Donald Trump

The Short, Strange Trump-for-President Campaign of 1987

Are we living in an old Spy gag?

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This is not the first year Donald Trump floated the idea that he might make a fine president. And no, his first time out wasn't in 1999, when he flirted with a run under the Reform Party banner. Way back in 1987, when Michael Dukakis was a mighty colossus striding across the land, this happened:

Tuscaloosa News

Trump soon showed up in New Hampshire, where he gave a speech to the Portsmouth Rotary Club. There he disappointed his friends in the Draft Trump Committee by announcing that he wasn't a candidate. Beyond that, he said the sorts of things he'd be saying when he did run nearly 30 years later—though he had to fill in the blanks with a different set of foreign villains:

He said the nation's economic policy could be vastly improved by following one simple rule: "Whatever Japan wants, do the opposite."

Trump, who got a standing ovation both before and after his speech, did not limit himself to Japan-bashing. He also went after Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other countries that thrive under American protection but do not pay for it….

His solution is for America to tax its allies. That, he said, would solve the problem of the federal budget deficit. He was hazy about the details but said that details are what negotiations are for.

All this caught the eye of the folks at Spy, which was the closest we had to Gawker back then. The magazine loved to needle Trump, so it commissioned a poll and ran the results:

Spy

In case you were wondering who else appeared in the Spy survey:

Spy

So Biden and Trump are the last men standing. That sounds pretty bad, but it could be worse—in the universe next door, there's a tight race between Sam Nunn and Joey Buttafuoco.

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  1. Wait, Donald Trump is running for President? Why are you guys being so quiet about this?

    1. Enough about what Trump thinks.

      Tell us, hamilton, what do you think about Trump?

      1. I… I can’t! I don’t know what to think! God damn it why won’t someone give me the millennials’ viewpoint here?

    2. I know, they FINALLY managed to put a few pixels up about this guy!

  2. ONE DAY WE’RE GOING TO LOOK BACK IN EMBARRASSMENT AT ALL THE ATTENTION WE GAVE THIS.

    1. Interesting observation, but what does it have to do with Trump?

      1. It’s a juxtaposition to his apparent lack of shame.

        I get that he’s supposedly popular with a large contingent of the voting public, so to an extent we’re discussing not so much the man as the reaction he provokes. But we’ve all been through this enough to know that those who respond to pollsters are stupid and these things come and go with little lasting effect.

        1. Okay, understand what you were going for, but it needs more cowbell Trump!

          P.S. Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump…

    2. we won’t even remember. It will be a quick foot note on the revived “I

  3. Trump trumpety Trump Trump

    Trump Trump.

    1. P.S. Trump.

  4. THIS is the result of a 24 hour news cycle. Bathe in it’s glory.

    1. More like “roll in it like a dog rolling in something horrid on the lawn”

      1. I don’t know who YOU bathe, but this is, of course, what I meant.

  5. Trump is what you actually get when the very wealthy detach from reality. Galt’s Gulch is populated by Trumps, who now that I think about it behaves uncannily like other CEOs I know, only less racist.

    1. NO. Have you read the book?! Trump wouldn’t be invited. They didn’t invite beggars, cronies, and bankrupt losers.

    2. Trump isn’t even respected in the commercial real estate industry.

      Sam Zell is the real deal, but he’s by no means a libertarian.

      There are libertarianish entrepreneurs out there. Elon Musk of Tesla, John Mackey of Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos are certainly better examples of libertarian entrepreneurs than Trump.

      And for the peanut gallery’s consumption (rather than stupid Tony), I’d argue that if they’re been forced to compromise their libertarian principles in order to be successful, then that’s a statement about how fucked up the government is more than anything else. The gulch is a metaphor, and you don’t go into it until it becomes impossible to be successful anywhere else. That’s a world where you invent Reardon steel or the Galt engine, but government interference is so pervasive, innovation doesn’t matter anymore. Until we get there, you do what you need to do in order to thrive. If the government weren’t stacking the deck against honest success, I have little doubt but that all three of those entrepreneurs would be even more successful than they are.

      Tony’s such an ignoramus, he probably thinks Tesla and Whole Foods are an important part of the solution to our environmental problems–but has no idea that those companies are led by libertarians.

      1. Musk is a crony. He would have nothing without tax funds.

        1. I think you have to look at all the money the U.S. government spends on subsidizing the oil industry.

          Some might argue that the trillion odd we spent in Iraq was about subsidizing the price of oil.

          He’s doing what he has to do in order to be successful.

          He’s building the Galt engine.

