2016 Republican Convention

What Remains After Donald Trump's RNC: A Party Without a Future or a Governing Coalition

The GOP has far bigger problems to deal with than the billionare developer.

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Richard Ellis/ZUMA Press/Newscom

It's the day after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and virtually all elements of the big show have already been disappeard from the town Reason and Drew Carey tried to save once. The delegates, pundits, and activists have almost all bugged out of town, leaving behind virtually no trace they had been running riot here for the past few days.

Here are three big takeaways for libertarians.

First, as my colleague Matt Welch, who has covered all the major-party conventions since 2000, notes, #RNCinCLE was marked by noticeably low energy, the same failing for which Donald Trump mercilessly mocked Jeb Bush. Nobody's expecting these things to be like Burning Man or Electric Daisy Carnival of course, but so many notable Republicans—including most of the other primary candidates vanquished by Donald Trump—were missing that Cleveland felt like an out-of-season beach town.

The RNC wasn't an exciting and super-charged Broadway production, it was dinner theater at Club Bene. Face it, when you're hauling out dwarf stars such as Scott Baio to light up the evening sky, something is seriously off. Whatever else you can say about Clint Eastwood's infamous empty chair bit at 2012's RNC, it was performed by, well, Clint Eastwood. Having big names attend isn't simply a question of political or Hollywood starfucking. It's an indication of ideological intensity, energy, and commitment, of whether your tribe is ready to spring into action or is at least engaged. Trump is the single-most disliked presidential nominee in history, with about 60 percent of us disapproving of him. There will likely be a post-convention bump (though having the RNC and DNC so close may minimize that for both nominees), but Trump is not exactly winning over new fans. 

Even if the vast majority of Republicans say they will vote for him, that's not quite the same thing as being the sort of guy who can really rally the troops. Trump's whole shtick is to be confrontational and divisive and while that may play well on TV or in a heated negotiation session, it also sucks the energy out of political movements as loyalty and unquestioning allegiance replace any esprit de corps. It may be better to be feared than loved when you're a dictator but in a free society, people can always just walk the other way. And lots of Republicans are doing precisely that by becoming independents or just packing it in vis a vis politics.

At least in terms of presidential races, the GOP has already been running on fumes for awhile, having nominated a tired old man in 2008 and the guy who prototyped the hated Obamacare in 2012. This year promised to be different but a promising slew of legitimate and serious candidates got their asses handed to them by a dilettante. That can't be good for party morale, especially since Trump was essentially mouthing exactly the same sort of policy prescriptions that the mainstream GOP has been pushing for years. He beat them at their own lame game. And while Trump has shown the ability to stage a good reality show, the simple fact is that the convention schedule wasn't just lacking exciting and big-name speakers, it was filled with obvious screw-ups. The most obvious of this was Ted Cruz's appearance, which brought the rancor of the primary season to full view. Given his treatment of Cruz's family—bringing up his wife's mental-health issues, accusing his father of being involved in John F. Kennedy's assassination—what was Trump thinking? Hard-core #NeverTrumper Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon tallies up other screw-ups and declares Trump "is actually truly, magnificently inept." You don't have to believe that fully—the guy did win the nomination after all—to agree that this convention was a total bust at glueing a shattered party back together.

Second, Trump's speech was truly awful, both in its specific content and in its delivery, which set a record for length. Focus on the delivery at first. Along with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (and who knows what fresh hell next week's Democratic National Convention will bring), Trump is one the shoutiest politicians out there. If last night was a preview of what's to come if Trump wins in November, the American people will spend the next four years being yelled at on a very regular basis (he does like to hear himself talk, doesn't he?).

Far more importantly, his actual policy proposals, such as they can be discerned, are almost uniformly and profoundly anti-libertarian. Matt Welch singled out seven of the most offensive ideas last night and Peter Suderman notes the false vision Trump paints of a world spiralling out of control serves only to justify giving President Trump more and more power:

The essence of that argument is that America is unsafe and decline, and that as a result it should be cut off from the world, plunged into fear, and managed by a simple-minded strongman who ego and bluster know no limits. This was the argument that Trump made last night. It is his pitch for the presidency.

