gets to sign then. this is what we al want right? Yay!

    Stop the histrionics. Trump might be a disaster, but it’ll be bc of something the Executive is allowed to do… and I personally think you haven’t seen Trump put on his POTUS act yet.

    He might now win nomination, so until give the man a chance to run to the center.

  47. Gravatar of curiousfinancestudent curiousfinancestudent
    23. January 2016 at 12:41

    unrelated to the topic but talking about the France,anybody remember when Krugman used to write that about the french economy
    http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1997/06/unmitigated_gauls.2.html

  48. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    23. January 2016 at 12:59

    So, does the Republican Party support this? I personally view this policy as economic warfare, of the most dangerous variety. I know the Dems are for this, which is why I don’t like them either, (although they do fewer false flags). This is not my article but it points out that insurance companies have already stopped insuring coal exploration, and that they will soon stop insuring oil exploration.

    I think that pits east versus west as the west wants shared electric cars without steering wheels versus the east which wants to get on with reality.

    http://www.talkmarkets.com/content/global-markets/why-we-need-to-rethink-the-financial-future-of-oil?post=83542

  49. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. January 2016 at 13:50

    Tom, You said:

    “The “Woe is me… I’m white” rational is especially amusing. This crowd ends up sounding just like the whiny SJWs they say makes them feel so put upon.”

    There is some truth in that, but at least they don’t complain about Halloween costumes.

    Art, You said:

    “Improvement in living conditions abroad will come from economic development in those loci,”

    Yes, and undoubtedly a global trade war would be great for developing countries like Vietnam. They would no longer have to worry about their workers being exploited.

    Steve, Yes, Jeb should have endorsed Rubio weeks ago–now he’s just embarrassing himself. The entire GOP looks like a bunch of fools—they are as much to blame as Trump himself.

  50. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    23. January 2016 at 14:11

    Much of this will be old news after the field dwindles and Trump loses heads up. Only a minority of Trump’s support comes from Republican voters and the supporters of those Trump has vilified (Carson, Bush, Rubio, Cruz) will mostly attach themselves to the non-Trump candidate as things narrow.

    The Trump phenomenon is partly media driven and partly analysts dropping the ball by not demonstrating how Trump’s campaign strategy is abysmal and he has a pretty meager path to victory.

  51. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    23. January 2016 at 14:12

    Rubio is a dishonest and terrible candidate on anything but tax policy.

    “The entire GOP looks like a bunch of fools—they are as much to blame as Trump himself.”

    -Bingo. And did you mean “right in the 1990s” in your latest Econlog post?

  52. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 14:50

    Yes, and undoubtedly a global trade war would be great for developing countries like Vietnam. They would no longer have to worry about their workers being exploited.

    1. The notion that there will be a ‘global trade war’ is speculative.

    2. Smoot-Hawley was a while ago. There aren’t many benefits untapped from liberalization of trade policy.

    3. What’s this got to do with your original insult? Or is it your contention that trade policy is now a species of Christian philanthropy?

  53. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 14:54

    the supporters of those Trump has vilified (Carson, Bush, Rubio, Cruz) will mostly attach themselves to the non-Trump candidate as things narrow.

    Not sure Trump has ‘vilified’ anyone any more severely than anyone else has done. Cruz will have to garner roughly 70% of the support currently going to the other candidates to surpass Trump. Possible, but a challenge.

  54. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 14:58

    Trump’s campaign strategy is abysmal and he has a pretty meager path to victory.

    “Abysmal” seems pretty effective thus far. As for the general election, there are only marginal differences in the performance of the four Republican leaders vis a vis Hellary or Sanders, as revealed in survey research.

  55. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    23. January 2016 at 15:11

    Also, I don’t see what’s controversial in linking tribalism to fascism.

    Because ‘tribe’ and ‘nation’ are two distinct understandings of human association. “Tribalism” is what you see in political societies wherein you have competing lineage groups, which in turn may have distinctive languages as well. You get ‘tribalism’ in Arab countries. You also have fascist movements in Arab countries, but these re derived from a negation of tribalisms. “Fascism” is an expression of nationalism gone rancid, or confessional chauvinism. You’ve seen very little of it outside of the Arab world in the post-war period (the Franco and Salazar regimes lacking the necessary revanchism or social ideologies). Applying it to particularist parties in Europe or the Trump phenomenon in America is an attempt at argument by stigma.

