Donald Trump

GOP Anti-Flake Anti-Trumpers Just Want Trumpism Without Trump

Trump is crass and abrasive and toxic? So are the policies he adopted for a base that establishment conservatives cultivated.

|

CHRIS KLEPONIS/UPI/Newscom

A lot of these "Never Trump" conservatives remind me of Krusty the Clown's lament that he accidentally "said the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet." Even Republicans who dislike Trump are often comfortable with the underlying Trumpism.

Consider the reaction when Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced yesterday that he won't seek reelection in 2018 because it's impossible to win a Republican primary without embracing Trump.

"FACT: Flake was one of the most unpopular senators since 2013," the right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro tweeted after Flake's announcement. "His decline was not purely Trump related."

But the forces that helped propel Trump to the top of the 2016 Republican field weren't unleashed by Trump when he announced his candidacy in June 2015. He merely exploited them.

Shapiro developed his argument about Flake at The Daily Wire, pointing out that Flake became an unpopular senator early on in his term after trying to work on a bipartisan effort to reform immigration. "Many immigration reform Senators have fallen askance of the base," Shapiro noted.

Yes. That's the problem.

It was little more than a decade ago that President George W. Bush's efforts at comprehensive immigration reform failed. Since then, the GOP establishment has largely embraced the faction of the party that torpedoed reform.

Rather than making the economic case for immigration, as Republicans of days gone by did regularly, much of the party was content to exploit voters' economic ignorance and fuel their anxieties.

"Complete the dang fence," John McCain implored in a campaign ad before turning around to complain how nativism had taken over his party.

Some on the left are upset by the warm reception Flake, and particularly his comments on the Senate floor admonishing Trump's flaunting of American political norms, have received, pointing out he and Trump line up on such issues as tax cuts, deregulation, and labor.

But it would be hard to argue these were the issues that motivated most Trump voters. They certainly weren't issues Trump put at the center of his presidential campaign. Instead, he focused on immigration and trade, precisely the policies where many conservatives were already pandering to the base.

The left has a similar problem: Candidates like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have to pretend to be skeptical of or hostile to free trade to allay their base while nudging and winking to international trade partners. On immigration, Democrats have lost the current debate in large part because they're unwilling or unable to make the economic case for liberal immigration policies, instead relying on emotional appeals that only contribute to the hyperpartisan divide.

The Trump difference is that Trump has mostly stuck to his rhetoric after the election. Establishment Republicans have long been comfortable cultivating economic ignorance and racial resentment among their base in pursuit of electoral victory and then pursuing other priorities in Washington. But eventually the base clues in to the bait-and-switch and seeks out candidates who seem less likely to compromise. What set Trump apart wasn't his ideas so much as his perceived authenticity: He seemed like a guy who would actually follow up on that Trumpist rhetoric once in office.

Trump is crass, abrasive, and toxic? Well, so are the policies embraced by a base that mainstream conservatives cultivated but have now lost control of. But not Flake. Those on the right who are upset at Trump for what he revealed about Republicans and establishment conservatism won't like Flake either, because from a different direction he's revealing much the same thing.

NEXT: Rand Paul Worries Whether Surveillance Reform Will Even Be Debated in Senate

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Complete the dang fence,” John McCain implored in a campaign ad before turning around to complain how nativism had taken over his party.

    He was mad at the time because some cholo kids looked like they were intending to loiter near his lawn.

    1. I hate 5 minute videos that substitute for a 1 minute read.

      Fucking illiterate millennials.

      1. Me too. I hate watching videos of shit that could just as easily be written down.

        1. Especially when the video is a piece of shit that just uses stock images and text. Are advertisers or websites really fooling each other on this crap?

      2. Clearly said by someone who has never listened to Razorfist talk

      3. If people in 1805 could have inserted videos into their books they would have. We know this because books have always had pictures in them. It predates the printing press, in fact.

        1. Some books have always had pictures in them. But all books have not.


          1. Some books have always had pictures in them. But all books have not.

            I, too, enjoy the occasional non-sequitur.

            1. No. It wasn’t a non-sequiter. It was just a badly written sentence. Some books have pictures, but some books have always not had pictures.

              This may come as a shock to you, but there is a whole world of reading out there besides comic books, or graphic novels as the kids are calling them these days.

              1. I’d say this has been upgraded to irony. ^_^

              2. Now it’s irony, we’re on a roll!

                (Unless reason delete’s this comment too!)

      4. Illiterates making videos for other illiterates.

      5. (clicks “show transcript” on youtube)

        so as I’ve mentioned on myriad occasions however conservative my home state of Arizona is on every issue of the day thanks to a combination of monolithic local media the all too powerful LDS Church and politicians so frustrated with losing in Arizona’s Democrats they simply changed their affiliation and ran as rhinos we sadly must suffer to suboptimal senatorial representatives old Jimmy arms himself songbird McCain and his Padawan lurcher

        [insert clip of flake speech]

        you want to talk outrageous and undignified your melty face fuck? let’s talk about your job namely what it doesn’t entail…. look you’re a senator = in literal terms you exist because there’s no structure at large enough to accommodate the entire population of the United States all filing into a single room so we can raise our date a little digits on every order of minutiae under the yellow Sun

        in short for all your painstakingly choreographed hand-wringing about how you’re just following your heart and doing what you feel is right here your job a to listen to your gut Columbo cuz your intestinal tract didn’t vote for your vacuous ass we did your job isn’t a moralizing grandstand like a glorified goddamn Democrat you always were your job is to be us full fuckin stop. you’re not a warrior for the downtrodden your job was to be the vessel of the voters will and nothing the fuck else

