Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Political Instability
Posted on January 20, 2016
(Published in the WSJ)
Political instability leads to economic instability. And nothing says political instability more than Sarah Palin.
Mrs. Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump has been described as performance art. It certainly wasn’t your typical political speech but more a mixture of poetry, rap, and the ramblings of somebody who has watched too much Glenn Beck.
It’s unclear whether Mrs. Palin’s endorsement will win over actual votes for Mr. Trump, but it has dominated cable news the past 24 hours, and dominating coverage seems to be Mr. Trump’s primary political strategy.
I’ve long believed that the unstable forces in both parties–with Mr. Trump leading the Republican field and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and gaining steam in Iowa–would eventually stabilize.
There’s too much at stake for U.S. voters to again make the mistake of electing a president with little governing experience.
Mr. Trump is a neophyte in the business of government. Mr. Sanders still calls himself a socialist, so little regard does he have for the private sector.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders share a disdain for globalization. Both would erect huge barriers to trade. Both make the case that immigrants drive down wages. Both want to take on Wall Street and condemn the Big Banks.
The last time the U.S. so significantly turned its back on the rest of the world was during the 1930s. The Smoot-Hawley act erected huge trade tariffs that slowed global commerce. An isolationist U.S. did nothing to counter the rise of Nazism, fascism, and communism until they hit us at home. Immigration slowed to a trickle. The economy followed.
And what has been the business reaction to all this? Instead of investing in jobs or other businesses, big corporations are hoarding more than a trillion dollars in cash. Bedeviled by capital requirements and regulations, banks aren’t lending. Market volatility since the year began has been a crash in slow motion.
Much has been written about how the rise of Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders signals deep frustration with the status quo. Will something change before voting begins, or are those looking to elect populists prepared to make the problems facing the country much, much worse?