  56. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. January 2016 at 15:47

    “Napoleon is on the March”

    So the question is: Was Napoleon good or bad? For France? For Europe? For the world?

  57. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    23. January 2016 at 19:22

    I’m supporting Gary Johnson’s windmill tilt. I agree with him on most things. I don’t like his Fair Tax proposal. But that’s a quibble when I consider he will be running against a Fascist and a Socialist.

    There isn’t a Democratic Party anymore Scott. They aren’t even able to distinguish between their so called moderate candidate and an open Socialist.

  58. Gravatar of Innocent Innocent
    23. January 2016 at 20:20

    I am worried. Very worried. You see, Trump is not a Republican. He is not a Democrat. He is an opportunist. The last time I saw an opportunist to this degree was in Germany about 90 years ago.

    The real issue is that the people in Washington DO NOT CARE who is in charge so long as they get a piece of the action. They are scared of people they cannot bargain with.

    Trump they can bargain with. Maybe not control, but bargain with.

  59. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    23. January 2016 at 20:26

    What happened to the first 50 comments?

    Glitch? Or did someone take a cloth to the server?

  60. Gravatar of anon anon
    23. January 2016 at 23:30

    Steve, yes, the blog has a glitch where it creates a new “page” every 50 comments on a post, but there’s no way to navigate these pages, so it only shows you the latest one. Known workaround is to tack &cpage=[number] onto the URL in your address bar, where [number] starts from 1 for the first fifty comments (so you would add &cpage=1 ), then 2 for the next fifty and so on.

  61. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    24. January 2016 at 05:51

    I am worried. Very worried. You see, Trump is not a Republican. He is not a Democrat. He is an opportunist. The last time I saw an opportunist to this degree was in Germany about 90 years ago.

    You’re 108 years old, like the protagonist in The Green Mile?

    That aside, Hitler was a demagogue. He was anything but an opportunist. He believed his rubbish and put it into practice. You’ve confused Hitler with Franz von Papen.

    The category ‘opportunist’ would include Richard Nixon, George Bush the Elder, and, if you’re feeling dyspeptic, Mitt Romney. (Gerald Ford, Robert Dole, and John McCain would be more aptly described as ‘careerist’). Annoying, not worrisome.

  62. Gravatar of Michael Byrnes Michael Byrnes
    24. January 2016 at 07:08

    “It’s the Democrats. Period. End of story.”

    Not in the House, or the Senate, or in state governments.

  63. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    24. January 2016 at 10:40

    Art, Trump’s strategy qualifies as abysmal since it gives him the ceiling that he is currently pretty much at. Nobody likes him except his ardent supporters. He won’t even get to a general since he has alienated the majority of primary voters. The media is presenting the polls the wrong way; Trump is only leading when you see the anti-Trump vote spread around. But when it’s down to Trump vs Cruz or Trump vs Rubio, Trump won’t likely break 45%.

  64. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    24. January 2016 at 12:04

    “Art, Trump’s strategy qualifies as abysmal since it gives him the ceiling that he is currently pretty much at.”

    -They’ve been saying that since forever. That statement has zero predictive power.

    “Nobody likes him except his ardent supporters.”

    -Sure, he’s polarizing. But lots of Republicans who don’t have him as first choice still like him.

    “He won’t even get to a general since he has alienated the majority of primary voters.”

    -Only if you count the Democrats.

    “But when it’s down to Trump vs Cruz or Trump vs Rubio, Trump won’t likely break 45%.”

    -Evidence? If it comes down to Trump v. Rubio, Rubio will lose. If it comes down to Trump v. Cruz, Trump will have a tougher time, but will still probably manage to eke out a victory.

