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Turning Against Trump

Don't get me wrong: I've been against Trump as a candidate since it became clear that he wasn't a conservative -- which is to say, from the beginning. That's not true of everyone, however.

The Weekly Standard's Johnathan V. Last wrote a newsletter recently about blogger Ace of Spades's move from "Trump curious" to anti-Trump. It's worth a read.

The first highlight is from Ace of Spades:

The other day a friend asked me why I was posting negative stuff on Trump. I told him, basically, that everyone has their threshold of embarrassment. I can mock the Upper Middle Class Respectable set for having what I think is a way-too-high sensitivity to embarrassment -- usually one strongly shaped by leftwing PC codes -- but everyone has their own level.

It's embarrassing, to me, that at this late date Trump can only sputter about "getting rid of the lines" at a debate when asked about his health care plan.

It's embarrassing, to me personally, when I'm repeatedly confronted with the fact that Trump still seems to not know the contents of the Sessions Immigration Plan on his own website -- the whole reason I even began to be "Trump Curious," as I term it.

If a plan could be nominated for president, I'd vote for the Sessions Immigration Plan.

It's personally embarrassing to discover that Trump is nearly entirely unaware of the only reason I entertained supporting him.

Here's Last:

A few weeks ago I started making the case that Trumpism corrupts and this is pretty much what I was talking about. You think you're signing up for The Wall, but it turns out that you can't stay onboard the Trump train unless you agree to put up with a whole lot else. And to cling to The Wall you wind up having to make compromises left, right, and center. You end up like Sarah Palin and Scott Brown, tacitly agreeing that George W. Bush knowingly lied about WMDs in Iraq. You end up like Chris Christie, not even pretending that there's any way for Trump to enact his agenda. You wind up like Newt Gingrich, mangling history to suggest that it was Republican elites who cost Goldwater the '64 election. Or worse, suggesting that Trump is just like Reagan in that he didn't know much, either, and that the elites were against him, too.

This last bit (and Gingrich isn't the only one to make the argument, see Jonah Goldberg's column on Bill Bennett) is particularly awful because conservative intellectuals, including Gingrich and Bennett -- have spent the best part of three decades pushing back against the common misconception that Reagan was an amiable dunce. The view of Reagan as a dim-bulb is entirely the creation of a hostile mainstream media. The truth is that Reagan was an intensely intellectual -- not just intelligent, but intellectual -- man who was broadly-read and had spent a lifetime wrestling with philosophy, both political and moral. Read his letters. Read his diaries.

And now, some conservatives are willing to dynamite 30 years' worth of work spent trying to help America understand the real Reagan in an ad hoc attempt to legitimize this guy? Really? Really?

This corruption of Republican conservatism -- what there is of it -- is the part that really spoke to me. It dovetails with a spot-on analysis from Mediaite called How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination. It discusses, among other things, Matt Drudge's influence on the "conservative" media and that media's need to drive eyeballs rather than focus on any sort of conservative principles.

Drudge and others are a great example of what I've been talking about: The election of Trump would cause the "right-wing" media and pundits to spend their time justifying him and defending him, even when he wasn't being conservative, thereby destroying conservatism in America.

In this way, the election of Trump would be worse than the election of Hillary or Bernie: While the latter would cause damage to America's laws and institutions, it would at least have principled opposition; the former would cause damage to the minds on which America's laws and institutions are based, which would make it harder for America to recover when its laws and institutions are damaged.

Yes, I know Hillary and Bernie would be terrible for America. But they are only a virulent and potentially fatal form of the flu. Trump is AIDS: He would help destroy our very methods of fighting back against diseases such as Hillary and Bernie.

Comments (131)

Hi Jake. Thanks for a thought-provoking post. All I can say is: thank Heaven I'm not an American voter. (I'm an Australian living in Japan.) Never have I seen an election (and I've been following them since 1976, when I was 15) where the choice of candidate for President generated so much personal angst about so many moral and political issues.

On a gut level, I think we can assume that if Hillary or Bernie gets elected, America will become a social democracy - a kind of hybrid of Sweden and Venezuela - in which decisions on controversial matters (especially ethics and social policy) are reached by a process of group-think, and where anyone who's seen to be out-of-step on a key social issue (say, gay marriage) will become the subject of a witch-hunt, and will be hounded out of their job. In short: America will became a totally intolerant society, where PC rules, and where Christianity eventually dies out after about 50 years. (Immigration from Latin America won't save it, either, as immigrants tend to conform to American social mores after a couple of decades of inculturation.) To make matters worse, a Democrat victory virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court will be stacked with pro-choice, pro-euthanasia judges, who are opposed to religious liberty. That being the case, the Democrats simply have to be stopped.

The only candidates who can stop Hillary and Bernie are Cruz and Trump. Some people might argue that you should vote for the candidate whom you think is right. I'm not so sure. What if that candidate has no chance of winning? I tend to agree with Ben Carson that Cruz has no realistic chance of winning over disaffected Independents and Democrats. He's smart and articulate, and he has a well thought-out set of policies, but his views on abortion, gun rights and immigration (he'd deport 11 million people without any "hole on the wall" for some of them to come back, as Trump proposes) are far to the right of Trump's views, and they would render him toxic to swinging voters who have previously supported other parties. The left knows this, too, and they're painting him as somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun: http://www.salon.com/2016/01/25/5_reasons_ted_cruz_is_even_more_dangerous_than_donald_trump_partner/
And what about this video? The media are going to crucify Cruz if he gets to be the Republican candidate:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/post_10496_b_8544540.html

Trump is someone I see as a human wrecking ball. Single-handedly, he's taken on the PC elite and the thought-police, and he's won, every time. He's smashed Overton windows across the board, effortlessly. I have to say I admire him for that. If he became President, he would stop America's seemingly inexorable slide toward social democracy and political correctness.

On the other hand, Trump is like a bull in a china shop: totally unpredictable. I don't think anyone knows what a Trump presidency would be like, and at the present time, the man appears to have no coherent policies or principles on anything, except for his core principle of putting America first. People tend to see what they want to see in him, but no-one really knows what he'd do as President. (What would he do about the Supreme Court vacancy, for instance?) Here in Japan, people are absolutely terrified of what his election would mean for regional security. The man also seems to have a real problem with telling the truth: his speeches and debates are full of whoppers. On top of that, the behavior of attendees (and of Trump himself) at Trump rallies is pretty alarming. Comparisons to Mussolini are not far from the mark. Finally, polls seem to show he'd lose to Hillary by a large margin, although you never can tell with Trump: he might find a flaw in her armor. If he beat Hillary, he could defeat social democracy. Trouble is, he might destroy American democracy in the process.

So, whom to support? Darned if I know.

There's no law that says you must support anyone, and there's excellent reason not to support either Trump or Clinton (or Sanders).

Politicians -- and Trump is clearly a good politician -- tend only to care about what gets them votes. But this isn't just about Trump. Other politicians look for what has gotten votes in the past. If you vote for a liberal, unprincipled, belligerent, rabble-rousing jerk, then you're voting to get more of them in the future. You're not just voting for the singularly deplorable Donald Trump -- you're also voting for all of the deplorable people who will follow him.

That's on top of the destruction of general conservative discourse and media.

Whom to support? If it comes down to Trump-Clinton, the answer is "nobody". Hunker down and prepare to be the opposition for the next term at least.

By the way, as far as Cruz's chances against Hillary go, my understanding is that Trump actually polls worse than any of the other GOP candidates have.

Of course, that's not a reason you shouldn't vote for Trump. You shouldn't vote for Trump because you shouldn't pay an awful candidate with the currency of your vote: That will only get you more awful candidates.

except for his core principle of putting America first.
The man also seems to have a real problem with telling the truth: his speeches and debates are full of whoppers.

Vince, because I know you are a reasonable man, having had quite a few very fruitful interactions with you in the past, I know that you will see what the juxtaposition of those two phrases means: The latter undermines the former. And it's good that you see the latter. There is no reason to take a man of that kind to have "making America great" as an actual, personal, core principle to which he is sincerely committed.

I concur with Jake: There's no law that you (or American voters) have to support a candidate for President, and a fortiori no law that they have to support a candidate put forward by one of the two major parties.

Single-handedly, he's taken on the PC elite and the thought-police, and he's won, every time. He's smashed Overton windows across the board, effortlessly. I have to say I admire him for that.

No. You should not. Utter crudity and a complete lack of character and conscience, together with a lust for publicity and power, are not admirable qualities, even if they render one
immune both to silly leftist scruples and to all standards of decency. Standards of decency are real things, and Trump despises them, listing them all as "political correctness," which is pernicious nonsense. I was reading recently about an attendee at one of his rallies standing up and trying to ask him what to say to parents who are concerned about his consistent use of foul language and what to tell their children. Trump totally mocked him, called any concern along those lines "political correctness." Listen: I was around when the term "political correctness" was *born*, and I can say for a certainty that, "Don't use the f-bomb incessantly, don't mock disabled people like a nasty thirteen-year-old, don't joke about having sex with your daughter," etc., is _not_ political correctness. Indeed, the very qualities that you are admiring in Trump there are, functionally, some of his worst. They are part of what is making him such a corrupting candidate to those who actually support him. Not to be misunderstood, I know that you don't support him, and I'm just deliberately clipping out those sentences. But it's important that we who actually have standards keep clear that there is nothing to admire about a foul-mouthed, foul-minded mountebank on the grounds that his deliberately staged caricature of conservatism can be viewed as "taking on the PC thought police."

Lydia,

In your reply to Vincent you say the following, which I want to highlight:

"Utter crudity and a complete lack of character and conscience, together with a lust for publicity and power, are not admirable qualities, even if they render one immune both to silly leftist scruples and to all standards of decency."

This is important because I think that like Vincent, there are times that I can be...seduced...by the idea of what Trump stands for with respect to his anti-PC stances (e.g. who could imagine a serious candidate for President in this day and age propose a ban on Muslim immigration and survive the ensuing media storm.) Of course, as you say and as Jake says in his OP, this is why Trump is so corrupting: he lacks any sort of moral character we would want to see in someone who actually expresses policy positions that smash the 'Overton window' and/or are immune to PC-bullies. The irony is that Ted Cruz represents this type of candidate in many ways but has a harder time attracting huge crowds because he's not a carnival barker like Trump.

Thanks, Jeff!

Another point that occurs to me is that it is wrong to advocate policies that are, in fact, bad policies in an attempt to move the window of acceptable discourse in that direction. (This used to be called "bending the stick back the other way" before Overton came along.) But of course in certain circles it's held that that's exactly what we should do, just shake people up and maybe ultimately make society more amenable to policies that we actually do advocate. I'm saying this in general. I've actually advocated a ban on Muslim immigration myself, so I don't think that is an example of a bad policy recommendation. But in general I resist even using the phrase "moving the Overton window" as a term of approbation, because it now has these other connotations--that deliberately proposing outrageous things that one knows are outrageous is fine as a strategy because it loosens up people's minds to less outrageous things in the same direction.

