Donald Trump

The Bottomless Ignorance of Donald Trump

His poor grasp of policy makes past leaders look brilliant by comparison.

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Donald Trump
Douliery Olivier/Sipa USA USA/Newscom

In November 1999, presidential candidate George W. Bush sat down for a radio interview. A reporter asked him to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, all of which had been in the news. He could come up with only one.

This was an embarrassing failure. Newspapers editorialized tartly about Bush's grasp of international affairs. His rivals took him to task, with Vice President Al Gore saying that a president needs "the basic foreign policy knowledge necessary to protect America's interests and security around the world."

Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan offered to "give Mr. Bush a few maps and geography lessons."

It's hard to recall that we once lived in an age of giants who were expected to know the names of foreign leaders. Donald Trump is proof of how much our standards have slipped. He couldn't find India if you dropped him at the Taj Mahal.

It is almost impossible to underestimate his knowledge about issues, including the ones he talks most about in his campaign. On Tuesday, he addressed Obamacare and promptly buried himself in misstatements that showed off his pristine ignorance.

"I can say, all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare," he declared, standing in front of workers at a Trump resort in Florida. "You look at what they're going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare."

He then proceeded to contradict himself, portraying his employees as supremely fortunate. "They're not worried about their health care," he insisted, "because we take great care of people."

That may be true, because they generally get coverage through their employer, sparing them from buying polices through the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. The general manager of the resort later acknowledged that "very few" of these employees would need to obtain policies on their own. So they are not having "a tremendous problem with Obamacare" after all.

Trump was not done advertising his confusion. "I don't much use Obamacare, I must be honest with you, because it is so bad for the people and they can't afford it," he said. All he had to do was dip one toe in the water to find himself in over his head.

But why should this topic be different from any other? Trump regularly denounces NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership as though he is thoroughly familiar with them, but he plainly has no clue.

His critique of TPP is a content-free tirade: "The TPP is a horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It's a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It's 5,600 pages long—so complex that nobody's read it. It's like Obamacare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. … But this is one of the worst trade deals."

He may not be aware that China is not part of the TPP. Would anyone expect him to know how many nations have signed on—or to be able to name half of them? Or to name three provisions in NAFTA?

Lapses and blunders that would have torpedoed other candidates have done no harm to Trump. He said Vladimir Putin would not go into Ukraine, long after Putin had occupied part of it. He thinks Supreme Court justices sign bills. He doesn't understand why we have nuclear weapons if we don't use them.

He favors "closing parts of the internet" to stop the Islamic State. He claimed he got the endorsement of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency that doesn't endorse candidates. He promised to close down the "Department of Environmental," which doesn't exist.

He claimed his skill in using the tax laws "brilliantly" allowed him to avoid paying taxes. His accountant disagreed: "I did all the tax preparation. He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature."

No presidential candidate can know everything about all the issues that will come before him or her. Trump is unusual in lacking the most basic knowledge about any of them. Nor can we expect him to make any effort to acquire it. He says he makes decisions "with very little knowledge other than the knowledge" he already has, "plus the words 'common sense.'"

George W. Bush, come back. All is forgiven.

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Bush can’t name foreign leaders – embarrassing

    Gary Johnson doesn’t know what Aleppo is – inspiring

    Reason logic…

    1. Do the Reason writers know what the USS Liberty incident is? Without looking it up. Doubt it.

      We should all know that Hillary help create the disaster that is Syria and Aleppo. Furthermore, she wants to position the USA into WWIII over Syria.

      1. “she wants to position the USA into WWIII over Syria.”

        Ya gotta love folks who believe they can read people’s minds.

        In reality, however, she has indicated exactly the opposite. No boots on the ground.

        Also in reality, it is Donald Trump who said he wants to “bomb the s**t out of them.”

        Let’s see…:”no American troops on the ground” vs. carpet bombing and killing thousands and thousands of civilians.

        I think you’ve got it backwards.

        Oh, but then again….you can read minds, so…..

        1. Hillary specifically said she wants to impose a “no-fly” zone in Syria. There is no way that we do that without going to war with Russia. And the love lost between Hillary and Putin, it is not inconceivable that she would try. Also, from my military experience (which is limited because I was in the Navy, not a ground-pounder) it will almost assuredly take boots on the ground to disable the SAM sites that we need disabled to impose said “no-fly” zone.

          1. Please just say ‘group troops’. It’s always been ‘ground troops’ until a few years back when some cunt asshole journalists started saying ‘boots on the ground’, and all the other little parrot journalists mimicked. Which is a wordier way to say something that everyone already understood, and sounded less colloquial.

            Also, it’s hilarious that progtard Conslayer believes that it requires telepathy to figure out what morons like Obama and Hillary are trying to do.

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              1. Careful who you troll Spambot! He’s gonna unleash an unhinged tirade at you for sure!

                1. No, no. I just imagine this person making $15k/month part time is a hot escort/camwhore doing pleasant things for the money.

