Trump Vs. The Banana Republicans


There’s a difference between (small r) republican principles and the Republican Party’s rules of procedure. But National Review neoconservative Jonah Goldberg doesn’t see it.

Or, maybe Goldberg is using America’s founding, governing principles to piggyback the Republican Party’s oft revised and rigged rules to respectability.

Conservatives who harbor the quaint expectation that voters, not party operatives, would choose the nominee stand accused by Goldberg of fetishizing unfiltered democracy.

“America is a republic not a simple democracy,” says Goldberg, in motivating for Grand Old Party chicanery.

Goldberg’s argument is a cunning but poor one. It confuses bureaucratic rules with higher principles: the republicanism of America’s Constitution makers.

Through a Bill of Rights and a scheme that divides authority between autonomous states and a national government, American federalism aimed to secure the rights of the individual by imposing strict limits on the power of thumping majorities and a central government.

The Goldberg variations on republicanism won’t wash. The Republican Party’s arbitrary rules relate to the Founding Founders’ republicanism as the Romney Rule relates to veracity.

The Romney initiated Rule 40(b) is a recent addition to the Republican Party rule book. It stipulates that in order to win the nomination, a candidate must demonstrate he has earned a majority of delegates from at least eight different states. Rule 40 (b) was passed post-haste to thwart libertarian candidate Ron Paul.

Party crooks and their lawyers now find themselves in a pickle, because Governor John Kasich, candidate for the establishment (including the New York Times and the Huffington Post), has yet to meet the Republican rule du jour.

So, what do The Rulers do? They plan to change the rules. Again.

Pledged delegates are not supposed to act as autonomous agents. Their voting has to be tethered to the candidate whom voters have overwhelmingly chosen. But not when The Party parts company with The Voters. Then, delegates might find themselves unmoored from representing the voters.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has hinted at allowing pledged delegates the freedom to betray their pledge.

No doubt, the villainous Ben Ginsberg, the Romney campaign’s chief counsel, will be called on to facilitate the Faustian bargain. Ginsberg lewdly revealed to a repulsed crew at MSNBC how he could make mischief with Trump’s delegates, during the “pre-convention” wheeling-and-dealing stage, much as he did with Ron Paul’s delegates. Host Rachel Maddow—she’s vehemently opposed—appeared both fascinated and appalled, as were her co-hosts.

Republican Party apparatchiks have always put The Party over The People and The People are on to them.

Still, most media—with the laudable exceptions of Sean Hannity and the MSNBC election-coverage team—have united to portray the Republican Party apparatus as an honest broker on behalf of the Republican voter. (Indeed, the “dreaded” Donald has forced some unlikely partners to slip between the sheets together.)

In truth, the GOP is a tool of scheming operatives, intent on running a candidate of their own choosing.

The sheer force of Trump, however, is deforming this political organ out of shape. The Trump Force is exposing for all to see the ugly underbelly of the party delegate system. As party rules go, an American may cast his vote for a candidate, only to have a clever party functionary finagle the voter out of his vote.

Too chicken to admit this to Sean Hannity’s face, Reince Priebus has said as much to friendlies like Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes (who’s having a moment).

Priebus has finally seconded what his lieutenants have been telling media all along: “This is a nomination for the Republican Party. If you don’t like the party,” then tough luck. “The party is choosing a nominee.”

Before Priebus came out as a crook, there was popular Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse. As a “real” conservative, Sasse would like nothing more than to dissolve the Republican voter base and elect another, more compliant segment of supporters, to better reflect his ideas (a sentiment floated, in 1953, by Stalinist playwright Bertolt Brecht, when East Berliners revolted against their Communist Party bosses).

Sasse phrased his goals more diplomatically:

“The American people deserve better than two fundamentally dishonest New York liberals” (Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton).

It fell to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to put Sasse on the spot:

Let me ask you this. If you have—what is a political party? And I ask it this way. Is it a, is it a party who [sic] gets its principles and its ideals from its leaders, or is it ground up? What if this is the people speaking and the people are basically handing the nomination to Trump? You may not like it, but is it then fundamentally that the Republican party is changing because the people that are members of it have changed?

Sasse, who speaks the deceptive language of fork-tongued conservatives so much better than Trump, conceded that “a political party is a tool, not a religion,” but went on, nevertheless, to dictate his terms to the base:

“Find the right guy.” Trump’s not it.