Jeff,

Cruz's biggest error was going "nuanced" on immigration and trade. The American people have a gut level feeling that the elites have sold us out on both, preferring theories and ideology to facts and real people. Had Cruz come out and said most of what Trump did early on, plus he'd cut the H1B and H2B visa programs until full employment was restored, he'd have kicked Trump's but hard. In fact, the best thing he could have done is said "to hell with NAFTA" and dropped the mic on the trade questions. He'd have been untouchable.

Whom to support? If it comes down to Trump-Clinton, the answer is "nobody". Hunker down and prepare to be the opposition for the next term at least.

With respect, Clinton is clearly worse. She is probably the most evil candidate we've ever had for office. She said "what does it matter" in response to men who died under her authority. She has shown an unbelievable contempt for national security regulations. If you follow who she is and what she has done, there is no candidate we've had in living memory more openly contemptuous of the rule of law and decency than her.

Do remember, this is a candidate who laughed at the outcome of a rape trial in which she denied justice to a twelve year old girl. Trump is many things, but he has given us no indication that there is a black hole that acts as an interdimensional portal to Hell where his heart should be the way Clinton does.

Boy, the OP is really funny--Americans are going around claiming "I'm not voting for Trump because he is not a real conservative"! And this on a Christian website with Catholics! The height of ignorance is astounding!

The term ‘conservative’ in the Anglo-sphere means liberal. (Lichtheim, 258; Russell quoted by Schapiro, p. 21) True conservatives, continental conservatives, are for Throne and Altar; they preserve the Old Order; the term was coined in France for true conservatives. On the other hand, Socialists and Liberals are all for democracy and a new order. American so-called conservatives are about the Novus Ordo of Americanism—of modern republicanism which is democracy. No conservative is for democracy; Never. Benjamin Disraeli, c. 1825, proffered a new meaning of "conservative" as progressive and for democracy! That Americans fight over the term "conservative" is absolutely hilarious; no wonder that America has turned into an idiocracy. I'm a Catholic, a Monarchist and for the Old Order of Throne and Altar; I'm a true Conservative; what Americans pseudo-conservatives think they are doing is ludicrous; they don't know what they are doing whatsoever! American pseudo-conservatives are really liberals!

Lichtheim, George (1968) The Origins of Socialism. London, England: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Schapiro, J. Salwyn (1949) Liberalism and The Challenge of Fascism, Social Forces in England and France (1815-1870). NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.

Mr. Wheeler, nothing that you say has any bearing on whether Trump is a conservative--of the American "movement" variety or any other kind--and your distinctions do not come as a revelation to me or, for that matter, anybody likely to frequent this weblog. Since you reject the entire premise of the discussion, and since you seem only interested in hooting at the supposed ignorance of the people having this conversation, there seems little profit to be had engaging you on the subject of Jake's post. You probably should just find someone else to scoff at.

I don't know where Jake Freivald has been, is he a new immigrant to America? Is he from Outer Space? Where has he been for the last fifty years? A convert to "conservatism"? And are we to believe that Freivald's internal, instinctive "conservative" radar--automatically makes him suspect Trump as NOT a conservative? Are we to believe that?

We shouldn't. What we are seeing is the rehash of the 1964 Republican Convention where both Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney (Mitt's father), and other "conservatives" viciously attacked Barry Goldwater. Here is just one snippet of that convention:
Nelson Rockefeller denounces Republican "extremists" at the 1964 Republican National Convention
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM0rvez7ugk

Now, one of the oldest and most insightful American organizations has been the John Birch Society, started in 1958. It is truly an American educational society. They have been in the fight for the longest time trying to preserve American values and WASP culture. If Jake Freivald is right in claiming his "conservative" credentials, he would understand the roots of the 1964 Republican Convention, but does he? Has he heard the term "Rockefeller Republicans"? What went on at the 1964 Republican Convention was a cultural war between the globalists and the populists. The Rockefeller wing represents the globalists! They have a great hatred for Populists. Nixon said of Barry Goldwater that he was "Mr. Conservative"! So where is Jake Freivald on Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater? Where?

Now, Jake Freivald wants to paint "populists" as not conservative because his animus is certainly towards the populist wing of the Republican Party. Phyllis Schlafly is Mrs. Conservative, a John Bircher. NO one can challenge her conservative American values! Yet who did she endorse? Donald J. Trump! Pat Buchanan, a true conservative! Who is he endorsing? Donald J. Trump! Who is Ann Coulter endorsing? Donald J. Trump. So, what game is Jake Freivald playing? The Bushes, Dole, McCain, Romney were all the Rockefeller candidates!

What is happening is that the "conservative" Republican establishment are really Globalists who think they are "conservative" and then attack all those who are not on the Globalist bandwagon as not conservative! That is Laughable! There is a big game going on--one big Con game. Don't buy Mr. Freivald's snake oil.

Trump is a Populist/American Firster/Nationalist. A populist is a true conservative. To preserve one's culture is Conservative. To Preserve the WASP homogeneity of this country is Conservative. To Fight the Globalist Agenda is Conservative! To Fight Cultural Marxism is Conservative! Just like William F. Buckley, Mr. Globalist, who fired both Joe Sobran and Pat Buchanan, Jake Freivald seeks to tell us who's the "right" conservative. It's all BS. Unless you are a Loyalist, you are not a conservative. In the face of the genocidal ideology of globalism, one must be a conservative in regards to one's kinsmen, that's populism. That is the Virtue of Righteousness.

Trump is a Populist/American Firster/Nationalist. A populist is a true conservative.

The early progressives were also populists.

Trump has been an egregious leftist his entire life, and has gone out of his way to demonstrate his utter contempt for basic standards of decency in both his public behavior and in his writings. Five minutes ago, when he decided to run for president under the GOP's banner, he decided he was a conservative, albeit one who is willing to back off of or change any position twice in a five minute span as the needs of the moment dictate. And people like Wheeler are convinced by this, even in the absence of any serious reason to believe this vulgar, ignorant charlatan has had a genuine Road to Damascus moment (which he can never articulate in any detail and for which he has never given any convincing accounting--indeed, when called on obvious lies and changes of position, he has made no excuse other than such admissions as, "Well, he started doing better and I wanted his votes").

I cannot treat seriously with a person who is willing to buy into this nonsense, who denies mountains and mountains of evidence that this egregious, scamming dirtbag with the manners and erudition of a crass 13-year-old, is not only trustworthy but a genuine American nationalist of some kind. You cite such endorsements as Ann Coulter, who has never been an intellectually serious conservative and who has said she did not care if Trump wanted to perform abortions in the White House. This willingness to abandon all standards, ignore all evidence, and eschew any principle is not conservative in any sense that matters to me or any other sensible person.

Again, I won't be arguing the point further, because the obviousness of it is too tiresome to wrestle over. Donald Trump is now what he's always been, an unapologetic slave to sexual passion and a man of such insecurity that in most personalities it would be crippling, but in his special circumstances has produced an aggressive narcissism of such virulence that he is willing to tell any lie and make any boast as the needs of his galactic self-regard dictate. People who know him recount that he has never read a book, and his home is festooned not with artwork or images of the West's great achievements, though he surely could afford them, but rather with pictures of himself. This unbalanced ego-in-a-suit is the person you find credible when he makes some sudden and suspiciously-timed "conversion" on every subject of any political or social import, without ever showing evidence of having been intellectually humbled, without ever even admitting that he has done so (he calls anyone who points to his record "LIAR! LIAR!"), and without any compelling account of how this happened, when, and why. Whosoever believes it is a damned fool.

And really, I can only pity those who willingly have elected to be sucked into the vortex of this man's unhinged vanity and craving for adoration. If Schlafly and others are so desperate to believe in a real avenging hero that they'd buy what he's selling them--in clear bad faith and for clearly selfish reasons--then so much the worse for them. I won't be engaging in any self-abasement on behalf of that half-literate voluptuary. I certainly won't weighing with any seriousness these tautological arguments which define conservatism as populism, and deduce that Trump is a conservative because, you know, populism.

Trump doesn't need to have a Road to Damascus moment in order to become a nationalist. Left-wing nationalism has a long history in the West.

The #NeverTrump folks need to get a grip and realize that until the man shows otherwise, he is the lesser of the two evils in this race if Hillary wins. Pick an issue, I can almost guarantee you that she'll be worse. Even basic decency is an area where her deficit is larger than Trump's deficit. Even Trump has never been fired by a liberal democrat for pathological dishonesty or been caught laughing about denying a preteen rape victim her justice. He has never gotten indignant and snapped "what does it matter" in response to pointed questioning about preventable deaths under his command.

Look, the fact is that there aren't many reasons to like Trump, but for over 20 years we've been told to eschew principle and "hold our noses." This is the first time the Democrats have pushed a candidate in at least the last several elections whose character screams more "sociopath" than "scumbag." Heck, just read how she treats people around her. She is violent toward them. Even Trump, to my knowledge, is not accused of being violent toward his workers and associates.

If Trump loses to her because too many people chose this election to stop holding their noses, well it'll never work as an argument again for millions of voters.

Wait, wait, the "throne and altar" guy is chiding us for opposing Donald Trump--the biggest example in recent American history of *precisely* the concerns the Founding Fathers had, or anyone else reasonable would have, about the danger that demagoguery will take over democracy through too much direct influence of ignorant and unqualified voters???

The irony is deep and rich.

***********************************

Mike T., I stopped playing the lesser of two evils game several elections ago, and if this is the election in which other people stop doing so as well, that will make that many fewer people corrupted by the chimerical absolute moral obligation to votevotevote. This would be true even if Hillary were Satan himself. That is beside the point. It is not our job to add up evil units (perhaps we should call them "turps") do a complex calculation, convince ourselves that one candidate has fewer "turps," and then flog ourselves and others into voting for the candidate we are convinced has fewer turps.

So you can stop flogging now, because we aren't going to agree. I know Jake doesn't play Count the Turps either.

And Wheeler, chillax with the rant mode, or we can start editing or deleting your comments. "Mere personal insult" is also against our comments policy.

Wait... Was or is Mrs. Schlafly a throne-and-altar monarchist? If not, why does Mr. Wheeler repudiate me through her, since according to his perspective she is not conservative? I find myself in the odd position of being attacked with an argument from authority -- a logical fallacy -- the authority of which the attacker doesn't recognize. Should I argue against the fallacy, or against the authority, or neither, or both?! So confusing....

I will, however, clarify a few points.

First, I have no authority with respect to conservatism, and if someone claims that I do, you should ignore him. You grasp and appreciate my arguments or you don't. (This, by the way, is also true of Phyllis Schlafly, which is why her endorsement of Trump makes no difference.)

Second, I voted against McCain because I could not endorse a nominally conservative candidate or party that leaned so far leftward. I definitely do feel betrayed by the Republican party over the last two dozen years. (Mr. Wheeler has no reason to feel betrayed by the GOP, since as a throne-and-altar conservative he has never received any promises of government that he could call "good" from any form of democratic government.)

Okay. There is a moral imperative to vote for Trump.

Multiculturalism is White Genocide. The WASPs voted in 1925 an immigration plan called the Nationalities Act. Well, globalists got that overturned with the 1964 Immigration Act that was started by the Roman Catholic John Kennedy. In 1965, WASPs were 70% of the population; now, we are 40% and shrinking. That is the plan. 11 million to 30 million illegals are not immigration but an invasion.