              2. Mr. Trump, for the last time, I am not signing up for your “university”.

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                http://www.plusaf.com/homepage…..llshit.jpg

        2. Clinton also said there were no boots on the ground in Libya, when, in fact, there were not only at the time she made the remark but still are to this day. Also, in the response during the debate that you’re referencing, she immediately made reference to “spec ops” personnel performing “training” missions and so forth to support Syrian rebels. Those are boots on the ground.

        3. It doesn’t take any boots on the ground to start a war.

          Do you even know what a no-fly zone is?

          Hint: it doesn’t involve safe-spaces and kitten cuddling.

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      2. It was a co-ordinated Israeli US attack on the US spy ship Liberty after the 6 day war to enter into war with Egypt…except it didn’t sink.

      3. Yeah, we all know that’s the friendly fire incident antisemites like to think is the only one that ever happened.
        If you assume literate educated people don’t know what the USS Liberty incident is, that suggests you’re projecting your own ignorance of things like Iran Air flight 655. That would have made the USS Liberty incident look like just another error in wartime, which wouldn’t be useful.

    2. I would rather have a president who has to look up where Aleppo is than one who wants to go to war with Russia over it.

      1. “one who wants to go to war with Russia over it.”

        Another mind reader. The clairvoyants are out in full force here.

        1. Establishing a no-fly zone over Syria means shooting down Russian planes that fly over it.
          Pretty sure shooting down another countries planes is an act of war.

          So according to her statements alone, Hilary is willing to go to war with Russia over Aleppo.

          Also, its a tiny country, incredibly fast fighter jets don’t stop on a dime. Making that area smaller with a no-fly zone, significantly increases the risk of violating that zone.

          Also, you’re a moron.

          1. Hey, be careful how you speak to the mighty conslayer.

            1. Notice how conslayer hasn’t yet responded to the no-fly zone comments yet.

          2. In order of Increasing mental capability: Idiot, Imbecile, Moron.
            I suspect you really should have said “Idiot.”
            🙂

        2. This isn’t the Washington Post forums, friend. You’re going to need to provide something like a cogent argument with some sort of evidence or logical support if you don’t want to just look like a mouthbreathing shill for Hillary.

        3. As is your progtardedness, eh comrade?

        4. Stop it dude! You’re totally ruining the groupthink!

    3. I will give sorry-ass Chapman a little bit of credit in that at least he’s not pretending to be a libertarian. In that sense at least, he’s more honest than about 90% of the people who write here now.

      1. The 90% that are Republicans you mean?

        1. Which writers here are republican? Gillespie isn’t. Welch and Bailey certainly aren’t. Definitely not Robby. In fact forsee many of the writers here voting Hilldog.

          1. I’m not talking about the writers. Should have clarified that.

      2. Chicago Tribune endorsed Gary Johnson. How is that “not being a libertarian.” Chapman’s on the editorial board, and I suspect he wrote the endorsement editorial.

        http://my.chicagotribune.com/#…..-91618147/

        Kevin R

        1. The Chic Tribune has its morgue online. There you can see the trouble they went to to repeal prohibition even if it meant bucking the Republican/Prohibition party line to prevent mystical bigots from further wrecking the economy. That was the gutsiest paper in These States during that other Prohibition.

  2. A reporter asked him to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, all of which had been in the news. …

    You mean a Democratic party operative with byline. That question is a B.S. gotcha question.

    Any of these so-called journalists asking Obama and Hillary these type questions? Quite the opposite, we know have proof that they are feeding the Democrats softball questions beforehand. And they still have jobs!

    And Steve Chapman is part of the problem.

    1. Exactly. Since when is knowing the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan a metric for being a good President?

      Does Hillary know who Putin is- yes. Because that is who will be leading the country we get into WWIII with, if you vote for that neocon.

      1. And when I say neocon I mean a criminal, progressive, hawk, Nanny-Stater.

        1. A brief but adequate summation, but it leaves out mysticism. Does neo mean almost but not quite eager to force girls to have unwanted offspring?

      2. This election has ripped off the left’s anti war mask. They’re anti war if a nonDem is President, pro war or at least willing to look the other way if the President is one of their own. The few principled anti war leftists will vote for Stein and she’ll be doing well if she cracks one percent.

        1. I’ve been told that attempts to talk about foreign policy are just a distraction from the real issues.

        2. True. Remember how fast they threw that moronic anti-war shill, Cindy Sheehan away like rotten garbage, after Obama was elected? The left is very pro-war, but will adopt any fake cause to attack a republican.

          1. Her son was killed in Iraq. I’ll give her a pass.

            1. Sure. She has a good reason to be nuts. That’s not the point. The point is how the left disingenuously used the poor deluded woman. Then discarded her once Obama was elected. The left never had any anti war principals, just like they have no other principals of any kind. All this shit is just used as a means to acquire more control and delver more Marxism.

              If the democrats thought that re enslaving blacks would guarantee their absolute power, then i promise that you would see them doing that tomorrow. The cognitive dissonance of their drones would make it easy.

              1. You seem to take issue with the pebble in the eye of the left (which I have no problem with), but ignore the stone in the eye of the right.