It's easy to see where that demand for control comes from: He's a businessman and even though CEOs don't wield the sort of dictatorial powers critics of capitalism often assume, they operate very differently from most pols. Given that politics is the art of spending other people's money and forcing them to live under your preferred circumstances, that's not something a libertarian wants to see in pols.

About the only positive, optimistic notes sounded by any speaker last night were those of tech billionaire Peter Thiel who brushed aside long-standing GOP taboos by announcing he was "proud" to be gay and waved away conservative obsessions with unisex bathrooms while calling for missions to Mars rather than just another bombing run in the Middle East. Even as Trump acknowledged the "49 wonderful Americans" at Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse in a gesture that was notably inclusive for a Republican politician, most of his speech was classic us-against-themism. Yes, yes, he will speak for all of us and he wants all of us to "win." But one of the reasons he talked so long is that his list of enemies is so long: Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, of course, but also Chinese money-launderers, Syrian refugees fleeing a situation in which the United States is deeply implicated, immigrants, immigrants, immigrants. We live in a world that is undoubtedly filled with problems but we also live in a world which is improving dramatically in all sorts of ways, mostly because power is being dispersed and decentralized. Yet Trump's answer to everything is a simple one: Give me more power. When he justifies that impulse by claiming that he is doing it for our own good and because he loves us all, he sounds like an abusive husband in a Lifetime movie.

Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus

Third, the GOP was fractured long before the emergence of Donald Trump. It had become, as Rand Paul once put it so poetically and correctly, "stale and moss-covered." The three legs of Ronald Reagan's legendary GOP "stool"—economic conservatives, defense conservatives, and social conservatives—haven't gotten along for years really and their ranks have been shrinking for years. Under George W. Bush, spending and budget discipline went out the window in a huge way, as spending climbing 50 percent in real dollars on his watch. Most of that—wars, Medicare Part D, TARP, etc—was done with full participation by the Republican Congress. Military hawks, who always insist we should be spending more money on defense and entering more battlefields, have similarly been discredited by an unrelieved record of failure in the 21st century. The poor conception and execution of Afghanistan and Iraq should make the biggest hawk think twice, much less the typical Republican with half a brain, and it has; add to that pushback from budget hawks who are right to ask why defense should always cost more even as everything else in our lives gets more efficient and cheaper. Social conservatives have been shrinking for years and their fears of gays, drug use, and general social chaos rally fewer and fewer people, especially among millennials, who just don't care or worry about these things.

So not only has each leg in the Republican school been getting shorter (so to speak) Reagan's formulation failed to take into account libertarians, who according to Gallup now comprise the largest ideological group in contemporary America. Gallup keys off annual poll questions to sort respondents into libertarians (27 percent), conservatives (26 percent), liberals (23 percent), and populists (15 percent). For the first time last year, libertarians were the most numerous. You can quibble with the exact numbers but the GOP has for years failed to even really acknowledge libertarians as a distinct group. When Reagan metaphorically built his stool, the Cold War tamped down differences among the groups and promises to cut taxes was enough to buy off libertarians by and large.

But that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Libertarians have not just been growing in numbers and political clout, we are increasingly looking beyond how much the government taxes and spends as the biggest issues to consider when it comes to political activism or partisan affiliation. As the GOP goes mega-populist on issues such as immigration and trade protectionism, continues to insist on a "strong" (read: reckless) foreign policy, and the need for ubiquitous surveillance and incarceration, they will only continue alienating not just libertarians but moderates and millennials as well. Trump may exacerbate and accelerate those problems, but the real problem is that the party he "invaded" was already terrible on so many of these issues.

