Ross Douthat Rants Incoherently on Trump’s Bloodbath

March 23, 2024

It’s amazing how so many arguments in policy circles are transparently self-contradictory. Ross Douthat gave us a fantastic example in a NYT column defending Donald Trump’s bloodbath comment.

Douthat defends Trump by arguing that his bloodbath referred to the need to protect the U.S. auto industry from Chinese cars. This is arguably what Trump meant, but not what he said. I suppose we can give a pass to someone in Donald Trump’s mental condition.

But the neat part of the story is that Douthat goes on to criticize the plans announced by the E.P.A. to accelerate the switch to electric cars. Douthat argues that this is terrible politics since it will be forcing people to buy cars they don’t want. He says people want traditional gas-powered cars and the Biden administration is pushing electric cars down their throats.

Okay, let’s get back to Donald Trump’s bloodbath. The Chinese cars that Trump wants to keep out of the U.S. with really high taxes (tariffs) are electric.

Many are now as cheap or cheaper to buy than equivalent gas-powered vehicles and far cheaper to fuel and maintain over their lifespan. This is why Trump insists on high taxes to keep people from buying them.

So to recap, Ross Douthat is telling us that Biden is trying to shove electric cars down consumers’ throats that they don’t want, while also implicitly defending Donald Trump’s plans to impose high taxes so that consumers won’t buy Chinese electric cars that he apparently thinks they do want.

That sort of argument might make sense on the New York Times opinion page, but not in reality-land.


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