Exposed by the force of the Trump uprising, this is the ugly, Republican, elections-deciding system. The Constitution has nothing to do with it. Decency and fairness are missing from it. And crooks abound in it. (Prattle about who is and who’s not an authentic conservative is redundant if you’re a crook fixing to steal the nomination.)

Contra Goldberg, this enervating Party Machine—operating on state, national and conventional levels—relates to small r republicanism as the Republican Party rulebook relates to the U.S. Constitution: not at all.

Party Rules have no constitutional imprimatur.

In a banana republic, despots deploy crude tactics to retain power. Banana Republicans are similar, except they hide behind a complex electoral process, maneuvered by high-IQ crooks.

ILANA MERCER is a paelolibertarian writer, author of Into The Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her forthcoming book (June 2016): The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed. She pens WND’s longest-standing, exclusive, paleolibertarian weekly column, “Return to Reason,” which was begun in Canada, circa 1999. Ilana also contributes to “The Unz Review,” America’s smartest webzine, to the spectacular British Libertarian Alliance (every bit as smart), and to Quarterly Review (the celebrated British journal founded in 1809 by Walter Scott, Robert Southey and George Canning), where she is contributing editor. For years, Ilana’s “Paleolibertarian Column” was a regular feature on Russia Today and in Junge Freiheit, a German weekly of excellence. Ilana’s online homes are & Follow her on Twitter.


  1. Well, yes. Politicians – and those that follow them – are dishonest. We already knew that.

  2. I like this essay and it’s good to have an informed analysis of the way these conventions work. We don’t really have an equivalent system here in Britain. Perhaps the closest examples we have are the party leadership elections for the major political parties, but they don’t compare with the excitement, interest and complexity of American politics.

    I wish I had more time to comment in-depth on the article, as I have much to say about American politics, and the technical intricacies interest me greatly. It’s fascinating. Alas, work commitments prevent me.

    What I will say is that I disagree with the author on one fundamental point – I don’t see the GOP elite as “crooks” or wrong-doers necessarily. They are just people defending their own interests (or what they perceive to be their own interests). It so happens that their interests are at variance with the popular will (or it appears that way), at least among white Americans, but people have the right to defend their own interests, do they not? I am being cynical, but I am suspicious of any appeals to mere idealism among politicians, philosophers, social thinkers, intellectuals and so on. It is almost always intellectually-dishonest bunk. Very rarely, if ever, will things be done “for the People”.

    In my experience (as well as general life experience, I have some experience on both sides of politics, Left and Right), appeals to positivist nostrums are normally little more than disguised self-interest. “Equality” actually normally means inequality. “Democracy” actually normally means anything but. They are words used to conceal an agenda. Of course, there are exceptional people who really believe in such things, but normal people don’t. I am not ‘normal’, and one of my personal flaws in my younger days was to genuine believe in such things – but I have come to understand that I am not typical. This, incidentally, explains one of the reasons that racial nationalists do not succeed in the Western world – they are too idealistic and principled, whereas the public are the opposite of these things.

    Anyway, I am rather tired of the pretentiousness and pseudo-positivism that passes for ‘politics’ nowadays, and I think it would do us a great deal of good if we returned to a more realistic type of politics, where we all accept that we have vested interests and politics is [are] a way of mediating these. Let’s call it Real Politics.

    In Real Politics, we wouldn’t see the GOP leadership as crooks. Quite the contrary, we would acknowledge that we, too, are trying to assert our interests, just like they are, and politics is the battlefield in which such matters are decided.

    There is also the problem of hermeneutics and interpretation. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a fine sentiment, and I endorse it in principle, but it can be interpreted in all sorts of ways, depending on the speaker, the context, the environment, the historical time period, and the audience, etc. It meant something quite different in late 18th. century British North America, and it is highly-susceptible to interpretation today. If you asked one of the GOP elite about this, he might be frank and tell you that Trump goes against the interests of certain vested interests that need to be protected “to make America a global partner”, or “make America fit for the future”, or some such rubbish, but it’s also possible that he might tell you quite earnestly and sincerely that stopping Trump is in the interests of Mankind. And he may even believe this, even if this is not his real reason.

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