Coming out of Cleveland, then, the GOP looks very much like it did going in: It abjectly fails to match its limited-government rhetoric and belief in individualism with the actions of the party at the federal level. And its standard-bearer is a guy who cannot go half a speech without inveighing against free trade, immigration, and a (falsely) terrifying world in a way that will leave libertarians and many other Americans as cold as, well, Cleveland in February.

Programming Note: Next week, Reason writers and videomakers will be hitting the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Last night, even as the balloons were still dropping and the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was playing (seriously), Matt Welch and I talked about Trump's speech and our sense of the whole event. Take a look below or on Reason's Facebook page.

NEXT: Trump's War on Terror: More Intelligence Gathering, Winning Fast, Suspending Immigration From 'Compromised' Countries

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  1. Like it or not, Trump IS pointing the way to a ‘winning coalition’. He’s too bigoted/authoritarian to get there – and the GOP is too old/white to get beyond the easy scapegoating.

    But when polls have been showing for well over a decade that ‘the country is heading in the wrong direction’ (now up to 67%) – and pols/parties aren’t changing a damn thing and are still selling status quo; then there is a serious winning coalition out there that isn’t being assembled.

    1. Not necessarily, but I do agree with you.

      Both a Socialist and a Free-Market Libertarian would agree we’re heading in the wrong direction, but they would argue on what the correct path out is.

      1. I agree. I think Ron Paul, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump have all tapped into the same discontent and the same potential winning coalition. But I don’t think the solution/policy details matter much for that coalition to win. Even if it is a libertarian-leaning guy who succeeds in assembling it, it won’t be the Reason/Koch/Rand-type libertarian. IMO, the coalition is outsiders v insiders/elites – and that crosses every current ideology/philosophy all of which are structured around the current status quo.

        The future winning coalition is about people/empathies – only secondarily about philosophy/policy. And not at all about whatever slicing/dicing of demographics/cultural/wedge issues is currently being used to deliver current winning coalitions.

    2. ‘country heading in the wrong direction’ does NOT equal ‘Donald Trump’, just as ‘Brexit’ =/= ‘Donald Trump’. But he is going up in the polls because those are the kind of narratives that everybody is pushing, Trump critics as well as supporters.

      Trump is not the outsider champion of the peasants in flyover country.

      Trump is still a New York billionaire opportunist, friend of Bill and Hillary, big government authoritarian, crony capitalist, a failed business man living large on his dad’s inheritance, the real estate bubbles of the last decades and media celebrity.

      1. All may be true. But to the degree that people actually believe and have a basis to believe that ‘I am with YOU’ – and associate that with Trump – then Trump has the handle on that future winning coalition. He is the only one left who is targeting the discontent in this cycle. Everyone else (including Johnson) is targeting the ‘things are basically OK and getting better’ crowd.

        1. “Everyone else (including Johnson) is targeting the ‘things are basically OK and getting better’ crowd …”

          Agreed and that is a disaster. Trump’s critics need to figure out how this narrative thing works or they’ll just continue blowing more wind in his sails.

          1. The interesting thing about his speech, whether scripted or habit, is that Trump doubled down on all the things he’s been criticized for.

            The left runs the risk of wearing out their attack resources, in the same way Benghazi went for the right.

            Trump’s style is aggressive, but he does have a certain amount of charm. He gave the evangelicals an ego stroke, and generally made the Republican base feel like they’ve got a candidate with some balls. That’s a sharp difference between the usual flaccid offering of the Republicans.

            This dog whistle that their party is listless is inane. The traditional establishment is feeling jilted, but the rank and file have embraced a charismatic game show host, and are running a campaign that’s getting press beyond the typical bounds of the conservative typicals. Team Hillary is headed into a brawl, and they might have their work cut out for them. She’s about as inspiring to the Democrat base as a soggy towel vs a guy who literally shits easily digestible sound bites.

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    4. Like it or not, Trump IS pointing the way to a ‘winning coalition’.

      Trump, and that winning coalition, is the only hope for liberty loving Americans.