I'm voting Trump to preserve our country. To destroy the homogeneity of WASP America is a to destroy WASP America and that is Treason. Trump, and Pat Buchanan wrote on this, is going to stop this. It is a moral imperative. A vote not for Trump is Treason. To not come to the aid of your kinsmen, is Treason.

I'm not voting in a saint; I'm voting in a patriot that will stop the dissolution and race replacement going on. If you vote to continue the dissolution and the race replacement, that is Treason. The Globalists are seeking what Israel Sangwill said in The American Hebrew journal of Oct. 1923: "There is only one way to World Peace, and that is the absolute abolition of passports, visas, frontiers, custom houses, and all other devices that make of the population of our planet not a co-operating civilization but a mutual irritation society." We are witnessing that with our border disappearing! With NAFTA and TPP and nobody being stopped on the border. Is that what has happened to Christianity? That it has joined forces with Globalists to destroy nations and races? Yes, we live in the Age of Treason. I'm voting Trump to stop the destruction of my country.

Donald Trump, Patriot. Excuse me while I try to decide if the bitterness of that is so great that hysterical laughter is impossible.

Mike, I am not arguing that Hillary wouldn't be worse. Hillary would be a terrible and destructive president for America and her institutions.

But that's not the end of the story. The original post points out that a Trump presidency wouldn't just attack America and her institutions; it would weaken American conservatism itself, making it harder even to hold true to American principles in the future.

We can see this in the last two presidencies. President G.W. Bush was not a conservative man, but pundits expended tremendous energy on defending him against attacks from the left -- his presidency sapped the strength of American conservatism. President Obama was a man of the left, and conservatives galvanized against him.

I would rather have a conservative for the right to rally around, but if I don't have that, I certainly don't want the right to be damaged by someone who claims to be one of their own.

As an aside, if you seriously use the word "evil", as in "the lesser of two evils", when describing candidates, you should not vote for any of those candidates. You will be saying to future candidates, "It's okay for you to be evil, as long as you're less evil than your opponent." That's a sure way to continue to get evil candidates, and it's bad for your soul, to boot.

Mr. Wheeler, I've read your latest rant and find it too foolish to argue with. You think I'm an idiot and a traitor; I think you need a cure rather than an argument. I wish you well, but I choose not to engage further.

I think one of the most harmful effects of telling oneself that one must always vote for the "lesser of two evils" is that one assumes that evils in candidates are comparable. Why assume this? I think there are many non-comparable forms of evil. It's an absolutely classic apples and oranges problem. How do you quantify such things so as to say, "Aha! Because Candidate A has this terrible aspect and Candidate B doesn't have _that particular_ terrible aspect, Candidate A is _overall_ more evil than Candidate B"? I think we need to admit that it may be strictly speaking meaningless in some cases to make such a judgement, and I think this is almost certainly one of those cases.

But there is a kind of self-forcing that goes on. Okay, self, gotta vote for the lesser of two evils. Now, which one is that?? Think think think. Then one makes a list of the terrible evils of A that one can't find in B and concludes, "Got it!" And then one goes telling *everybody* else that *they too* are obliged to vote for A over B, because *I have a list* of evils for A that are not identical in B.

Well, that's just poor reasoning.

I wouldn't *so much* mind "lesser of two evils" reasoning in cases where, really, one candidate isn't evil at all but just imperfect in some way, where the phrase is just being used loosely and there really is a clear-cut case.

But the sweeping use of it to generate duty and to bludgeon oneself and others with just darkens counsel and confuses the mind.

But that's not the end of the story. The original post points out that a Trump presidency wouldn't just attack America and her institutions; it would weaken American conservatism itself, making it harder even to hold true to American principles in the future.

Whereas Hillary Clinton has been flirting with at least one idea that could cause a civil war: an Australian style gun ban. She's been consistent in her desire to ban civilian gun ownership since she hit the national stage. If she gets a Democratic majority in Congress, she will sign any legislation, no matter how radical, that they send her way. And if her husband's years tell us anything, she won't hesitate to use force to back it up. However, unlike the 1990s, a lot of gun owners today have adopted the slogan Molon Labe which scares the Hell out of gun grabbers.

At this point, we're conjecturing about who will be worse based on personalities and past performance. I have no illusions that Trump is an objectively bad candidate. However, I think conservatives will be horrified where this country goes under Clinton. She will stack the SCOTUS, they will ram her will down our throats and I think by the end of her second term we will see at least a few states declare that they are no longer willing to abide by federal law on any matter at all (if not outright secession).

I think you and Lydia are willing to accept the consequences of a Clinton Presidency on principle. I can respect that if that's the case. I don't think most of the #NeverTrump people feel that way. They are doing this out of Trump Derangement Syndrome, not principle. The way I see Trump is that he is a man of incredibly low character, but low character is not the same thing as evil. Clinton is evil in the sense that I truly think the woman would order the mass murder of ten million dissidents without a loss of sleep if she thought it wouldn't end in a coup or an uprising that would topple the entire federal government. Unlike Trump, I think she is an outright sociopath who is only constrained by the coldly calculated likely response to her behavior.

If Trump loses to her because too many people chose this election to stop holding their noses, well it'll never work as an argument again for millions of voters.

Mike, this is a fallacy. (T)Rump has no right to any vote that he cannot win by offering the voter some combination of character / policy / principle / roster of bills to be offered. If he cannot come up with a combination that makes a voter willing to vote for him, he has lost their vote not because they "stopped holding their noses", but because he was unable to give them a reason to vote for him. That the Rodham also didn't give them a reason to vote for her is not, AS SUCH, (T)Rump giving a reason to vote for him. (T)Rump doesn't have a right to get all voters who don't like the Rodham.

There will be other candidates, in other parties. There will be the Constitution Party, for example. There is the old write-in vote. There is leaving the ballot blank for President.

You may be right that if the Rodham is elected, we who don't vote for (T)Rump may rue the day she was elected. But what is also true is that (a) if (T)Rump is elected we'll rue the day, and (b) if (T)Rump is elected those who vote for him may well rue the day. As likely? Nobody can say with certainty just what the odds are for (b). Is the Rodham in it for herself, or for ideological reasons? Which trumps (ha!) in her own mind? Can anyone prove which one?

"he wasn't a conservative "

But is it conservative to keep pushing for expanded low-skill immigration as establishment GOP? And combined with tax cuts for the wealthy and entitlement cuts for everybody else?

Vincent Torley:

Here in Japan, people are absolutely terrified of what his election would mean for regional security.
People are afraid of the unknown (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/how-do-we-know-america-is-anxious-about-a-president-trump-shrinks-and-massage-therapists/2016/03/03/e5b55a22-e0bb-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html). Even in my own far-off land I know people who, despite having little to zero stake in the USA or what happens there, have been emoting about Trump's meteoric rise. It is a fascinating phenomenon.

Lydia:

Wait, wait, the "throne and altar" guy is chiding us for opposing Donald Trump--the biggest example in recent American history of *precisely* the concerns the Founding Fathers had, or anyone else reasonable would have, about the danger that demagoguery will take over democracy through too much direct influence of ignorant and unqualified voters???

For some of us, it is entirely unsurprising that the attempt to have one's cake and eat it - to have both the 'legitimising' consent of the masses while using upper class(es) to suppress the concomitant drawbacks of empowering the hoi polloi, being contradictory and unstable, is unrealistic and bound to fail despite the attempts at separating powers; as we have seen the choice in this election cycle has essentially been between aristocrats and demagogues.

Demagoguery (and populism) is the natural end of mass suffrage no matter how much lipstick or how many stopgap measures one tries to put in place to turn the system from 'democracy' into 'democratic whatever'.

"he wasn't a conservative"

But is it conservative to keep pushing for expanded low-skill immigration as establishment GOP? And combined with tax cuts for the wealthy and entitlement cuts for everybody else?

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean.

Is it suggesting that the establishment GOP is not conservative? (I agree that it's generally not.)

Is it suggesting that tax cuts "for the wealthy" and "entitlement" cuts are not conservative? (I would disagree with that.)

Is it suggesting that if I'm not for Trump, I also shouldn't be for anyone else in this election because they favor these policies? (That seems incorrect.)

As an aside:

I'm a general supporter of subsidiarity, and believe that some things I would reject at the federal level would be acceptable at the state, county, or local level.

I put "for the wealthy" in quotes because the wealthy pay the lion's share of taxes, so any tax cut is going to be disproportionately for them; the use of the phrase is propagandistic rather than enlightening.

I put "entitlement" in quotes because people generally not entitled to the things we call "entitlement", or at least not from the [federal] government.

I think you and Lydia are willing to accept the consequences of a Clinton Presidency on principle. I can respect that if that's the case. I don't think most of the #NeverTrump people feel that way.

I'm watching them agonize on my Facebook wall. This is the first election where they are actually learning about the concept of principle in voting. Sometimes they even denied that there was such a thing before. They're being explicit about it. It's a very healthy thing. Finally for people to say, "There has to be a line drawn somewhere."

Charles Murray from a recent podcast on why he won't vote for Trump:

“Look, if Hillary Clinton is elected, and by the way I don’t think she’ll be nearly as bad as Obama, certainly not in foreign policy, probably not domestic policy, put aside that. If Hillary Clinton is elected, the Democrats own her mistakes. “If God forbid, Donald Trump should become president of the United States, the Republican Party owns his mistakes and you know what, there is every reason to believe from everything we know about Donald Trump’s prior experiences, successes and failures that he will make horrific mistakes, probably impeachable mistakes, the Republican Party will own them. “The idea that if you elect Donald Trump, you are in any way saving the Republican Party is delusory and it ascribes to Donald Trump an expectation of functionality in the president of the United States that is the ultimate triumph of hope over experience.”

That's excellent, Jeffrey.

I think Murray, like a lot of #NeverTrump folks, probably does not fully grasp the significance of the national security scandals around her. In terms of criminal violation, she is actually in the same league as Snowden and Manning, not Petraeus. When you combine that with what she did in Libya and her reaction to the dead, she is the most contemptible candidate for CiC we've ever had. The very fact that he thinks she will be a lot better than Obama on foreign policy is insane. Obama's primary problem is that he is feckless and indecisive. She is decisive in all of the wrong ways. I think he is also ignoring another elephant in the room which is that even as SecState, she was using foreign policy to enrich herself via "donations" from many questionable states.

None of that is a positive reason to vote for Trump, but just another reminder that a lot of #NeverTrump people seem to be so focused on Trump's low character that they seem to be downplaying precisely how bad Clinton actually is. She is not Gore, Kerry or even Obama. She is the pinnacle of DC corruption in 2016.

Mike T,

For what it's worth, I still hold out hope that Hillary will be indicted before November -- I actually bet a dinner on it with a poker friend (he's a liberal, so maybe the bet was my heart talking my head out of a dinner!)

