European Nationalism in the Age of Trump

The world now belongs to Donald Trump.  Such an unusual situation cannot help but alter the course of world politics.  Here is how we see the political course of Western Europe changing in the wake of Trump’s victory:

Italy – The domino most likely to fall in the near future.  Before America’s November election the unpopular Leftist government of Prime Minister Renzi had staked its future on winning a referendum on economic reforms early in December.  With populist victories in Britain and the United States, Renzi’s referendum, which was already lagging behind in polls, now looks certain to be punished by voters in an anti-establishment backlash.  A referendum loss will lead to the collapse of his leftist government and early elections that are expected to be won by a coalition of anti-euro nationalist and center right parties.

In its already weakened position the euro will enter a new crisis when an incoming Italian government prepares for Italy’s exit from the currency union.

Britain –  Concern in Britain had been growing over whether PM May would encounter strong resistance to her triggering article 50 next Spring to begin formal exit negotiations with the European Union.  Britain’s exit now becomes more certain after Trump’s win demonstrated ignoring public opinion is more politically untenable than ever.

Germany – Merkel’s plan for Germany’s 2017 general election was to portray AfD’s leader Petry as Hitler.  Courtesy of America, Merkel has been handed a label worse than Hitler – Merkel will try to frame Petry as Trump, albeit a pixie-Trump in a skirt hiding underneath a Beatle’s moptop.

Will Petry emerge from the election standing on high heels atop the Fatherland with a Bundestag majority, whip in hand, herself wrapped tightly in a Hugo Boss outfit of leather?

Though it would make for excellent blog material, sadly she will not be Kanzlerin.

Petry is too Prussian to win what is necessary in West Germany to form a national majority.  However, with Petry’s stance against increasingly unpopular refugees she will be well-poised to deny Merkel a majority or let her easily form a governing coalition.

France – Le Pen, at first glance, should be positioned to triumph in the aftermath of Britain’s referendum and Trump.

But on further examination the momentum started by Farage and Trump may not convert to her benefit in French politics.  The French are natural trendsetters, not trend followers, and they are loathe especially to admit they are merely catching up with Anglo-Saxon trends, which no amount of spin on their part could deny if they elected Le Pen almost six months after America elected Trump and a year after UKIP won over Britain.

The French are too self-assured and contained within themselves for us to discount the possibility they will give in to the ancient temptation to diverge from the Anglo-Saxon world simply because they want to prove their independence.

Expect France to surprise for the sake of surprising, and no other reason.


Hamilton Against Anarcho-Libertarians, Hamilton Against “Hamilton”

Pragmatically Distributed avoids tabloid sensationalism.

And not because we wouldn’t fit such a role.  We would, in fact, be great in it.

If we were so inclined (we are not) we would have a Twitter account updated continuously with 140 character sensationalism, memorable hashtags, and useful advice scandalous in nature:  How to avoid prison for driving a woman in a Model T across state lines for moral purposes, how to smuggle bottles of Dom Pérignon past customs on your return trip from France during Prohibition, what Bible passages according to your local Reverend justify the use of strikebreakers (hint – they are primarily, but not exclusively, in the Old Testament.)

It would make for the most scandalous horror-mongering the Union has seen since Taft was stuck in the White House bathtub.  The UK’s DailyMail wouldn’t try to compete.

But we have a chosen a route different, and substantive at that.

Nevertheless, events intrude; and the intruder of the moment is this hashtag event involving the treatment of Vice President-elect Pence at the hands of the cast of “Hamilton”.

How wrong is this?

Trump’s wisdom was to run for the presidency on the most Hamiltonian platform in a century; Trump’s genius was to win by disguising Hamilton’s crypto-Royalism as Jacksonian populism.

The result of the hijacking of the Republican party by Trump has been to pull it back (unwillingly) to its glorious origins in Hamilton’s Federalist Party and Lincoln’s Golden Age GOP of 1860 to 1932; and for this his Vice President-elect was heckled by the pothead actors of “Hamilton” who have never read any books and consequently do not realize the electoral college they want abolished was a favorite project of Hamilton.

Continue reading “Hamilton Against Anarcho-Libertarians, Hamilton Against “Hamilton””

Trump and Iran’s Nuclear Program – The Hamiltonian Perspective

From Britain, Pragmatically Distributed receives this question from prolier than thou:

So how does wanting to rip up the Iran nuclear deal fit in with this Hamiltonian ethic? By all accounts it’s been successful, and opening up to trade with America is surely in America’s interests. What are the critical American interests which require these kind of entanglements with Iran?

Continue reading “Trump and Iran’s Nuclear Program – The Hamiltonian Perspective”

In Trump the Robber Baron Nationalism of Hamilton & Lincoln Finds a Potential Heir

Donald Trump will bring with him to the American presidency a governing instinct and attitude favorable to the Robber Baron Nationalism of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party and to its successor, Abraham Lincoln’s Golden Age Republicans of 1860 to 1932.

The nationalist traditions of those two great parties echo the themes of Trump’s campaign – tax reductions for business, infrastructure development, trade protectionism, central banking, investment in the military industrial complex, and foreign policy realism.