      If Hillary wins, she’ll amnesty and import Big Government voters for a Big Government permanent electoral majority. Game over.

      Trump creates the natural American, freedom loving, pro democracy coalition who believe representative government should represent those they govern, instead of foreign interests and the ruling class. There’s the coalition Trump creates.

      The only question is whether the Republican ruling class will be effective in convincing the Republican rank and file to scuttle this presidential election, and thereby a new winning coalition, along with the hope for freedom it brings, in a vain attempt to keep the Republican ruling class in power.

  2. I want to know who’s responsible for this. Did Trump get Mel Brooks to design that nightmare?

    I look at that, and all I can see is Trump arriving on stage wearing a stovepipe hat, riding in a chariot pulled by four buffalo, with a bald eagle on his arm.

    1. They actually shoulda done that exact thing you describe.

    2. I think they just scavenged it from one of his failed casinos.

      1. Trying to top the set that Obama scavenged from Caesar’s Palace.

    3. Riding in a sedan chair carried by six Milo look-a-likes.

  3. After his loss in November, just like every party who loses the White House when they should have won it, will do its soul searching and hand wringing and finger pointing and then revert almost immediately back to status quo. I wouldn’t worry too much about the GOP unless Trump somehow wins.

    Yes, the party has its splits. Both parties do. The protectionists versus the one worlders versus the free traders versus the progressives versus the blue collar versus the elitists versus the big spenders versus the small government types. But they can all usually end up uniting against the demagoguery of The Other.

    1. Trump is likely to win. He is on the right side of the public on all of the issues that are animating this election. The people who think he can’t win are people like Nick who think it is forever 2012 and the voters give a shit about the latest “gaffe” or ginned up culture war issue.

      1. I wouldn’t say Trump is likely to win, although anything is possible. Of course I am one of those people who a year ago was insisting that there was no way in Hell Trump would ever actually get the nomination.

        1. If he does, I am started to get very concerned about the effect that will have on Peter Suderman’s mental stability. Suderman seems to be losing his mind over this.

      2. I agree. I honestly think that there’s a really, really strong chance Trump will win. He’ll win for bad reasons, IMO, but he’ll win because he’s playing the song that a lot of people want to hear and he’s facing off against a talentless harridan who represents everything people hate about the political establishment running for a party which has turned class and race warfare into a policy plank.

        What I’m looking forward to is how Hillary addresses the police shootings (both incoming and outgoing). She’s gotta be careful; BLM will be on her like lightning if she doesn’t talk about police targeting black people. But then if she’s too critical of police she’ll have the unions lined up against her and every Trump attack ad will show her saying something negative and then family photos of the dead Dallas cops. And she can’t stay mum, or else it’ll look like she’s deliberately skirting the issue and she’ll never get away from it.

        1. This is exactly the sort of difficult issue that is easier to address if you have some sort of principles that have been guiding you.

          1. Does narcissism count?

            1. No but money does. It’s going to be hard to shake down both the Unions and BLM for donations. And tragically for Hillary, BLM is more sympathetic for the Left, but the Cops Unions have a lot more money.

              It’s a quandary.

        2. Hillary has a real problem. If she gets up and addresses the police shootings in any meaningful and rational way, the left of the Democratic party will lose their shit. She can’t win without them. If she doesn’t address the police shootings or worse addresses them in a way that would satisfy the BLM people, the majority of the country will see voting for her as voting for chaos. And no amount of “but Trump is the RACIST” is going to save her then.

          People like Nick will never admit it but Trump’s position on law and order and terrorism may offend the reason staff’s delicate sensibilities but they are not insane. And Trump is right when he says that a government’s first responsibility is to protect the safety of its citizens. And Hillary really has no answer to that because a decent number of her supporters have lost their minds.

          1. “And Hillary really has no answer to that because a decent number of her supporters have lost their minds.”