  65. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    24. January 2016 at 12:51

    Art, Trump’s strategy qualifies as abysmal since it gives him the ceiling that he is currently pretty much at

    No clue whether that’s true or not. I do know that in comparing the median of this month’s surveys with July’s surveys, Jeb! and my candidate (Gov. Huckabee) have had sorely declining support and most of the rest are not going anywhere. The four candidates have who have improved their position in terms of odds (p/(1-p)) have been Dr. Carson (1.33x), Rubio (1.93x), Trump (2.06x) and Sen. Cruz (3.67x). So, the dynamic aspect has favored Cruz, but he’s got quite a bit of ground to cover ‘ere he catches Trump. There are conflicting accounts of how effective Trump’s organization in Iowa is and underperformance there could make for some surprises.

    Regarding popular vote totals, 44% has been sufficient in the past to lock up a 4 candidate race (see 2008). Trump is currently polling at 34% and, again, has been improving his position at a more rapid rate the last six months than any candidate other than Cruz. The placing candidate in recent survey research is Cruz alone for a few states, Rubio alone in one state, Carson in another state, and a three-way-tie between Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio in another.

    I’m trying to recall a precedent for the popular vote uniting behind a magnet candidate against a front-runner deemed unacceptable. The best example I can think of during the post-war period would be that of Gary Hart in 1984; Sen. Hart still lost.

  66. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    24. January 2016 at 14:13

    Art, You asked:

    “Or is it your contention that trade policy is now a species of Christian philanthropy?”

    Yes, obviously.

    Carl, I like Johnson too.

  67. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    24. January 2016 at 15:32

    This ‘change of heart’ by right-leaning papers was, I opine, largely catalyzed by Bernie Sanders’s recent surge, now beyond Hillary in Iowa. If Hillary still looked like a sure thing, they’d still all be be tearing Trump apart because he’d have no shot in the general election (against Hillary). But against Sanders? Trump could actually have a chance, since he’s also extreme and alienating to anyone who isn’t already in his camp. The better chance Sanders has,the better chance Trump has, and vice versa.

    It’s a recurrent theme in history it seems, communism and fascism rise together, in Spain, in Italy, in Germany. So until the general election, Bernie and Donald are in the same boat against the more sane or moderate candidates.

  68. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    24. January 2016 at 16:45

    Mark, don’t you get it? There are no “more sane or moderate candidates”! All the other candidates think that al-Qaeda is a U.S. ally and that there’s something unsavory about Russia actually doing something against the forces of militant Islam. Even Cruz! Trump and Sanders are the only men who have an even remotely sensible grasp of foreign affairs. Their domestic policy leaves much to be desired, but, for the most part, they’re not going to control domestic policy if elected. They will control foreign policy and Supreme Court appointments. On those, I can only see Trump, that glorious victor and savior of conservatism, as even remotely acceptable. Trump 2016!

  69. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    24. January 2016 at 16:59

    And Sanders still doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Florida.

  70. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    24. January 2016 at 17:00

    Sumner:

    You have it backwards. The GOP was only the first party to be destroyed. The Democrats are next.

    Art Deco:

    Nationalism and tribalism are based on the same view of man. They are not mutually exclusive. Sacrificing the individual to thoughts of a collective, which manifests in masters and slaves.

  71. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    24. January 2016 at 18:38

    Five-year inflation breakeven now 1.1%…..

  72. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    24. January 2016 at 19:00

    Nationalism and tribalism are based on the same view of man.

    Only if you’re Bryan Caplan and haven’t a clue about how a normal human being thinks about his social world. Quit assuming people are widgets and the distinction will emerge for you.

  73. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    24. January 2016 at 19:04

    If Hillary still looked like a sure thing, they’d still all be be tearing Trump apart because he’d have no shot in the general election (against Hillary).

    People, please, read the current survey research, conveniently compiled for you by Real Clear Politics. There isn’t much reason at this stage to believe that Clinton or Sanders will be the more competitive candidate or to believe that any one of the four leading Republicans will do much better or worse than any of the others. All six candidates do about the same in any of the eight hypothetical general election contests.

  74. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    24. January 2016 at 19:32

    It’s a recurrent theme in history it seems, communism and fascism rise together, in Spain, in Italy, in Germany.