That Trump’s political inclinations should lean strongly towards Hamiltonian nationalism – and do so despite, in all likelihood, him being unaware of its history – is only natural.  Hamilton and Lincoln are the two men most responsible for transforming America into the world’s preeminent power.  It was they who gave the Federal Government the centralizing means to fashion conservative economic policy, guide foreign affairs, secure the money supply, conduct trade negotiations, raise a powerful military, and industrialize the nation.

Trump has not come to limit the powers Hamilton and Lincoln left to their conservative heirs, but to wield those powers like a monarch.  Trump, far from being a libertarian, sees little problem with government itself; his primary objection to government has been that it was not government under the control of Donald Trump.

With the presidency his, the opportunity to return the Republican Party to its Hamiltonian heritage is before Trump waiting to be seized.

How closely do we expect Trump to adhere to Federalist principles?

The nature of Trump’s tax and health care policies will most be free market.  Although Trump has shown signs of favoring progressive policies in both cases, he does not appear as strongly motivated to push them as he is with trade and immigration.  Instead he appears satisfied to delegate these issues to his free market advisors who will themselves push them further right in the absence of resistance from Trump.

Heavy infrastructure and military spending will garner much more enthusiasm from Trump and will surely pass through the Republican Congress given how many Republican special interests stand to benefit from such projects.

Trade policy will not be implemented easily.  Renegotiating existing trade agreements with foreign nations will take time and require the approval of Congress.  He may be able to strike a deal with China to end unfair trade practices such as currency manipulation; but this too faces obstacles since China has leverage over the US with its purchases of American debt.

On foreign policy we expect international relations in a Trump administration to follow the realist tradition of Hamilton.  Hamilton’s example, set when he firmly opposed the French Revolutionaries in favor of the Bourbons, calls for cooperation with authoritarian regimes where possible, restricting military actions to narrow objectives when a national interest is at stake, and eschewing democratic nation building and humanitarian peacekeeping.  Trump will not be isolationist, but selectively interventionist.

The significance of selective intervention to international organizations such as NATO is that the incoming administration will seek reform of existing world forums rather than their abolition  (campaign rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding) because Trump will not have America completely from all international engagements.  Instead, existing resources will be consolidated and reallocated to different international priorities.

Regular Blogging to Resume Next Thursday

The election of Donald Trump impacts America and the world to such an extent that Pragmatically Distributed will not be lacking in material anytime soon.  However the election was such an ordeal that this blog will take a week long break and return, with style, to normal operations next Thursday.  In the meantime I will be considering various blog topics to convert into articles.


Hillary’s Turnout Problem

I suspect I know why Trump is confident about Florida and Hillary is in a panic about Michigan: Democrat turnout figures are unimpressive in early voting states such as North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida. Meanwhile IBD suggests Republican turnout will equal Democrat turnout nationwide. If so, Hillary has good reason to be nervous:

A quick repost of a comment I just made on Lion’s blog:

November 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm

IBD’s number today suggest R-D turnout levels will be even.

Early voting totals suggest IBD is right, but that state pollsters haven’t adjusted their turnout models correctly.

For example, in the CBS/Yougov poll of Florida, which had the state tied 45-45, their weighted sample had whites being only 61.7% of all voters, Hispanics 19.8 and blacks 13.7.

But according to early Florida vote results whites are 66% of the electorate, Hispanics 15% and blacks 13%. If the CBS turnout model is adjusted with these actual figures then Trump is ahead by over 1 point in Florida, and this before election day voting which will break strongly for him.

I’m now confident Trump will take Florida tomorrow.

For another example, most state polls of North Carolina have that state even despite early voting being disastrous for Democrats.

If state polls are generally built around 2012 turnout models and if IBD is right that Republican and Democrat turnout will be even, the state polls, which are very tight, are overestimating Hillary’s actual position.

Hillary Guccifer Rodham: Why is Comey Reopening Her Case?

The surprise announcement that the Clinton case is back on inevitably raised speculation over why Comey is reopening it.

We see three possible explanations:

  • Comey is helping Trump
  • Reopening the case somehow helps Hillary
  • The nature of the information downloaded from Weiner’s computers is so damaging that Comey felt he had no option but to open it again

If Comey were inclined to help Trump he would have sought an indictment sometime after Hillary was nominated and after state ballot deadlines had expired.  Timing her indictment in such a way would have left Democrats in a very difficult legal position removing her name from 50 state ballots.  Since Comey didn’t, we discard this explanation.

Does his announcement help Hillary?

It is hard to see what benefit is in it for.  Some have wondered if this is a strategy to neutralize any pending revelations from Wikileaks by moving them off the front pages ahead of time.

To us this maneuver seems like a double edged sword:  It could just as easily amplify whatever ammunition Wikileaks has saved for the remainder of the campaign by reminding voters of her email scandals with the FBI just before Wikileaks releases their final surprises.

Bringing back the case also neutralizes her character attacks against Wikileaks for supposedly coordinating with Russia:  If Clinton was so grossly incompetent at securing top secret information that even Anthony Weiner managed to download her missing 30,000 emails onto his iPhone then not only do the Russians have them but so do North Korea, ISIS, China, Guccifer, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Yemen, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

If everyone, except until recently the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has her deleted emails then Wikileaks (if they also have them) could have potentially received them from anyone, not just Russia.

If the investigation helps Hillary we fail to see how it helps except as some sort of Hail Mary strategy that her political position wasn’t desperate enough to justify.

By process of elimination we lean towards the third explanation.