Libertarian Wonks and Well-Heeled Wall-Streeters Target Trump

Dollar for Dollar. Trump has announced he will meet negative ads paid for establishment groups like the Club For Growth with negative ads of his own. In fact, he already has come out swinging against the Club For Growth, stating on Hannity that they requested a 7 figure donation from him, and then went negative when he said no.

There's more to the story of course. Did they ask The Donald to contribute? Probably yes, but CFG have been pretty serious about fiscal conservatism and they don't like Trump one little bit. His preference for solving the debt and deficit crisis with tax hikes on the very wealthy hurts CFG ideologically and sticks a big Trump hand deep into their own pockets. Should Trump ever be president and should his proposed taxes be passed by Congress, that is.

And then there's Trump on Healthcare. Whether he really wants a single payer system, or some form of universal health care seems reasonably clear from some of his interviews. And his explanation of how he would do it, through competition and choice by using the private sector, seems like it's a better-run Obamacare that he's proposing.

And where it gets really interesting - all this from a recently released "white paper" which is really an attack ad dressed up as a PDF - is in an area that Trump feels is his really strong point: trade deals. Trump gets painted by the CFG white paper as anti-free deal. I mean they compare him to Bernie Sanders on trade! Ouch. But what The Donald will likely say is that free trade deals give away the farm (which in fact is true and is not necessarily a negative to any libertarian) and what's needed is ... wait for it ... fair trade deals.

In other words, tough pragmatic negotiating that leverages America's size and strength and ensures that Americans - workers and moderate GOP supporters in other words - win. Ok, maybe Trump feels that everyone wins if we negotiate tough deals. CFG are far more ideological on the issue: you're either for free-trade or against it. There's no middle ground. If you want to set up a subsidiary in Bermuda for example, to avoid what are relatively high corporate tax levels, you should continue to be free to do so. And you should be free to repatriate those profits when taxes are low enough to make it a rational move.

For those not blessed by a board seat on a re-insurance firm with its HQ in the Atlantic island, this thinking does not sit well. But GOP voters and CFG do share some slight ground on issues like fiscal responsibility in Washington. So, will the Club for Growth attack strategy work? Rand Paul and Jeb Bush - both who have CFG support - are hardly benefiting from that support. Walker was also a candidate they approved of. Now it's Cruz and Rubio who are the two remaining CFG-stamped candidates who have a real, if hardly overwhelming, shot at the nomination. But they will likely rise because of their abilities to resonate with voters, not because Trump's campaign gets sabotaged by libertarian policy wonks and well-heeled Wall Streeters.

Posted by Keeley at November 5, 2015 8:26 PM
Comment #400312

Keeley, it really does seem like the GOP is caught up in a populist revolution. The fact that it’s lasted this long is nothing short of amazing, IMO. It makes one want to think the silent majority is awakening but we all know that is so surreal it can’t be true.

I’m hopeful that the least outcome from such populist support will result in a strong card to play in 2020.

A Trump and Carson team could be great muckrakers but could effectively achieve little to nothing. It will take a new 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att to get any real reform, IMO

Otherwise - - -

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