    The Italian Communist Party received about 4% of the vote in the parliamentary elections held prior to 1925, with no rise at all. The German Communists improved on their median performance during the period running from 1929 through 1932, but they were out of phase with the Nazi performance and their increment of improvement was exceeded more than 7-fold by the Nazi increment of improvement. As for Spain, neither the Communist Party nor the Falange were much of an electoral force in 1936 (around 2% each). The Falange was only one component of the Nationalist movement and Franco didn’t take orders from the Falangists or the Carlists or the Alfonsine monarchists or the ‘Autonomous Right’.

  75. Gravatar of asdf asdf
    24. January 2016 at 21:59

    “Than you’re not seeing what’s salient about fascism, which is revanchism, a cult of action and violence, constitutional authoritarianism, and a conception of the economy as something that has to be organized. Trump’s not pushing any of this.”

    Thanks, Art Deco

    “Simply put, a large part of the Republican base is not “conservative” in any pure sense. They don’t like government and elites, they admire honest successful businessmen in a general sense, they don’t like paying taxes personally, and they’re culturally religious but not particularly devout. But they’re not pure libertarian free marketers, and they’re not very religious evangelicals.

    This is Trump’s base. And he’s pitched to them perfectly. This category also includes plenty of independents and some democrats.

    Of course, the other side of this is that the other candidates running have been pretty unsuccessful. Some of that is down to Trump hanging effective one-liners on them and sucking away the media oxygen, but I think the other candidates are legitimately weak.”

    Good summary, Jonathan

    @ssumner

    “Have you looked at his views on the issues?”

    Not particularly, but I haven’t read Hillary Clinton’s policy positions in detail either. I imagine they aren’t all that different then when I read them in the past, and I imagine her actually policies once elected will conform to them about as much as in the past.

    I doubt Trump will do anything that crazy, he’s not that kind of person, and he’s not being elected dictator. I do think genetics is VERY important, and that what we are doing with mass third world migration is a crime against our children of incredible significance. I do hope he tries to build a wall and deport millions, but if I’m wrong we are no worse off then electing someone else. It’s our only hope not to pass a third world hellhole onto our children. Demographics is destiny.

    “It’s far more likely that Trump is another Obama, or another Hillary, than that he will actually do the things that he says he will do.”

    Then why are you upset? Your frothing at the mouth over and individual you don’t think will change anything.

    “But the man is also a horrible human being.”

    Do you feel any better about the leaders of the myriad of anti-immigration parties growing all over Europe? This isn’t a personality thing with Trump that’s driving this. We all know what kind of man he is. The question you should be asking is why people think that’s their only option.

    “I guess Jesus’s message was that the well-being of relatively rich Americans is more important than foreigners.”

    Jesus’s message is personal, not political. If Jesus wanted to us to have his detailed policy brief on immigration standards, we’d have it. As it stands he eschewed politics, and the only political statements he made come in the Old Testament as God the Father. You wouldn’t like them…

    Using Jesus to impoverish your countrymen to enrich yourself, all the while saying it makes you holy to do so, is about as far from the word as it gets.

    For what its worth, I think turning the 1st world into the 3rd world isn’t going to increase anyones well-being in the long run. For that and many other reasons I find this “global utility function morality” particularly flawed and immoral.

    BTW, the correct analogy isn’t Napoleon. It’s the fall of the Roman Republic. A nation of self sufficient citizen soldiers wins an empire. It’s scheming oligarchs work to impoverish the citizens of their land while they are off fighting, and to replace their labor with that of slaves. The Senate blocks all attempts at reform because they can only see their own narrow special interests. Desperate and now strangers in their own land, the people turn to a series of populist demagogues because they have no choice.

    I’m sure the Senate had its clever economists back then to explain why it was the best of worlds that the Roman citizen was impoverished and landless. Have fun with Populares favorite Trump. You created him.