            Hillary has a well oiled machine. I assume she’ll have an entire coterie of prominent black Democratic machine politicians fronting for her. Meanwhile, the real BLM supporters will be kept out of site and the crowd will have pre-vetted blacks waving BLM signs in the audience standing and clapping as required.

            Hillary is very competent.

            1. Not “competent” as SoS. Not in her campaign, either. Her persuasion fails are legendary. (“Imagine President Trump”! “We are better than this” on a podium she stands behind!!)

              Sure, she’s got the establishment Democratic machine behind her. The one that took her side over Sanders, thoroughly pissing off progs. And after eight years of Obama, how many swing voters are eager to vote for the Democratic establishment?

              Meanwhile, Trump has surprisingly widespread support among many Democrat constituencies: blacks, Hispanics, gays, blue collar, union.

              She’s been on a slide for the last year. And how many are thrilled with the pick of Kaine? Not blacks, or Hispanics, or women, or progs. She’s pure establishment in an anti-establishment year.

          2. +100 for John here. Hillary isn’t “inevitable,” she’s trapped. Pundits of most stripes and the left and libertarians may sneer or quake at terms like “law and order” and “enforce the law,” but the average voter does not. BLM is a vote-getter for Trump, not her.

          3. Hillary has a real problem. If she gets up and addresses the police shootings in any meaningful and rational way, the left of the Democratic party will lose their shit.

            Nope. She’ll go after BLM.

            Expect Hillary to pick some prominent black BLM leaders to pick a fight with. Sister Souljah moment incoming.

            It’s what Bubba did to get elected.

            Even Obama tossed tossed his “spiritual mentor”, Mr. Marxist Black Supremacist under the bus.

            Democrats always whip a black in the public square when their poll numbers get down.

        3. You’re assuming that she can’t just stay silent, and that the silence won’t be filled with democrats of every stripe projecting their own views into that silence?

          Or that she can’t say one thing to one group, and another thing to another group, and have the media completely gloss over the disconnect?

          This has worked fairly well for Trump, has it not? What are his positions again? I mean today, not yesterday.

    2. If Trump somehow wins it’s “game over, man”. America will have a two party system of rightwing nationalists (crony capitalist, anti-free trade, law and order/police state) and leftwing socialists, just like Latin America and the more disfunctional parts of Europe.

      The next president in 2020 would be a hardline socialist, a younger, more electable, millennial version of Bernie Sanders – which would be another Obama. The white nationalist GOP would further disintegrate after Trump, already the oldest presidential candidate.

      1. The pearls, they are clutched.

  4. My belief (hope?) is that there is a huge swath of voters who just aren’t planning to participate this go round because both candidates suck so bad, but they aren’t yet aware there is a viable third choice.

    1. What if Big Bird actually won on write-ins?

      1. Or Richard Pryor with “None Of The Above”?

  5. An unflattering picture of Trump. Classy.

  6. I had to check and make sure it wasn’t my monitor, but there is an eerie glow coming from Herr Drumpf’s abdomen suggesting he’s either pissed himself or is about to give birth to Rosemary’s Baby.

    1. That’s the ghost of Adolph Hitler about to possess his body. /sarc

    2. It looks like a speck of dust on the camera lens.

      Did Gillespie comb through the archives for the worst picture of Trump at the convention he could fine?

  7. Nick operates under the delusion that Trump’s success is some one off thing that is the result of the last dying gasp of people Nicl hates. Nick seems to utterly lack the imagination necessary to look beyond his own cultural biases and conventional wisdom of those around him.

    Trump is just the right side of the Sanders phenomenon. The justified anger and discontent that drove them is only going to get stronger. If anyone doesn’t have a future it is people like Nick who refuse to see it and think it won’t eventually swallow the petty culture war and hipster sharing economy economic issues Nick holds so dear

    1. You’re right. Trump is the Authoritarian side of the coin, while Sanders is the Socialist side. I mean they already agree on economic issues, so really now we’re just discussing who wins and who goes to the gulags.

