UPDATE: This post originally stated the 4th Amendment kept govt from taking citizen’s property. A reader was kind enough to point out that it is of course the 5th. Which just goes to show the wisdom of that century old adage: Never write a blog while drinking beer and watching football…
I love Donald Trump. For all of his faults, he has done this nation an extraordinary service that it seems no other politician has been able to do for a quarter century. He put the single, most important issue facing our nation at the top of the heap in terms of what voters are concerned with: Immigration. Illegal immigration is literally undermining our nation, and without control of our borders there is simply no way our country will survive as a constitutional republic.
That love, I suppose, is really more appreciation. While I thank Trump to the high heavens for his contribution to this race, I don’t plan on voting for him. I’m voting for Ted Cruz.
Trump has a certain unabashed style, a presence, a reputation and an unrestrained manner that has allowed him to become not only a spectacularly successful businessman, but a media star. As PT Barnum is said to have said: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Those things worked to Trump’s advantage getting immigration on the agenda and putting him at the top of the heap right now in the GOP race.
But none of that should suggest that he should be President. Ask a Trumpian what they like about Trump and you’ll usually get something like “He gets things done”. That’s true, but like an iceberg, where 90% of what’s important is unseen, it’s how Trump “gets things done” that’s a problem for those who value the Constitution. And that’s exactly where Ted Cruz excels.
There are big differences between Ted and Trump, and once you get past the issue of immigration, where both want to build a wall from San Diego to Brownsville, TX, those differences become crystal clear. Here are a few important ones:
One of the key elements of a limited government is the personal property rights of the nation’s citizens. You can’t have an American dream if the government can simply come along and take your stuff or let someone else do so. The 5th Amendment keeps the government from taking a citizen’s property for anything other than a public use. (It reads: No person shall …, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.) Or at least it did until Kelo v. New London in 2005. In that case the Supreme Court decided that the government could take property from a group of citizens and give it to a private company, with no public use involved. So, according to Kelo, if a citizen was sufficiently friendly to politicians in a particular area, they could use that friendship to take the property of someone else… and do it legally.
Donald Trump not only agreed with the Kelo decision, but he did so enthusiastically. In addition, and this does not bode well for limited government, Donald Trump had tried on numerous occasions to do the same thing that Pfizer did in Kelo. Ted Cruz vociferously disagreed with Kelo and would appoint Supreme Court justices who actually understand what the 4th Amendment says.
Donald Trump, while correctly characterizing Obamacare as a disaster, talks glowingly of the dysfunctional single payer systems in Canada and Scotland. Indeed a decade ago he advocated for a single payer system here in the US. In his most recent healthcare proposal, while he advocates repealing Obamacare, it’s not free markets he offers as the solution, but rather the opaque “something terrific” that ensures every American who wants health coverage can get it. He says that government will provide healthcare for those who can’t afford it, and according to Forbes magazine, that “plan” could essentially only function with government cost controls in the first place.
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, has been a staunch opponent of Obamacare in the Senate, even going so far as to shut down the government in 2013 in an attempt to overturn it. And did so very much against the wishes of the spineless GOP leadership. More than that, Cruz wants to harness free markets to solve the problem of healthcare.
And this one may be the single most important difference between the two candidates and the most important determinant as to who to pull the lever for. The 10th Amendment is at the core of America’s limited government and the prosperity it has engendered. It states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Donald Trump is not today, nor ever has been an advocate for limited government. From getting into bed with local governments for tax breaks to leveraging government gambling licenses against creditors to encouraging local governments to use eminent domain against opponents, Donald Trump has never shied away from using government intimidation to further his interests. A President Trump would likely pay as little attention to the 10th Amendment as President Obama has. There’s a reason unions and 20% of Democrats are considering supporting Donald Trump, and it’s not because he’s a small government guy…
Ted Cruz, however, is a staunch defender of the 10th Amendment and an advocate for dramatically cutting government regulations. Indeed, he’s been a strong advocate for state’s rights and for states to be competing “laboratories of democracy” since before he was Senator. And just in case there was any uncertainty on the subject, in November of last year Cruz announced his “Five for Freedom”, five departments he would shutter if he were president, including the IRS and the Department of Education. Ted Cruz is the opposite of a Crony Capitalist… which explains why the big government loving GOP establishment favors Trump in a two man race.
If Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination I will vote for him with no hesitation. I will not however vote for him in the primary. There are fundamentally two cancers that threaten our Republic today. The first is unfettered immigration, because when the voting rolls are packed with new “citizens” who don’t share out culture and with no understanding of or appreciation for the Constitution as a restraint on government, then eventually government simply becomes an enforcement and redistribution arm for the majority. The second cancer is a leviathan of a federal government which seems to know no limits and believes it exists to solve every problem imaginable for its preferred citizens, regardless of what the Bill of Rights and the Constitution say. As Jefferson could have said – but didn’t – “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything you have.”
Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz would cure the first of these two cancers, but only one candidate would cure both. That man is Ted Cruz, and I will be voting for him come primary day.