      6. by subverting that will for the better part of a decade and a half motherfucker you spit in our faces so here’s some expectoration in return

        the blow back you’ve received over the last year and some change isn’t attributable to a nasty Republican base or poisonous discourse there’s a direct causal relationship between the acrimony you’ve suffered at the hands of the voters you were elected to represent and your unerring refusal to accurately represent the will of what is arguably the most conservative state in the Union

        it ain’t your audience’s fault when you take seven shades of shit in the process it’s yours fuck bag for flipping the script

        it’s not our fault you follow the same formula as your whiz and ass Muppet mentor McCain every four years to pretend to be Barry Goldwater and every four years upon being reelected you revert back to Ted Kennedy

        let’s be crystal fucking clear about this you’re not quitting over Trump you’re quitting because your voters so utterly despise you they created Trump to purge your DNC fellating Politicos

        you banked on Democrats winning in 2016 and you rolled a fucking snake Eyez pally was fun while it lasted your buddies in conventional media did an admirable job keeping even genuine conservatives perpetually hoodwinked as to your actual beliefs and positions but look it’s over now sweet cheeks time to tuck the spray tan back away in your wife’s purse and fuck off back to snowflake Arizona

      7. the title of this rant is actually a misnomer because in terms of upholding the principles of his very own fuckin voter base Jeff Flake never had a fall because in order to fall you have to first be standing upright and from his Pro immigration platform in no way informed by the alphabet soup of profligate corporations firing fuck loads of paola into his pooper and expecting cheap-ass foreign labor in return to a voting record that makes Pelosi look like Patton the only thing more crooked than this Boris Karloff looking cunt is his own goddamn nose

        i’m raz?rfist god fucking speed

        [Music] you seem to be confident that history is going to judge you well but that may be the vote the Republicans of Arizona won’t yeah I think that that’s the case [Music] I’m Jeff Flake and I approve this

        1. Was that supposed to be informative? Entertaining? Whatever it was supposed to be, I’m pretty sure it failed.

          Could’ve saved a lot of time and just said “Flake’s pro-immigration and that’s bad, mkay.” Being wrong in 5 seconds is a step up from being wrong in 5 minutes.

          1. “”” Being wrong in 5 seconds is a step up from being wrong in 5 minutes.””

            He’s entirely correct in his analysis. Flake would never get reelected even if he wanted to, and pretending that he’s bowing out because he just can’t even over Trump is some grade-A-bullshit.

            He didn’t really say anything about immigration there, tho that’s just one of a few issues that Flake voted contrary to the interests of his own constitutions.

            If you want RF’s perspective on immigration, watch this one.
            If you want his perspective on the Movie “Cobra”, watch that here.

            1. * constituents.

              (@(#*& spellcheck)

  2. Just because someone disagrees with you or is not willing to suffer for your principles doesn’t make them ignorant. What is ignorant is to claim that the market is some kind of magical machine that produces prosperity for all rather than a description of human behavior. There will always be winners and losers in any market. And while an ideally free market will give you the most efficient result and produce the most overall wealth, individual results will vary and whether that is the “best” result is a question of values not one of fact. The market doesn’t tell you what the “best result” is any more than a meteorologist can tell you if the weather will be “good” next week.

    If you think free trade under any and all circumstances is the proper government policy, great. There is a perfectly reasonable case to be made for that. In doing that, don’t dismiss the people who end up on the short stick of that policy as just being “ignorant” and having morally illegitimate arguments, especially when the person advocating for said trade benefits from it. The judgment of the “market” is not a judgment from God and just because the market decrees something doesn’t make any objection to that result illegitimate. If you want free trade, make a rational argument and treat economics like the science it is instead of some kind of religion.

    1. I don’t think economics is a science. I think that is one of the great flaws of the academic subject that has been created to constantly argue over.

      Economics in this sense, i.e. markets, are not something that can be determined or hypothesized with concrete proofs or laws.

      Actual free markets with free trade are ever fluid and have far too many factors involved to proffer some sort of linear system under which they function.
      I have always found it funny how many people constantly listen to and have faith in the verbose egos of economists and politicians when the reality of functioning economics has nothing to do with them and their bullsh*t. The only thing those idiots have to do with markets is making them function less efficiently through their dumbass laws, at which point the market participants adapt to make profits.

      1. Economics in this sense, i.e. markets, are not something that can be determined or hypothesized with concrete proofs or laws.

        Yes, they can. They just can’t be determined with certainty. But a lot of big, complex systems in nature can’t be determined with certainty. The weather is a good example. Just because meteorologists can’t predict the weather next week with 100% certainty, doesn’t mean the laws of physics can’t be understood or applied to the earth’s atmosphere. It is the same thing with economics. Just because no economist can predict the stock market or when the next dip in the business cycle is coming, does not mean that the fundamental laws of mass human behavior that govern the market cannot be understood.

        have always found it funny how many people constantly listen to and have faith in the verbose egos of economists and politicians when the reality of functioning economics has nothing to do with them and their bullsh*t.

        yes and no. The laws of economics may not change due to their bullshit. But their bullshit can most certainly change an economy.

