(This item originally appeared at Forbes.com on November 9, 2016.)
Donald Trump — the real estate investor and one-time reality TV star – defeated a long list of high-power primary candidates, ignored the disdain and rejection of his own party, took on the Washington elites across the political spectrum, revealed the entire mainstream media to be collection of propaganda hacks, tolerated persistent physical assaults upon his supporters without the benefit of police protection, overcame all manner of voting irregularities, and won the presidency.
How did that happen? And what happens now?
First of all, let’s forget about all the “American people are stupid” commentary you’ll hear from the elites and their paid-for media. Americans are now smart enough not to listen to those people anymore. I think Trump won because he gave Americans what they want:
Trump is against foreign wars. For a long time, I’ve thought that the Republican party has been compromised by its enthusiasm for knocking over legitimate and peaceful governments worldwide, using a succession of lame pretexts. Iraq was invaded due to “weapons of mass destruction” that didn’t exist; Afghanistan supposedly to get one man, Osama bin Laden. (Afghan heroin production soared afterwards; a marketable commodity even more profitable than oil.) Democrats weren’t much better (Libya, Ukraine, others). But the people behind this globalist agenda of war are known as “neo-cons,” not “neo-libs” – the Republican Party was their main base of operations. Now that the neo-cons want to incite a war with Russia, instead of the usual oil-bearing sandpit, it all gets a lot more serious.
Trump is a tax-cutter: The best part of the Republican agenda has long been its focus on tax reform, going back to Reagan in 1980. If not for Republicans’ embrace of “neo-con” war-making, I think voters would have given Republicans a big enough majority in Congress to pull this off, long ago. With Trump in the Oval Office, able to block the warmongers, Congressional Republicans and like-minded Democrats can get around to finishing the tax-reform project they began in 1980. Besides Trump’s existing proposals, which include a corporate tax rate of 15% and reductions in individual tax rates, I think a Jack Kemp/Steve Forbes-style flat tax, with a top income tax rate under 20%, is possible during a Trump presidency.
Trump is against open immigration: Europe is being torn to pieces by open immigration from the war-torn Middle East, plus a flood of black Africans unrelated to war. Some people, such as Patrick Buchanan, fear that the great European civilization, stretching centuries back to the Greeks, will soon be no more.
Trump is against globalist trade agreements: As we have seen in Europe, where a European common market morphed into a non-democratic European Union run by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels – basically, a Chinese mandarinate – so too free trade agreements around the world threaten to undermine and eventually replace sovereign democratic governments. And who controls the mandarins? The North American Free Trade Agreement has long been suspected as the precursor to a North American Union – the effective end of the United States. The more recent Trans-Pacific Partnership is full of similar sovereignity-destroying arrangements. Trump says he will renegotiate NAFTA and refuse the TPP.
Trump might terminate the bankers’ biggest con-job: floating fiat currencies. Although he did not mention it much during his campaign, Trump is clearly open-minded about returning to the monetary principle that made America great in the past: a dollar based on gold. A return of Glass-Steagall is also in play.
Trump might end the epidemic of vote-rigging and restore American democracy. Vote-rigging, and related practices like gerrymandering, have been a factor in U.S. elections from the start. However, the introduction of electronic voting brought a whole new world of corruptibility, beginning around 2000. At first, the phony results contradicted polls, including exit polls, but that problem was later solved. If we could know the real vote, Trump might be shown to have one of the largest margins of victory in the last hundred years. Many people think that Bernie Sanders was the real winner of the Democratic primary.
Trump would clean up Washington, beginning with Congressional term limits. Trump promises six measures to reduce corruption in Washington D.C., beginning with a proposal for a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits.
All in all, it is a long list of attractions, and also, a beefy agenda for office. There was also a lot of enthusiasm for president Obama at the beginning of his term – even comparisons to Abraham Lincoln — but by the end he seemed like little more than a public spokesperson for globalist interests. Trump will face similar pressures. If he can overcome them, he could be a great president. Let’s hope for the best.