Anyway, here is a recent good article on just how bad and serious Clinton's mishandling of the emails has been from a national security law perspective (this guy was a former NSA analyst and has been writing about the scandal since last year):

http://observer.com/2016/03/hillary-has-an-nsa-problem/

Speaking of Trump Derangement Syndrome which was mentioned upthread, here is a segment from the Bill Bennett radio a couple weeks ago with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner discussing that topic and Trump's narcissism.

http://www.billbennett.com/wp-content/uploads/DrMichaelWelner_3_3_16.mp3

Jeff,

There's also evidence that she was found with human intelligence on her machine:

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/22/email-on-clinton-server-may-have-compromised-human-intel-sources/

This is all part of the reason why I am left wondering how these people who are just now discovering principle can look at her and not see how the only thing she's qualified for is cleaning the toilets at Ft. Leavenworth for the rest of her life.

On top of that, emails were leaked that show she directed people to strip classification markings off to give them plausible deniability. (Ironically it's legally impossible to have plausibility deniability in this manner)

Mike, I agree with pretty much everything that you're saying, but I can't accept that these are reasons to vote for Trump. I won't validate or legitimize someone who shouldn't be validated or legitimized. I won't do harm to the country so that good may come of it.

The whole idea that a litany of reasons why "A is evil" constitutes a reason that supports "Vote for B" makes sense only in a _very specific_ background context.

That context is that B is someone whom people of good conscience can endorse for the position in question. B doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't have to agree with all of his positions. But he has to be someone whom honorable people can endorse, of whom they can say, "I support B for President" or whatever the position is, without shame. There has to be something positive about B that genuinely qualifies him for the position. That, at a minimum.

Given that context, suppose that someone has some sort of hang-up about one of B's positions. Maybe this voter thinks that issue is more important than it is. So that voter is exaggerating the importance of his disagreement with B on that issue and emphatically saying, "I could _never_ vote for B because of x issue."

In that situation, one might give a litany of the evil characteristics of A in the hopes of waking the other person up to his own lack of perspective, his own exaggerated idea of B, that causes him to think that B is someone whom he "cannot" support in good conscience.

Myself, I usually find that doesn't work anyway, because if someone has that much of a bee in his bonnet about x issue, you probably can't reason with him. But that's how it's supposed to work.

But none of that context applies in the case of Trump, so the argument "ad Hillarium" is not relevant to "Vote for Trump," even if he ends up being the Republican nominee.

Although I don't intend to vote for DT, I would have been willing to vote this year for what some folks call a "RINO" as I would not have in prior years. This is because I now see voting as an act of self-defense. The recent determination of the liberal establishment to persecute by destroying the livelihood of any business owner who is unwilling to celebrate sexual perversion convinced me that I can in good conscience vote to increase the power of the Republican party even though I am in principle opposed to democracy, and even if the Republican candidate is not at all worthy of a principled vote from me. So long as I believe that he will, if only as a matter of self-interest, not promote the persecution of morally sane people, not install judges that hold to such an ideology, etc.

But perhaps I'm overreacting. So let's try a hypothetical. Suppose some candidate makes it part of his official platform that he will round up all the Scotch-Irish and have them burned at the stake, and suppose he's likely to be able to do so if he wins. Can I vote for the only other candidate who has a realistic chance of winning even if there is not "something positive about [him] that genuinely qualifies him for the position"?

I'm not sure how you will answer, but I suspect you might say that you were describing general principles in politics, which are not designed for extreme cases like that. But it's my impression that most folks who despise DT but are nevertheless willing to vote for him against HC see the situation as, not the same to be sure, but relevantly similar (though to a much lesser degree) in that leftists are not just trying to establish foolish policies, or aggrandize themselves, but are out to destroy morally sane people. You yourself have written perceptively on the totalitarian aims of leftists: the really scary stuff in Scotland, for instance. How much longer do we have until a real effort is made by US governments to take away children from parents who are instilling what they will call "hatred of gays" in them? And we know that phrase won't just be applied to Westboro Baptist types. The threat can be exaggerated, and I'm not trying to make it appear quantitatively worse than it really is. But if it is a quantitative difference and not a qualitative one, ... if we are in a situation where voting can legitimately be a pragmatic act of self-defense, and defense of one's neighbor, rather than principled support for a candidate, then the only reason not to vote for Trump is the fact that getting him in office is not, as best we can tell, likely to diminish the leftist threat. In the long run it may make things worse. Or not. I would be merely guessing; which is why a pragmatic vote for DT isn't in my judgment called for. But I would say it is a judgment call.

Suppose (please everybody, note that this is a _hypothetical example_ put forward in reply to Christopher's question!) that Candidate A has promised to round up all Scotch-Irish and have them burned at the stake, but isn't a pedophile and has nothing against Germans, and that Candidate B is a self-professed, unrepentant pedophile who says he will make a great effort to refrain from molesting children while in office "because it would be a bad idea for that time" and who has said that he would do his best to round up all people of German extraction and have them put in prison, but not burned at the stake. But he has nothing against Scots-Irish and doesn't plan to do anything to them.

My point in making this comparison is that you can't vote for either.

Christopher, this is what I meant by saying that this "count the evil units, because there must be a lesser evil" approach is completely wrong-headed. The two candidates I have described cannot be put on some kind "evilness scale." Oh, hmm, let's see. How do we rate the perversion of Candidate B, together with his evil intentions, against the evil intentions of Candidate A? A is not a pervert, but B doesn't intend to burn anybody at the stake. Gee, how do we weigh these against each other?

The point is that you *can't*. There is not some metric on which you can decide that you are justified in voting for either of these. It's absolutely classic apples and oranges. It's just doing harm to your mind to try to force yourself to compare them.

Similarly, there is no metric on which one can compare H.C.'s committed leftism (combined with the fact that she has some notion of how to comport herself in public) to D.T.'s utter selfishness and lack of principle rather than *committed leftism* (combined with the fact that he likes to behave disgustingly in public, disdains all standards, and that his followers love, emulate, and build upon his worst behavior). And of course there is far more that one could say about either of them. Those are just short little lists to show the fact that there is no metric on which to compare them.

And yes, while we're at it, I do not at all think that a President Trump would "diminish the leftist threat." For a lot of reasons, including his own utter pragmatism and selfishness and the point that Jake has made that he would further corrupt and tarnish conservatives, thus making it that much harder for them to defend themselves in the future.

if we are in a situation where voting can legitimately be a pragmatic act of self-defense, and defense of one's neighbor, rather than principled support for a candidate, then the only reason not to vote for Trump is the fact that getting him in office is not, as best we can tell, likely to diminish the leftist threat. In the long run it may make things worse. Or not. I would be merely guessing; which is why a pragmatic vote for DT isn't in my judgment called for. But I would say it is a judgment call.

Christopher, there is a judgment call in all of this. I accept that. I also agree with your point that getting (T)Rump will not necessarily "diminish the leftist threat", for a variety of reasons. If (as it is somewhere between plausible to probable) that (T)Rump will do something impeachable, he could actually be impeached, thereby destroying Republican chances for the next presidency, he may actually help the leftist threat. Alternatively, the effort of Republicans to keep him out of actual impeachment may make such a mish-mash of the congressional power to hold the president accountable that we are never again able to use it on a leftist tyranny-leaning president. These are all the sorts of "what if's" that go into considering how damaging a (T)Rump or a Rodham will be: not just what they chose to do, but what will follow in response that is, also, detrimental to the political order. Both are poisonous. There is no CERTAINTY as to which will, in the long run, be more damaging to the political order.

Another element of the same sort of consideration is what will happen with a (T)Rump nomination: will there be a semi-viable third-party run? That sort of thing can alter politics for a decade or two, by doing odd things to a party. It can either splinter the party, or permanently squelch the minority portion, depending on other factors. See this article:

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/on-politics/2016/03/american-conservatives-face-difficult-choice-2016/126633/?oref=river

But NOT trying to rip out the decayed part of a failing party is a guarantee of never doing anything about the failure. The Republican Party itself came about because the former Whig party could not see its way clear to making slavery a critical issue. Where are the Whigs now? So, there's always a judgment call about how damaging this or that guy's loss will be, in addition to how damaging his win might be, down the road.

The Republicans are in the unenviable position of being the smaller party in a two-party system. I have been saying for years that one of the things we need - one of the things envisioned as necessary to our constitutional order - is MORE VIABLE PARTIES. The American system was never meant to work on a two-party system. It CAN'T work well if one of those parties is notably smaller than the other, it then becomes in reality just a slow moving one party system. Which, given the trend since FDR toward ever more liberalism, is exactly what has been happening. If Republicans want to really have a shot at making itself felt, they need for national and state politics to be broken up into at least 5 parties, preferably 7 or 8. Which, ideally, do not ever permanently align into 2 blocks, but rather where they align into 2 sides on one set of issues, and into 2 completely different blocks on other sets of issues. And sometimes on an issue they remain in 3 or more blocks in which no position can achieve a majority.

But in reality, the time for that to be a truly effective mechanism for stopping the leftward drift is now past: the majority of people do not want an America with the rosy economic picture of, say, 1960, if it comes with the price tag of personal responsibility and sexual restraint. They do not want the principled freedom of John 8:32, and they are willing to be led in the soft chains of license and debauchery by those selling them bread and circuses while setting the chains around their necks.

I too fear the prospect of an American future of true, overt, official government hostility to Christianity, with prison and concentration camps and "re-education" camps. Especially for my children. But I fear even more the frog boiled slowly, the gradual seduction of my children and their children, ending with their entering willingly into the maw of the beast. Sometimes that means taking a stand early rather than late.

For some of us, it is entirely unsurprising that the attempt to have one's cake and eat it - to have both the 'legitimising' consent of the masses while using upper class(es) to suppress the concomitant drawbacks of empowering the hoi polloi, being contradictory and unstable, is unrealistic and bound to fail despite the attempts at separating powers;

GW, are you saying that you oppose the concept of mixed government, i.e. of government in which there are elements of monarchical power, elements of aristocratic authority, and elements of power in "the people"?

Aquinas again takes up the issue of limiting governmental power in the Summa. In the I-II, 105.1, he deals with the Mosaic law and declares that the government of ancient Israel was well ordered, established directly by God for his chosen people. He describes this well-ordered government as a kind of mixed constitution, that is, a regime that contained elements from all the good simple forms of government, monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Aquinas identifies mixed government as one in which “one is given the power to preside over all; while under him are others having governing powers; and yet a government of this kind is shared by all, both because all are eligible to govern, and because the rulers are chosen by all.”

Mind you, merely having mixed government is not the same as having universal suffrage. I do think that there are going to be grave distortions in a body politic that has universal suffrage. I would be very willing to restrict the vote to just a portion - if we could figure out a way of doing so that would not be more risky than the risks of universal (sort of) suffrage. Maybe first off restricting the vote to 30-year olds and up. Or limiting the vote to those who have a positive net worth - as proven by their tax payments. Or who are not on the government dole (and this would include hidden dolists like NPR and other non-governmental functions).

The Republicans are in the unenviable position of being the smaller party in a two-party system. I have been saying for years that one of the things we need - one of the things envisioned as necessary to our constitutional order - is MORE VIABLE PARTIES. The American system was never meant to work on a two-party system. It CAN'T work well if one of those parties is notably smaller than the other, it then becomes in reality just a slow moving one party system. Which, given the trend since FDR toward ever more liberalism, is exactly what has been happening.

