Trump, Carson, and the Conservative Intelligentsia


During impromptu commentary on the Dan Yorke Show, today, responding to breaking news that Donald Trump had pledged to support the Republican candidate whoever it might be, I mentioned that, prior to the announcement, Fox News had flashed poll results (by accident, I think) that showed Ben Carson beating Trump in a head-to-head.  Understandably splitting his attention for the show, Dan hadn’t seen it, but I was right:

Carson has the best favorability rating in the field at 67 percent positive and 6 percent negative. That’s an improvement from 45 percent positive and 10 percent negative from before the first debate.

He’s the only Republican who would beat Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up, according to the poll. Carson would thump Trump 55 percent to 36 percent if the two were to square off.

Also while we were off the air, Trump made a statement that he would go for full repeal of ObamaCare.  As much as I support that step, both Dan and I had to laugh at Trump’s bravado.  He simply said he’d work to repeal the law and replace it with something better and cheaper.  If a reporter had asked for details, The Donald no doubt would have pushed back the challenge, “Do you doubt that I can do that, punk?”

That specific issue has beguiled Republicans and conservatives for years, as they’ve stammered in the face of the policy question, “What will you replace it with?”  Two points on this.

First, perhaps Trump’s prime attraction is that Republicans think he might just get away with what Democrats and progressives get away with as a matter of course (because they own the media, the academy, and every other institution that might call them on their nonsense).  Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously said that the public would know the details of ObamaCare after it had become law.  That is, until it was already law, the Democrat position was essentially that they were going to do healthcare better and cheaper.  “Do you doubt our intentions, fascist?”

I sincerely want conservatives to articulate their policies, because they are smart and make more sense than progressives’ hopey-changey fairy tales, but from a practical perspective — really — why should a pre-primary candidate feel like he has to offer a detailed plan?

Second, if Trump continues to dominate the Republican field (with the exception of Carson, depending how you look at it), I hope he and conservative thinkers will find a way to work together.  If he were to concede their expertise and put his braggadocian stamp of approval on their policy proposals — changing “Do you doubt that I can do that, punk?” to “Are you gonna say I don’t know a good idea when I see one, kid?” — he could not only advance the correct policy, but also prove that maybe he is a savvy executive and wouldn’t sink the nation with his ego.

  • Mario

    I had the same thought today. Now that it seems that he won’t blow up everything if he fails to get the nomination, I’m not completely opposed to his candidacy. But, at the same time, while it’s possible that it could work out as well as you suggest, I just don’t want to see eight years of an egocentric, thin-skinned, celebrity President who is more interested in using policy to enhance his brand than advancing the public interest. Once is enough.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Oh, that still strikes me as the most likely outcome. I’m just hoping that we can inch toward a better outcome. If he is mature enough to bring in policy experts and put some trust in them, then that would be an incremental illustration that he’s becoming a more plausible leader.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        While I am not convinced that Mr. Trump is the ideal candidate, there is no denying that he has been very successful in his endeavors. I don’t think that this can be assigned to mere braggadocio. I suspect that he has regularly valued the opinions of others.

  • ShannonEntropy

    That specific issue has beguiled Republicans and conservatives for years, as they’ve stammered in the face of the policy question, “What will you replace it with?”

    The answer to that is so simple that it’s flabbergasting that no·one has the cojones to mention it =► expand Medicare until it covers everyone. Heck, you could even phase it in over several decades so you don’t kill the health insurance industry overnight

    Unfortunately tho, the health ins·cos are the *real* force behind Obozo·care … so we are *never* gonna see that happen