Jeffrey Tucker writing in Newsweek:
Just a few weeks ago, Donald Trump was a crank and joke, living proof that making lots of money doesn’t mean you have the answers and further proof that being a capitalist doesn’t mean you necessarily like or understand capitalism. His dabbling in politics was widely regarded as a silly distraction.
This week, he leads the polls among the pack of Republican aspirants to the office of president of the United States. While all the other candidates are following the rules, playing the media, saying the right things, obeying the civic conventions, Trump is taking the opposite approach. He doesn’t care. He says whatever. Thousands gather at his rallies to thrill to the moment.
Suddenly he is serious, if only for a time, and hence it is time to take his political worldview seriously.
I just heard Trump speak live. The speech lasted an hour, and my jaw was on the floor most of the time. I’ve never before witnessed such a brazen display of nativistic jingoism, along with a complete disregard for economic reality. It was an awesome experience, a perfect repudiation of all good sense and intellectual sobriety.
Yes, he is against the establishment, against existing conventions. It also serves as an important reminder: As bad as the status quo is, things could be worse. Trump is dedicated to taking us there.
Trump is a clown, and it’s fun to laugh and make jokes about him, but enough people are taking him seriously that it’s time for everyone else to do the same. The kinds of racism, jingoism, economic protectionism, and militarism he espouses is stirring up the worst corners of the Republican Party. It’s the same part of the political culture fueling conspiracy theories over whether Obama is staging a military takeover of Texas. Easy to laugh at, but Republicans running for office can’t ignore these people, and indeed they’re an important component of the Tea Party, which in turn makes any kind of reasonable governance, of which compromise is a necessary component, very hard for Republicans. This kind of noxious garbage should be put down as quickly and with as much vigor as possible.