This may be off-topic, and Jake may justly rebuke my imposition, but in this I disagree with you, Tony. Not your observation of a slow-motion trend toward liberalism, but in your prescription of additional parties as a viable remedy.

The problem is not the traditional American two-party system, as envisioned by Publius, but the transformation of the two-party system along liberal lines: into two ideological conglomerate parties faced off against one another in massive quadrennial plebiscites. The traditional two-party system -- prior to, let us say, 1965 -- had only inchoate and transitory ideological components, and they concentrated around a small constellation of issues up for public debate -- Jacobinism, territorial expansion, tariffs, slavery. Meanwhile, on other ideological issues, loyal party men were all over the map, often disagreed intensely and these matters were frequently hammered out within the parties themselves, never reaching the kind of national plebiscitary up-or-down finality as the elections with which we have now become all too familiar. A classic example is the constitutionalist and pacific faction known as the Tertium Quids within the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. Indeed, we might say likewise that the embryo of the GOP was Lincoln's faction within the Whig Party; and a huge proportion of the political groundwork for a coalition to oppose expansion of slavery into the territories occurred before the issue even "went national," in the sense of being established as a big yes-or-no vote for the whole country.

Now, why does this matter? Because preserving as wide scope for explosive political issues to be hammered out at the level of party platforms and intra-party factional maneuvering, in other words at the level of deliberation, persuasion and compromise, protects us from the dangers to liberty when these issues can only be resolved at the level of government, where dictation replaces deliberation, rigid discipline replaces persuasion, and coercion replaces compromise. Thus the two-party system fits into the grander structure of American constitutionalism by providing forums for government by "deliberation and choice" as against "accident and force."

The genius of this system was seriously wounded when progressives managed, almost unnoticed, to wring from the old sprawling aggregations of interests, factions, opinions, and philosophies, known as political parties, a rigid and concentrated ideological organ which is more about imposing an orthodoxy by whatever means necessary, than it is about negotiating a coalition settlement that can achieve unity on the great issues at stake while leaving everything else to the realm of liberty.

The culmination of rigid ideological orthodoxy as the raison d'etre for political parties was of course the old Soviet Union, with its fearsome and brutal purges over the most infinitesimal of deviations from the orthodoxy.

All that said, I will add, Tony, that there is a case to be made that your prescription of more viable parties could possibly move us back toward our older and sounder party system; but my fear is that the addition of one or more parties would only accentuate the ideological rigidity, while further eroding the ground for the cultivation of deliberation and compromise.

Suppose some candidate makes it part of his official platform that he will round up all the Scotch-Irish and have them burned at the stake, and suppose he's likely to be able to do so if he wins. Can I vote for the only other candidate who has a realistic chance of winning even if there is not "something positive about [him] that genuinely qualifies him for the position"?

It would be a great folly to vote in such an election, particularly if you are a Scotch-Irish. You would be more prudent to flee or arrange for self-defense, especially communally i.e. arrange an armed resistance group.
Americans have a strange fetish that elections can resolve any and all of national issues, despite the great example of (a) slavery that was only eradicated after a war and (b) national independence, also obtained after a war.

More small-minded foolishness from people who cannot see the bigger picture. The time to fight brashness, coarseness, and ego-driven politics was sometime in the middle of last century. Had the 1965 immigration and civil rights acts, St. Reagan's brilliant amnesty of 4 million future Democrat voters, and the sabotage of true right-wing movements not occurred; we may very well be living in a country where Ward Cleaver runs against Andy Griffith. Such an America, if it ever existed, was lost a long time ago. Leftist protest groups attack police and innocent conservatives with impunity, homoactivists use the courts to bankrupt private Christian business owners, American citizens are losing their jobs, schools, and cities to illegal Mexicans who spit on our culture and sovereignty--and I'm supposed to care that the one guy in national politics who fights for me once said something mean about Megyn Kelly?

we may very well be living in a country where Ward Cleaver runs against Andy Griffith.
the one guy in national politics who fights for me once said something mean about Megyn Kelly?

At the risk of adding to my reputation as a blogospheric meanie, what a bottom-level set of deep-dyed stupid comments.

No, you fool, this man does not fight for you. And your characterization of his utter vileness, not just of expression but also of mind, as "saying something mean about" one woman or as merely his not being "Ward Cleaver or Andy Griffith" is a _perfect_ example of what I mean about the loss of soul that Donald Trump is causing.

I imagine that at one time you were the sort of man who knew that the many, many things Donald Trump says, but more, the way he thinks, the way he _is_, were worthy of nothing from honorable men but contempt. Even to cross swords with him in a duel would sully the sword of any real man who did so. Presumably at some point in your life you would have recognized him for the low-life he is on the basis of _numerous_ statements and even boasts that manifest nothing but soulless self-love, God-denying arrogance, bullying, lust for power, lewdness, and gluttonous self-gratification of all sorts.

But this candidacy, and this candidate, have motivated you to erase that knowledge, to suppress it, to still any residual instinct of disgust, and to mock it in others. To downplay the truth. And even to laud this person as your champion.

*That*, my friends, is why it would be a disaster for Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee and a worse disaster for him to be given the Presidency for which he is luridly and laughably disqualified.

Because it would make more people like GW tell themselves and others the sort of things GW just said in this thread. And worse, of course.

Because such a candidacy or, God forbid, such a presidency is a mind-stealer and a soul-stealer among those who once knew better. To make men hate and despise decency and excuse and even love evil is something the left has been trying to do in its own way for a long time. Trump has succeeded in it almost overnight among all too many of those who think of themselves as being "on the right."

It is a tragedy of the first order.

Jake Freiwald,

it would weaken American conservatism itself,

And that is more important and urgent than stopping Hillary Clinton from stacking Supreme Court judges?
Wasn't the chief argument given for decades that Republicans must be voted in, even if they weren't true conservatives, for the sake of SC judges?
And yet, faced with Trump, you are willing to risk the absolute surety of highly unsuitable SC judges. What precisely you find un-conservative in Trump save for his dissent from the economic orthodoxy of the Republicans?

Lydia,

his utter vileness

is the only candidate in either party, except for Bernie Sanders, who recognizes American responsibility for the humanitarian disaster in the Middle East.
Conrad Black

And for this, the conservatives do not forgive him.

the one guy in national politics who fights for me
is the only candidate in either party, except for Bernie Sanders, who recognizes American responsibility for the humanitarian disaster in the Middle East.

(T)Rump has repeatedly shown that he does not care about anyone but himself. If he blabs about "fighting for you" or about "the humanitarian disaster", he is doing it calculatedly as a ploy to win votes. Before 2015, he did not care that immigration was destroying America. Before 2015, he did not care about the US role in the Middle East, except to the extent it cost him money one way or another. He cares in 2016 because YOU care. In 2017, he will no longer give a flying fffflatulence about it. Look to his past. Look to his character. These do not lie. He does.

Americans have a strange fetish that elections can resolve any and all of national issues, despite the great example of (a) slavery that was only eradicated after a war and (b) national independence, also obtained after a war.

BI, you have a strange fetish for Americans to run to civil war over any and all national issues, despite the awful example of its previous one. I dare say you haven't the least clue what evils such a war would entail. Nor have you bothered to notice the evils that winning that previous one did to the US, not the least being the outcome of setting us on our current anti-federalist anti-conserving course. (And, even though we might once have won such a war, we have no clear reason to think so now). You have a strange hankering for war given your pacifistic inclination.

GW, are you saying that you oppose the concept of mixed government, i.e. of government in which there are elements of monarchical power, elements of aristocratic authority, and elements of power in "the people"?

I am saying that is hypocritical for any political system to proclaim both that it is necessary and good for the "will of the people" to prevail and that "the will of the people" needs to be restrained. Such a system makes claims such as 'the only legitimate rule is by consent of the people'/'it is necessary for the people's will to be enacted for society to flourish'/'everyone should have the right to vote and have their vote count' and also 'the masses are stupid/uneducated/easily misled so there needs to be some upper class to neutralise "the will of the people"'. This critique is not limited to claims but also extends to systems that de facto enforce and enact this contradiction. Naturally, other types of mixed systems do not fall to this critique.

And incidentally, I am not GW.

What precisely you find un-conservative in Trump save for his dissent from the economic orthodoxy of the Republicans?

Gee, I cannot _imagine_! Maybe his crony capitalism. (I know you don't believe this, but real conservatives detest crony capitalism.) Maybe the strip club in his casino. Maybe his statement that he never asks God for forgiveness for anything. Maybe his love of making comments how sexy his daughter is. Maybe his long-time support of Planned Parenthood, which, even in his current allegedly "converted" state makes him continue talking about all the "wonderful" things they do like an uncontrollable facial tic. Maybe the interview where he assured a lesbian reporter that they could count on a "President Trump" to maintain the great gains they have made in the courts. (Of course, he also did _that_ in his usual snake-oil style, so who knows what to believe?) There are so many things to choose from that one's fingers would fall off if one typed the entire list. This is just a teensy sample.

Tony:

Before 2015, he did not care that immigration was destroying America.

Ann Coulter:

At the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2013 -- about the same time the Republican National Committee was paying $10 million for a report instructing the GOP to "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" -- there were only two speakers who opposed amnesty: moi -- and Trump. (And that was only because the organizers didn't know what we were going to say, so they couldn't stop us.)


Ted Cruz spoke at that CPAC. But not a word against amnesty.


In more than a dozen tweets that year -- the very year that Marco Rubio nearly destroyed the nation with his amnesty bill, as the "conservative" media cheered him on -- Trump repeatedly denounced the maniacal push for amnesty:


-- "Immigration reform is fine -- but don't rush to give away our country! Sounds like that's what's happening." (Jan. 30, 2013)


-- "Amnesty is suicide for Republicans. Not one of those 12 million who broke our laws will vote Republican. Obama is laughing at @GOP." (March 19, 2013)


-- "Now AP is banning the term 'illegal immigrants.' What should we call them? 'Americans'?! This country's political press is amazing!" (April 3, 2013)


-- "TRUMP: IMMIGRATION BILL A REPUBLICAN 'DEATH WISH'"; bit.ly/18QRQjA via @BreitbartNews by @mboyle1 (June 4, 2013)


Two years later, Trump announced he was running for president in a speech about "Mexican rapists," pledging to deport illegal aliens and build a wall.

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2016-01-27.html

Andrew E.,

His comments about immigrants and amnesty are more...nuanced than Ann suggests:

http://www.redstate.com/diary/Anteater/2016/02/25/trumps-immigration-heart-dealing-lives-right-thing./

Once again, who knows exactly what Trump would do once in office -- he seems to be very flexible when it comes to his own moral principles!

Bedarz,

it would weaken American conservatism itself,

And that is more important and urgent than stopping Hillary Clinton from stacking Supreme Court judges?

Yes. Remember, when you have AIDS, it's not the AIDS itself that kills you, but the other diseases that you get when your body can't defend itself anymore.

Wasn't the chief argument given for decades that Republicans must be voted in, even if they weren't true conservatives, for the sake of SC judges?