      2. timbo|10.25.17 @ 3:02PM|#
        “I don’t think economics is a science.”

        What hogwash.
        ANY subject can be studied scientifically; the subject is irrelevant.
        You can study astrology scientifically and find it is bullshit. You can study economics scientifically and find it is not hard to derive general laws, but very difficult to arrive at highly specific conclusions.
        Can the bullshit claims that ‘economics isn’t a science!’.

        1. So supply and demand is a science?

          Mutual exchange of value for benefit between two consenting parties in a transaction is a science?

          Private property rights and enforcement of contract law are sciences?

          I get that there are immutable characteristics of a functioning economy but these are functions of the invisible hand in a truly free market economy.
          The science is in the erroneous attempts to control markets. That is my opinion.

          1. I don’t consider the way economics is currently done to be science either, but I think what Sevo was trying to say is that the scientific method could be applied to those things you list. It’s not. That’s why economics isn’t really a science, in my opinion.

            So supply and demand is a science?

            That’s like asking if gravity is a science. Supply and demand aren’t science, but you can use the scientific method to understand them and their interaction.

        2. If it’s a science then stop insisting that it tells us how we should live.

    2. You and Tony should get a room together.

  3. Semi apropos of this, I ran across this last night on Youtube.

    I was going to post this with the simple subtext, “Progressive heads will explode” but after watching several of the people testifying in front of the LA city council, I’m not ashamed to say that my head felt like it was going to explode. For anyone who needs a sweetener to entice them to click on the video and watch, it’s an LA city council meeting on becoming a sanctuary city. The citizens testifying against the proposal consist of MAGA hat-wearing black men from “the hood” calling Liberal city council members “uncle Tom Niggas”, Mexican immigrants griping about illegal immigration from mexico and so on. Honestly, it’s kind of a wonder to watch. Whether or not you agree with the city council or the people testifying, I think it’s a good eye-opener on how the sentiments about illegal immigration might not be as clear cut as NPR makes it out to be.

    1. All a sanctuary city does is take criminals who would normally be deported and kicks them back out on the street either on bail or after they have served their time. Whenever I hear some smug white person waxing poetic about how toxic and racist it is to want that to stop, I always want to yell “they are not going back to your fucking neighborhood are they?’ Of course, a lot of Hispanics object to this. They are the ones that are going to pay the price so that smug white people can feel good about themselves.

      1. All a sanctuary city does is take criminals who would normally be deported and kicks them back out on the street either on bail or after they have served their time. Whenever I hear some smug white person waxing poetic about how toxic and racist it is to want that to stop, I always want to yell “they are not going back to your fucking neighborhood are they?’ Of course, a lot of Hispanics object to this. They are the ones that are going to pay the price so that smug white people can feel good about themselves.

        That’s one of my bigger issues. Our “betters” always have these grand ideas than manage to protect themselves from the repurcussions of their actions.

        Is Angela Merkel getting gang-raped on New Year’s? No. Her POLICIES made it happen, but it didn’t harm her so she needs to need to change.

        Notice that most gun control nuts tend to live in very safe and, well, safely policed areas (or, even better, employ armed guards themselves). The people who sometimes have to deal with some unpleasantness aren’t nearly as supportive of it. They work hard to make schools a fucking joke but then make damned sure their precious progeny aren’t stuck in those shit holes.

        1. Notice that most gun control nuts tend to live in very safe and, well, safely policed areas

          Only if you completely ignore the inner cities. Mind you, I believe they “support gun control” only to the extent that the media pushes that image of them for self-serving & machine-politic reasons. But it’s there.

    2. My god, some of them might even vote Republican!

    3. Well to be fair, who else is gonna show up? Not like there are any white people left in LA.

  4. All he did was go one step further than the others thought they could go. This is not surprising or toxic. It is where politics will always go…to the next level of filth. These people are 99.9% pure scum.

    Trump is scum but you have to hand it to him. He outsmarted the rest of the vermin. Captured the mood and the minions in the press could not keep up.

    Just like Obama played the world with his fraud for 8 years. And think, he had the propaganda machine working at his direction and in his shadow of worship for 8 years.

    Presidents from now on will be famous mentally handicapped pretty faces.

  5. Democrats are unable to make the economic case for any of their policies.

    But I think it is a logical fallacy to claim the opponents of immigration don’t have an economic point. They are just solving for a different variable.

    Open borders and trade lead to a larger economic pie, but it shrinks the piece set aside for the US laborer. The whole point of open borders and free trade is to reduce the cost of labor.

    1. Of course, they have a point. And solving for a different variable is a good analogy. The problem is people like Ed don’t know enough to even try to argue why solving for that variable is a bad idea or worse than solving for the variable Ed is solving. People like Ed argue just like Progs. The only difference is that Progs try to avoid making any reasoned defense of their position by calling their opponents racists. People like Ed do it by calling them “ignorant” and pointing to the sacred market like that answers the question.

    2. Ask an open borders type if we should lower the minimum wage and do away with social safety nets along with opening up the borders and watch them instantly reveal themselves.

      1. “Open border types” at Reason?

        Also, you can find some pretty despicable opinions on the opposite side of the debate if we want to go down that road.

        1. Sure you can. But while Reason is forever slandering anyone who objects to open borders as a racist and a xenophobe, it never as far as I have seen so much as acknowledges the various vile motives and sentiments on the open border side.

