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Flirting With Disaster

Mona Charen on

In December 2022, Donald Trump said something that, in a healthy political culture, would have spelled his doom. He wrote, "A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great 'Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!"

That is not the language of populism; that is aspiring despotism.

And how many Republicans announced after this that they could no longer in good conscience support Trump? I counted one. Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton said the post was "disqualifying" and that all GOP candidates should issue "Shermanesque" statements to that effect.

As with so many landings along the steep staircase of Republican decline, things would have been different if there had been pushback; if leading Republican officeholders and opinion shapers had stood on their hind legs and said, "Hey, I liked Trump fine until now but this is a deal breaker for me." But there was barely a bleat from the party; it was thoroughly demoralized in all senses of the word.

Today, the Constitution terminator leads in most of the polls, and bigwigs from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, are telling themselves and others that a second Trump term might actually be OK.

Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase reassured his audience in Davos (where else?) that Trump did many good things while in office and that whatever the outcome of the November election, "My company will survive and thrive."

 

Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, and hedge fund manager John Paulson hosted a fundraiser for Trump, reports Bloomberg News. Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz endorsed Trump, as did Robert Bigelow, a Ron DeSantis backer who has made his peace with the certain GOP nominee.

Lenin is supposed to have said that when it came time to hang them, the "capitalists will sell us the rope." These capitalists are deluding themselves if they imagine that another Trump term in office will be good for them. Yes, Trump is a "businessman," but more in the style of Tony Soprano than Andrew Carnegie.

Trump is promising an all-out trade war -- 10% tariffs on all products, a 60% tariff on goods from China, and a 100% duty on imported cars. Think he hasn't the power? In his first term, he cited "national security" to impose tariffs on Canada (Canada!) and got away with it. The inflationary effect of his new, larger tariffs would be off the charts.

Similarly, Trump has issued broad hints that he will tamper with the independence of the Federal Reserve, which could spell much worse inflation than we've yet experienced.

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