Subscribe

How Trump is trumping ideology

When he is on the stump, Donald Trump argues that he will protect the interests of the American people better than Jeb Bush or Barack Obama. 

  • close
    An audience member holds a magazine to be autographed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, on Tuesday.
    Charlie Neibergall/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Ideology versus interests.

There is a constant battle between the two.

American democracy works best when its politicians represent sectional interests as opposed to ideological desires.

You can make compromises when it comes to interests. It’s harder to make ideological compromises.

Donald Trump is an interesting political figure because he is almost completely nonideological. He gave money to Hillary Clinton because it made sense to his business interests.

When he is on the stump, Trump argues that he will protect the interests of the American people better than Jeb Bush or Barack Obama. He will be a better negotiator. He will get the Mexicans to build a wall between our countries and then pay for it. He will "Make America Great Again."

Conservatives are attacking him for not being conservative enough. Trump is not an ideological conservative by any stretch of the imagination. But you can imagine him to  be pretty good at protecting his own business interests.

Conservatives pray at the altar of the free market. Trump likes the free market fine, as long as it works to his own interests. When it doesn’t, he is more than willing to cut some deals with the political elite to get his way.

You can’t be a successful real estate mogul in a place like New York City and not have an appreciation for the political game.

Ideology is nice and pure. Business doesn’t have time for purity.

Many conservatives used to have a deep faith in free trade. That faith has been shaken by world-wide competition that has driven down prices and wages and exported jobs overseas.

Businessmen don’t pray to the Free Trade Gods. They use every trick in the book to protect their businesses. Sometimes they export their own labor costs overseas and sometimes they petition the government to stop dumping from overseas competitors.

Anybody who has been involved in the nitty-gritty of passing trade agreements understands that there is nothing pure about the process. It’s making sausage.

Ideology often masks sectional interests.

One man’s example of crony capitalism is another man’s livelihood. It’s hilarious to watch oil interests attack the wind industry and ethanol for its tax breaks. in case you weren’t paying attention, the oil and gas industry has its own massive tax breaks.

Slavery was a sectional interest of the South. Southerners saw free labor as a way to maintain their cultural traditions. Some Northern abolitionists saw slavery as a reprehensible vestige of past barbarism in conflict with modern Christian humanism. Other Northerners saw an unfair advantage for Southern businesses.

Ending slavery was both an ideological fight and an economic fight.

Most wars that are fought have a bigger ideological (or nationalist) component than an economic component.

Wars are usually bad for business (unless of course, you are in the defense industry).

The greatest clash of the latter half of the 20th  century was primarily a clash of ideologies, that between communism and capitalism. Capitalism won because you could be a good capitalist and still protect your business interests. Communism lost because at the end of the day, the Communists only had their ideology to fall back on.

Ideology is only worth it if it makes the lives of the average person better. Ideology that screws the little guy, that creates a vast gulf between the rich and the poor, and that doesn’t ultimately make society better is not worth it.

Donald Trump is polling well among women, conservatives, moderates, Tea Party Republicans and a lot of normal Americans because he doesn’t pretend to be an ideologue. He’s just a businessman who can protect the interests of the American people.

That’s proving to be more attractive to the voters than I originally anticipated.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK