I’m more of an original series Star Trek guy, but I was intrigued by the transhuman race of cyborgs in the later shows. Known as The Borg, they operated like a hive (with a queen) and they assimilated other planets, cultures, technologies and humanoids into their collective. As I recollect it, they were terrifying, as so was their stock phrase, “Resistance is futile.”
There wasn’t much hope of surviving an attack from The Borg, but because their method depended on nanoprobes implanted in the bloodstream, “species with an extremely advanced immune system were able to resist assimilation.”
I do not believe that modern members of the Republican Party have such advanced immune systems, however, which is why they all seem to have been assimilated into the Conservative Movement.
At Bloomberg View, Paula Dwyer has taken a close look at the issue positions of the various Republican presidential candidates, with a special eye out for the so-called outsiders: Carla Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump. What she found was definitely Borg-like.
So what do Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson have to offer that the conventional Republican candidates don’t? The answer may surprise you.
On economic policy at least, the three outsiders are pretty much middle-of-the-road conservatives. With some notable exceptions, their views on taxes, trade, energy, health care, the minimum wage, immigration and regulation aren’t markedly different from those of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie.
It wouldn’t be very notable that members of a party, even non-elected ones, tend to share the same basic views on a lot of issues except that those views, in several of these cases, are based on heat-fever delusions and were crafted (by The Masters) with Mighty Wurlitzer propagandistic precision.
At one time, Donald Trump touted single-payer health care, but he was assimilated into The Borg and now wants to repeal Obamacare. I think you can see how ‘devastating” Obamacare has been right? It’s been so successful that the Republicans no longer talk about it unless they’re prompted by constituents who haven’t yet done the latest software upgrade and are operating with outdated code.
One second before Obama/Biden were declared the winners over McCain/Palin, the code said that a cap and trade carbon tax was the way to address climate change, but after the software upgrade that was done late on Election Night 2008, members of The Borg were no longer certain that human activity is causing climate change and opposed any human activity that might combat it.
The two camps also overlap on energy and climate change. The outsiders would encourage more domestic crude oil production and roll back environmental regulations. They are all climate-change doubters: Carson says it’s a distraction, Trump calls it a hoax, and Fiorina wants to examine the science more closely. They all favor the Keystone Pipeline, while Fiorina and Carson would also end subsidies for renewable energy.
Among the mainstreamers, Bush and Christie accept that humans are causing at least some climate change, and that the U.S. has to take a lead role in negotiating cuts in carbon emissions with other countries. Rubio is less willing to accept that people contribute to global warming, yet agrees we all have a responsibility to protect the environment. All three mainstreamers, however, are as adamant as Trump, Carson and Fiorina about not imposing environmental rules that might crimp economic growth, cause job losses or reduce the ability of companies to compete abroad. Like the outsiders, the mainstreamers support the Keystone Pipeline.
The coding on taxes hasn’t been upgraded since President Reagan introduced The Laffer Curve, and this (and The Masters’ real motive) is why no evidence can move any Republican off their strict adherence to the view that you can pay for tax cuts with improved economic growth.
In the end, the only meaningful distinctions between these candidates that Dwyer was able to identify were on trade and tariffs, where Trump and Carson are advocating protectionism in violation of the orthodox positions of both major parties and the rules of the World Trade Organization.
The voter coalition backing Trump, Fiorina and Carson might want to keep in mind that the candidates’ economic policies — the ones that have the greatest impact on everyday lives — aren’t outside the mainstream at all. The outsiders may decry the ineptitude of today’s leaders, but their governing plans look mighty similar.
Even on immigration, the distinctions aren’t as great as you might think, and you can see how both Bush and Rubio are being assimilated:
Immigration is the area where Trump, Carson and to a lesser extent Fiorina supposedly stand out from the others. But that’s based less on their policy prescriptions and more on their “build that wall” bombast. Trump goes farthest by seeking to deport undocumented immigrants and abolishing birthright citizenship, but even he agrees with Carson and Fiorina that immigrants with no criminal record should be allowed in as guest workers.
Bush would also let undocumented immigrants graduate to legal status but he has backed off in giving them a path to citizenship, which he once endorsed. Rubio also once backed the citizenship route but has abandoned that position in favor of calling for securing the border with Mexico for at least a decade before pursuing any immigration overhaul. Christie says he would track immigrants like FedEx packages and would prefer to crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers over building a wall.
In truth, the people who operate the Wurlitzer probably would prefer the Rubio/Bush approach to immigration but they’re still working on a patch for that. It appears that this reprogramming is a more herculean task than they anticipated.
[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]