Live Traffic Feed

Feedjit Widget

A Party Maverick Like Cruz Or Paul Will Trump An Outsider Like Trump

Aug 22, 2015 @ 9:00 AM

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, one of the shrewdest political observers on the center left, recently laid out the key clue by which to solve the biggest riddle of the 2016 race:

The Republican Party has unleashed furies it can no longer remotely control.

The Tasmanian Devil candidate [Donald Trump] who’s obviously tapping into deep right-wing anti-establishment anger and the two other most extreme candidates [Ted Cruz and Ben Carson] combine for 47 percent. The two who in my view you can reasonably call quasi- or comparatively moderate, Kasich and Bush, combine to hit 9 percent.

Add Rand Paul’s 5% to the “anti-establishment” camp (where Sen. Paul belongs). Add in, too, Carly Fiorina. The anti-establishment majority becomes really substantial.


So now let’s make sense out of the phenomenon that has baffled political observers, both players and pundits. To do so first we must dispel a subtle misdirection in Tomasky’s Clue: the assumption that the Republican Party has “unleashed furies it can no longer remotely control.”

Dispel that and here’s what we see: Insider-Outsiders, mavericks like Cruz and Paul, rather than the pure Outsiders like Trump, soon will be taking the presidential lead.

Here’s where Tomasky is misdirected.  The furies were not “unleashed” by the GOP. The phenomenon we are observing isn’t confined to the GOP.  As The Washington Post prominently featured recently focusing on both Trump and the surging Bernie Sanders: It’s not just Trump: Voter anger fuels outsider candidates:

The surging candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are fueled by people’s anger with the status quo and desire for authenticity in political leaders. Across the ideological spectrum, candidates are gaining traction by separating themselves from the political and economic system that many everyday Americans view as rigged against them.


The phenomenon is bipartisan.  And it is legitimate voter reaction, not the result of toying with sinister forces. The GOP no more “unleashed furies”  — by which Tomasky presumably means the Tea Party and conservative activist base (e.g., me) — than did the Democratic Party unleash Occupy Wall Street.

We unleashed ourselves.  Meanwhile, the impetus behind both movements lingers on, unresolved, ready to reactivate. And here we come.


As an aside, Tomasky’s choice of the word “furies” is beautifully apt. In classical mythology the Furies were “those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath.” (h/t Homer) We do better to show due respect to Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphon (h/t Virgil) rather than siding with those who have broken their oath to “faithfully discharge the duties” of their offices.   Surely representing the interests and values of those who elected them is of the essence of the oath of office.

The Furies are manifesting, again.  >snip<

Cue the primary campaign. The candidates also (more closely than the rest of us) read the polls.  Any of the contenders easily can, at this early date, pick up on the issues really driving voter dissatisfaction. Any contender still can, by presenting credible solutions, rather than simple outrage, preempt the Outsiders.  One will.

The #1 and #2 issues on the mind of the voters are job creation and economic growth.  Gov. Bush seized first mover advantage in demanding 4% economic growth.


Across the GOP field there is a Cargo Cult mentality. The contenders invoke the symbolism of Reagan without appearing to grasp the substance.  Many contenders simply are building effigies to Reaganomics.  Grizzled Reaganites like me still are waiting for the real deal.

Reagan campaigned on reducing income tax rates, a subtly but powerfully different matter than “tax cuts.” Reagan delivered his marginal income tax rate cuts, in spades.   He thus delivered sizzling job creation and across-the-board economic growth.

The core of Reagan’s genius was not “tax cuts.” It was his brilliant re-configuration of the tax code to deliver jobs and economic growth. Reducing the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 28%, as did Reagan, is qualitatively different from reducing it from 39.6% to Sen. Rubio’s proposed 35%, to Gov. Christie’s 28%, or even Sen. Paul’s 14.5% (coupled with his proposed “Business Activity Tax” — a BAT and maybe a VAT — of 14.5%).


We voters, now, are in a long winter of discontent. The past 15 years have seen a bad drift from the “rising tide lifts all boats” ethos of Kemp and Reagan and Clinton (and JFK, who coined the phrase and who stood for, and through his successor delivered, a big marginal rate cut). So, now what?

The real perp behind our continuing economic dwindles is … bad policy of the Federal Reserve, which even the Washington Establishment now acknowledges always gets its forecasts wrong. It is operating by guesswork which it euphemizes as “discretion.” Guesswork (and consistently wrong guesswork at that) is no way to run the most powerful economic institution in the most powerful economy in the world. Period.

Now, a number of GOP presidential candidates are beginning to test the campaign waters on what Nicholas Arnold of the American Principles Project (whose sister organization I professionally advise) called “the sleeper issue of 2016.” Taking on how the Fed is breaking bad is the real deal.

Reagan tackled the Fed too.  It’s time to take it up anew.


A smart candidate will marginalize side issues like anti-immigrant sentiment and go to the root issue of our economic distress. Most marginal issues are but tongue-tied proxy protests for lack of job creation. The root of voter distress is the impossibility of getting ahead to economic security and middle-income affluence through hard work. Call it out: the Fed is killing the American Dream.

Promise to restore the American Dream by setting the Fed straight.  Promise to restore good money, and, with it, abundant and affordable credit and the attendant job creation. That promise, authentically rooted in Reaganomics, is the real deal.

Candidates, whether Outsider, Insider, or Maverick would do very well to crusade on how poor we grow while the Fed breaks bad. They now have the opportunity to campaign on how to restore the American Dream through chartering the Centennial Monetary Commission.

Herein lies the opportunity for the other contenders to preempt “the Tasmanian Devil” and find a furious electorate furiously rallying to their standard.  The GOP will nominate a Maverick who will challenge the Establishment and be more likely than an Outsider actually to deliver the goods.

Comments are closed.