That wasn't my argument. That said, someone who is flawed but acceptable is better than someone who is unacceptably flawed. By definition, in fact.

And if someone would choose a conservative Supreme Court judge, that makes him less flawed.

And yet, faced with Trump, you are willing to risk the absolute surety of highly unsuitable SC judges.

1. You seem to assume that selecting Trump doesn't risk the absolute surety of highly unsuitable SC judges. Since Trump has very poor polling numbers against Hillary, that may not be true: We may still be stuck with Hillary and her highly unsuitable SC judges.

2. You seem to assume that Trump himself won't select highly unsuitable SC judges. We have no idea what Trump will do in this area, but we have pretty strong indicators that he won't appoint suitable SC judges.

What precisely you find un-conservative in Trump save for his dissent from the economic orthodoxy of the Republicans?

Please pay attention.

I am saying that is hypocritical for any political system to proclaim both that it is necessary and good for the "will of the people" to prevail and that "the will of the people" needs to be restrained. Such a system makes claims such as 'the only legitimate rule is by consent of the people'/'it is necessary for the people's will to be enacted for society to flourish'

The American constitutional order has never been one in which it was supposed to be that will of the people" should prevail full stop. That was never its nature, and that was never its properly proclaimed purpose. Anybody who claimed it (without its due and necessary qualifiers) was a demagogue, frankly. This American order was designed to frustrate "the will of the people" in certain respects, e.g. when a majority but not the supermajority of 75% (and that's a percentage of the states, not people) wanted to change the Constitution.

The issue of whether "the only legitimate rule is by consent of the people", (again without any qualification), is neither here nor there to whether a government can licitly and legitimately pursue a course of action that 51% of the people disfavor. Nor is the theory that "the only legitimate rule is by consent of the people" the only theory on which the American government can be said to be constituted - with the consequence that said government could be the legitimate authority even granted the theory were proven wrong.

This critique is not limited to claims but also extends to systems that de facto enforce and enact this contradiction.

But it does appear to apply to ALL mixed forms that are described by St. Thomas's comment

“one is given the power to preside over all; while under him are others having governing powers; and yet a government of this kind is shared by all, both because all are eligible to govern, and because the rulers are chosen by all.”

Unless, like I suggested, we allow "chosen by all" to mean "by the people generally" and not "by every single person no matter what condition, including infants and idiots and the criminally insane".

I think that what you are saying is a "contradiction" I am saying just needs qualification: "elements of democracy" can subsist in a situation where "the people" chose, but not EVERY part of the people equally.

Tony:

I think that what you are saying is a "contradiction" I am saying just needs qualification

As I pointed out in my first comment, the attempt to have one's cake and eat it is centuries old: to attempt some sort of balance between the contradictory impulses that 'we must have a mass election at the center of our system because the will of the people must matter and legitimise rule' and 'the will of the masses is ignorant/uneducated/irrational/easily manipulable/will result in evil mob rule so we must severely restrain it'. From such a compromising approach 'just so' solutions result that are unstable because the two contradicting impulses pull the society in opposite directions, with the current election cycle serving as a convenient illustration with its stark choice between demagogues and aristocrats.

we must have a mass election at the center of our system

The original elections in our country weren't mass elections, not by a long shot. You should also probably read the Federalist Papers, consider the careful checks on democracy enshrined carefully and deliberately in the 1789 constitution itself, and note thereby the careful checks and balances that either were deliberately put in place or were in place de facto (because of the states' strong limitations on who could vote) to avoid "mass elections." GJ, you talk about the American founding as if it was run by a bunch of childish, slogan-swinging fools who did nothing but rant about the gloriousness of democracy. That sort of caricature would be an acceptable misunderstanding if your entire civics education consisted of Schoolhouse Rock videos and 5th grade history curriculum, accompanied by a couple of phrases selectively snipped from the Declaration of Independence, but I imagine by this time you have been capable of getting more info. than that.

I agree with Lydia about the founding.

It's not clear to me that "such a compromising approach" isn't just a matter of finding balance rather than a contradiction.

The voice of the citizen was important even in the Roman Empire and is central to the idea of democracy today. Constraints on the majority, and even on kings, have a long history and are still important today. (What are the rulings on gay "marriage" and so on if not abuses of the constraints we expect to be put on the majority?)

Some people seem to think that the act of casting a vote is fundamentally different from other methods of making one's feelings known as a citizen. I'm not convinced. But I'm also very much not convinced that a more democratic government makes for a better government. Among other things, we should welcome the authority of the natural law and the selection, perhaps non-democratically, of people who should interpret it, to prevent the incorrect judgments of the masses.

As I pointed out in my first comment, the attempt to have one's cake and eat it is centuries old

And as I pointed out, St. Thomas's take on it is even older than modern "consent of the people" theory: your answer is unresponsive. ALL mixed forms that involve a "democratic element" thereby involve the will of the many in some sense. If a government that involves the will of the many is, PER SE, the problem, then you have a problem with St. Thomas's ideal of mixed government.

'we must have a mass election at the center of our system because the will of the people must matter and legitimise rule'

If you will stop trying to import the notion that it is "consent" of the mass of the people "legitimizes rule" into the distinct notion that a democratic element in government involves the many expressing their will at least in some respect, I will stop crying foul to your point. These are often pushed as inherently related, by people who don't know better. They are NOT INTRINSICALLY bound up together, you can have a democratic element in government without demanding a theory that the "consent of the masses is what legitimizes rule."

Are you OK with a mixed governmental form that involves a democratic element that DOES NOT claim it is only consent by the mass of the people that legitimizes rule?

What if that democratic element involves elections by the people at large? (If not, in what manner would you prefer that the democratic element be instantiated?)

No, you fool, this man does not fight for you. And your characterization of his utter vileness, not just of expression but also of mind, as "saying something mean about" one woman or as merely his not being "Ward Cleaver or Andy Griffith" is a _perfect_ example of what I mean about the loss of soul that Donald Trump is causing.

By exposing the traitorous duplicity of the Beltway establishment for what it is, Trump certainly has fought for patriotic Americans who don't want to see their country destroyed. But don't ask this fool; ask Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, Duncan Hunter, Joe Arapaio, Phyllis Schalfly, Ben Carson, Paul LePage, or any number of conservative, sensible, Christian Americans you shrew. Negative demographic circumstances, wholly the fault of quite civil and temperate conservatives, have given leftists the once-Republican state of California and are turning other once-conservative areas blue as well. The working class has seen its jobs lost and wages stagnate in terms of real dollars as it faces increased competition from both foreign manufacturers and mass immigration. You talk about the loss of "soul" without even a clue of what has been done, with tacit "conservative" support, to millions of Americans.

I imagine that at one time you were the sort of man who knew that the many, many things Donald Trump says, but more, the way he thinks, the way he _is_, were worthy of nothing from honorable men but contempt. Even to cross swords with him in a duel would sully the sword of any real man who did so. Presumably at some point in your life you would have recognized him for the low-life he is on the basis of _numerous_ statements and even boasts that manifest nothing but soulless self-love, God-denying arrogance, bullying, lust for power, lewdness, and gluttonous self-gratification of all sorts.

"Bullying." Really? That is part of your criticism? At any rate, downplaying Trump's character hardly moves the needle because a) his supporters know what we're getting with him and thus have already weighed that into our choice and b) it ignores the character flaws of other candidates; flaws which include deception, cowardice, treachery, weakness, gullibility, and passivity.

*That*, my friends, is why it would be a disaster for Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee and a worse disaster for him to be given the Presidency for which he is luridly and laughably disqualified.

Because it would make more people like GW tell themselves and others the sort of things GW just said in this thread. And worse, of course.

Because such a candidacy or, God forbid, such a presidency is a mind-stealer and a soul-stealer among those who once knew better. To make men hate and despise decency and excuse and even love evil is something the left has been trying to do in its own way for a long time. Trump has succeeded in it almost overnight among all too many of those who think of themselves as being "on the right."

And we close it off with sophomoric consequentialist moralizing. Trump can't win or else some people to the right of me will think they're right about America's impending doom. Decency will disappear from America (even though no decency has ever been shown Trump in this campaign). They may even call a homosexual a bad word (gasp).

his supporters know what we're getting with him and thus have already weighed that into our choice

I'm afraid there is some truth to that. That is the problem. Precisely the problem.

My and Jake's reasoning is precisely the opposite of consequentialist. On the contrary, our reasoning is that voting for such a man is wrong on principle and that the damage it does to his supporters manifests that fact.

People complain about Trump but I remember General George Smith Patton, who was brash, rude, egotistical---and yet was a dynamite General and victorious. Sometimes winners are like that. Trump and Patton are cut from the same mold. He is a leader, an alpha male.

What John Kasich is a RINO, a gamma male. He belongs in the Democrat Party and that is what the RINO Rockefeller Republican Party has been pushing all these years. I'm sick of RINOs. They are not winners but losers.

Ted Cruz entered the race in March and said nothing about Immigration, Wall or deportation. Trump entered the race in June and said building a Wall, deportation and stopping Muslim immigration. Those are all Conservative ideas. He was also Man enough, Alpha enough, to say that. What other candidate did that? None.

Ted Cruz for all of his supposed "constitutionalism" is not a Natural Born citizen. His father was a Cuban citizen and he was born in Canada. He was born a Canadian citizen. So for all of this talk of whose a real "conservative" is nonsense. Cruz is not a Natural Born Citizen. I've written a paper about that: he Republican Party's Response to the Natural Born Citizen Clause: Cowardice, Hypocrisy and Perfidy
https://www.academia.edu/23179986/The_Republican_Partys_Response_to_the_Natural_Born_Citizen_Clause

I don't know how people call themselves conservatives and then don't pay attention to the Constitution!

Wheeler, you rant and you rave as if raising your pitch or increasing your volume would make your claims more right. It's still ranting and raving silliness.

Patton may have been just the kind of man you want as general: at least he knew something about the art of war, having learned it through long apprenticeship. (Doesn't mean he was the kind of man you want as president.) Trump has not learned the art of war, or the art of governing, or the art of diplomacy, or anything else specific to the presidency. One doubts if he has ever read Article 2 of the Constitution. If being rich and an "alpha male" is all you need, then everyone from Al Capone to Michael Jordan to Sly Stallone should have been right in there.

What John Kasich is a RINO...Ted Cruz entered the race

It may have escaped your notice, but this post was about people turning against Trump, and NOT about turning to Kasich (yawn, shudder) or Cruz.

Social conservatives need to accept that GOP is the party of Big Business. Witness how promptly all the religious liberty bills folded up once the Big Business showed their opposition. Why must the Right care about Walmart profits? Walmart has shown itself to be an enemy. Aquinas is passe. Now it is Carl Schmitt and a robust application of the friend-enemy distinction.
Trump is the alt-right rising. And there is a history of mutual misunderstanding between the alt-right and conservative movement. Perhaps it is better if alt-right gets this chance to discredit itself. Otherwise it might rise with greater animus the next time.

Tony,
Even a pacifistically-inclined person can see
1) His pacifistic inclinations are inappropriate to the moment and need to be suppressed.
2) Even if he is not interested in war, war is interested in him.

Lydia:

The original elections in our country weren't mass elections, not by a long shot.

