Just a Theory: Donald Trump Is Working for Hillary Clinton
Earlier this week, Donald Trump announced his intentions to ban all travel from Muslim countries until our intelligence services can figure out “what’s going on.” The reaction from the press (aside from glee at the click-bait just given to them) was to highlight how this “throws the Republican primary into chaos.” Reactions from other Republican candidates consisted of the usual face-saving measures intended to distance themselves from Trump’s remarks. Liberals were predictably outraged. But these reactions all hinge on one assumption: that Donald Trump is making a serious run for President of the United States.
I don’t think he is. While I don’t have secret access to Trump or his inner circle, I do have a hunch, just for kicks: Donald Trump is working for Hillary Clinton. Why is this?
He can’t win the general election. While his recent remarks about Muslims (among many others) may fuel populist fear and anger with primary voters, they effectively make him a non-starter with independents, libertarians and moderate liberals- people any candidates need to win the general election. But he knows this, and he doesn’t care. He’s having a good time being an entertainer. Trump may play to win, but it behooves his personality to be the one who made a friend’s victory possible. Writing in The Washington Post, George Will put it best: “In every town large enough to have two traffic lights there is a bar at the back of which sits the local Donald Trump, nursing his fifth beer and innumerable delusions. Because the actual Donald Trump is wealthy, he can turn himself into an unprecedentedly and incorrigibly vulgar presidential candidate.”
Trump has no political principles. Call me crazy, but I actually don’t think Trump is a certified racist. His policy proposals have been lambasted as fascistic, as his ideas on immigration, national security and other issues would require an enormous growth in state power and aggression. But we should all remember that Trump has been on all sides of many issues since he began flirting with political office decades ago, these include: the war on drugs, abortion, taxes, social security and several others. In reality, his politics are similar to many business-minded people from the Northeast (he’s from Queens): vaguely socially-liberal and mostly happy with the cushy relationship between big business and the state. This makes him especially malleable, both to dupe Republican primary voters into thinking he’s a “conservative” and to quickly bolt to the other side when the time comes.
He’s helped out the Clintons before. Donald Trump donated to Hillary Clinton when she was a Senator in 2002, 2005 and 2006, and then finally when she ran for President in 2007. He even sent the Clinton Foundation a check for $100,000. A modest sum by his standards (and certainly not the only potential conflict of interest on the Foundation’s books), but worth noting.
His candidacy benefits the Democrats. There is no meaningful debate about public policy or political principle happening on the Democratic side. Though many of my left-liberal friends seem to adore Bernie Sanders, his opposition to Hillary is mostly an echo of the infighting the Democratic party experienced during the 1980s, when the New Deal/Great Society coalition finally crumbled and the “New Democrats” emerged. Sanders, though lauded as a breath of fresh air, comes with a set of very old (and in many cases, failed) ideas. For her part, Hillary is used to scandals and has made it out of several during her political career. But the latest row over her email server while she was Secretary of State, and her tenure in that role could be a real threat to her. But if moderate voters are so disgusted and outraged by the Republican front-runner, many will inevitably run to the Democrats. John Podesta even said it himself while being interviewed on ABC.
Anyway, if elected with the policies he claims to support, a Trump Presidency would be a disaster. He would erode civil liberties to the point of vanishing, and require a huge surge in the power of government to follow through on his (patently insane) immigration ideas. But if he was actually elected, I’m not so sure. I’m willing to take him at his word when he wants to slap tariffs on Chinese goods, a silly idea that would only make us look petulant and hurt low-income Americans if brought to fruition. But aside from that, he’s really an empty suit. He supported Obama’s stimulus plan in 2009. And though he has a penchant for lashing out against political correctness, he’s not particularly conservative on social issues. His power and status allow him to be anything people need him to be, which should actually remind us all of…well, the Clintons.
Though a Hillary Presidency would not mirror her husband’s exactly, the two have worked as a political team for so long that there would obviously be a number of similarities. Bill was known for his “triangulation” tactics, whereby he’d adopt conservative policies as his own in order to neutralize the Republican’s power as the opposition. As First Lady, Hillary herself helped push for the 1994 Crime Bill, associated with the explosion of the American prison population, but now gives overtures to criminal justice reform. Until 2013, she supported her husband’s decision to sign the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage (legally-speaking) as exclusively between a man and a woman (though she did speak out in favor of civil unions as early as 1999, to be fair). She voted for the Iraq War and has only recently come to the conclusion that this was a mistake. In her outreach to Asia as Secretary of State, she championed the trade deal that would become the Trans Pacific Partnership. She now opposes the deal (so does Donald Trump).
In all seriousness, I think Trump is just trolling us all. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but this one just seemed too convenient not to point out. And to go even further, I actually don’t see a potential Trump presidency as that much different from a Clinton one, so it would make sense for him to back her. He’s supported her many times in the past, why would he change course now? He’d make significantly less money as President and would be restrained in many other ways as well. Like the Clintons, he does what he feels he needs to in order to promote his own interests. At the moment, that means being a bully and saying things that cause hand-wringing in the mainstream press about how offensive and outrageous he is.
And it’s true, a lot of what Trump says is outrageous, but at least he never lied about getting shot at in Bosnia (see? you forgot about that didn’t you?).