          1. The open border argument is right from the perspective of unalienable rights.

            it loses its cache when you have a nanny state with bankrupting entitlements, silly minimum wage laws that crowd out cheap legal labor, and highly punitive taxes which certain people will not have to pay. That sounds more like complaining and fairness whining though.

            That said, we need open borders to find good workers and there is no getting around that. We should bring all of our 100s of thousands of troops home from all over the world to secure the border where we allow anyone in on work visas and have to file and pay their taxes. No entitlements or anything else if they don’t pay their taxes or file. Same goes for people on the dole to include no right to vote.
            No feel good or equality in that though. No sale to the zombie horde.

            1. That said, we need open borders to find good workers and there is no getting around that.

              We have a nation of 300,000 people and a very low labor force participation rate. We don’t need immigration to find good workers. We have them here. What, are there just too many brown people here? Do we need to do something about all these lazy darkies and bring in some hard working foreigners?

              1. There ARE too many americans who do not want to work in many low wage, labor oriented jobs.

                Is that not true? Just ask people who hire laborers or lower wage, unskilled workers. The feedback is almost exactly the same.

                It is not racists to have a discussion about the truth. White people don’t want to take these jobs either.
                Americans are spoiled pieces of sh*t now. Just look around at how stupid everyone is.
                That is the complacency of wealth even though americans don’t think they are all wealthy comparatively.

                1. There ARE too many americans who do not want to work in many low wage, labor oriented jobs.

                  Why should they when it’s easier to sit on their ass and collect a check from the government?

                2. There ARE too many americans who do not want to work in many low wage, labor oriented jobs.

                  So what. That just means the economy needs to adjust and invest more in capital and less in labor. If the cost or availability of labor makes picking tomatoes by hand too expensive, maybe it should be done by machine or maybe the tomato farms should move to a country where the labor is cheaper.

                  It is more than a bit ironic how the very same people on the one hand claim that high paying manufacturing jobs moving to lower-wage countries is just the judgement of the market and how things should work then turn right around and claim that we must import however much-unskilled labor is necessary to keep labor intensive low paying industries from moving.

                  The entire free trade agenda over the last 60 years has been built on the assumption that the economy must shed manufacturing jobs to foreign competition and replace them with allegedly higher paying service jobs and go to a high paid service based economy. Okay, that would fine except that all that goes out the window when talking about immigration. Then it is all about importing as much cheap labor as possible so low wage industries can still exist. it is all just self-serving bullshit.

                  1. labor intensive low paying industries are moving. They are automating at a lightening speed.

                    They have AI tomato planters and pickers.
                    Until I can afford that machine, I should be able to higher all of the low skilled people I can and should be able to pay them what they agree to. Not a minimum wage.

                    “The entire free trade agenda over the last 60 years has been built on the assumption that the economy must shed manufacturing jobs to foreign competition and replace them with allegedly higher paying service jobs and go to a high paid service based economy.”

                    The economy must not do anything. Free trade and capitalism allows the nimble and smart businessman to allocate his capital to the place with the best return. Economics is not zero sum. They di not trade manufacturing jobs with some service company.
                    I am just screwing with you but this makes no sense.

                    1. labor intensive low paying industries are moving. They are automating at a lightening speed.

                      Then we don’t need the labor to man them.

                      The economy must not do anything. Free trade and capitalism allows the nimble and smart businessman to allocate his capital to the place with the best return.

                      It mustn’t do anything but it will do something and that something is very predictable based upon your economic policies. The trade policies of this country were enacted to do what I describe and have largely done that. You are just treating economics as a religion and the “free market” as some kind of holy ideal that is always and necessarily better than any other ideal rather than just one predictable result from a given set of policy options.

                3. Is that not true? Just ask people who hire laborers or lower wage, unskilled workers. The feedback is almost exactly the same.

                  Lemme guess. Paying people little for hard work doesn’t result in reliable workers?

                  1. many jobs pay what the return on investment warrants. Some jobs pay at or near what the parasite can milk off of the government. That’s where we are.

                    That does not mean that that employer is not offering legitimate pay for what it is worth.

                    Jobs are an investment. An investment must reap a profit or it is a risk not worth taking.

                    1. That does not mean that that employer is not offering legitimate pay for what it is worth.

                      And the workers are treating the job what it’s worth to them (i.e. not much).

                      So why does the US need a bunch of Guatemalans to work under the table for $8/hour rather than a bunch of rich foreigners to bid up the price of labor?

            2. The open border argument is right from the perspective of unalienable rights.

              No, it’s not if you believe in property rights.

              As some justice once said, “The right to wave your arms stops at the edge of the next man’s nose.”

              Meaning, as long as you believe you have the right to others from entering your property, then individuals do not have an inalienable right to go anywhere they wish.

              Furthermore, if you believe in property rights and freedom of association, you should also agree than many property owners could get together and define rules for entrance on their properties.

              A nation-state defining borders is just a continuation of property rights and the owners of said nation-state (in the US – voters) have a right to set rules for entrance, just as you have a right to set rules for people coming onto your property on into your house.

              SLD: the US’s current immigration policies are wrong for a variety of reasons, but violating other’s inalienable rights isn’t one of them.

              1. Nope. The nation is not ‘our collective property.’ If I want to rent a room in my house to a Mexican, I shouldn’t need your permission any more than I should need it to rent it to someone from Florida.