  76. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. January 2016 at 06:31

    It’s the fall of the Roman Republic. A nation of self sufficient citizen soldiers wins an empire. It’s scheming oligarchs work to impoverish the citizens of their land while they are off fighting, and to replace their labor with that of slaves. The Senate blocks all attempts at reform because they can only see their own narrow special interests. Desperate and now strangers in their own land, the people turn to a series of populist demagogues because they have no choice.

    There is no empire. Territorial boundaries are hardly any different than they were in 1867. Those portions acquired after 1848 hold all of 2% of the total population. The only semi-alienated minorities of any size consist of recent migrants from Mexico and Central America, the native black population (who speak English from birth and have no other home), and the Puerto Rican population (who are on the mainland by choice, just like the Chicanos).

    The common-and-garden working class is not being impoverished either, merely treated with disrespect.

  77. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    25. January 2016 at 11:51

    @Innocent
    “He is an opportunist.”

    That’s a very common misconception. For example pretty much most major media outlets dislike Trump. Even Fox News doesn’t like him. Opportunism means going the easy way.

    Politicians like Hillary or Merkel are opportunists. They are supported by most media outlets. They do what the most influential journalists suggest and in return most media outlets omit being harsh on them. It’s a form of symbiosis.

    That’s the easy way, that’s opportunism. You can say about Trump or Hitler what they want but they are not the usual kind of opportunists. They are pretty much the opposite: Gamblers, extreme risk-takers.

    “The last time I saw an opportunist to this degree was in Germany about 90 years ago.”

    So you must be at least 100 years old? This explains your weak arguments, I guess.

  78. Gravatar of collin collin
    25. January 2016 at 13:47

    I know a few writers are making this point but has anybody voted yet? Trump may not win Iowa and there are a lot ways Primary can change course after the winnowing of IA & NH. Look at the poll leaders in the Primary of 2004 Ds and both 2008 Primaries. The early voting of a Primary can really go in different directions very quickly. (Better yet it could be California with the most Republican delegates that decides the nomination.)

    Anyway, HRC still leads Sanders by 10%+ points in most national Democratic polls and Bernie only appears to be close he plays well in IA & NH. (HRC is leading big in SC by the way.) So if Bernie does not win IA, he is finished (even if he does win his home state neighbor. And even if Bernie takes both IA and NH, he has yet to win support from minority voters in the West and South where HRC is expected to clean up.

  79. Gravatar of TR5749 TR5749
    25. January 2016 at 13:51

    Bloomberg? Why wouldn’t Hillary run as an independent if it is Sanders v Trump? She believes it is her destiny to be the first female president, and this is well and truly her last opportunity. All she has to do is to prevent the other 2 from getting to 270 EVs, then present herself to the House as the most moderate of the three possibilities.

    FWIW, I intend to vote for a 3rd party candidate this round, but not for Hillary. At this point, I am leaning toward Webb if he runs.

  80. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. January 2016 at 14:02

    Anyway, HRC still leads Sanders by 10%+ points in most national Democratic polls and Bernie only appears to be close he plays well in IA & NH.

    True, but the dynamic aspect of this contest since April of 2015 has favored Sanders or split the difference between the two depending on the bloc of time you look at. As is, Hellary had a median plurality of 25 percentage points among the December 2015 polls. Among the January 2016 polls, her median plurality has been whittled down to 13 points. Sanders has a modest abstract advantage in Iowa (which his organizers may or may not be able to bring to fruition) and a large advantage in New Hampshire (and, keep in mind, only about 15% of New Hampshire’s population is in Vermont media markets). If Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, the LIVs might break decisively in his direction, as they’ve been known to do on occasion (see Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign). You can never tell, but I don’t think the next four or five months are going to be a cakewalk for Lady Macbeth.

  81. Gravatar of XVO XVO
    25. January 2016 at 16:16

    I’m voting for a Trump landslide on Hypermind. Scott Adam’s ala Dilbert has it right. Trump is going to annihilate Hillary Clinton (or the communist Bernie Sanders) in the general election.

    Hey where did the NGDP prediction go on this blog?