                Both are equally capable of horrible statist actions if it fits their worldview. And no, the left is not worse. The only way to get to that conclusion is to ascribe every horrible characteristic of mankind to the left and that is completely dishonest and something that libertarians should stop doing.

                1. The left is always ultimately worse. If the left gets everything it wants, we’re living in the Soviet Union in the 1950’s. If the right gets it’s way, we’re living in middle America in the 1950’s. These things are in no way equivalent.

                  1. the last time republicans controlled all three branches of govt the size of the state exploded & we ended up with a gigantic new entitlement in the form of medicaire part D. Republicans instituted the patriot act, invaded iraq, normalized the use of torture & widespread spying on the american public. maybe you can spell out for me which of these you remember seeing on Leave it to Beaver?

                2. the amount if trump support that festered in h&r during this campaign has convinced me that libertarians are in the minority here as we are everywhere else. IMO Breitbart-style “alt-righters” come to Reason for the mockery of liberal nanny statism & stay to post invective nonsense on articles w/ antistatist positions on immigration, trade, etc. Protectionism + racism does not = libertarianism.

      3. “Because that is who will be leading the country we get into WWIII with,”

        More mind reading. Remarkable.

        1. You don’t have to read her mind, just her words. She’s pushing a policy that will necessarily lead to a war with Russia. She might not want to get us into a war but that’ll be the inevitable result of her wreckless,counterproductive, and stupid policy.

    2. Isn’t in fascinating that any time a journalist asks a question you don’t like it’s because he/she us a “Democratic party operative with byline”?

      Simply amazing.

      This is in keeping with the current trend on the internet to label anyone who holds a different opinion as a “paid shill” a “bot” or a “troll”.

      It’s much easier to de-legitimize those who don’t fall in lock step with you then it is to explain why your heroes are woefully ignorant, isn’t it?

      “Any of these so-called journalists asking Obama and Hillary these type questions?”

      So…you object to having these questions asked of those who have displayed ignorance of facts and current world events, but you desperately want them to be asked of people who have already displayed a kaleidoscopic, comprehensive understanding of the subjects?

      But Steve Chapman is “part of the problem”, huh? Interesting.

      “we know(sic) have proof that they are feeding the Democrats softball questions beforehand.”

      No. We don’t. We have Russian hacked and most likely altered documents leaked by Julian Assange, an alleged rapist who refuses to turn himself in a face trial, who has a well known grudge against Hillary Clinton.

      Proof? Hilarious.

      1. It’s much easier to de-legitimize those who don’t fall in lock step with you then it is to explain why your heroes are woefully ignorant, isn’t it?

        You mean like by mocking people as “mind readers” instead of addressing their arguments?

      2. people who have already displayed a kaleidoscopic, comprehensive understanding of the subjects?

        Like the brilliance of toppling a contained adversary?

        Or like the kaleidoscopic insight of running guns to ISIS?

        1. Bill, you’re wasting your breath. This trollish turd won’t be addressing any of your questions, or anyone else’s. it has no real argument, and it knows that.

      3. So…you object to having these questions asked of those who have displayed ignorance of facts and current world events, but you desperately want them to be asked of people who have already displayed a kaleidoscopic, comprehensive understanding of the subjects?

        You’re absolutely right: there is no point asking Hillary about the totalitarian, despotic, violent, war-mongering politicians around the world. Of course she knows them: she’s been in bed with many of them.

      4. The emails have been tested and proved to be undoctored originals. Also, they didn’t;t come from Russia, you lying piece of shit. they came from a DNC staffer that was later murdered a few months back.

    3. “A reporter asked him to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, all of which had been in the news. …”

      the proper answer for a candidate is….

      “To be honest, that trivia rates very low on the priority list for the POTUS. I’ll worry about foreign leaders after I memorize the 50 US governors, and hundreds of generals, congress critters, and cabinet deputies.”

      1. Yes, but the honest answer for Hillary is:

        “To be honest, that trivia rates very low on the priority list for the POTUS. I’ll worry about foreign leaders only to the degree that they can contribute at least $10M to the Clinton Foundation and/or help me increase my political power. I’m very evenhanded that way, because it’s the same criterion I apply to Americans.”

    4. Given that W was elected, it seems that the evidence suggests we do NOT in fact expect candidates to know all these names.

    5. “That question is a B.S. gotcha question.”

      It’s a pretty straight forward question. Being able to answer shows some degree of following foreign affairs. Trust me, asking Clinton or Obama who is the leader of India is about as softball a question as you can get.

      1. Trust me, asking Clinton or Obama who is the leader of India is about as softball a question as you can get.

        Maybe we should ask Obama “What language is spoken in Austria”?

        1. Ask him whatever you like.

    6. I repeat what I said to Spinach Chin:

      Imbecile!

      Read the article before you comment.

      Anyone with an IQ over 8 can clearly see that Chapman was listing Bush’s inability to name those foreign leaders as being INSIGNIFICANT, (esp compared to Turmp’s ignorance) to his ability to serve as President.

  3. “In November 1999, presidential candidate George W. Bush sat down for a radio interview. A reporter asked him to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, all of which had been in the news. He could come up with only one.”