Precisely, the Founding Fathers tried to fulfill a fraction of that impulse ('we must have a mass election at the center of our system because the will of the people must matter and legitimise rule') while suppressing the rest. But that is unstable and untenable, as I have been pointing out; look at what you have now and where it's heading.

Jake Freivald:

It's not clear to me that "such a compromising approach" isn't just a matter of finding balance rather than a contradiction.

The contradiction exists; the compromising approach is just trying to make things work anyway.

Tony:
I'm not sure why you keep bringing up Aquinas' view. It's not holy writ to me.

If you will stop trying to import the notion that it is "consent" of the mass of the people "legitimizes rule" into the distinct notion that a democratic element in government involves the many expressing their will at least in some respect,
If you will stop beating your wife...
Are you OK with a mixed governmental form that involves a democratic element that DOES NOT claim it is only consent by the mass of the people that legitimizes rule?
My comments have been directed against mass democracy, including those that try to limit it to part of the masses. Is this going to be something like 'voting amongst the aristocrats'? If so, as above, my critique only applies to the systems it targets and not against those it doesn't.
This American order was designed to frustrate "the will of the people" in certain respects

The Will of the People aka General Will does not equate to the will of 50%+1. It is expressed by the ruling element of the nation. Even if the ruling element be just one individual. Truly did Hitler express the General Will of the German nation. The clarification can be found in Belloc's French Revolution.

Jake Freivald

Some people seem to think that the act of casting a vote is fundamentally different from other methods of making one's feelings known as a citizen. I'm not convinced.

As we've discussed elsewhere, casting a vote in mass elections is useless as making your feelings known.

Tony,

fetish for Americans to run to civil war over any and all national issues

Not any issue. A very specific example was given of a community facing explicit genocide. You think it unjustified for such a community to actively resist its genocide? And to wait patiently for the majority to say whether it should be killed off or not?

Now it is Carl Schmitt and a robust application of the friend-enemy distinction.

If the person who by every objective factor is functionally the high priest of Mammon in American culture is your "Christian friend" then your distinction is a cloud of spurious confusions.
http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-nobody-reads-bible-more-than-me-john-kerry-158651/

Thank you, Step2. That's kind of what I wanted to say, but you said it better.

Drudge and others are a great example of what I've been talking about: The election of Trump would cause the "right-wing" media and pundits to spend their time justifying him and defending him, even when he wasn't being conservative, thereby destroying conservatism in America.

And if Rubio or Jeb! or Cruz were nominated, we'd have... exactly the same thing. Just as we had it with George W Bush. Ah, but those would be wrongs you lot would be more than happy to justify and defend. (I love what that says about the right-wing media and pundits, by the by. Apparently they're for hire.)

It's moot, though. This site joined many others, including Ace's ghetto*, in condemning and criticizing Trump early on. (Talk of Ace being 'Trump-Curious' is hilarious. I say this as an ex-regular.)

And now he's the front runner.

See, that's the greatest sin of Trump. He defied all the pundits, the would-be Christian leaders, he ignored everyone screaming that his campaign would fizzle out... and he's won. In the process, he exposed so many bloggers and would-be leaders as ultimately ineffective. For that alone, he deserves support.

* Funny how you neglected to mention that Ace is an atheist, who has openly talked about how he "used to" lie to his readers on behalf of the GOPe agenda, because he thought that was for the best, and that it was expected of him. You'd also think so-called conservatives would notice that they're locking arms with Huffington Post and the worst kinds of liberals in screaming how rotten Trump is, and second guess their frantic denunciations for a moment. Alas, 'tis not to be.

What's Wrong With The World, indeed.

See, that's the greatest sin of Trump. He defied all the pundits, the would-be Christian leaders, he ignored everyone screaming that his campaign would fizzle out... and he's won. In the process, he exposed so many bloggers and would-be leaders as ultimately ineffective. For that alone, he deserves support.

This is, of course, also an argument for McCain and Romney and Dole, since those mediocrities had harsh detractors who vigorously doubted their capacity to win over GOP primary voters.

And if Rubio or Jeb! or Cruz were nominated, we'd have... exactly the same thing.

These three all get lumped together as if they had no distinguishing qualities. Rubio never challenged and bested Orange Charlie in Florida. Cruz has just cruised through his early Senate years doing the leadership's bidding.

The self-annihilation of rational judgment, the abandonment of the logical power to make distinctions, by so many conservatives is among the worst effects of Trumpism.

This is, of course, also an argument for McCain and Romney and Dole,

Sure, Paul. Remember those #NeverRomney hashtags? The panicked Fox News conviction that McCain had to be stopped at any cost, even if it meant throwing the race via a third party run? The talk of how we need to force a brokered convention against McCain? Tell yourself another lie.

And according to the OP, those would all be vastly more acceptable than Trump. Trump is AIDS, remember? No less than Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders would be preferable.

Actually, reaching way back into the annals of WWWtW's history, I see once upon a time that endorsing Barack Obama was considered acceptable, for 'sneaky' reasons:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/02/im_voting_for_obama_in_texas_m.html

Masters of strategy here, ladies and gentlemen.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Rubio never challenged and bested Orange Charlie in Florida.

And what a bargain we received there!

Rubio's claim to fame was stabbing the Tea Party in the back over immigration. Which ultimately doomed his candidacy this time around, despite millions and millions in support, and the 'Sir yes SIR' loyalty of the recently felled Evangelical 'leadership'. Once again: masters of strategy here.

But oh, you still have Cruz. That fierce opponent of the Establishment who, last I checked, got the endorsement of Romney, Jeb Bush, and Rubio.

Such a tiger, ever at war with the GOPe, that one!

But do go on, attack Trump supporters more. Since we've seen WWWtW's gift of prophecy leaves something to be desired, allow me to share with you some of mine: what meager influence, not to mention credibility, WWWtW's and Ace of Spades' mods once had, is gone. If you'd like to know who's to blame for that, look in the mirror.

But do go on, attack Trump supporters more.

Kind of seems superfluous after all the sputtering rancor you just cut loose with, along with the desertion of rational faculties.

Step2,
Trump represents the anti-globalist i.e non-libertarian elements, the people who put the nation above their economic orthodoxies.
They deny that America is, in essence, a Proposition Nation but a nation like others.
It might be more productive to ponder how and why he gets 37% of the Republicans . It is even true that he is the best Christian Friend there is among the Republican candidates. Who has spoken more forthrightly regarding Islamic menace and the endangerment of Middle East Christians that the pro-Saudi policy of Establishment Republicans led to?

The Friend of Christians that is George Bush is still bragging about snubbing Mubarak --that Mubarak never visited White House when Bush was occupying that place and simultaneously preening about his friendship with the Saudi King (five-part interview with Nordlinger in NRO recently). That Saudi monarchy that is the main backer of the Jihadist menace to ME Christians and Bush along with Establishment Republicans is best pals with,

I do not forget that it was Vice-President Biden that dared to speak truth about Saudi backing of terrorists and none of the Republicans dared to go there. Not even Cruz. All it tells that GOPe is essentially shill for the Saudi money. Al least Trump has not taken the Saudi gold.

The self-annihilation of rational judgment, the abandonment of the logical power to make distinctions, by so many conservatives is among the worst effects of Trumpism.

Every election that I have been alive, conservatives have been told to "hold their nose and see what happens." Yet hilariously, now that we have a candidate who actually often sounds like the base, flip flops notwithstanding, many people are now incredulous that this indoctrination still holds sway. The GOPe and its media apparatchiks have only themselves to blame. They've spent at least a generation working to perfect this almost pavlovian training of their chunk of the electorate and now someone else is ringing the bell.

Yet hilariously, now that we have a candidate who actually often sounds like the base,

Mike, there are two general schools of thought on democratic elections. In one, those elected ought to look and sound and BE just like the masses: not overly intelligent, not especially educated, not especially virtuous, not extraordinarily talented in any specific skills. Someone who "knows how I feel because he is just like me", more or less - for the masses of men. The other school is that those to be elected ought to be among the best we can produce: particularly intelligent, well educated, upstanding in virtue, extraordinarily talented in at least some of the skills particular to the office. Someone "who can do the job better than I can."

Trump, true enough, "sounds like the base" Republican voter. He uses the same gutter language, except that he uses gutter language all the time whereas the typical base Republican would constrain himself on a public stage, at least most of the time. He is not overly intelligent, and he is not especially educated. Heaven knows he is nothing like virtuous, having sunk to the lowest quarter of behavior of the mass of "base" Repub voters. He is certainly BASE enough. He has that down pat. And the only skill he can lay claim to is the "art of the deal". At least he has one skill.

But when you peer beneath the surface, you have to wonder: Trump may SOUND like the typical base Repub, but is he actually that? He has had not just wealth, but vast wealth at his fingertips for his entire life, not knowing a single day of being even merely well-off. He took over a large empire of real estate not because he made it but because he inherited it. He almost drove that empire into bankruptcy with a hearty gusto of leveraged buyouts and similar deals of finance capitalism, (but since then has managed to turn it around, big time). None of that is anything like "just like me" for anyone but the richest and most venal .00001 % of Americans, not to mention "base Repubs.

One has to wonder: to what extent is the way he sounds, in terms of talking up just the things a base Repub voter wants, calculated? What portion of his platform does he, personally, want to achieve, and what portion is he just using for effect? In an ordinary candidate, of course, (one who has been in office), you can look to their record. With Trump, with his global empire, you have to wonder why he would personally feel strongly with the base blue-collar Republican voter who wants our jobs back in the US. With his debt-financed big-business-in-bed-with-big-gov capitalism, you have to wonder why he would care a lick about balanced budgets or government size or enabling "the little guy" to succeed in his own business endeavors.

The "base" Republican can be divided into 2 groups, roughly: those who still go to church and try - at least some of the time if not all the time - to live Christian lives, and those who stopped going to church when they were in their teens (or whose parents stopped) and don't really give a damn about living according to a standard outside of what they choose on the basis of their own (non-Christian) perspective, day by day, as that changes. The latter group are (in one sense) liberals, practicing the tenets of individualism ("At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence"), without actually knowing it. They may tend to vote Republican more often than not (or even always) because they retain a libertarian economic outlook, or because they can't stand bleeding-heart liberalism, or for other reasons - but they are, also, part of the reason we have so many liberals in the Republican Party. They tend to vote Republican...but not a Republican who will spit in the eye of _their_ union leadership. In Trump, who was a liberal in the 90s, and was still a liberal in the 2000s, they see someone just like themselves. He just happens to be a liberal who talks up big departures from the ORTHODOX Democratic camp: anti-immigration, especially.

If we could locate, for example, in his business practices some sort of regular principle of behavior that promoted America and Americans even when it cost him significant money, I would have more confidence that when he said _America First_ he actually knew what it meant. Can we?

He took over a large empire of real estate not because he made it but because he inherited it. He almost drove that empire into bankruptcy with a hearty gusto of leveraged buyouts and similar deals of finance capitalism,

If you don't like Trump fine. But stop lying. Trump began his business career with a $1 million loan. The rest of it came from his own efforts and abilities. The man is a legitimate billionaire via his business acumen. And projects go bankrupt all the time. All the time. It's not a big deal. 4 out of hundreds of companies went bankrupt. So what.