  82. Gravatar of asdf asdf
    25. January 2016 at 17:31

    @Art Deco

    Wages have been stagnant to falling for the lower half for decades. In my own city this summer there was a tank outside my girlfriends apartment to restore order from the animals. They smashed through the window of my families favorite diner and attacked the patrons. This isn’t just disrespect, its destruction of a way of life.

  83. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    25. January 2016 at 18:03

    Mark, don’t you get it? There are no “more sane or moderate candidates”!
    There clearly are. Clinton is more moderate than Sanders, Rubio more moderate than Trump, and even Cruz, in the sense of not yet having called for mass expulsions of immigrants religion-tests imposed on the dispensation of citizenship; and their most maniacal policy positions are generally shared with Trump, who will in all likelihood be more aggressive foreign-policy-wise than even Rubio.

    And each of these other candidates, even in their stupidities, enjoy the advantage of being someone else’s dog; they’re tamed, they have leashes on them,rich or powerful people who have a vested interest in not seeing World War 3 or whatever. They will, more or less, maintain a tolerable status quo, which is much better than the downward tumble Trump or Sanders will drag us into. Those two are the ones I most believe will actually try to do some of the stupid things they say they’ll do, and that’s what’s worrying.

  84. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    25. January 2016 at 18:04

    Wages have been stagnant to falling for the lower half for decades.

    No, that’s commonly believed by people who haven’t examined the actual descriptive statistics on employee compensation or fancy that comparing the bottom 50% of the distribution at point A with the bottom 30% at point B enhances the clarity of such comparisons.

  85. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    25. January 2016 at 19:06

    “There clearly are. Clinton is more moderate than Sanders, Rubio more moderate than Trump, and even Cruz, in the sense of not yet having called for mass expulsions of immigrants religion-tests imposed on the dispensation of citizenship; and their most maniacal policy positions are generally shared with Trump, who will in all likelihood be more aggressive foreign-policy-wise than even Rubio.”

    -Rubio’s one of the biggest fans of al-Qaeda in Congress. He’s dangerous and volatile. U.S.-Russia relations will almost certainly deteriorate under him.

    “and their most maniacal policy positions are generally shared with Trump, who will in all likelihood be more aggressive foreign-policy-wise than even Rubio.”

    -[even tiniest shred of evidence needed]

    The rich and powerful seem to favor Clinton and Bush. The status quo favored by the establishment is intolerable; it is the worst of all worlds the presidential candidates are presently offering us, even worse than the Obama status quo. I’d take Sanders over Clinton, who unapologetically helped destroy Libya and Syria. What “downward tumble”?

    And Cruz has called for kicking out the illegals. Trump is tamed by himself.

  86. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    25. January 2016 at 22:45

    Prof. Sumner,

    I think these comments by Morgan Warstler might deserve some criticism:

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=31435&cpage=2#comment-504355

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=31435&cpage=2#comment-504404

  87. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    26. January 2016 at 06:12

    Prof. Sumner,

    I agree with most of your post about Trump. However, your forecast of what would happen under President Trump is a bit off-base.

    If Trump actually becomes President, he will be much much much more like Paul Ryan than Hillary Clinton (friendlier to tax cuts for the rich, the financial industry, the energy industry and the gun industry).

  88. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    26. January 2016 at 06:22

    Prof. Sumner,

    I highly recommend that you read this:

    “What they say is how they’ll govern.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january_february_2012/features/campaign_promises034471.php?page=all

  89. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    26. January 2016 at 08:32

    From one moron to another

    I also kind of prefer, but not strongly, the old fashioned boring undemocratic way of picking our candidates from a handful of pre-approved characters. Less reality TV and drama than today’s democratic way.

    Do you not know that both parties turned to democracy in their choosing process a long time ago? Of course you do, but your outraged sensibilities (paranoid) on Trump dominate your visions (which is why the economist is right, “politics is for morons”). You can even cross party lines in primaries. The cigar room method is still available if the voters cannot decide in the primaries.

    And it shocks you that from time to time we get candidates we do not all prefer? That is how Obama got picked. The Democratic party didn’t want him until they realized he was going to win. People lead, parties follow. The party wanted him to go away until they realized the queen was a dud.

