MB. wrote:We have a bunch of diehard Trump supporters on this forum, so I'm wondering if they can help me understand what his actual political philosophy and ideology is. From my limited understanding of these things as a 14 year veteran of this forum, it seems to me that Trump represents at once a conservative anti-intellectual reaction to group of hated intellectual moderates (namely, President Obama and Hillary Clinton), while simultaneously reaching for the state and pro-business minarchist ideology (defined primarily by the economic policies of Milton Friedman) which is also in a kind of unholy alliance with Christian fundamentalists, and fervernt conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, militarists, etc, in the US.
Now, I'm not sure Trump actaully believes in anything- he strikes me as a fabulously wealthy and ruthless real-estate mogul who is also a completely amoral demagogue who believes his own bullshit. But that's not really what I'm after here. What seems significant to me is how Trump is perceived by his supporters.
That is far from clear to me, beyond some vague notion of, as mentioned, pro-capitalist militarism (defined somehow as "American Greatness"). Anyway, surely the Trump advocates will be able to clarify my understanding.
There are die hard supporters of Trump on this forum but i do not think that they understand what ideology Trump represents besides the standard off the shelf slogans. So what is he then? Note: Everything said below is my personal opinion and it can be wrong.
First of all then: What is his general outlook? Is he a centrist? Is he a rightist? Is he a Far-rightist? (If we speak about pure political ideology and not economics etc)
In my opinion he is a rightist. Which includes things like family values, trust in the military, he believes in pure capitalism, he believes in the "American Dream". He had a "rough" upbringing compared to other members of the Rich American families. He studied in a military academy instead of any other schools that i can label as easier or more prestigious for the richer families. He built his business by himself. (Yes, you will say he got a mil from his father but how many people get millions and do not build anything out of it? 99% ?) His business had ups and downs and he managed to recover from them. Much of his earlier life was influenced by his father. So all in all, this kinda leads to the point :
a) He believes firmly in family values. (Followed the example of his father)
b) Trust in the military. ( Studied in a military academy)
c) Believes in the american dream. ( He made himself, he walked this road)
d) Believes in pure capitalism. (He experienced the ups and downs himself and managed to overcome them)
Hence is his slogan " Make America Great Again ". It is a slogan that more or less describes his journey to this moment. He thinks that America has changed and that he will restore the above 4 "governing principles" that lead his life. What is his military policy/Foreign policy?
Trump is an isolationist but he understands the need for a strong military to still be the leader of the world/remain independent. He is not foolish enough to stop military spending because this will undermine American dominance in the world. His goals are to " Make America Great Again " which means controlling the trade routes has always been part of that greatness. On the other hand he is an isolationist. He believes that a deal is far more preferable than war. This probably comes out of his business practices. If you wage war then both sides are bound to suffer losses, so why not reach an agreement? Hence is his current stance with Putin. He does not care that it might be beneficial to Putin because he only cares for his own benefit/Americas benefit. So as long as a deal strengthens America he does not care about the consequences. (Strengthen Russia also for example or collapse of somebodies economy) His goal is clear: Only deal worth signing is a deal that will bring most benefit(economic) to America without considering any consequences that might rise out of it. ( Hence he doesn't believe in Climate change, Chinese trustworthiness etc) He blames his predecessors for not taking any opportunities in this regard. If previous leaders considered this as a risk to reward ratio then he simply sees the reward. (Probably comes out of his business practices at which he succeeded. He needed to take risk and he prevailed) Economic policy:
As mentioned before he truly believes in pure capitalism. He lived a life of success, failure and recovery. Pure is a bit of hard word though. So since he felt the ups and downs of the cycle he also understands he is not the only one that felt the same and will feel the same. In this sense he is closer to the 40-60 Republicans on this issue. He is okay with bailouts, rebuilding the infrastructure and subsidising this kind of investment to prevent those cycles from happening to others. On economic stance he is basically T. Roosevelt. Some would call it "crony" capitalism but his intention is pure in this case. He is not planning to grant government contracts or over expand expenditure on things that he will consider useless: Climate protection, Solar energy, etc He is more of a materialist in this sense that he wants things here and now. (Power plants, roads, bridges, factories) On Social issues:
This is Trumps stupid side of sorts. Basically I would say that it is his limitation of not understanding current America. He studied in a military school and then he was a businessman so his touch with lets say non-white community of America is rather limited. Also he views people as a businessman. (More like a communist i guess) He sees the lower class, he sees the middle class and he sees the upper classes. He does not see America as black, white, whatever.
This simplistic view comes from his business background. So he is not going to tackle any social issues of equality because for him they are minor questions or non-existant questions of sorts. You either are productive and live the American dream or you are a useless person. As opportunity is a limited resource, he views immigration as a detriment to the american people. (Other people stealing " American dream " opportunity from current Americans) So the more productive you are, the higher on the chain of low-mid-upper class you will be.
So his general plan is to let Americans live the "American dream" and to encourage that. He probably understands that it is not possible to do for all but he thinks that America was built by people like him ( Self-made successful Billionaires). So if he did it, why can't the rest?
This simplistic view allows groups like the KKK to ride the Trump wave. I guess he is limited in this sense. If you view people as productive or non-productive then the rest simply just doesn't matter. (Who cares if you are KKK or Black lives matter etc)
He also does not understand equality questions in this sense. For him if you are productive then you will earn the money and if you are not then you will not. So equality of pay is just a matter of how hard you will work for him and not a matter of cultural, social or historical standing. Implementation:
Now having said that, will Trump be able to implement his views in to practice? Probably not. He has significant opposition within his party to his views.
Libertarians do not like his economic policy. ( We do not have money to spend)
Machinists do not like his foreign policy. (Why take risks and look only at the reward if we can continue waging war and fuelling our military like that)
Democratic party. ( You do not understand social issues of America plus you disregard the consequences of risk )
P.S. I am not going to hit my head at a wall when discussing Trump. If you want to quote and discuss any of the points please be free minded without the standard " He is a racist " or " He is my god " stuff.