    Oh Steve, I am sure that you cannot name 4 foreign leaders that I give you on the spot. You progressives think you are so smart.

    Hint: They will not be those four nations.

    1. Steve isn’t running for President.

      You “libertarians” think you are so smart.

      (Hint: If you were, you wouldn’t be a libertarian.)

      1. Since libertarians are not part of a collective consciousness like Team Blue, or to a lesser degree, Team Red, yes, they tend to be smarter. They also engage in critical thinking instead of striving to be a good drone, such as yourself.

        1. It’s the 25% identifiable through the Solomon Asch experiment that tend to be libertarian.

  4. I know everything. Just not all at the same time.

  5. Huh, an anti-Trump article. Thanks, Chapman and Reason, for taking a path that others fear to tread.

    1. Cut taxes. Cut regulations. Drain the swamp. Term limits for congress. Throw Hillary’s crooked ass in jail. Appoint originalist to the SC.

      Someone explain to me how Trump is not the most libertarian candidate for president I have seen in my lifetime.

      Hey Chapman, fuck you.

      1. Someone explain to me how Trump is not the most libertarian candidate for president I have seen in my lifetime.

        I don’t know how old you are, but that is a motherfucker of a low bar.

        1. And yet that is the bar we face…

        2. True, but America can survive a Trump presidency. If they can keep Hillary on life support for eight years, there probably won’t be a real America left. And we will be saddled with Marxist revisionists in the SCOTUS and the rest of the federal court system for decades.

      2. Is your question limited to the November ballot?

        Assuming your answer is yes, and you are at least 28, Ron Paul 1988. You said in your lifetime? Well, I will take the liberty of assuming you weren’t around for Grover Cleveland.

      3. So generic R candidate is always the most libertarian candidate of your lifetime.

      4. Are you joking? Seriously.

    2. Has anyone else noticed that Chapman and Dalmia frequently hide their articles behind a second click under a “Reason Staff” cover? None of the other writers do that anywhere near as often. It’s like these two specifically know that many of us despise them, so they don’t want to put their names directly on their articles because they know a lot of us wouldn’t even click them to begin with.

      1. They must be instinctively ashamed of their work. They should be.

      2. Yeah… unlike faceless sockpuppets… present company excepted, of course.

  6. Chapman and bottomless ignorance…Reason really must be going leftist if they’re trying out this “beyond parody” schtick.

    1. “Leftist”

      What decade is this? Is that you Senator McCarthy?

      1. The decade where democrats want all black people segregated.

      2. He’s not a McCarthyist, but I am. That man kept garbage like you down. You’re just a soulless piece of trash jonesing for a Soviet style rakeover of the US government by your Marxist masters.

    2. I’m surprised Chapman hasn’t become a regular panelist on some MSNBC talking head show.

    3. Leftist as in not accepting the Baby Jesus as their own personal Savior or leftist as in government ownership of the means of production? These are independent variables.

  7. “George W. Bush, come back. All is forgiven.”

    No it’s not.

  8. As others here point out, the “name foreign leaders” question is not an appropriate measure of anything except your chances of winning Jeapardy.

    And while the Donald has a poor grasp of issues, Hillary does not have an advantage in this area. At least he recognizes Obamacare has serious problems. And he’s not promising free college despite all the obvious unintended consequences and $20 trillion in current debt. And he isn’t promoting steal from the rich tax schemes and even more complicated tax codes. And he wasn’t Secretary of State while claiming complete ignorance about email security….

    1. As others here point out, the “name foreign leaders” question is not an appropriate measure of anything except your chances of winning Jeapardy.

      I think it’s most definitely an appropriate measure of just how low the bar is to be nominated to be president. The presidential candidates are only ever going to be as fit as the electorate picking them. That includes Gary Johnson and the LP delegates who selected his sorry ass.

    2. And while the Donald has a poor grasp of issues, Hillary does not have an advantage in this area.

      Hillary has an excellent grasp of issues and foreign leaders. Kind of like the Mafia knows all the local businessmen and how to blackmail and pressure them into paying for protection. Hillary is really good at what she does; but being a corrupt proto-fascist just isn’t good for the country.

  9. Are there any Reason defenders left?

    1. Perhaps the single best compliment that can be given to H&R is its refusal to “un-friend” posters.

    2. Yeah, me. I still think this wretched hive of scum and villainy is worthwhile. Mostly you guys, but Welch, 2Chili, de Rugy, Root, Ed, Walker and Love Shack still do it for me.

      1. Stossel and Nepolitano.

        1. True. But which is the better libertarian? And how would we go about measuring that? Would it be worthwhile to do so? Is it likely the difference is all that significant? Also, how much does the Judge like question marks?

      2. I’m a big 2Chili fan. Hinkle’s the cat’s pjs, too.

      3. I really like the druggie, I mean Sullum.

  10. There is a story (and it may even be true) that someone once asked Einstein for his phone number, and he told them to ask his secretary. “Why should I memorize something when I know where to find it?” was supposedly Einstein’s response.

