Friday, March 11, 2016

Donald Trump’s Latin Role Models

Far from respecting the Constitution, the candidate promises to out-Obama Obama.
Donald Trump supporters believe that they’ve got a novel candidate whose ideas have never been tried. They might be disappointed to learn that Mr. Trump’s political playbook is right out of 20th century Latin America. If he should become president, the country is likely to be about as successful as the region has been under this kind of leadership.
As Latin America has learned the hard way over the last 100 years, capital goes, and stays, where there is a rule of law that treats it well. It’s why the U.S. has developed and most of the rest of the hemisphere has been left behind.
Mr. Trump believes the rule of law is for pansies. His fans adore him because he promises to override institutional inertia and simply decree whatever is on his mind, like a caudillo. This won’t end well.
If elected, Mr. Trump would inherit a country where the rule of law is already under attack by President Obama. Long-winded and ruling by decree whenever Congress—the constitutionally coequal branch of government—does not accommodate him, Mr. Obama is a classic Latin American demagogue.
Trump supporters raise their hands and pledge support
Conservatives despise the 44th president’s refusal to acknowledge the pluralistic traditions of the republic and its constraints on the executive. Yet there was a time when the loyal opposition viewed this abuse of power as an anomaly, a blip in an otherwise institutionally robust nation.
Now the Republican Party is host to another faction and it is asking for its own mano dura. Far from restoring respect for the Constitution, Mr. Trump is promising to be more Obama than Obama. His supporters are fine with that; it’s their turn. Which is to say, we’re becoming Bananalandia.
Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.

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