      1. No, their both Authoritarian. The primary difference is the amount of money that the government will go out and to whom it will be delivered.

  8. At this point I’m sure some of the more thoughtful, farsighted members of the GOP are more terrified of him actually winning.

    1. What they are most terrified of is his winning and it not being a disaster. A disaster allows them to reassert control and say I told you so. They would love that even if it meant the Dems being in charge. If he isn’t a disaster, they are fucked. That happens and they are forever cast into the wilderness. And that terrifies them.

      1. What they are most terrified of is his winning and it not being a disaster. A disaster allows them to reassert control and say I told you so.

        That’s why they’re going to call it a disaster regardless of how it actually plays out. And of course, David Brooks along with all the other Responsible Conservatives will be nodding right along to help sell the spin.

        1. Yes they will. I expect that from the Progs. That is what they do. But with Trump the establishment right will do it as well. And that is pretty disgraceful. All they care about is their petty little fiefdoms and sense of importance.

      2. Yes, this is exactly why the head of the RNC himself just made a huge power grab to make sure Trump has nothing to stand in his way. You know that when the head of the RNC himself is making sure your path is clear, you’re definitely an outsider. That’s just common sense.

        1. I think you raise a good point. Trump is taking over the machine.

  9. An unflattering picture of Trump.

    The real subject of that pic is Trump’s transgender grandkid. INCLUSIVE!

    1. I think that’s the son he hired Melania to have.

  10. I guess I need to understand what we’re talking about when we talk about the GOP.

    Is Gillespie talking about ideas? The name brand? The support of the grass roots? Their prospects of winning the Presidency?

    Some of these things are withering.

    Others are thriving.

  11. Ah yes, Team Red is dying (again).

    And yet, if anybody other than Trump had won the nomination, they’d be cruising (or Cruzing) towards the White House, with predictions that they would retain the House, the Senate, most of the governors’ mansions and legislatures they’ve won over the last 8 years. That is not the mark of a party on the brink of dying out.

    As it stands, they will likely lose the White House and narrowly lose the Senate. They will not lose the House. Or most of the Governorships. Or most of those legislatures.

    I don’t say this to cheerlead Team Red, but for the love of Pete, let’s get real. Losing the White House in a year you should win it does not the end of a party make.

    1. Exactly. Gillespie lives in another reality.

      “What Remains After Donald Trump’s RNC: A Party Without a Future or a Governing Coalition”

      You’ve got to be far dumber than Gillsepie actually is to not realize that, just about the worst case for Republicans is they go from 50% to 33% of the power structure. That assumes loosing the White House and the Supreme Court. The Democrats aren’t going to get 60% of the Senate and a majority of the House. They aren’t going to take make huge gains at the state level either.

    2. Losing the White House in a year you should win it does not the end of a party make.

      Doing it three times in a row can, especially with the EC getting more and more challenging for the GOP every time around. Losing the Senate is a big fucking deal, especially now that the Dems have crossed the bright red line of banning the filibuster when they have a majority.

      Trump’s going to be back in 2020 and aided by the Dems (assuming they weren’t doing it this time). When those fucksticks find a winning formula, they stick to it until you make it not work anymore.

    3. they would retain the House, the Senate, most of the governors’ mansions and legislatures they’ve won over the last 8 years.

      And how much power do those institutions have compared to the White House, the Supremes, and the Federal Apparatchiks? Bupkis. State governments and Congress are democracy theater, to let the flyover peasants believe they still have some power.

  12. Under George W. Bush, spending and budget discipline went out the window in a huge way

    Since you mention this right after you talk about Reagan, you’re implying that Reagan showed some kind of “spending discipline”, and that just ain’t true.