                You’re on the wrong side of the property rights debate. You’re the one who doesn’t believe in private property, but rather that all property in the US is at least partly owned in common, and therefore all other Americans get a say in who I can sell or rent to or buy from or hire. Your understanding of property is communistic in nature.

                1. And your misunderstanding comes from not acknowledging that unless you live directly on the border, numerous other peoples private property and sovereignty rights would be violated by transporting/facilitating an illegal immigrant from the border to your property. Not to mention any federal, state, local, or municipal laws you might run into.

                  So unless that illegal Mexican can step from Mexico to your stoop, your entire premise is pointless.

            3. I don’t understand why libertarians love pimping the unalienable rights line but are then too ignorant to admit that its only possible for that idea to apply in a land/country/nation that has numerated those rights into enforceable law.

              Honestly, i don’t believe these rights apply to everyone. Only those whose governments and people value and grant them. These rights are nothing more than hypothetical in most places around the world. To act like they’re an overarching morality is ignoring reality.

              Do i think people should have these rights, yes. Do we get anywhere pretending under our ideology everyone does, when they really don’t? No.

              People must value these rights in order to form a government that does, but a government must be created to provide the mechanisms to disperse these rights and ideas to the larger group, and enforce them. Without definition and protection, being unalienable is not very realistic.

        2. Most labor law is expressly there to reduce the competitiveness of foreign workers. You’ll find very few open borders types that agree that virtually all labor law needs to go.

      2. Heh? I’m for open borders, no minimum wage, and no “safety net” outside of gofundme.

        1. Yeah. That’s pretty much the libertarian platform. Throw in no regulation whatsoever, a balanced budget, no foreign adventures, no FED, cut spending, and free trade and I’m sold.

          1. Speaking of gofund me, it kills me when someone decries that someone had their surgery or cancer treatment paid through gofundme. Huh? That’s awesome. They were able to pay their bills through voluntary means. The complaint is “isn’t it terrible that they had to resort to that?” Why is it bad? They “resorted” to that rather than “resorting” to be dependent on funds that came via extortion.

      3. Ask an open borders type if we should lower the minimum wage and do away with social safety nets along with opening up the borders and watch them instantly reveal themselves.

        Yes we should. Though I also think that open-borders does not have to mean open-citizenship.

        1. It is more likely here than in other places, but generally speaking it is not a common belief. Once you drill down into particulars you’ll find this or that protectionist policy they agree with for one reason or another e.g. ‘OSHA protects laborers from being hurt!’ et cetera.

          Even in the comments here at Reason there are people like Hazel, and frankly there are orders of magnitude more people like Hazel than there are people like you.

          1. You lying moronic fucktard, I DARE YOU to find one comment where I have argued in favor or welfare or regulation. I’m against regulation of trade, regulation of the economy. I don’t think we should have government supported welfare.

            I just don’t think we have to wait until the welfare state is totally dismantled to allow human beings to exchange money for labor. The welfare state is totally an excuse for nativists – they aren’t trying to get rid of it, they just want to use it as an excuse to deny foreigners the right to work for willing employers.

        2. I’m not open borders with current laws in place, but if we could get there, I still don’t think open borders can happen without mostly an easy-ish path to citizenship.

          Maybe in a different time or with a change in culture, but if we had 15 milo legal immigrants, but non-citizens here for decades, there would be cries that we have created a second class set of citizens who dint even have a voice (vote) within the country they work, love, and may well die in.

      4. “Ask an open borders type if we should lower the minimum wage and do away with social safety nets along with opening up the borders and watch them instantly reveal themselves.”

        Ask a closed borders type if trade is good and watch them reveal themselves.

      5. Find me one comment by an open borders type on this website arguing in favor of the minimum wage or social safety nets, you lying piece of shit.

    3. “Open borders and trade lead to a larger economic pie, but it shrinks the piece set aside for the US laborer.”

      The studies on this are mixed, but lets say they do “shrink the piece set aside for the US laborer”, it also reduces their costs increasing their buying power.

      “The whole point of open borders and free trade is to reduce the cost of labor.”.

      Eh… not necessarily.

      There are many reason people support “open borders” (whatever that means in practice) and free trade. Cheaper goods and services, for example.

      Or freedom for freedom’s sake (ie NAP). I support free trade and “open borders” with very few caveats because I don’t think the government should have the power to tell me who I can and cannot associate with.

      1. If we lived in Libertopia, open borders would not be an issue. Without any form of public services or regulation, people who came here would necessarily pay their own way. Sadly, we don’t live in Libertopia. In our world things like zoning regulations, public schools, welfare, and a million other things mean huge influxes of immigrants cause real harm both financially and to the quality of life of people who live here. So, in reality, open borders really are not consistent with the NAP.

        1. Without any form of public services or regulation, people who came here would necessarily pay their own way.

          By means of all the crime they would commit, of course.

        2. You can make the same arguments about gun rights, free speech, pretty much any right.

          1. No you can’t. Moreover, free speech and gun rights really are rights. They are there in the Constitution. But, the right to migrate exists nowhere outside of Libertarian dreams and inside the heads of Progressive politicians who dream of a more docile proletariat to replace this one. You assume there is a “right to migrate” because you like it not because you or anyone else has ever made any kind of a compelling case that one exists.

            1. As long as I have to pay the medical bills for those who suffer from gunshots we simply cannot have the right to bear arms.

              In a perfect world without MEDICAID or MEDICARE and other government “programs”… maybe.

