The Republican caucuses

For information on the Republican caucuses go to

On February 23, Nevada Republicans will caucus to name their preferred candidates for president.

Donald Trump is a force of nature and ego that has dominated this Republican election cycle. Jeffersonians can work with Jacksonians like Trump, in fact must do so, to temper the Jacksonian impulse to rash action. Without Jeffersonian Sen. Rand Paul in the New Hampshire debate, the Donald displayed utter contempt for civil liberties. We like Trump when he says he will force other nations to pay for their own defense, and will work with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We really don’t know what a President Trump’s nationalistic foreign policy would be. Whatever, we will all be “winners.”

We can say that Trump will alienate Hispanic voters because they do not like constant talk of deportations. President Jackson left the federal government debt free, but Trump contradicts himself about reining in spending. His support for retaliatory tariffs is not free market. Neither is his love of eminent domain. His unconditional support for federal entitlements is typically Jacksonian. It is assumed he is a moderate on social issues, like gay marriage. Fresh from victory in New Hampshire, he is the front runner in Nevada. Will liberty voters caucus for him?

Sen. Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses. He wants to abolish entire federal agencies. He needs to show how his radicalism promises to deliver more health care and a higher standard of living than Democrat Bernie Sanders’ socialized medicine and minimum wage increases can do. His flat tax pitch sounds like a used car salesman: “OK, what will it take for me to get you to like the income tax?”

I would rather see serious talk of reining in the Internal Revenue Service than loose talk of abolishing it.

Cruz often seems like the Goldilocks candidate of the right, tasting his political porridge to be sure its not too hot and not too cold, while always claiming to be the only true conservative. Cruz was recently awarded a large check from Las Vegas kingmaker Sheldon Adelson. If Cruz is elected, Israel will have a special friend in the White House. She needs all she can find.

When Cruz criticizes neocon regime change, liberty voters like him. When he talks of carpet bombing and waterboarding, we see another neocon devil. While claiming to be a foe of crony capitalism, he has close ties to banking giant Goldman Sachs. Ask him sometime which big bank’s lawyer he will make secretary of the treasury. He is anti-immigration reform, rabidly anti gay marriage, and has waffled on criminal justice reform. Thankfully, he says he will leave marijuana drug policy to the states, but not hard drugs. For that problem he believes building a border wall is the solution. Gee, wonder why no one thought of that before? If it wasn’t for the evil Mexicans, no one would want heroin, right?

Sen. Marco Rubio promises to be another George W. Bush, offering more regime change, confrontations with Russia, retrenchment on Cuba, hatred of Iran, warrant-less snooping, etc. He wants taxpayers to spend another trillion on defense. Is everyone our enemy? Gov. Chris Christy popped the boy’s bubble in the New Hampshire debate. Christy exposed Sen. Rubio as robotic and inexperienced with too few accomplishments. It was a kamikaze attack for Christy, however.

Of the establishment governors, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is now the front runner. He is the best choice for liberty voters who are not for Trump or Cruz. He looks like a closet realist, a pragmatist not an ideologue. I hope he stays in the race longer.