    1. Reagan showed some kind of “spending discipline”, and that just ain’t true.

      Except that you’re wrong. In Reagan’s first term, spending in many cabinet departments dropped. Treasury was 32% higher but that was entirely higher interest on debt rollover (ie the Fed/Volcker). Defense was 19% higher – but that was exactly what Reagan promised to do so you can’t hold him accountable for the opposite of that. HHS was 9% higher – but that was mostly automatic triggers caused by the 1981-1983 recession. Blame Reagan for that if you want but it’s hardly fair since that was very much a Fed-induced recession. Other than that – Ag, Commerce, Education, Energy, HUD, Interior, Labor, Transportation, and Vets all had big spending reductions – and Justice, State were roughly constant.

  13. When Trump is elected in November it’s going to be hilarious watching Reason go nuts. But what’s disappointing is how stale Reason has become. They trot out these same articles day after day, linking to their previous articles about the same topic, etc, etc.

    There are a lot of legitimate concerns about immigration, free trade and culture wars that Reason seems completely oblivious too. Maybe free trade isn’t free trade when they are secretly negotiated by countries and these deals are thousands of pages in length. Maybe mass immigration does destabilize countries and cause long term harm.

    Reason needs to get a grip and stop acting like triggered SJWs. I’m almost embarrassed for them.

    1. The problem isn’t that they come down on one side or the other of those issues. It is that they can’t seem to grasp that they could be issues at all. Their response to the whole bathroom thing has been quite telling. That issue really is a zero sum game fight between two groups of people, trans whatevers who want to use the other bathroom and people who object to them doing that. Neither side has any inherent moral authority over the other. Yet, reason reflexively adopted the language of the left and viewed it as another civil rights battle between the aggrieved and the forces of bigotry. It is not so much that their support of the trans side was wrong. It was that their support was so mindless. They just adopted the language provided them by the left and threw in the usual caveat about “of course private parties should be fee to be evil bigots” without ever considering that maybe this issue might be different than Jim Crow.

      Virtually none of their positions, even when they are correct are ever well thought out or well defended.

    2. “… legitimate concerns about immigration, free trade …”

      Bullshit.

      America has serious problems; 20 trillion debt, bankrupt welfare state, etc. Immigration and free trade – “foreigners” – are not the root causes of American decline.

      Technology – “robots stealing our jobs” – isn’t either.

      And whatever the problems, a billionaire tv celebrity is not going to be the solution.

      You are embarrassing yourself.

      1. Illegal immigration isn’t a problem?

        A very particular set of religious zealots trying to immigrate and cause chaos isn’t a problem?

        You’re embarrassing yourself.

        Whatever weight and attention you ascribe to these is your own opinion, but these are problems.

      2. are not the root causes of American decline

        They’re certainly not helping.

    3. There are a lot of legitimate concerns about immigration, free trade and culture wars that Reason seems completely oblivious too.

      Racist! Fascist! Nazi!

      (Looks like I’ve got what it takes to be a Reason writer.)

      They don’t address these concerns because they don’t have answers. They are wrong. But by going Progressitarian, they have adopted the Left’s tactics as well, evading the issues with race baiting pants shitting hysterics.

      I find it hilarious that a “libertarian” magazine is in the tank for open borders. How will importing tens of millions more voters Big Government voters make the US a more libertarian country?

      “Racist!”

  14. Nick totally dropped one of the weirdest, funniest descriptions of Trump’s applause lines last night. “Xenophobia is the clitoris of the Republican Party.” I’m not sure if Nick is conflating patriotism with xenophobia or they are inextricably linked in his mind. But yeah, that just about sums it up for me.

    1. The regular use of the word “xenophobia” around here is a perfect example of what WhatAboutBob is talking about above. It’s not an “irrational fear” to be concerned about 10 million illegal aliens (many of them criminals, or getting welfare, or both) feeding the welfare state and the Democratic Party, and importing more Muslims when a large percentage of them want sharia law instead of the Constitution. Those are perfectly rational concerns for any libertarian who isn’t blinded by one particular overly-abstract principle (“freedom of movement”).

      1. Racist!

        (I’m available to start as a Reason writer next Monday.)

