Tonight's episode of John Stossel's eponymous Fox Business show is all Donald J. Trump. Beginning at 8 P.M. ET 9 P.M. ET, Stossel takes a comprehensive look at virtually every aspect the billionaire real estate and marketing mogul and, for the most part, is thoroughly unimpressed.
The Donald is a bully, a benficiary of eminent domain abuse, and actually pretty similar to Hillary Clinton (one particularly awesome segment asks people to guess whether Trump or Clinton said various awful things). The guests include Monica Crowley of Fox, Trevor Burrus of Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies, and Debbie Dooley of the Atlanta Tea Party.
And me. I'm on a segment where I suggest that I don't fear the Great Republican Implosion of 2016, I welcome it. I'm no Trump aficianado aficionado, I explain, but I do like the fact that his insurgency—and to a lesser degree, that of Bernie Sanders—is showing the country what we believers in the Libertarian Moment have long known to be true: The establishment in virtually every aspect of American life today is weaker than ever. Trump and Sanders are bringing that realization (finally!) to politics.
With the GOP in particular, this is a party that has, in the 21st-century alone, waged two ill-conceived and incompetently prosecuted wars, sanctioned torture and widespread surveillance, created the useless Department of Homeland Security, increased real federal spending by 50 percent under George W. Bush, added an unnecessary and unpaid-for prescription-drug benefit to Medicare, passed awful accounting and energy regulations, federalized K-12 education like nobody before, bailed out Wall Street and the auto industry, and failed to not just stop Obamacare and the individual mandate from becoming law but to dethrone one of the very weakest incumbents in U.S. history. All while failing to pass either Social Security reform and immigration reform (the two things George W. Bush wasn't totally awful on).
We're supposed to cry when the Republican Party goes into receivership? What is it that Stossel used to say? Give me a break!
I don't doubt that Trump would be a terrible president; so would Hillary Clinton. Seeing a major party either disintegrate or radically alter its identity, though, is a real opening for a libertarian dimension in U.S. politics. Party identification is at or near historic lows for the Democrats and Republicans and Gallup finds that broadly defined libertarians (socially liberally and fiscally conservative) are the single largest group in the electorate. Perhaps when the Republicans realize that they can no longer win at the national level by mixing patently false small-government rhetoric with retrograde socially conservative scream memes about gays, drugs, godlessness, and immigrants, they'll not just repeat what Ronald Reagan once said—"I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism"—but, you know, actually embrace libertarian policies.
Instead, we're stuck with candidates who want Apple to do the work of the FBI, who are adamantly anti-abortion, hateful toward immigrants, in love with ever-increasing defense spending, anti-pot-legalization, and calling for "fair trade" rather than free trade. Yes, the Democrats would be as bad or worse, depending on how Congress reacts to whatever bum gains the Oval Office.
For more on Stossel's show tonight, go here.
Earlier this week, Reason's Matt Welch participated in a Cato Institute debate titled, "Was the 'Libertarian Moment' Wishful Thinking?" Moderated by Cato's David Kirby, Matt was joined by David Boaz, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Conor Freidersdorf. Check it out here or just click below.
And tune in to Stossel tonight at 8 P.M. ET 9 P.M. ET on Fox Business!