              1. As long as you are incapable of doing anything but begging the question, rational debate with you is impossible. Let me put it in small words for you. Gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right. The right to migration is a lot less clear. I and most other people reject its existence. So. making an argument by analogy between migration and guns just begs the question and makes you look like a moron.

                1. Way to miss the point. You can use “the welfare state” as a justification to limits on ANY RIGHTS, both constitutional and otherwise (Unless you think the constitution spell out every single right).

                  “I and most other people reject its existence.”

                  Are rights are based on 50%+1 majority now? Good to know where you stand.

            2. “But, the right to migrate exists nowhere outside of Libertarian dreams…”

              Taking this line to it’s logical conclusion, it would be well within a governments authority to restrict movement from one state to another. Afterall, the “right to migrate exist NOWHERE”, right John?

              1. Yes, it is within a government’s right to restrict stop its citizens from leaving the country. If it wasn’t, the government could not stop people from leaving the country who are fleeing criminal investigation or carrying some communicable disease. You don’t have an absolute right to migrate.

                1. That passports exist is proof enough that a right to migrate does not exist.

                  1. That passports exist is proof enough that a right to migrate does not exist.

                    ITT: conservatives forget that they operate in a natural rights framework, or that the 9th Amendment exists.

              2. If the states did not have a treaty between them prohibiting that, they would have that authority to limit movement across their own borders. The problems caused by tariffs and such under the Articles of Confederation is one of the reasons why the Constitutional Convention was called.

                1. So are we saying there is both an unlimited right to migration while also saying there is an unlimited right to private property?

                  I see absolutely no conflict there, am I right?

                  /sarc

            3. No you can’t. Moreover, free speech and gun rights really are rights. They are there in the Constitution.

              Ah, so if it’s not in the constitution then it’s not a right? Even the constitution disagrees with that.


      2. I support free trade and “open borders” with very few caveats because I don’t think the government should have the power to tell me who I can and cannot associate with.

        I tend to agree, but at the same time I do believe in trade restrictions with countries that do not respect natural rights and/or, for example, use slave labor or marginally slave labor to produce goods.

        How can a western style government ever complete with a nation that uses slaves for their workforce to produce items such as shoes and shirts? Comparative advantage says use the slaves, so we do because it’s not in our back yard.

        *shrug*

        It’s even worse when American corporations go over there and do those things. It’s makes us complicit in their human rights violations in my view.

        1. Come on BYOB. If you lose your business because China can undercut your prices due to the use of slave labor or government subsidies, the market has spoken. If you don’t like that or want to complain its unfair, you are just a welfare queen who wants to make a living by depriving people like Ed of the fruits of China’s corruption and slave labor.

          That is basically the argument that is made, though put in very stark and crass terms. The free traders put it in more polite language.


          1. That is basically the argument that is made, though put in very stark and crass terms. The free traders put it in more polite language.

            I can agree there, I appreciate wording things differently since occasionally it will let a nugget of truth slip through that otherwise could be hidden behind emotional appeals or better arguments.

            I don’t think that’s what all free trade arguments boil down to, or even the majority of them, but there is a subset where that is the case. Most often, I find those types of arguments to be made by those who want to exploit labor but hide behind free trade as an excuse. it’s simply a fact that there will be people who do so, humans are not perfectly or even predominantly moral creatures.

            1. I am a great believer in free trade. But, free trade has to be free. It shouldn’t be totally one-sided or done for the purpose of rewarding various cronies. And sadly, most of what passes for free trade today is one of those two things. Also, there are other values besides overall wealth. If greater overall wealth comes at a large enough price to societal stability or security, it isn’t worth it. Basically, I don’t want to live in a country where every person knows they can be replaced by six people begging for a job. That is a shitty way to live. And I am willing to sacrifice some measure of overall wealth and efficiency so that people living in this country can avoid it.

              Most free trade advocates will never suffer any adverse consequences of it and just want their cheap shit. There is nothing wrong with that. Cheap shit is great. But they have no greater claim to their cheap shit than the people who lose their jobs so that they can get that cheap shit have.

        2. Ugh. See my response below.

      3. Again, all these things are great in theory, but when the hell are libertarians going to ever jump from theory to application? I’m still waiting.

        All this shit sounds peachy, but it ignores outside manipulation, competition, and influence in the market. If i can buy a million widgets from China cheaper than Canada i should be able to, who cares if they were built by fingerless children and are coated in lead right? Free trade!

        It amazes me so many libertarians obsess over ideas that have no practical real life application.

  6. “I tend to agree, but at the same time I do believe in trade restrictions with countries that do not respect natural rights and/or, for example, use slave labor or marginally slave labor to produce goods.”

    Could you name a country that truly “respects natural rights” as you or I would define them?

    As it relates to slave labor you’ll find very few countries where this is actually common (N. Korea might fit this as I would define it). I’ve heard people use the example of China, but I’m not convinced and I don’t trust the US govt. or any government to make that decision for me.

    “How can a western style government ever complete with a nation that uses slaves for their workforce to produce items such as shoes and shirts?”

    The north and non US countries seemed to be doing fine before the civil war, but more importantly, nations don’t compete, only individuals do. For example, cheap labor in China no doubt made it hard for CERTAIN American companies to compete, but it also helped pretty much everyone else. How much do you think your iPhone or laptop would cost if they were sourced ONLY in the US?