    I like that. If the presidency was purely a technocratic office then I think it would apply here. But the presidency isn’t a purely technocratic office — people imbue it with symbolism and expect that a president will live up to that symbolism. I don’t romanticize the office that way, so I don’t particularly care if someone can’t answer a gotcha question about world leaders (Johnson’s Aleppo gaffe was more substantial — even a technocrat should be aware of the challenges they may be taking on). But as long as lots of people (including other world leaders) insist on imbuing the office with this symbolic power and moral authority, it’s not unreasonable to want a president who can handle that power responsibly. It’s just the way the world is.

    I wish voters would place more value on having good policies and not being horribly corrupt instead of these types of aesthetic concerns, but I can understand why the aesthetics and “optics” of the presidency matter to a certain degree.

    1. I am in no way signing off on the argument of Hillary supporters that simply being able to use the right nouns makes one fit for the presidency, but this is a little more important than memorizing a phone number. It’s kind of difficult to think critically on foreign policy when you have no clue about the particulars. One issue with our foreign policy is that we have rank amateurs running the show who are intent on aggression. They see foreign policy as a way to show their policy bonafides and boost domestic support. The consequences of their stupid decisions be damned.

      In that sense, someone who is ignorant, but humble is a step-up. But libertarians who want to pretend that this is just information that can easily be looked up are kidding themselves. The people the president has to deal with on the national stage are far more familiar with American politics than vice versa.

      1. Why does he need to memorize the names of places he won’t bomb?

    2. The way I heard it was that somebody asked Einstein what the square root of 3 was, and he said, “I don’t know, but I can look it up.”
      I hope that’s true cause it’s one of my favorite quotes and I use it all the time .

      1. Apocryphal. Physicists memorize the roots of small primes because those make it easy to find square roots of large non-prime numbers. The roots of large primes are easy to find with a convergence formula they also know.

  11. Wah wah, asking the names of foreign leaders is a gotcha! And I’m going to pretend that’s what Trump didn’t know, even though the article outlines several instances of more significant ignorance and misunderstanding on his part, and the foreign leaders thing was actually about W!

    1. Believe it or not this is not the worst Chapman article. It’s close, but not the worst.

      1. Don’t worry, Chapman has still a couple more decades to further mature in his senility and ignorance before he meets his maker.

  12. So…are you saying that I shouldn’t vote for Trump?

  13. I wonder if one of the “giants” of whom Roby writes is not Judge Clark. As in William P., Ronald Reagan’s nominee for the post of Deputy Secretary of State.

    Judge Clark could not name the Prime Ministers or Presidents of several nations, including South Africa and Zimbawbe.

    One Dutch paper’s headline read: American Minister Knows Nothing.

    1. The beauty of being an American diplomat is that they have to come to you…

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  15. I’ll be honest. On these negative articles about Trump, the number of libertarians who appear to support Trump here is disturbing.

    I’ll fully admit that it’s in our nature to be skeptical of the media and to dislike Hillary.

    But Trump really is a massive buffoon and authoritarian dipshit.

    1. IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIME!

      A VOTE FOR A THIRD PARTY IS A VOTE FOR HILLARY!

    2. I am voting for Johnson and cheering for Trump (i.e. against Hillary).

      1. I’m cheering for Hillary to have a massive stroke that leaves her a prisoner in her own body. Unable to even blink.

        1. Oh, great. Then we get Bill as Edith Wilson. You think the Clinton/Rodham mob would let the 25th Amendment make Kaine (Acting) President? You dream big!

          Kevin R

    3. But Trump really is a massive buffoon and authoritarian dipshit.

      True, but Clinton is a corrupt, lying bitch with even stronger authoritarian tendencies than Trump. That’s why many libertarians cheer for Johnson and hold their noses and vote for Trump.

      1. Clinton’s authoritarianism is a known quantity and she would continue the slow degradation of our liberties. Do you actually listen to the shit Trump says? He wants to run the country like he would run his company…with a totalitarian ironhand. And somehow he thinks that the country could be governed as such.

        Yes, the Supreme Court and Congress may provide checks and balances to mute his despotism, but stop pretending that he is anything less than a proto-fascist. And I’m not voting for him either.

        1. You are engaging in massive self delusion with that rationale. The Clintons are already above the law. Imagine how bad things will become if Cuntlery becomes president. Especially considering how unstable the world is because of Obama’s total idiocy and lack of anything resembling a foreign policy.

          We are fairly close to war with Russia. It is highly likely that Hillary will finish the job. Among a long list of so many horrific things.

      2. Translation: Cowards = Libertarians. For this to be convincing R.E. needs to produce the Coward Party platform so we can compare it. The whole point of the LP is that 25% of the population is somehow resistant to social pressure, and can leverage that resistance into freedom by the mechanism of spoiler votes. Spoiler votes tell politicians how to change their policies to keep getting paychecks. This is not even complicated or difficult to understand. It is a stick-and-carrot concept independent of personality cults.

