News & Politics

Only Two Messages Remain in the 2016 Presidential Campaign

Photos: AP

Presidential campaigns are complicated. Let’s make the 2016 race simple. The remaining candidates’ messages neatly fit into one of two boxes. Let’s take one message at a time.

1) America sucks. Government can fix it.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump all agree that America sucks — albeit for varied reasons.

Clinton says America is unfair to union bosses, women, minorities, homosexuals and abortion doctors.
Trump says, we don’t win anymore, and…we also lose at everything.  Sanders says, millionaires and billionaires.

Each sees government as the solution to America’s suckishness.

Clinton would pass laws to require equal pay for women, abortions à la carte, union control of private businesses and government, and unlimited tinkle space for transgenders. (Not to mention limiting gun possession to government and criminals only.)

Sanders would use the brute force of government to break up the big banks, and to clamp down on free speech, raise taxes on everyone, and put government in charge of your life from bureaucrat-approved cradle to burden-on-society early grave.

Trump has already benefited from a liberal reading of the Constitution’s takings clause, favoring government use of eminent domain to confiscate private property in hopes of goosing tax revenues (see Kelo). He knows that government works through backscratching and palm greasing, and, admits — nay, brags — he has done a lot of both. Trump sees government as the solution in health care, retirement savings, labor-flow management, company location, and in redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation.

However, Trump differs a bit from Sanders or Clinton in one respect. President Trump would openly say: “Government is the solution…and I am the government.”

But there’s another campaign message out there. Senator Ted Cruz doesn’t say, “America sucks. Government can fix it.” Cruz says…

2) Government sucks. America can fix it.

Cruz seems nearly unable to answer a question, or speak for five minutes, without reference to the Constitution. He wants a federal government so small it would fit within the Constitution. With Ronald Reagan, Cruz affirms “we are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.”

A President Cruz would trust that We, the People, will end the near-generational economic slump when the jackboot of government gets kicked from the neck of commerce. Cruz has a list of extra-Constitutional departments and functions that he would work to extinguish, including the IRS.

In a word, Ted Cruz sees a portrait of God-blessed America — in her Constitutional frame — as the solution to the problems created by big, intrusive, cronied up, corrupt government.

Advocates of the “government can fix it” candidates will likely object to my characterization — well, maybe just the devotees of Donald Trump. (The Democrats will think I’ve endorsed Clinton-Sanders 2016.) But in a sense, Trump provides the best example, among the three, of the “government can fix it” mentality.

All problems will end when Trump is president, not a moment before.

If he believed the solutions were to be found in the private sector, he’d organize his many fabulously wealthy friends in business to do something about our long national nightmare. Nope. We’re stuck with losing (and with not winning anymore) unless and until he’s in charge of the government, at which point Trump can order solutions like he orders 9,000 blow dryers for hotel rooms.

Trump rarely, if ever, speaks of reducing the size and scope of government, but rather of increasing it, maintaining it, and running it more like a business. He’s really a more prototypical Progressive than either Sanders or Clinton.

So, that’s your choice.

1) America sucks. Government can fix it: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donny Trump.

or…

2) Government sucks. America can fix it: Ted Cruz.

Choose wisely.

NOTE: I’m told that Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also running for president. At press time, I was not able to independently confirm this.