    “It’s even worse when American corporations go over there and do those things. It’s makes us complicit in their human rights violations in my view.”

    No, it makes THEM complicit in human rights violations.

    1. Here is how it has worked post cold war. Country after country has decided to get rich by screwing its domestic consumers and subsidizing exports either through currency manipulation or outright subsidy and protecting its domestic market from competition. This has several effects. First of all it stunts the development of their domestic market. Second, it screws their domestic consumers. Third, it causes the country to overinvest in export industries. Fourth and most important from the US perspective, it fucks otherwise competitive US industries by allowing the foreign companies to sell at below the natural market price.

      1. Eventually, this doesn’t work out well for the country’s who do this. After a while, either their trade partners force them to stop manipulating their currency or their consumers get tired of being screwed and revolt and put a stop to it. Once the market distortions of currency manipulation and subsidies are removed, the economy’s overinvestment into export industries forces a huge adjustment and retraction. This is more or less what happened to Japan in the early 1990s and South Korea in the late 90s.

        That sounds like a happy ending, except that once the industries in the US are gone, they never come back. They just move on to some other country who is doing the same thing. What was supposed to happen with free trade was high paid US workers were supposed to lose their jobs but then get new ones at lower wages, but still be better off thanks to the comparative advantage of imported manufactured goods. It didn’t work that way. The industries just died and nothing replaced them. So US workers didn’t hire on at the same jobs or jobs with anything close to the pay they had before.

        1. I would expect wages to fall precipitously in the United States if we were in direct competition with foreign labor in most other countries. By several orders of magnitude, across all industries. My understanding is limited, I’m obviously not an economics professor, but it seems logical considering how high our wages are compared to world-wide averages.

          I suspect that will end up happening one way or another, so perhaps sooner is better than later but I honestly don’t know.

          1. Markets are if left to their devices great equalizers. The free trade advocates pull a slight of hand about that equalization. If you have a free market between two unequal states, the market will eventually equalize the two states. Now, the overall wealth of the two states will increase. But it will do so entirely by increasing the wealth of the poorer state while it is lowering the wealth of the richer state by equalizing the wages between the two. Sure, some of the lost wealth for the richer state will be made up for by cheaper products but not all of it. The free trade advocates point to the greater overall wealth and say “see trade makes us rich” and then when the higher wage workers who see their wages reduce go “hey wait a minute”, the free trade advocates call them welfare queens.

    2. (N. Korea might fit this as I would define it)

      north Korea *might* use slave labor you guys.

    3. I don’t disagree, but then again I also recognize that just because a market is ‘free’ it doesn’t mean anything one way or the other as far as that markets morality. While a market will likely use some basis of morality, probably a majority opinion on morality, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the end result is itself moral.

      Then again, I’m not much of a moral relativist most of the time so that probably informs that opinion.

      I would tend to agree more with incredibly limited protections such as no actual and literal slave labor. Kind of like how I would also innately disagree to selling weapons plans to nations hostile to the United States. There are logical and real reasons to limit a market, but they are very rare and very far apart.

      By the time our differing opinions on the matter made any kind of difference to public policy, we’d already be in a far, far better world. I think we could agree there.

      1. Pretty much this.

    4. It makes “THEM” complicit in human rights violations when you’re advocating the total abolishment of property rights–the thing you call ‘open borders’.

      It makes “US” complicit in human rights violations when you’re screaming about racism.

    5. I’ve heard people use the example of China, but I’m not convinced and I don’t trust the US govt. or any government to make that decision for me.

      This.
      There are all sorts of liberal social activists in America who will be happy to tell you which products to buy or not based on the working conditions of the laborers who make them. Why is this not sufficient?
      If you want “fair trade” or “sustainably sourced” ingredients, or any other kind of “ethically produced” product, you can find those things. Just don’t claim the right to make that decision for everyone else.

  7. Elections have consequences. Trump won, all the GOP cares about is winning. Who gives a shit if Trump’s a Democrat? We’ll all be Democrats if that’s what it takes to win.

    1. How is Trump a Democrat? I never understood that claim. People in both parties have opposed open borders or what passes for free trade these days. Trump is not a Libertarian for sure. But he never claimed to be that.

      1. I wish more people would understand that there is no difference between a dem and repub except for the daily WWE wrestling match on TV.

        That includes Trump. They are all for massive government spending, entitlements, protectionism, the debt bomb, and nationalistic wars.
        As long as this stuff works on the sheep and as long as they have absolutely no criminal repercussions for foisting the debt bomb on 3 generations in the future or for killing american kid soldiers for their own political well being and for military industrial complex donors, why would they need to change.
        Americans still vote every 4 years believing people with highly questionable records and morals when it comes to free market capitalism and liberty.
        The only guy that ever ran on a Washington or Jeffersonian type of platform was called a crazy old man. The horde is too stupid to figure it out obviously.

        1. The main difference between the two parties is the culture war. If you don’t care about the culture war and are happy to see religious people, gun owners, and anyone who objects to prog cultural values crushed, then there is no difference between the parties. If you do, then there is a big difference between them.

          1. which side is for crushing values though? In that aspect, they do have a platform, one party more than the other that wishes to crush values and thought.

            It is all noise though. All that matters is the economy which is why they are so keen on distracting with tranny bathrooms and national anthem crap.