          One of the many reasons I don’t like Rand is because of…what I’d call defeatism. When a real entrepreneur invents the Galt engine, he doesn’t leave it sitting in an abandoned factory somewhere. I’m a commercial real estate developer. Just because I have to compromise with the government in almost every way–including letting them pick the shrubbery and paint colors of my buildings? That doesn’t mean I’m going to blow the whole thing up. I’m successful anyway.

          If you took those government imposed obstacles out of my way, I’d be even more successful.

          I see these entrepreneurs that way, too. Some people wouldn’t stay afloat without government interference. Some people would thrive without government interference. I see a big difference between the two. Both GM and Tesla get help from the government, but I see a big difference between the two. Without government interference, GM would have imploded a long time ago. Without any government interference, I think Tesla would thrive. If the government is making it impossible for you to thrive without the government, then real entrepreneurs don’t take their bat and ball and go home. They do what they have to in order to survive.

          1. Sure, and if you think Galt would have taken government money to build his engine, or Reardon his steel, because the competitors were cronies… I think you might have missed the point of the book.

            It’s not about operating under the burden of government- it’s about relying on them to bring to market a product that wouldn’t have seen the light of day without government intervention. Without government intervention, I think Tesla wouldn’t exist. I don’t know what he solutions would be… but I don’t think that a company that doesn’t make a profit WITH crony tax dollars shoved down its throat would thrive in a market without them.

            1. “Sure, and if you think Galt would have taken government money to build his engine, or Reardon his steel, because the competitors were cronies… I think you might have missed the point of the book.”

              Oh, I got the point of the book. That’s where Rand is wrong.

              You do what you have to do in order to thrive.

              Real entrepreneurs don’t let themselves become principled failures just because they have to compete with cronies. And they fight for and wish and pray that the government cronyism goes away–so they can beat the pants off the competition they wouldn’t even have if it weren’t for all the cronyism.

              1. “If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?”

                I?don’t know. What?could he do? What would you tell him?”

                To shrug.”

              2. Real entrepreneurs don’t let themselves become principled failures just because they have to compete with cronies.

                Unfortunately, you’re right. You are not going to shutter your business and lose everything you have (house, assets, kids college…) based upon principle. You play by the rules that are forced upon you and do what you must to earn a living. Most businessmen don’t have the luxury of being able to scrap a company and walk away without a significant amount of pain.

                1. Well, Galt did have Midas Mulligan bankrolling the whole start up.

              3. That’s a good point. Unprincipled hacks who game the system are every bit as part of the environment as any other obstacle.

                1. At least you admit cronies are an obstacle, Tony.

                  And that’s progress!

                  Still, even in a world where the government is so big that no one can operate without some level of cronyism, there’s a big difference between those who would thrive without cronyism and those who would implode without cronyism.

                  One of those groups is sustaining the parasites, and the others are parasites.

                  1. I’m so not interested in extrapolating public policy from narrow moral fixations. People are all on spectra of crazy to sane and exploitative to generous. Both libertarians and Rand require that all people behave in certain specific ways for their systems to work. That is ignoring the environment, and it’s a short road to locking up the undesirables as happens when many simplistic morally obsessed ideologies gain power.

                    1. “I’m so not interested in extrapolating public policy from narrow moral fixations. ”

                      All right. Now, let’s take that idea and run with it.

                    2. Both libertarians and Rand require that all people behave in certain specific ways

                      I don’t give a fuck about Rand, but all libertarianism requires is for people to not hurt each other and not take each other’s stuff. Is that too specific?

                    3. That’s woefully too unspecific actually. There are a zillion things that people disagree on as counting as harmful. I think environmental damage is a harm. I think prioritizing low taxes over feeding and educating people is a harm. The specificity is in how you are imagining people live, as if they’re all in a kindergarten classroom with padded walls and the only imaginable harms are slapping people or stealing their crayons.

                    4. That’s woefully too unspecific actually.

                      Because it doesn’t allow you to steal.

                    5. “Both libertarians and Rand require that all people behave in certain specific ways for their systems to work.”

                      It isn’t just that Tony didn’t read anything I wrote.

                      It isn’t just that Tony didn’t understand anything I wrote.

                      It’s that Tony doesn’t think Whole Foods, Tesla, or Amazon are successful–because the libertarians who run them require all people behave in a certain specific way?

                      Tony is such a dipshit!

                    6. “I’m so not interested in extrapolating public policy from narrow moral fixations.”

                      1) None of us did that.

                      2) You are doing that. You do it all the time.

