Opinion

The Trump-Club For Growth Spat: Is It Another Triumph Of The Sham?

Alan Keyes Former Assistant Secretary of State

The Club for Growth launched an ad publicizing an egregious example of Donald Trump’s record of support for eminent domain, a forced redistribution of wealth. Trump responds with a lawsuit claiming that their ad is defamatory. He claims the organization turned against him because he refused to give in to their demand that, as a quid pro quo for their endorsement, he contribute $1 million to their organization. Club for Growth furiously denies any promise of candidacy support offered to Trump, an obvious major donor target.

Given what I’ve learned over the years about the depths of corruption the elitist faction’s sham party system encourages, it is of course tempting to believe that the charges being made by both sides bear some truth. Trump has said openly that, before his present political campaign, he supported policies that contradict his patter. He has admitted that he often leaned in whatever direction might benefit business interests. Does this admission mean that that record has no significance? Apparently some conservatives are foolish or naïve enough to think so, but no principle of truth or justice I’m aware of makes it obligatory.  Admission and repentance are not at all the same thing. And Donald Trump has admitted that he isn’t even inclined to ask God for forgiveness.

On the other hand, in my experience, if Trump had given the Club for Growth a hefty contribution, and they had subsequently endorsed him, it wouldn’t have been be the first time a supposedly conservative organization, while receiving one or more personal contributions from a wealthy candidate, looked away from his or her contradictory words and actions in the past. (Does the name Mitt Romney ring a bell?) That same experience would lead me to be very surprised if, as Trump’s lawyers contend, the Club for Growth’s purported letter explicitly demands a contribution in return for an endorsement.   

If it does, that might very well be the first time such an organization was stupid enough to leave a written record of a “political relationship” proving that there was a quid pro quo. Usually letters of such solicitation and/or thanks leave intact the screen of law and logic that forbids the mind to pretend that the “post hoc, propter hoc” fallacy (“after this, therefore because of this”) is proof of corruption, however likely the coincidence of events makes it appear.

Since Donald Trump has chosen to go to court over the Club for Growth’s attack ad, a judge or jury will have to sort through the evidence (or lack thereof) to decide if the vector of truth points toward guilt or innocence. Given the fact that judicial tyranny is already pulverizing the foundations of America’s political institutions, no one who opposes such decline will welcome the prospect of involving the courts in every brawl over facts and motives arising during a political campaign. After all, on Election Day the sovereign body of the people will render their decision about that. Wouldn’t a republican statesman, who respected the U.S. Constitution’s reliance on their judgment, forbear to involve the Judiciary in such a brawl?

But in this respect, Donald Trump has already proved to be no such statesman. His response to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision shows that he thinks that action by the Judiciary simply overrides the plain language of the Constitution. Now he acts as if it can rightly be relied upon to prejudice and supersede the decision of the people on Election Day. He has the big bucks required to sustain a suit. So why not use his wealth to prejudice and subvert the judgment of the people at large? Why not use them to bankrupt the people and organizations who might otherwise offer people information he doesn’t want them to hear?

Whatever his own origins, Donald Trump has lived and made his fortune among elitists who cordially despise the political processes that give ordinary folks a share of power otherwise monopolized, throughout human history, by some elitist clique. Recently he won raucous applause from his audience by announcing that, if elected, he would forego his salary as president — a grand gesture in the eyes of some, one that even George Washington (the wealthiest American politician in his day) did not equal, even though the presidential salary he accepted was a larger percentage of the U.S. government’s budget than it is today. Why did the man who wore simple homespun, instead of fancy dress, to his inauguration, accept the salary the people offered him?  

I think it was because he foresaw and worked to assure the day when people of true goodwill, conscience and integrity, whatever their wealth or occupation, might aspire to represent the American people in high office. I think it was because he was reluctant to do anything that would set a precedent for oligarchy, discouraging that aspiration. Perhaps because he was unwilling to do anything that suggested that wealth or a grand appearance was, even informally, a necessary part of the qualifications required to represent the American people in their self-government.

Others can pretend if they like that Donald Trump is an “outsider” bravely speaking out against the elitist powers that be. What I see is a man who has made his way on the strength of serving elite wealth and ambition. I see a man who shares the elitists’ self-worshipping ethos, and their ambition to occupy the pinnacle of power. Like the first Caesars of Roman times, Donald Trump is rising toward tyrannical power by exploiting both sides in the age-old political contest between the many and the few, playing them off against one another. But also like the first Caesars, he despises them both.  

His willingness to aggrandize the power of the Judiciary is no coincidence. For in the end, the Judiciary depends on, and must answer to, the force of the Executive. The antidote to the tyranny implied in that combination lies in the participation of the people.  But they must be people ruled rather by their sense of justice, and their desire for order and a peaceful life, than people roused to false hatreds, resentment and self-indulgence by would-be tyrants pandering to their pride.

Like the aspiring tyrants he now makes shift to oppose, Donald Trump moves to overthrow the liberty of the American people. Whether he succeeds or fails on his own behalf, people taken in by him will help to bring about its downfall. In this respect, Donald Trump is simply a figurehead for the ongoing counterrevolution of the elitist class against the tide of liberty and justice for all, which Tocqueville saw rising inexorably in the 19th century.  

The sham two-party system is the present key to the success of that counterrevolution. It feeds the unprincipled demagoguery that paves the way to tyranny by the few. But the U.S. Constitution’s provisions for the election of the President of the United States suggest an alternative to this shrewdly induced self-destruction of liberty. Will America’s true patriots awaken and take action in time to make use of it?