Ayn Rand is without a doubt, a controversial figure. A lot of Republican politicians sing her praises, while actual followers of her philosophy, Objectivism, try at times to keep their distance from mainstream politics and are often confounded at the mainstream support her writings get by establishment politicians. It’s been said that she is one of the forerunners of both Libertarianism and the modern Republican party, but a lot of her beliefs and her analysis while alive would be more complicated at deeper glance. Objectivists often see both the mainstream Right and mainstream left’s interpretation and analysis of Rand’s ideas as completely off. This article is not a debate on whether her theories were right, moral or applicable to modern society. It is only to pose a question: what if Ayn Rand were still alive to see Donald Trump become president?
Would she be “impressed” with his administration, his business “acumen” or his “strongman” persona?
As for what she would think of the Donald Trump presidency, we can start with this excellent quote she had about racism: “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry.” She was somewhat contradictory in her statements about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as well as the United States treatment of Native Americans, but the aforementioned quote is a good grasp on what she thought about racism much of the time otherwise. Donald Trump, while it is disputed whether or not he’s an actual racist, has undoubtedly used racial division to parlay his grasp on political power, a move which Rand would undoubtedly find alarming. And the very “crony capitalism” that Trump stands for is anathema to any Libretarian or Objectivist in general. This and other points are often lost by mainstream liberal commentators when attacking Rand and her ideas, but it is definitely the case as evidenced by articles such as this:https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2016/04/which-ayn-rand-villain-is-donald-trump/
In the above article, writer Craig Biddle attempts to analyze Trump from the perspective of what villain Trump would be most like if he were to match a villain in one of Rand’s novels. Reason magazine (which features Libertarian analysis) has also gone after Trump for both his bluster and his “big government” ideas. For one, Trump is also a seeming fan of the surveillance state, and sadly, torture. His support for the military industrial complex is contradictory to any Randian or Libertarian worth their stripes.
Last but not least, we can go back in time to when Ayn Rand was alive and compare Trump to another populist right wing politician at the time, Ronald Reagan.
Rand seemed to despise Reagan for many reasons, not excluding his anti-abortion stance or his alliance with the Christian Right. Here is a great video, one of the last speeches Ayn Rand gave, in which she espouses her mistrust/contempt for Ronald Reagan. It’s undeniable by watching this video, and reading her words as well as the words of modern Objectivists that she would find Donald Trump to be a “Collectivist”, not to mention a “Statist”, and she would soundly criticize his presidency.