Thursday, September 17, 2015

Capitalism means that Republicans can't call Trump on his craziest line

There usually isn't much to say about Republican debates; everyone is not only wrong, but wrong for terribly obvious reasons that anyone with a conscience should be able to pick up on.

Still, it's a remarkable spectacle to watch elite professional politicians repeatedly fail to take down Donald Trump. His opponents get that his personal finances surely reflect poorly on him somehow, but whenever it comes up in debates their criticism derails in the exact same way.

Last night, for example, Carly Fiorina made the seemingly damning point that Trump was forced into bankruptcy when his Atlantic City casinos "ran up mountains of debt." But then Trump just made the same move he always does: he parried the attack by explaining how clever he was to escape Atlantic City before the city's economy collapsed, and how clever he was to use US bankruptcy laws to his advantage.

Again, the reason that this is insane is obvious. Trump is not supposed to prove that he can be an exemplary capitalist destroying everything around him; he's supposed to prove that the country would prosper under his governance. 

But you can't push too hard on this line of criticism without implying that there is in fact something terribly evil and dangerous about an ideology that glorifies destroying everyone else if you can make a buck. Or without implying that perhaps we should be electing people to protect us from capitalism and its sociopathic billionaires.

Republicans can't go after Trump without going after capitalism. And until they do this, they'll continue to lose.