America has run up $12 trillion in trade deficits and been displaced as the world's first manufacturing power by China, said Trump, because of the lousy trade deals backed by Bush Republicans. The greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, said Trump, was the Bush II decision to invade Iraq to disarm it of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The war Bush began, says Trump, produced 5,000 American dead, scores of thousands wounded, trillions of dollars wasted, and a Middle East sunk in civil-sectarian war, chaos and fanaticism.Share
That is a savage indictment of the Bush legacy. And a Republican electorate, in the largest turnout in primary history, nodded, "Amen to that, brother!" No matter who wins in November, there is no going back for the GOP. Can anyone think the Republican Party can return to open borders or new free-trade agreements like NAFTA? Can anyone believe another U.S. Army, like the ones Bush I and Bush II sent into Afghanistan and Iraq, will be mounted up and march to remake another Middle East country in America's image? Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom are history.
What the Trump campaign revealed, as Republicans and even Democrats moved toward him on trade, immigration and foreign policy, is that Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism not only suffered a decisive defeat, they had a sword run right through them. They are as dead as emperor-worship in Japan. Trump won the nomination, he won the argument, and he won the debate. The party is now with Trump -- on the issues. For GOP elites, there can be no going back to what the grass roots rejected. What does this suggest for Trump himself? (Read more.)