I predicted some time ago that the Republican Party would split into two disparate factions – Conservatives and Libertarians. The two groups are as incompatible as oil and water. But now the split has occurred, I’m confused.
A third group has emerged to take over the party – the followers of Donald Trump.
As the Conservatives keep telling us, Trump is not one of them. But he is not a Libertarian either. He is an unabashed authoritarian.
The Libertarians – represented by Rand Paul – were rejected early in the primary process. The Conservatives – represented by Ted Cruz – have now caved in.
What does that signify? Has the party “base” had a dramatic change of heart? That seems to be what the pundits believe.
And I think they’re right. In embracing Trump, the base has definitely abandoned some long-cherished Conservative dogma.
But I suspect there’s more to it than that. I think the Republican Party has been hijacked by outsiders, people who never got involved in politics before, who are fed up with politics of all kinds, fed up with the cumbersome and often frustrating nature of democracy. These new “Republicans” yearn for the simplicity of an autocracy.
They want Trump – with all his contradictions, all his misconceptions, all his lack of conviction – to tell them what to do. And if that doesn’t work, they want him to tell them what to do next.
They are sick and tired of the bickering and the push-you-pull-you politics they’ve been enduring for so long.
In short they don’t want a President; they want a CEO. A tough, decisive CEO who is not afraid to say, “You’re fired!”
What they could get is a dictator.
And I don’t have to tell you what horrors have resulted throughout history from that kind of government. But I have to admit autocracy can be efficient.
The question facing America in November is whether to surrender the freedoms of a democracy for the promised efficiency of an autocracy.
Yes, I know the Constitution is supposed to protect America from dictators. But if Trump wins the presidency, he gets to stack the Supreme Court in his favor, undermining the separation of powers decreed by the Constitution. And I don’t think he would hesitate to do whatever it takes to bring Congress to heel.
His posture is that of a benevolent dictator but I suspect his benevolence is skin deep. I think he is a ruthless, amoral business tycoon with a swollen ego and a twisted mind.
His popularity is terrifying. The world’s leading democracy has never faced a greater peril.