by N. A. Halkides 5/4/16
There’s been a lot of talk about Trump in the discussion thread on Edmund Wright’s recent Coulter vs. Coulter and of course elsewhere: why did he rise, what does it portend, what can we conclude about his supporters, etc., to the point that I’m sure many of us are as sick of the entire subject as we are that Ted Cruz has lost the race to this huckster. Yet as much as we might like to talk about something else, since there is very little chance at this point that anyone other than Trump will be the GOP standard-bearer the question now arises: do we Conservatives vote for him in November or not?
I posit a binary choice because that’s all we’ve got. No “third party” (i.e. unhappy Republicans pretending to be something else) candidate is going to do more than help elect Hillary Clinton, and no “white knight” (John Kasich, Mitt Romney, or Paul Ryan) is going to be foisted on the Republican Party by its Establishment because the Party rank-and-file simply wouldn’t stand for it. We can vote for Trump, vote for Hillary Clinton, vote for some other-party candidate who has no chance of winning, or stay home. In practice, doing anything but voting for Trump amounts to voting for Hillary because it will help her win. That doesn’t necessarily mean we should vote for Trump, but it does mean we should have no illusions about what failing to do so will mean.
In trying to figure the correct course of action, we have to keep our ultimate goal in mind (saving the country from a collapse into dictatorship under the rule of the Democratic Party) as well as the two subsidiary tactical goals into which this divides: defeating the Republican Establishment so that we Conservatives finally have a party to represent us, and then attacking and defeating the Democratic Left. The two must be achieved in that order since the Republican Establishment (GOPe for short) chooses to collaborate with the Democrats rather than fight them.
It might be helpful to review the thinking that led many of us to proclaim that we would never vote for ¡Jeb! Bush in the general election should the GOPe succeed in somehow getting him nominated with a plurality vote (it was obvious that he couldn’t win a majority in such a crowded field). My own reasoning, which I think was typical of this group if slightly more detailed, ran like this: the GOPe needed to learn that Conservatives would not support yet another E-candidate and that the Party could not win a general election without us. This would force them to accept a true Conservative in 2020.
There was less harm than it might appear in allowing the Democratic nominee an easy win in 2016 because the chances were very great he or she would have won anyway – mushy, middle-of-the-road “moderate” statist Republicans like ¡Jeb! or John McCain inspire no one and have lost 5 of the last 6 Presidential popular votes. But the Establishment was too stupid to realize this and while it would continue to hate Conservatives, it would finally have some respect for us and accept Conservative nominees in the future.
The alternative, voting for ¡Jeb! on the grounds that he was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils compared to Hillary Clinton (or anyone else the now-totalitarian Democratic Party would nominate), was rejected because the Establishment would learn nothing from his loss to Hillary and would run essentially the same E-man every four years. Even if he somehow won, he would allow (indeed, with increased immigration and/or Amnesty he would hasten) the country’s descent into statism. We can imagine a sequence of elections in which when a Democrat wins the country moves Left and when a Republican wins the country also moves Left, just not quite as far. The result after a finite number of elections is that the Tipping Point is reached and the Democrats win every election thereafter The Reality of the Tipping Point for a more detailed explanation of how this would occur).
Can we apply this line of reasoning to Trump? Although he’s been called “liberal” and even “fascist” by a number of commentators, I believe the answer to this question is “no”. Trump seems to have no fixed political ideology of any kind, which makes him a philosophical pragmatist, and this is bad, for it would indicate he might govern very much as if he were part of the GOPe (which also has no philosophical convictions and simply follows the lead of the Democratic Left and its philosophy of statism. And yet, Trump was not welcomed by the GOPe, at least not sincerely. (Sure, he may have golfed with John Boehner, but he was still on the other side of the political/business divide – a “crony capitalist” but not a member of the Washington political class). I believe that while Trump was inadvertently created by the Establishment, he is not yet of the Establishment. He has more courage, or just plain chutzpah if you like, for one thing – no E-man would ever question political correctness or the wisdom of continuing Muslim immigration to America. Suppose he actually did start enforcing immigration law and cracking down on illegal aliens? That would be more than the GOPe would do, although I don’t know that we could expect the massive de-regulation needed to really get the economy going and, of course, move the country to the Right.
The Establishment’s preferred candidates of 2016, Marco Rubio and Jeb! Bush, have been soundly rejected. Trump has been lambasted as a socialist Democrat, but he won because he was perceived as a political outsider, and that perception is more important than the reality once we get past the 2016 election for it tells us that the power is shifting within the Republican Party away from the Establishment. On the whole, then, we cannot assume that a Trump Presidency would either move the country to the Left or help the GOPe, and should not rule out voting for him on that basis. Are there any positive reasons to vote for Trump, whose faults are both too numerous and too well known to list here?
There is of course immigration, the seminal issue of the moment because of our closeness to the Tipping Point (we may in fact be already past it), which has already been mentioned. The bare possibility that Trump would do something about it made him a better choice than all the pro-Amnesty, pro-mass-immigration candidates. I will suggest one other, and that is the prosecution of both Hillary Clinton and those Democrats who used the IRS as a political weapon against Conservatives, as an act of public hygiene of the same urgency as burying the victims of bubonic plague.
Should these miscreants get away with these outrages, which go beyond anything in Richard Nixon’s wildest dreams, I would say America is finished as a free republic – when those who govern can use the powers of office to punish their political opponents, they have become the rulers and a country is then well on its way in transitioning to “hard” tyranny from a “soft” one – if indeed the “hard” phase has not actually been reached. As for Clinton, her mishandling of classified information, which, remember involved using a private email server in violation of the law for the express purpose of evading accountability while Secretary of State, proved once again that she considers herself above the law. For that, and for compromising our national security, she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Of course it remains to ask, would Trump actually go forward with the necessary prosecutions?
Once again, with Trump no one can say for certain, but assuming he appoints even middle-of-the-road Republicans to the senior positions at DOJ, there is no reason to think indictments would not be forthcoming. If Hillary is elected, those prosecutions (and those of future Democratic criminals) will never take place.
And that brings us to another point: even if Trump is only the lesser of two evils, he is surely much the lesser in this case. Hillary Clinton has to be one of the most evil people in the entire country, having been pursuing arbitrary power since around 1970 with a frightening degree of intensity and ruining many lives along the way. Many of the more strident anti-Trump people seem to think he’s as bad as she is, but that isn’t the case: Trump is riddled with flaws, but he doesn’t hate America as Hillary does, nor do I believe that he seeks power for its own sake as she most certainly does. Stopping Hillary has to be a Conservative priority, and this is a powerful argument for Conservatives to vote for Trump.
There are many principled Conservatives who will not vote for Trump. For them, Trump’s obvious failings – his inconsistency, lack of commitment to sound principles, long-term association with Left-wing Democrats, and sheer vulgarity make him completely unacceptable. These are indeed serious failings. Also, there is always potential danger lurking where we cannot clearly see, and what Trump would actually try to do in office certainly falls into the category of the unknown. And yet we must not allow a visceral dislike for the man, justified as it is, to cloud our better judgment. There is also great danger where would-be tyrants seek power – and Hillary Clinton is beyond any doubt such a would-be tyrant. Like it or not, the choice is now between her and Trump, and Conservatives should think twice before concluding that Trump is as dangerous to liberty as she is.
Nik is a freelance writer, former professor, and has written for FrontPage Magazine.
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