A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing the recollections of a conservative gentleman who, in his youth, had spent some time as an ardent supporter of a radical movement, only to become disillusioned when the group failed to gain any political traction. “But it all turned out for the best,” he reflected philosophically. “I mean, really, what if we had won?”
This brings us to the ultimate issue posed by the Donald Trump candidacy. Many Republicans are concerned that if Trump were to take the GOP nomination he would almost certainly lose the general election, thereby surrendering the White House to four more years of Democrat governance. To be sure, that would be a very bad outcome for the 2016 election. But there is another possibility, which could potentially be much worse. What if Trump were to win?
If Trump were to win, he would certainly need to act on his signature issue, which is mass deportation of illegal immigrants. Across the nation, businesses, neighborhoods, homes and churches would be subject to raids by federal agents seeking to find and arrest the intruders. To facilitate the round-up, the creation of networks of paid informers would no doubt prove invaluable, as would a national-citizen identification system, both of which, without question, would remain part of the American political landscape forever afterwards. Those ferreted out would probably end up gathered in reeking collection facilities resembling those that the federal government established for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, before being forcibly packed en masse into buses and dumped off, with or without their American-citizen children, on the southern side of the border.
Trump could also be expected to act on his number-two priority, which is to launch a trade war against China, Japan, and all other foreign countries of economic consequence. As it did during the last depression, such a trade war would wreck the world economy, throwing millions of Americans out of work and into the arms of federal welfare agencies.
As the economy predictably collapses, Trump could be expected to provide relief, notably in the area of healthcare, where he favors replacing the current regulatory hybrid with a more fully socialist single-payer system. This would certainly be more popular than employer-provided care under conditions where more and more Americans find themselves without employment. Funding such a system via confiscatory taxes on “the rich,” as Trump has suggested, would no doubt prove popular as well, even if it did nip in the bud any possibility of economic recovery or future growth via new entrepreneurial businesses.
In foreign policy, Trump offers a combination of populist-driven isolationist retreat and populist-driven macho bluster. He would also present a loutish face to the world that would be the supreme delight of anti-American propagandists everywhere, and which they would, without question, exploit with great effectiveness. Taken individually, each of these vices of a Trump administration’s international relations — cowardice, stupidity, and ugliness — would be quite harmful. Taken together, they could lead to the complete disintegration of the Western alliance.
A gestapo nation, a global depression, increased public dependency, total government takeover of health care, the suppression of entrepreneurship, the complete collapse of America’s world leadership: this is what a Trump administration has to offer. A Republican Party that foisted such disaster on the nation would never live it down.
If Trump loses the election, it will be a debacle. If he wins, it will be a catastrophe. His nomination must be prevented at all costs.