    4. I’m not voting for him (I live in Virginia so it doesn’t matter anyway) but I fear a Trump presidency much less than a Hillary presidency for the simple reason that he’s going to be under a microscope in a hostile environment. The press will hound him constantly. The majority of Congress will oppose him. How much damage could he truly do?

      On the other hand, the press will do everything in their power to suppress anything negative about Hillary, and she’s going to have to veer ever-further left to appease the Fauxcahontas wing of the party who dislikes her.

    5. The problem is that libertarians are oftentimes iconoclasts. And the media’s anti-Trump bias is causing knees to start jerking to his side. That and the fact that too many of those who post here are actually partisan Republicans at heart.

      In the end it’s reminder that libertarians are just people, and can be as dumb as Democrats and Republicans.

    6. It isn’t that libertarians are hung ho for Trump. It’s more that a Clinton presidency is such a dire concept with irreversible consequences that any number of shitbags look like saints in comparison.

      If the democrats had instead nominated Jim Webb, I imagine that many people’s outlook about Trump would be different.

      1. Reversed and still true:

        It isn’t that libertarians are hung ho for *Clinton*. It’s more that a *Trump* presidency is such a dire concept with irreversible consequences that any number of shitbags look like saints in comparison.

        If the *republicans* had instead nominated *(insert any name that isn’t Cruz)*, I imagine that many people’s outlook about *Clinton* would be different.

        1. No, Hillary is not equivalent to Trump. Everyone needs to cut that crap out. Even if he’s bad, he is not the head of a political crime family that murders, steals billions, shits on the constitution with impunity, incompetently starts unnecessary wars, enables a serial rapist for four decades, sells uranium to the Russians just to make a buck, commits espionage, etc. Instead, Trump is just an assholish loudmouth who has been rich for a long time and doesn’t bother to filter himself.

          Unlike Cuntlery, he does not have the media or most of congress in his pocket. He also has given zero indication that he will appoint communist idealogues to the SCOTUS. Cuntlery will. Maybe several. Along with many, many other federal court appointees. Which will add to eight years of horrible appointments by the traitor Obama.

          Seriously, please get some perspective. It is possible to hate both of them and still compare and contrast between them.

          1. Translation of the above exchange: The prohibitionists NEVER passed the 18th Amendment with 1.4% of the vote. All their votes were “wasted” because they changed laws instead of hiring grinning politicians.

  16. Reason did it again-does anything to do with Russia ever get a fair shake in this rag? What part of Ukraine is Russia occupying? The Crimea voted to rejoin Russia. It is overwhelmingly ethnic Russia. The issue over leaving Ukraine has been talked about for 20 years. Russia obeyed international law by holding a referendum first. To no one’s surprise, the referendum gave the same results as every other referendum or survey, only this time, due to the illegal coup in Kiev, the Duma accepted it and voted. To accept the results. The Crimea jutted voted in a free election overwhelmingly for Putin.
    Trump obviously said Russia would not invade eastern Ukraine or Kiev. There are now 2 breakaway oblasts in eastern Ukraine. Don’t libertarians generally approve of secession movements? Russia has not recognized them, and will not invade Ukraine. Trump knows more about Ukraine than Reason post does.

    1. To be fair, Putin is odious because…. of how he mistreated Pussy Riot.

      1. Putin should have had them brought to him for a private audience. Punishment would have involved bare bottom spankings.

    2. IIRC, The ethnic Russians were shipped there by the Soviets after killing off the locals.

      Perhaps the better solution is for them to go home to Russia if they wish to be part of that nation?

  17. “His poor grasp of policy makes past leaders look brilliant by comparison.”

    Ah Steve….two play that game:

    “Steve Chapman’s poor grasp of reality makes other writers look brilliant by comparison.”

    See how easy that is. Can I have a job, Reason? oh…know…wait. I have one. nevermind

  18. “His critique of TPP is a content-free tirade: “The TPP is a horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It’s 5,600 pages long — so complex that nobody’s read it. It’s like Obamacare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. … But this is one of the worst trade deals.”

    He may not be aware that China is not part of the TPP”

    So, Steve, you do realize Trump never even implied China was part of TPP. He pointed out that China will just take advantage of it. Difficult to see how he is wrong, as TPP is anything but “free trade”, but rather a massive agreement of mutual protectionism.

    1. The general libertarian economist view, though, is that it’s a step in the right direction. Of course it could be way better.

      1. The general libertarian economist view, though, is that it’s a step in the right direction.

        Anybody who believes that is a fool. Creating onerous trade restrictions and regulations, then granting exemptions to powerful special interests, is pretty much the essence of crony capitalism and rent seeking. It is a anti-libertarian as you can possibly get.

        1. Damn. A fool indeed. Slayed by the very libertarian buzzwords I love (except “crony capitalism” which, of course, is not really a thing).

          That’s the last time I trust Cato economists performing a detailed analysis of trade policy again.

          1. “(except “crony capitalism” which, of course, is not really a thing).”

            not really a thing? huh?

            as defined by Wikipedia: Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

            What part of that reality are you denying?

            1. I’m claiming the term itself is oxymoronic. I am aware that it’s now entered our vernacular and I roll my eyes every time it’s used.