              4. Ken-

                The sense I get from Musk though is that he is always looking for a way to exploit government funding. It isn’t that he has an idea, and decides to do it regardless of government intervention. Rather, he sees areas awash in government payments and says “I’m gonna get in on that action.” Solar City, Tesla, SpaceX. He is certainly bringing an entrepreneurial approach to these industries, but his primary payer is the government through subsidy or direct contract. Even the whole Hypertube thing was approached with the assumption that it would be done in partnership with a government.

                A person whose business model assumes that the government is going to hand out money (“we’ll just use it better”) has a lot commendable going for him. But that doesn’t make him a spokesperson for libertarian ideology. His entire algorithm for success depends on the existence of a meddlesome government, and I don’t see how anyone like him would ever get into office and then advocate for a roll-back of the system that worked for him. In fact, I’d see him trying to do more.

                1. I appreciate that he’s not a principled libertarian in practice.

                  I see that he competes in areas where various forms of government are in those markets up to their necks.

                  I know.

                  Someday, if and when we privatize all of those functions, it may be because entrepreneurs like Musk show the world that entrepreneurs can do all of those things better than government.

                  Privatization probably isn’t going to happen because the government suddenly decides to become principled and libertarian. Entrepreneurs will have been doing things better and for less than the government does, and it will just evolve that way. I wish Musk all the luck in the world.

                  The world isn’t the way we want it to be, but it’s the world we have to live and thrive in. Crony capitalism may suck, but it’s better than outright government control. And if Musk is wildly successful, it won’t be because of the cronyism.

                  It’ll be because of the capitalism.

                  He’s raising money from investors. He’s building a huge factory in Reno. He’s getting into the home battery business. He’s selling to consumers. If the government were less involved, I’d like it even better.

      2. Here, Tony. Maybe you’ll learn something:

        http://tinyurl.com/oam6yzg

        …but I wouldn’t bet on it, you oaf.

        1. I think Jim Rogers might be a better example.

          1. You’re talking about the Quantum Fund guy?

            I was going for companies that progressives like Tony love–and see as the solution to the world’s problems.

            1. Yeah, Jim Rogers started out with Soros- finding their fortunes together.

          2. Tony was talking about how terrible the Gulch would be with Donald Trump reigning in it.

            Tony hasn’t considered that people in the Gulch might buy their groceries at Whole Foods and drive electric cars.

            1. I don’t think they would… and HULK is stronger than superman.

              1. Galt’s Gulch was all about an electric engine, wasn’t it?

                There’s no need for oil in Galt’s Gulch.

                1. Then why did Wyatt go there?

                  1. For the entrepreneurship!

                    He’ll find something profitable to do.

                    It doesn’t have to be oil.

                    I’ve worked in a hospital, been the quality control analyst at software company, I’ve been a financial analyst, and I’ve been a commercial real estate developer.

                    Maybe next year I’ll open a string of restaurants.

                    1. DON’T. The restaurant bubble will burst in 2017.

                    2. It was just one example.

                      Point is that two years from now I could be almost anywhere doing almost anything.

      3. I don’t care who’s a libertarian. Am I surprised if white rich people are libertarians? No, as I just indicated, I don’t think being very rich and entrepreneurial are necessarily coincident with being wise or even sane.

        I could argue that being very rich is psychologically destructive, and we should at least keep those people in check before they start believing their wealth is evidence that they should run everyone else’s lives. God knows it’s an easy mistake for libertarians and Ayn Rand fanboys to make to confuse wealth with virtue. But anyway I’m just saying I know guys with Trump’s same pathology, obviously the result of being surrounded by yes-men, only the ones I know are from the South and therefore more racist.

        1. “check before they start believing their wealth is evidence that they should run everyone else’s lives”

          “check before they start believing their wealth is evidence that they should run everyone else’s lives”

          There, fixed it. Now it’s universal.

        2. Tony|7.28.15 @ 10:12AM|#

          “Trump is what you actually get when the very wealthy detach from reality. Galt’s Gulch is populated by Trumps”

          +

          Tony|7.28.15 @ 11:23AM|#

          “I don’t care who’s a libertarian.”

          =

          Tony is a dipshit.

          1. I was making a psychological observation and didn’t mention libertarians at all, who I’m constantly told are not the same as Objectivists, and Rand would agree.

            1. P.S. Tony is a dipshit.

  6. Superb! Tony on a Trump thread! This is getting awesomer by the nanosecond!

  7. OT- Reason should really get some type of post scheduler so that we don’t have a glut of posts in a 5 minute span and then 10s of MINUTES! without anything new.

    1. For reference, I believe that is more minutes than there are libertarians per square mile in California.

      1. Yes, but are there more minutes then all the possible Trump stories?

    2. They should really overhaul their comments section altogether. Convert it into a forum-like setup or something where its much easier to follow threads and you get notifications when people reply to you, etc.

