A recent New Hampshire poll showed Jeb Bush in first place, at 14%. In second place was Donald Trump, with 11%. Bush, of course, represents the Republican Establishment. Trump represents disenchantment with that Establishment, and he is likely to climb higher in the polls as the result of its latest actions.
Yesterday, the Senate voted to end debate on President Obama’s request for Trade Promotion Authority—what used to be called fast track—for the Trans Pacific Partnership. There is little popular support for giving Obama more unfettered discretion or for another globalist trade agreement. This makes no difference to the Republican leadership in Congress, which has pulled out all the stops to give Obama the authority he wants. Republican support for Obama’s trade bill has gone beyond giving the president the votes he needs in Congress. John Boehner has even removed from leadership those House Republicans who actually heeded the sentiments of their constituents and voted against Trade Promotion Authority.
This is precisely the opposite of what Republicans told voters they were going to do last fall, when they railed against the excesses of the Obama Administration. Senator Jeff Sessions, one of only six Republicans in the Senate to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership, warned that “Americans increasingly believe their country isn’t serving its own citizens,” and cited as evidence Congressional support for a trade agreement that “imperils their jobs, wages, and control over their own affairs.”
Unlike most of the multitude seeking the Republican nomination, Trump has been outspoken in his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership. He has also been outspoken in his opposition to President Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants, an amnesty Republicans chose to do nothing about after gaining control of Congress. The FOX News commenters this morning were worried that Trump would follow in the footsteps of Ross Perot, and launch a third party bid for the White House. If that happens, it will be because of what the Republican Establishment chose to do with the power the voters gave it last fall.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.