21 Jul 2016

Dynastic Politics

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Political commentators have been speaking of the Trump takeover of the GOP, and conservatives have been worrying about the redefinition of the Party by the amateur outsider who ran away with the presidential nomination this year.

I think last night’s convention showed that there isn’t much to worry about with respect to an ideological remodeling of the GOP by Donald Trump. Convention speakers have been conservatives and the speeches they’ve been delivering have all contained basically nothing but standard current conservative talking points.

Trump has not really added or subtracted anything, which should probably not be surprising. Trump’s candidacy isn’t about ideas. It was never about ideas. Trump hasn’t got any ideas. It has always been entirely about Trump. Just as Mexican bandits don’t need no stinkin’ badges, Donald Trump doesn’t need no ideas or theories. Trump will simply Trump his way to victory using his appetites and oversized personality to get where he intends to go.

Though I think now that we haven’t got any future ideological contamination of Republican purity to fear as the result of the ascension of The Donald, the Cleveland Convention does make evident the existence of one future consequence of all this. There were all those Trump offspring giving speeches, praising and endorsing their father.

Donald Trump deliberately arranged to put one Trump child after another on center Convention stage in prime time, their speeches scattered at intervals between speeches by various national figures. This, I’m sure, was not an accident. In one evening, Donald Trump turned his obscure and unaccomplished sons and daughter into nationally-recognized celebrities.

Donald Trump may not understand, or care much about, the Constitution, but he does understand and cares deeply about branding. Trump has been branding his children. You can bet on it. There is going to be a Trump political dynasty with one Trump after another running for public office, and breezing in on the strength of membership in an American royal family.

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I always wondered about the Trump kids roles in the Trump Organization. He put his first wife in charge of the Plaza hotel and she was totally over her head. Ditto for his casinos. Now his kids have supposedly high roles in his marketing groups.

The best run family companies make sure your offspring work elsewhere in significant jobs before working at the family firm. LL Bean had this policy that no family member under 30 could work there.

I’m guessing it’s because he can’t really work with anyone else. The kids are moderately competent (but helped as always by Dad’s money and connections) but not stellar.


“Trump has not really added or subtracted anything.” How about tariffs and trade restrictions à la Bernie; shout-outs to the LGBTQs (not a problem for me, but let’s face it, not mainstream Republican stuff); increased taxes on the rich (though not much on that recently); minimum wage and equal pay for equal work nonsense; populist rabble-rousing and a general appeal to unilateral authoritarianism over Constitutionalism?


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