            1. One side is in the business of telling Nuns they must pay for birth control and women they must shower with and pretend that men are really women, and that hate speech isn’t really protected by the Constitution and that every business must participate in gay weddings and so forth. The other side doesn’t like abortion.

              The left is the aggressor in the culture war and are vicious totalitarians who see every aspect of life as either something to be corrupted and made into a tool to advance their politics or to be destroyed. The Right is sometimes narrow-minded, often corrupt, but never anything close to as nasty or dangerous as the left.

          2. Also taxes, regulation, criminal justice, the environment, immigration, minority rights, labor, defense…

            1. The Republicans can be pretty good on those things Tony. But, I don’t have quite as much faith in them as you seem to have.

              1. They are diametrically opposed on pretty much every issue. If that sounds ridiculous it’s because it is–instead of having ideas, Republicans long ago decided to have “idea”: Democrats bad. Must oppose.

                Might have something to do with the fact that they were caught with their dicks in their hands when they unexpectedly got control of the entire government.

        2. You left out SHEEPLE.

      2. Same way you are: he hates free markets and doesn’t believe in private property. Nationalist collectivism is no less collectivist than any other kind.

    2. Drumpfistas and the Republicans that he leads. That’s who

  8. I don’t think I’m usually too fond of this writer, but this was a great piece.

    1. Other than doing his best to make Flake somewhat of a martyr while taking potshots at the liberals who have NOTHING to do with Flake or his dick-fight with Drumpf and every other GOP cowering like mice, what exactly was great about this?

      Usual fare for a reason.com Republican pretending to be a libertarian

  9. Being for enforcement of immigration law – because it’s the Law – isn’t the same as being anti-immigration. I can’t understand why Reason and other libertarian thinkers buy the Left’s framing of this point. One can be a practicing acolyte of Liberty and be for measured immigration of vetted individuals and yet be against those who flaunt our laws, invade the country, demand public goods and support Socialists. I’m all for “immigration reform”, AFTER we deport the civilian invaders who have broken the law.

    1. Being for enforcing the fugitive slave act – because it’s the Law – isn’t the same as being pro-slavery…

      Being for enforcing marijuana law – because it’s the Law – isn’t the same as being pro drug war…

      Being for enforcing segregation…

      “One can be a practicing acolyte of Liberty and be for measured immigration…”

      Yes, I’m sure a guy who compares illegal immigrants to “invaders” has some great ideas about what would be considered “measured immigration”.

      Do you have a news letter we could subscribe to?

  10. Really? Or is it that Trump is screwing with their rice bowl? Seventy years of traditional conservatives in Big Agriculture and the Chamber of Commerce exploiting an unlimited flow of illegals to keep labor costs down, competing right up there with the Clintons in their pious immorality. It’s illegal; it’s immoral; it hurts the rest of the nation’s wage-earners; it’s grossly unfair to the exploited; it’s expensive, and it ends here. Trump may be a vulgarian, but here his heart’s in the right place. Be careful of that door on your way out, Senators.

  11. A lot of these “Never Trump” conservatives remind me of Krusty the Clown’s lament that he accidentally “said the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet.” Even Republicans who dislike Trump are often comfortable with the underlying Trumpism

    Does it hurt to know that your articles increasing look like you’re auditioning for the job of pivot boy over at Salon?

    “Trumpism” indeed–who are you? Shrike?

  12. Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to fuck you in the ass. “We’re not even hiding it anymore.” ™

  13. Just because you disagree with someones politics does not make them abrasive, crass or toxic. that is no better than claiming everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. You don’t wind minds and hearts by belitling the people you want to convince.

  14. But it would be hard to argue these were the issues that motivated most Trump voters.

    IMHO a hefty percentage of Trump voters were motivated by “Never mind the issues; he’s not as dangerous as Hillary Clinton.”

    1. In all fairness, any voter in 2016 could have fairly been motivated by fear of voting for “the other candidate”. Something is wrong with our system when voters have only two practical choices, both bad. Our democracy is showing its age in the last few decades.

      1. Is anything preventing the voters from voting for another person. They could write in Wile E. Coyote. Or Son of Sam. Or Mitch McConnell.

  15. “On immigration, Democrats have lost the current debate in large part because they’re unwilling or unable to make the economic case for liberal immigration policies, instead relying on emotional appeals that only contribute to the hyperpartisan divide.”

    Democrats are not all of one mind on immigration, just as Republicans aren’t. Many Dems and Independents see the connection between labor economics and immigration. Many also see this is a simple matter of Rule of Law, which all liberals should stand behind. The problem is that the modern party system (and political climate) makes it almost impossible for common ground between Dems and Repubs to be found and acted on.

  16. This is getting more confusing than an episode of Twin Peaks. And also passe’.

  17. Some on the left are upset by the warm reception Flake, and particularly his comments on the Senate floor admonishing Drumpf’s flaunting of American political norms, have received, pointing out he and Drumpf line up on such issues as tax cuts, deregulation, and labor.

    But it would be hard to argue these were the issues that motivated most Drumpf voters.

    Indeed. Drumpf’s base wants Senators who vote with Drumpf 100% of the time. RINO Flake votes with only 92% of the time. And that was when his conscience was tugging at it.

    Bet he goes to 98% by the time he leaves

  18. Trump is crass and abrasive and toxic? So are the policies he adopted for a base that establishment conservatives cultivated.

    Hey Ed, where are the conservatives in your article? The never Trumpers are not conservative.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.