Thursday, April 28, 2016

Levin TV

I signed up for Levin TV to try it out. Yesterday's episode was especially good in giving a perspective on the weakness of the Republican party.

Mark Levin points out the weakness of the candidates. None of the candidates has or can win a majority of Republican votes. None of them can win a significant majority of the delegates going into the convention. Even if Donald Trump gets to 1,237 or even 1,300, that is winning by a
"tiny, tiny sliver. That's not typically a winning formula. Typically when a party comes out of a situation like this, the party loses. Not all the time, but often.
"We are a party not just divided. We’re a party that’s cut up into fourteen pieces. We’ve got demagogues out there pushing their own agenda many of them in the old media and the new media with disinformation who are pushing results and not information."
The primary process has destroyed real political discussion.
"The primary process lacked what? A lot of substance. It lacked arguments for the American people to the American people on how we the liberty loving philosophy of conservatism could benefit their lives. How we could juxtapose us to the Bernie Sanders and the Hillary Clintons and the Left. All of that lost pretty much as a result of the way this primary has been conducted."
[I would add that under the Trump movement constitutionalism is irrelevant. Under Trump pro-life is unimportant. Under Trump big government is inconsequential.]

Levin takes on some of the planks of the new populism/nationalism.

Tariffs and protectionism: "That’s Herbert Hoover. That’s depression. That’s poverty. That’s economic dislocation. There’s nothing new about it. We’ve already done that. It’s a disaster. About a hundred years ago."

Isolationism. "You still need forward bases." "You still need NATO. "“Fortress America is extremely dangerous. Every time we do that the enemy tries to take advantage of it.”

Finally, to underline the weakness of the no principled content populism/nationalism strategy, Levin says there’s no great movement for it. Trump has 40% of the vote. That's nothing massive or overwhelming. It could very easily result in electoral disaster.

I think he's right on this. Even more disastrously, I believe the conservative movement (especially the part that has centered on constitutionalism) has been seriously wounded. The Goldwater election defeat helped build the conservative movement (by, among other things, bringing a rising conservative to the forefront: Ronald Reagan). Whether this one will have any side benefits is still up in the air. As Samuel Johnson said: "when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." So perhaps an electoral disaster will give the needed slap in the face to wandering conservatives.


MAX Redline said...

As usual, Levin makes some good points, especially in regard to Fortress America. That's never been a good strategy.

T. D. said...

And on tariffs and protectionism. I left off a good chunk on how the American consumer pays the tariff not the exporter. So, it's a tax on Americans that goes to the government for doing nothing. And they do such great things with "extra" money.

MAX Redline said...

Yeah, there's a guy here who produces paint. When he exports to China, they impose a 34% tariff on his product. China also produces paint.

When they export here, they get charged a 3% tariff. There's something wrong with that picture.

T. D. said...

China is asymetrical on tariffs. Cruz has a better solution? ( This doesn't charge the customer the tax, though it does still go to the government.

NAFTA isn't asymetical. Trump wants to impose tariffs on US companies in Mexico. According to Forbes it's bluster and not likely to happen. (

Free trade is good for the American economy and the average American's lifestyle despite wage differences, etc., in different countries. (

"TPA should be renewed this year without extensive changes in form. Modifying TPA opens the door to protectionist policies aimed at saving jobs in declining industries, but Trade is not the key issue with jobs. Exposing uncompetitive companies to the rigor of serious competition, whether domestic or international, is not the cause of lost jobs. A better policy is to redress the factors that lead to uncompetitive firms.

"High corporate tax rates, a relatively high minimum wage, weak protections of property rights, corruption, and other policy failures are the real threats to American jobs, and erecting Trade barriers will not address these issues. Instead, policymakers should use more appropriate policy tools to address these concerns. America's competitive advantages in the global market would not be served by making FTAs harder to negotiate, but they could be improved by healthy debates on U.S. tax and regulatory policy."