The Trump Test

Recently many of my conservative friends have expressed a feeling of extreme dread. Their fear is that Hillary’s victory is inevitable.

I tell them there is nothing to worry about. Just go about your business and be as happy as you can. Here’s why.

Some of these friends of mine are strongly anti-Trump and each one loudly proclaims that his conscience will not allow him to vote for “The Donald.” Either he’ll vote for Hillary or Johnson or not vote at all. So for this faction of fretters I can honestly feel nothing but scorn. After all, they will be getting what they are abetting.

Then there are the others. They support Trump either enthusiastically or reluctantly but fear that he is doomed to lose. Well these folks I do sympathize with. They recognize Clinton as an evil and will do what must be done to avoid it. And the media is working in overdrive to both convince everyone that Hillary has already won and also that Trump is the epitome of evil incompetence. These poor conservatives fret, “If only we had a better candidate than Trump. We’d be sure to win. This election year the demographics demand a moderate. If we had a Romney or a McCain we’d be able to capture that swing vote. Then we can build a coalition of young voters who understand the advantages of the conservative approach.”

Sounds reasonable doesn’t it. But doesn’t it also sound familiar? Since 1992 every election has been described as hanging by a thread. Every one of them has required that conservatives compromise their principles and embrace a squishy moderate who manages to drive away more people on the right than he attracts from the supposed middle. Bush Senior, Dole, Bush Junior, McCain and Romney. We haven’t united people under a conservative banner. We’ve alienated the middle class by pushing globalism and elitist priorities. We’ve lost the Reagan Democrats. They either vote democrat or don’t vote at all. Now we’ll lose the social conservatives as we compromise on the first and second amendments. So Trump may be deeply flawed as a candidate but at least he’s not squishy. Flaky? Yes. Philosophically unsophisticated? Sure. Elitist? Actually, not. Authentic? Very possibly!

I feel that Trump is a self-absorbed ego-maniac. But he’s not anti-American at all. That may be his greatest virtue. Put these things together and it hardly seems like a ringing endorsement. But actually it is. What he does have is an understanding of the underlying policies that are destroying the United States. That alone supremely qualifies him to be elected this year. This outweighs all his negatives. Because all his opponents on the left and the right failed to tell the simple truth about what needs to be done.

My short hand for this is, “He may be a crazy son of a bitch but he’s our crazy son of a bitch.”

So that’s my answer to why they should vote for Trump. But that doesn’t answer their fears that he will lose. For this the answers are even less comforting.

You’ve heard some people saying that voting for Trump is people “burning the system down.” This seems to mean that they are voting for Trump to spite the republican establishment. People may actually think this is the only significance. I think there’s much more going on there. I think what is happening is we are reaching a tipping point. When people no longer believe that the establishment (including both the democrats and the republicans) will help the common people (either because they don’t know how or don’t want to) they will change the system. Pat Buchanan ran on a populist stance back in 1992 and only got 3 million votes in the primaries and didn’t come close to winning. This year Trump garnered the most primary votes ever in a republican primary season (14 million) and beat a field of 16 rivals that outspent him by hundreds of millions of dollars. Bernie Sanders ran a populist ticket and gave the “Anointed One” a run for her money. I think we are near the end of business as usual. Pretty soon people are going to stop waiting for the parties to pick a leader. They’ll be listening for the angriest voice. And that’s a pretty dangerous time. The moment will belong to whomever can grasp it. In the past that hasn’t always been the best or the wisest. Sometimes it’s the strongest.

I think we’re almost there. I think Trump is a tv cartoon version of the strongman. He blusters and struts. But I don’t think he’s Caesar. And for that maybe we should be grateful. Under a Trump administration possibly business leaders might be willing to put the national interest ahead of their global destiny. Maybe they won’t. If Trump fails and Americans continue to see their lives and the their future (their children’s future) diminished they will turn to a strongman. And then things will change.

But either way I don’t think we need to worry about Hillary. If she gets in it will just accelerate the process. Once she and Bill have looted the Treasury and fled to New Zealand we’ll end up with a man who makes Trump seem like Mr. Rogers. So that’s the Trump challenge. Either way we’re not far away from some fairly radical change. So don’t bother worrying about the election. Our brethren will either embrace a moderate populist or wait till later to bring on a much stronger dose of medicine. Much bigger things are on the horizon. Keep your eyes open and your mind alert. We live in interesting times.

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Publius Valerius Pubicola
Publius Valerius Pubicola
5 years ago

I think you nailed it, we win either way. I especially like “He may be a crazy son of a bitch but he’s our crazy son of a bitch.”