Making peace with oneself in deciding to vote for Trump in November was the easy part; anyone-but-a-socialist (closeted or brazen) is the rational choice for any citizen who got his first smartphone after puberty. The hard part was, how to appease one’s conscience and disclose one’s decision to others. Here is how to do it.
So far, the visible part of the upside on Trump is three possibilities: (1) he would blow up Washington; (2) he would take counsel on economics from a responsible grown-up; and (3) he would fill the Scalia vacancy with a Scalia Conservative rather than a Roberts Conservative or worse. The first seems like a great idea and pretty much a sure thing, so let’s consider (2) and (3).
Trump has come forward with an indication that he is taking advice on economics from Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore, each of whom grasps the fundamental conservative principles that economic growth is our most important issue other than national security, and that the key to economic growth is the restoration of free-market incentives via tax reform rather than mere tax cuts. Unlike many self-styled conservatives, Kudlow and Moore know that cutting tax rates is not enough, that you also have to cut or eliminate the vast array of deductions and credits that have turned our tax system into a crony-capitalism system. True tax reform means that the changes are no worse than revenue-neutral but that they create massive new incentives to entrepreneurial activity and business growth. In other words, resurrect the 1986 Tax Reform Act. Businesses would no longer have to focus upon ways to manage and exploit their relations with the regulatory state and would be freed to focus instead upon providing better products and services to compete more effectively in the market – especially if the existing regulatory burdens on the market had been removed or at least made less political and more rational.
Trump has not tipped his hand on his selection of judges, but it would seem an easy choice for him to announce an intention to nominate Ted Cruz to fill the Scalia vacancy. Not only would this go a long way toward winning over the hardcore Cruz-wing of the Republican Party, it would also assure all Republicans that they would be getting a justice who, unlike the Chief Justice, is willing to pay at least some attention to the outcomes of cases. Roberts, in his unbending nonpartisanship, provides a very valuable service, but for so long as the Court includes four lefties who ALWAYS vote for the litigant they favor rather than the one with the better legal case, judicial balance requires that we nominate a conservative version of Ginsburg or Sotomayor, and Cruz appears ideally suited for that role. And besides, everyone knows he was the smartest constitutional lawyer to come out of Harvard Law since Louis Brandeis, or at least since Felix Frankfurter. Try Borking HIM.
If Trump indeed follows and sticks to this path, we could be watching the early stages of a Reaganesque political career. Look at the similarities: when Reagan began his political career, and especially when he ran for President, the conventional wisdom was that he should have stuck to something he knew and was good at. The Anyone-But-Trump crowd should recall that Reagan was initially considered an entertainer, a former Democrat, not a serious politician, and not very bright, and that many thought his policy views were inappropriate, radical, and dangerous. He was the original anti-establishment candidate.