      1. Those are not improvements.

        1. Yeah, well, I disagree. So there.

          1. guys- THIS is exactly how the civil war started…

              1. That too.

    3. Did you really think there wouldn’t be consequences to Woodergate?

      1. this is a consequence of advocating, hyperbolically, the pain of a federal judge?

  8. Trumpty Trump te Trumpitty Trumpty Trump. Rated PG-13.

    1. just wait until the director’s cut where trump shows his nipples.

  9. Tom Steyer Trump is what you actually get when the very wealthy detach from reality.

  10. Without any government interference, I think Tesla would thrive.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. Tesla might survive as a niche player in a small market for novelty lifestyle accessories, but “thrive” is a huge overstatement.

    1. If we weren’t transferring the trust cost of fossil fuel energy to future generations it could certainly thrive.

      Every time one of you shills for oil you are advocating big government of the worst kind, cronyism of the worst kind, not to mention death and destruction on a massive scale. The tribalism you guys exhibit when it comes to this field of tech is embarrassing. Nuclear good solar bad! That doesn’t remotely make sense from a libertarian perspective, only from the perspective of a lobbyist of Republican politicians.

  11. I cannot believe we’re finally getting some TRUMP at Reason!

    Thanks, Reason!

    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP
    TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

    It’s hip to be square.

    And furthermore, TRUMP

  12. Every time one of you shills for oil you are advocating big government of the worst kind, cronyism of the worst kind, not to mention death and destruction on a massive scale.

    Yes, yes, of course.
    Simple fact: as a store of energy and a practical fuel source, petroleum outperforms any electric alternative, just as it did when the Detroit Electric Car Company folded.
    As for “death and destruction on a massive scale”… WTF?

    1. Miss the part about how it’s so “efficient” because its costs are swept to the side to be dealt with by your grandchildren? As they deal with the biggest instance of natural harm ever perpetrated by humans and possibly asteroids, not to mention the soldiers and civilians dead in wars for oil. Big government of the worst kind. If libertarians can’t get beyond their pathetic oil apologetics, they deserve not to be taken seriously forever.

      1. YOU’RE BLEECKER GAIA DRY TO SATISFY YOUR OWN GREED!!!!1!!11!ONEONE!!111

        1. WTF is Bleecker? Fucking phone.

          * BLEEDING

      2. The call for preserving something for children is stupid. If there really is a finite amount of oil for our children, saving it for them isn’t going to be practical. There will be more of them and they will need to save it for their children. And those children will have to save it for future generations.

        This is basic economics. Whether you are talking about cash, oil, or gold, leaving those assets in an unproductive stasis ALWAYS means that those assets will lose their utility. You cannot split something finite into infinite future chunks.

        If you truly believe that Oil is a limited resource that will run out, the rational response is to make use of it today while it is the best investment and then use the economy you build to solve problems for the future. Markets work wonders in this way- they allocate scarce resources and when Oil does become more scarce, you will have millions of actors (rather than a handful of governments and their chosen alcolytes) developing alternatives.

        1. It’s not so much about oil being finite, though that is obviously true, but it’s not obviously true that running out of vital resources means automatically that “the market finds a way.” Sometimes societies deplete resources and then simply die.

          The harsh reality, and this is a fatal flaw in free-market philosophy, is that because the costs of using oil are largely externalized, without frankly unprecedented self-restraint and collective action, we are going to keep profiting from it and exploiting its physical efficiencies, which we can do until long before it effectively “runs out” but not before it causes massive environmental harm. To deny this possibility is to engage in serious magical thinking–which is exactly what free marketeers do on this subject.

          I don’t know about anyone else but I’d rather sacrifice my most cherished political beliefs before adopting a stance of rejecting scientific fact.

  13. the part about how it’s so “efficient” because its costs are swept to the side to be dealt with by your grandchildren?

    No,dummy, it`’s efficient in caloric density. My crappy Honda can go four hundred miles on a tank of fuel, and be ready to go another four hundred miles in ten minutes.
    Try that in your Tesla.

    1. Do you really NEED to travel 800 different miles while there are hungry children in America?

    2. I know that. But unfortunately using it has the side effect of radically altering the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans in a way that is potentially existentially harmful to human beings. I am quite soft on moral absolutes, perhaps to the edge of nihilism, but even I can’t justify destroying the future of my species because I like my creature comforts. Maybe energy has to be more expensive. It’s not the worst of the available options. But rejecting outright the possibility that clean energy can be cheap enough to meet our needs (and those of rapidly developing populations) is a strange exception to libertarians’ usual technical optimism.

  14. I miss Ross Perot.

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