  15. If I were to read all Reason’s content as a coherent whole, I would decide that the Republicans are dying because they’re more tolerant of gays. Perhaps gay-bashing is the way forward, Nick?

    1. If we have a large enough wave of Muslim immigration, gay bashing very well might be the future.

      1. This is a true fracture-point in the Democratic coalition. OK, the GOP wants to allow “conversion therapy,” but the Dems want to import a million Third World Muslims who hate gays and often murder them. Hmmm, which party should a gay person choose to vote for this year…?

        1. Gay conversion therapy bad.
          Trans conversion therapy good.

          M’kay?

  16. I wish I had not watched the shitshow last night. Before, I thought that maybe Trump would be maybe a fraction non-self aggrandizing and positive-you know, give people a reason to vote for him. I don’t think there is anyway he can win now, there aren’t enough down and out, angry, ageing white folks for him to pull it off. And who knows how many more potential Trump voters will OD on opioids/heroin before November. This sounds harsh but it is true.

    I will vote for GJ for what its worth, but this could be a blowout for the dems, like 1972 and 1984 were for the GOP.

    1. “…but this could be a blowout for the dems, like 1972 and 1984 were for the GOP.”

      If they had a decent candidate, I’d be inclined to agree. But they have Hillary. I suspect Hillary to painfully struggle through and barely beat Donald Trump. I also expect him to pummel her in the debates. And her supporters to cry that he’s being a dirty, misogynist for yelling at her constantly.

  17. Given his treatment of Cruz’s family?bringing up his wife’s mental-health issues, accusing his father of being involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination?what was Trump thinking?

    Probably that he’d get one last chance to humiliate “lyin’ Ted” by trotting him out there, putting him on his knees, and forcing him to suck his cock on national primetime TV (metaphorically speaking… or not, who knows). It never occurred to him that Cruz would spit in his face and flip him the bird instead. Probably because he’s so used to being surrounded by spineless sycophants and yes men all the time.

    1. It never occurred to him that Cruz would spit in his face and flip him the bird instead.

      And that’s why Trump was prepared with The Booing and The Entrance?

      #TrumpDerangementSyndrome simply amazes me. People will lash out at Trump and say things that don’t stand up to a moment of objective reflection.

  18. When he justifies that impulse by claiming that he is doing it for our own good and because he loves us all, he sounds like an abusive husband in a Lifetime movie.

    Or an abusive pimp smacking around his bottom bitch. No wonder his cultists call him “daddy”.

  19. Last night, even as the balloons were still dropping and The Rolling Stone’s You Can’t Always Get What You Want was playing

    That’s some good trolling on the part of whoever picked the music.

    1. yup.

      You can’t always get what you want
      But if you try sometimes you just might find
      You just might find
      You get what you need

      1. The music might have been trolling, but it was subtle pro-Trump trolling.

      2. My thoughts exactly!

  20. IOW, he’s a Libertarian!

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  22. Reason is becoming Salon, I’ll say it again, or better yet, Cracked.com: hyperbolic bemoaning and point-missing.

    The GOP is certainly changed, despite what the establishment (who may as well have been democrats) tells itself in the mirror. This is a good thing. To Emo Nick’s incoherent points in this mess of an article;

    1) Cleveland is Cleveland. What was surprising, in a positive way, was the lack of a complete protest shitshow most of the nation expected to happen. Instead of lauding this, Emo Nick criticizes a “lack of energy…”. How about adults generally behaving like adults?

    2) few people would call trump’s speecg great, but it certainly was not awful. Even CNN had 75% viewing it favorably.

    3) again, GOP is changing and becoming more inclusive, making the Libertarian party more redundant. That is probably Emo Nick’s problem; libertarians are just atheist Republicans (sorry guys!). Of course, the RNC has done a terrible job of communicating that, but that is another matter.

  23. I know what direction the USA should go,but the ruling parties go their own way.
    Let the rebel rule: VIVA TRUMP!

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