    Also, suddenly the Left (not you—you are a man of “reasonable sensibilities”) gives a damn about Bill Buckley’s magazine, run by Murdoch and Dan Quayle’s former chief of staff as proof that the GOP is no longer a party?

    Of all the things to be outraged about in politics today, and I do mean the day you wrote this essay, this is what you chose to write about?

    As a right winger, I look at the enervating sleaze woman who was once again anointed by the so-called only real party in America (no Obama to the rescue—just a barely reconstructed looney tune communist) with no hope of opposition—and all the energy is still with the old man (Trump :-)). Any day not writing about why she should not be president is a wasted day for political morons who write about politics.

    So you have proven yourself an elitist, and fear the democratic process. How have you managed to deal with our system your whole life? Personally, I like Rubio. But you know who I am voting for against the harridan—-anyone with the GOP sticker next to their name. Needless to say, I find the lady worse than I do Trump.

  90. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    26. January 2016 at 08:43

    Mistake on National Review reference—was thinking of Weekly Standard. They both are also anti-Trump scaredy cats. Buckley is dead. Rich Lowery is the guy—my point still holds

  91. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    26. January 2016 at 11:11

    I’m not generally a fan of Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post (she’s too much of a neocon for me), but I thought she made a good point here:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/01/26/when-did-the-gop-become-so-whiny/

    When did the right become so whiny?

    They’ve become the right-wing version of the left-wing social justice warriors (SJWs): both whine, and hyper-sensitive and have their own annoying versions of political correctness. Both are Jacobins at heart. She’s right: it does grow tiresome!

  92. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    26. January 2016 at 12:14

    I’m not generally a fan of Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post (she’s too much of a neocon for me), but I thought she made a good point here:

    No, she didn’t. It’s rhetorical gamesmanship by a business Republican who’s not getting what she wants. There likely is not one sentence in it uttered in good faith.

  93. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    27. January 2016 at 14:38

    Eh, too much is made of the horse race polls. Gingrich and Giuliani were still leading at this point in the last two cycles. Let’s see how things look after Iowa.

    There are a few useful tidbits, though — at this point only 36% of Democrats believe Hillary is trustworthy. Sanders is starting to look more likely, and a Dem winning the Presidency is looking less likely.

    The GOPe seems to have noticed that Trump has no solid principles other than what’s good for Donald Trump. Since the GOPe increasingly has no solid principles other than what’s good for the GOPe, in some important ways they’re a match made in DC heaven. If elected, they can both be expected to govern by poll.

    Rubio, btw, is actually pretty conservative, he just happens to be moderate on immigration at a very bad time for that particular issue.

    Cruz (despite many flaws) is the country’s best bet, Rubio is the second-best, Trump/Sanders/Clinton all offer the opportunity to ruin the country forever.

  94. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. January 2016 at 21:01

    Travis, I agree that for most candidates what they say is strongly correlated with what they try to do. But Trump is different, as he is proposing nonsense that could never be implemented, so he would not do what he says, Congress would never allow it.

  95. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    28. January 2016 at 07:06

    Gingrich and Giuliani were still leading at this point in the last two cycles.

    Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, and McCain had about equal levels of polled support in December 2007. That was not the case at the end of January, when Giuliani’d been toasted in Iowa and New Hampshire and was concentrating on Florida. Things can shift very quickly (see Iowa on the Democratic side in 2004 and New Hampshire on the Democratic side in 1984). Low information voters, bandwagon effects, what have you. If Trump underperforms in Iowa, he may bleed and bleed. Happened before.

  96. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    28. January 2016 at 07:08

    he just happens to be moderate on immigration at a very bad time for that particular issue.

    Let’s be precise: his position has been suffused with deceit and his objects have been the implementation of another amnesty. We can do without his ‘moderation’.

  97. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    28. January 2016 at 08:01

    If Trump underperforms in Iowa, he may bleed and bleed. Happened before.

    We can hope. I was interested to see that Bush has apparently spent a lot more money attacking Rubio. Everyone seems to view The Donald as a stalking horse.

    The next couple months will be very interesting.

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