              Despite being as bizarre a combination as “laissez-faire socialism”, “crony capitalism” is worse because it’s a deliberate propaganda term.

              That definition of “crony capitalism” is (of course) literally the exact opposite of capitalism.

              The term was created to include the word capitalism as if a parternship between government and business is at all in keeping with economic freedom. I would prefer that capitalism be distanced from the thing that is inherently anti-capitalism. No, such corruption is not the nature of free markets at all.

      2. “The general libertarian economist view” beyond Cato’s half-assed assessment and luke-warm “its better than nothing” approval, there is no general view.

        It’s 5500 pages of cronyism and Cato took the approach that since it had some mild free-trade provisions it was better than doing nothing. Cato’s approval frankly is bizarre. While TPP may have some free-trade provisions, the vast majority of document is about further institutionalization of crony protectionism, and negotiated benefits for preferred industries.
        And to make matters worse, there is no acknowledgement of what inevitably happens with these agreements. Over time they inevitably have add-ons that lessen free trade….it never goes the other way.

        1. 5 economists did detailed analysis of the agreement and determined that overall it was net liberalizing. I paged through it, but I’ll admit I don’t have the stomach for such detail. Their overall assessment seemed reasonable enough.

          Are you against the TPP because it’s not free enough or is this just some roundabout cognitive dissonance so that you can support Trump? He clearly in no way whatsoever is in favor of free trade nor supports basically the past 150 years of economic theory. He is an epic moron.

    2. China has its own trade agreements with 50 countries. The Phillipines is joining. Obama and Hillaries “pivot” to Asia is a failure.
      We live in a multi-polar world now. Wake up Reason!

  19. Hey-Russia sent its only aircraft carrier with some supply ships to Syria and Krayeski called it an “armada” – geez give me a break. The US has 12 large aircraft carrier groups. Russia ( and China) have one small carrier. A couple of years ago China’s was a floating casino in the Black Sea.
    Aircraft carriers are used to threaten underdeveloped countries. Russia is using its carrier so it won’t have to build a permanent military base inSyria.
    It is Reason that has no grasp of foreign policy, no Trump.

  20. Trump regularly denounces NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership as though he is thoroughly familiar with them, but he plainly has no clue.

    To be fair to El Trumpo, it is not like he is clueless about the provisions within NAFTA or the TPP.

    No, he’s completely clueless about TRADE, EXCHANGE, COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE, DIVISION OF LABOR, and pretty much everything else that has to do with basic economics. So do his supporters.

    He said Vladimir Putin would not go into Ukraine, long after Putin had occupied part of it.

    Maybe El Trumpo meant to say that Putin would never capture Kiev.

    He doesn’t understand why we have nuclear weapons if we don’t use them.

    “Nobody needs 10 nuclear warheads in a missile!”

    El Trumpo thinks we should use those nuclear weapons to open a hole in the wall that surrounds Arrakeen.

    1. No, he’s completely clueless about TRADE, EXCHANGE, COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE, DIVISION OF LABOR, and pretty much everything else that has to do with basic economics. So do his supporters.

      And so are Hillary and her supporters. That is, unless Hillary is simply lying, which is arguably even worse.

    2. Well, the spice must flow.

      Also, I think his name has become a killing word.

      1. Like a magic-user spell ‘Power Word: Trump’?

  21. Mr. Chapman, Please wake up from your self created dream world. Much of Trump’s support is based on disgust of the media including, likely, Mr. Chapman. Trump is a jerk, a big jerk. What is a real alternative? Another Grossly dishonest Barack Obama candidate? The apparent rapists and woman molester WJC? The serial liar and billionaire to be HRC? The multi millionaire ‘journalists’ who control the air waves? Just how rich are the Rather’s, Stephanopoulos’, Brokaw’s, O’Reilly’s, Smith’s, Kelly’s, Cooper’s et al entitled to be? Would $20 million be enough? How much more of a Banana Republic will you in effect support with a Hitler oriented DOInJ, IRS, FBI Chief; and hundreds of judges implementing Constitutional rewrite word by word, paragraph by paragraph? Only 96% of journalists, etc., donate to Democrats (up roughly from 70% years back) which of course does not indicate a real bias in reporting? Not enough?

    1. How dare Reason say totally true stuff about Candidate A. Are they TRYING to get the equally deplorable candidate B elected?

    2. You do realize that Trump at least claims to be wealthier than every person you listed?

      I’ve never seen such cognitively dissonant hilarity as the man whose every piece of furniture is gilded becoming the leader of the anti-elite movement.

    3. Another lose-lose false dichotomy. This infiltrating sockpuppet pretends the Kleptocracy agenda is the only game in town. But the LP has been shifting that agenda through spoiler votes for almost half a century despite Tricky Dick funding the looters. If you vote for freedom, freedom increases and looters lose power. This means you, the voter, get robbed, murdered and enslaved less than would otherwise be the case.
      Remember the Reason cover with Clinton and Whutzisface pretending to wrestle, but winking at each other? This is the same thing over again.

  22. Trump is unusual in lacking the most basic knowledge about any of them.

    That’s still preferable to Hillary, who is extremely well versed in all these issues… and uses her skill and knowledge to enrich her billionaire buddies and screwing over the American people.

    Ignorant and stupid is vastly preferable to corrupt and highly skilled.

    1. And here’s the inevitable entrance of the dumbest argument of this election season.

      Just defend Trump on his own merits if you want to vote for him. Don’t say that it’s less dangerous to have a shit-flinging monkey as president than an actual competent person you happen to disagree with. It’s obnoxiously stupid.

      1. Who is this competent person you speak of?

      2. “…an actual competent person…”

        Yeah, but it’s not looking good for Johnson. Looks like the lying hag is gonna get the nod over the blowhard.

        1. Bookies are betting pretty high odds that The Antichoice faction of The Kleptocracy gets its snout bloodied in the gravel. If the election were close, the fact would increase the law-changing power of LP spoiler votes. As things stand, our spoiler votes will at least act to unfasten the grip ku-klux prohibitionists have had on God’s Own Politicians since 1928. That was the last election they won for 24 years after sacrificing the economy to Prohibitionism. Hopefully the 2004 election returns won’t repeat before 2028, giving us time to replace those Whigs.

    2. Translation: being raped and murdered by Hitler’s minions is better than being raped and murdered by Stalin’s minions. Those are the only two choices that exist.

  23. He claimed his skill in using the tax laws “brilliantly” allowed him to avoid paying taxes. His accountant disagreed: “I did all the tax preparation. He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature.”

    There’s no disagreement there Chapman. To brilliantly use the tax law to avoid paying taxes, one has to know the effect before the return is prepared. Furthermore no client that I can think of (and I have done CPA work) has ever seen the product before it was presented for signature. That is why this product is sold.

  24. Everyone griping about the anecdote in the beginning of the piece if woefully missing the point. Not surprised. The level of intelligence on this comment board is just barely above that of Breitbart, and far from libertarian.

    1. “barely above that of Breitbart.”

      Welcome to reason. The smartest right-wingers on the Internet.

      Fucking sad huh?

      1. Setting up conversations with yourself Tony? Pathetic.

      2. “Right-wingers” are religious fanatics. This is what parasitical looters mean when they point and hiss the label. And when religious fanatics point and hiss at “left-wingers,” they mean people who worship materialistic communism instead of the Baby Jesus. To them the distinction has no bearing on economics, but they pretend to care abt economics until their asset-forfeiture Crusades require sacrificing the economy. Libertarians stand at right angles to this one-dimensional spitting match. Our members have the highest Freethinker percentage and the lowest looter content. Compare the package labels (platform planks) and you’ll see the distinctions.

  25. It seems doubtful Donald Trump could succeed in a free market economy . . . but he must be an encouragement to crony-capitalists everywhere.

    1. And you base that on what? The fact you don’t like him? For any of his failings, Trump has many marks of a good businessman. He understands how to put a deal together, and he has skill at getting the right people to work for him. Which are both important.

  26. I only see REASON magazine piling on Trump instead of the far worse choice of Clinton. At least, Trump is concerned about AMERICA, while Clinton is only concerned about her status in the NWO and accumulation of ill-gotten wealth.

    1. I agree. While I’m not voting for Trump, I’d rather have him a president rather than Clinton. She’d be far far worse.

  27. Scott Adams had a better take on this election than Steve Chapman (or most of the Reason staff) will ever crap out.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/36474…..lly-party/

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  29. For the commenters on here who don’t know the definition of the word corrupt:

    Corrupt- having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both unquestionally corrupt.. Therefore anyone who solely refers to HIllary as ‘corrupt’ is showing their bias.

  30. The problem is “the issues”. We don’t need “issues”, we need “common sense”. I am sure Reason backs NAFTA and has never investigated how small manufacturers and associated suppliers are in dire straits. When the rule set is vastly different (e.g. USA and China), managed trade does not work. Note I did not use the words “free trade”, because free trade has no government involvement. Let’s get governments out of deciding if a native company can trade with foreign company.

  31. So as long as a politician can memorize other leader’s names that is all required. Understanding incentives, rules, and motivations is not needed!!!

  32. Steve makes good points nobody cares about unless applicable to the candidate they are already persuaded to hate. Better to call attention to the LP candidates propagand tells fools to ignore. The Dilbert cartoonist is ignoring masterfully when he suggests ISIS is rooting for the Pro-Choice party, therefore voters who don’t want to face the lightning-strike or meteor-hit chance of being berserked to death by Mohammedans ought to vote the mystical bigot platform.
    This ignores the law-changing power of spoiler votes. The GOP clown is losing at 6 to 1 odds, which implies a 14% chance of landing the top job. But we know from the 1892 election that 9% is better than a landslide for law-changing via spoiler votes. Voting LP offers better mathematical probability of tossing the GOP and policies that make These States a target for primitive mystics. Your LP vote can dis The Antichoice but also move the Dems from communism to 1932 Liberal Party values. Let them try to ignore them spoiler votes!

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