The source of Trump's wealth and business success was him betting big on a resurgence of Manhattan real estate during a low point. He bet on New York, bought low, and was right -- in part because of his own efforts at re-developing parts of the city.

Drudge and others are a great example of what I've been talking about: The election of Trump would cause the "right-wing" media and pundits to spend their time justifying him and defending him, even when he wasn't being conservative, thereby destroying conservatism in America.
And if Rubio or Jeb! or Cruz were nominated, we'd have... exactly the same thing. Just as we had it with George W Bush.

Yes, and that's precisely my point. The "right-wing" media will defend the new "right-wing" president, no matter how liberal he is. I would prefer that they spend their time defending an actual, non-authoritarian conservative instead of Trump.

Ah, but those would be wrongs you lot would be more than happy to justify and defend.

Hmmmm... maybe you should try to find examples of me defending GWB's liberal side somewhere. I don't think you will. No Child Left Behind? No. The Iraq war? No; I mostly argued that we didn't have access to the President's intelligence sources and should stop making assumptions that we know what's going on. His pro-life stance? Yes, supported that....

(I love what that says about the right-wing media and pundits, by the by. Apparently they're for hire.)

Right. Many of them are.

Bedarz Iliaci,
I'm afraid I don't recall if you are a natural born American citizen or a foreigner who is meddling in our national debates. Thanks for your answer.

Tony,

Glenn Reyolds's take on the rise of Trump is one of the best I've seen.

The irony is once again that if Cruz had come out more rough and tumble early on, more combative, more willing to knock around Rubio relentlessly on the Gang of 8 and took a much harder, less nuanced stance on immigration, he'd be winning most of Trump's supporters.

If you don't like Trump fine. But stop lying. Trump began his business career with a $1 million loan.

Andrew, accusations of "lying" here are out of line. If I was in error, it was honest error. I haven't read a biography of the guy, but I did do research. For example:

I said he had never been poor or even merely well-off a day in his life:

When Donald Trump Became Rich It can be tricky to define "rich." Some studies in the United Kingdom have suggested people begin to feel "rich" when they can spend $75,000 a year without having to work; this equates to about $1.5 million in net wealth at 5% per year. By this standard, Donald Trump became rich the day he was born. [Investopedia]
Trump was born in New York City in 1946, the son of real estate tycoon Fred Trump. Fred Trump’s business success not only provided Donald Trump with a posh youth of private schools and economic security but eventually blessed him with an inheritance worth an estimated $40 million to $200 million. [Alternet]

You say that

Trump began his business career with a $1 million loan.

All I can find that touches this is another take on the same theme:

In his book "The Art of the Deal" Donald Trump states he started out with about $200,000 straight out of college. [Quora.com]
Also, keep in mind that these estimates do not include the massive loan guarantees he received from his father. Loan guarantees, while not inheritance, are extremely valuable and can catapult someone's net worth upwards. [Quora.com]

I know for sure I would have had a hell of a time getting a $1 million loan out of college, and I feel confident that Dad's guarantees played a big part. So I would guess the picture was something like this: "son, you're out of college now, you're not going to be a parasite like snobby rich kids. Find something worth doing, and do it. I'll make sure you can get off the ground with some start-up money, but you have to prove you'll do something real with it, not just ski in the Alps." And when he made some money, his father took him into the business.

You say that

The rest of it came from his own efforts and abilities.

What I find is this:

It was at his father's real estate company that Donald got his start in business. ... Donald Trump became acting president of his father's organization in 1974. [Investopedia]

I suggested he was no stranger to big government helping out business:

During World War II, Trump [Senior] built barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, ... Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering from public contracts, including overstating his Beach Haven building charges by US$3.7 million.[6] In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in 1954, William F. McKenna, appointed to investigate "scandals" within the FHA, cited Fred C. Trump and his partner William Tomasello as examples of how profits were made by builders using the FHA. [Wiki]

I said he was big into leveraged buyouts and finance capitalism:

The Trump Organization famously revealed it was $5 billion in the hole in 1990, with as much as $1 billion guaranteed by Donald personally. The business survived thanks to a combination bailout / deferment by more than 70 banks. Many point to the 1988 purchase of the Taj Mahal Casino as the major instigator in the Trump debt cycle. There is some truth in this, particularly after Trump unsuccessfully tried to finance the construction of sister casinos in 1989 through mostly junk bonds.

The Trump bailout package allowed him to take out second and third mortgages on most of his properties. Leverage became a common theme for Mr. Trump, who notoriously dealt with bankruptcy four times. [Investopedia]

Now you can take back that "lying" bit.

I have no doubt that Trump is a clever and savvy businessman. He took over his father's business, and now it is much greater. He has gone from managing what was, mainly, a small real estate empire, to managing a large empire that encompasses many other lines of business. He can't be a business idiot and do that. My point wasn't to denigrate his ability to make a buck or a business, it was to point out HOW those bucks have been made.

Fine, not lying. But terribly uninformed and extremely biased. Trump made his fortune in Manhattan real estate, not the low and middle-income housing that was his father's business. He didn't inherit a business. He struck out on his own and created one for himself. Sure, he got a loan from his father to start that any ordinary business school graduate couldn't get. And he had experience and relationships from working for his father that he was able to leverage. None of which guaranteed his success.

Read the first chapter to Trump's The Art of the Comeback if you want to see what the bankruptcies were all about. See his discussion of the retroactive provisions of the 1986 tax reform that negatively affected so many existing long term investments in real estate, even ones which had never missed a loan payment.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/98698638/The-Art-of-the-Comeback-by-Donald-Trump#scribd

You would also do well to read Newt Gingrich's recent interview in Slate about Trump. Gingrich knows something about what it takes to be a President. And to say that Trump, an enormously successful chief executive of a massive corporation with a global reach, has no business running for the premiere executive position in politics just sounds ridiculous.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/03/newt_gingrich_discusses_the_merits_of_donald_trump.html

Sounds like Cruz has been more active than most people have believed.

This will be interesting.

It is funny how the "memory" of the Republican Party is about how Barry Goldwater lost it for the party.

But that is not the exact truth. The reality is that the Nelson Rockefeller Republicans sabotaged the Goldwater campaign. After watching the YouTubes of the Goldwater era, I've come to the realization that the Party elite undermined their own candidate. And they are doing it again. They have no party loyalty except if it is towards their globalist agenda and will sabotage their own.

The damage has already been done. The hatred out there is very palatable. It is across social media: the hate for Trump and the Trump voters, and these Trumpers are not going to vote for no RINO and certainly not for Cruz. The water is already red. I really don't care if Hillary or Bernie gets in. They'll just speed up the process of disintegration that this country is going thru. America is devolving and losing it; the center can't hold; it is all unravelling. Trump did this at least: he stripped off the mask of the Repuke party. And that I thank him; he has already did his job.

I'm curious, any of y'all change your minds on Cruz now that it looks like he has had at least 5 affairs? (Disclaimer: I am not the least bit moved by these accusations WRT my support of Cruz).

How like you, Mike T., to take unconfirmed gossip from the National Enquirer, accompanied by a fishing message at the bottom of the so-called "story" asking anyone who "knows something about Ted Cruz's unfaithfulness" to contact the organization, as being describable by the phrase "now that it looks like." Typical. Could you maybe _try_ to raise the bar a little instead of lowering it?

Glad to see you woke up on the right side of the bed this morning.

FWIW, it's hardly just the NE that is talking about this. There is reason to believe that the Rubio campaign had intel on this and was planning to drop it on Cruz if Rubio successfully beat Trump and Cruz was the second place candidate.

Fine, not lying. But terribly uninformed and extremely biased.

Very graciously said. Thank you.

Which of my sources is biased: Investopedia? Alternet? Which is more likely to be biased: Investopedia or Trump's book _The Art of the Comeback_?

He didn't inherit a business. He struck out on his own and created one for himself.

No, he didn't inherit it. Dozens of websites say that he TOOK OVER as acting president of his father's business, in 1974. I think that's 6 years after college. If he then took that business in a different direction, then that's great for him. I did not locate a single site that said "he left off being president of his father's business, and started his own company..." Wiki says:

Donald Trump worked for Elizabeth Trump & Son while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company.[20] He was given control of the company in 1971[21][22] and renamed it Trump Enterprises LLC in August 1999 before changing it to Trump Organization LLC in November 1999.[2]

The WashPost quotes him saying this:

“I play to people’s fantasies,” Trump wrote in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

It isn't that you can't be very, very successful playing to people's fantasies. Clearly, you can. Pornographers do it all the time. My point is that THIS KIND of business acumen, this kind of brilliance, is the sort of genius you want as a tool in the hand of a leader with keen moral insight and steady virtue, not the kind of genius you want running things as the leader.

This election marks the end of the Republican Party that started out as Progressive, liberal and certainly Social Justice party; it was NEVER conservative.

The populists and the nationalists were under the assumption up until now that the Republican party would support an America First, Nationalist, or Populist platform; now that has been exposed as a falsity.

This election cycle has exposed the dirty little secret. On all the back channels of the Alt-right was the concept that the Democrats and the Republicans were the wings of the SAME bird. That conception has been proven right, now. The Democrat Party (Marxist) is Globalist, doing away with borders. The Republican Party has now been outed in very strong terms as the Capitalist Globalists, doing away with borders. Now, up until the this primary season, populists/nationalists always voted with the Republicans. But now the hatred and vitriol of the Globalist Capitalists has shown their dirty head.

Trump has galvanized all the nationalists/populists and given them a strong clear platform of saving us from genocide of the globalists. With the hate campaign of the #NeverTrump Campaign, and the Sea Island conference, we see that the Repuke establishment is angling to destroy Trump---that means us Nationalists. No populist, no nationalist will ever again pull the lever for the Repuke party. it's over people. The small links of coalition that did exist has been eternally shattered. We see now there was never no difference between the democrats and the republicans. No Nationalist will ever vote Republican. We've been stabbed in the back, not only by the establishment, but by our own kinsmen who are liberals who call themselves conservatives. It's all a Joke people. Democracy is where the vulgar class plays at governing; it is clear that the vulgar class can not rule itself! Where does the government exist but in the state of a racial people? If that is gone? If you self-genocide, what is the purpose of the state anymore? There is no more state people! The Republican Party that existed on a slim coalition is now over. No Trumpster is going to vote for any Republican establishment candidate nor any Kasich, Cruz or whatever. The state is over anyway and no Trumpster is going to vote for a Betrayer.

The Masonic American experiment is now over, and has been subsumed into a Marxist Yugoslavia. America has become a Marxist Lebanon and Yugoslavia all rolled into one. And no Trumpster is going to be involved in that anymore.

Trump has galvanized all the nationalists/populists

Perhaps: are the American nazi skinheads for Trump?

The populists and the nationalists were under the assumption up until now that the Republican party would support an America First, Nationalist, or Populist platform;

Maybe the populists thought this, but thinking so never made much sense, since the Republican party wasn't populist to begin with and has never been so. Why would populists think the Republican Party would support the Populist platform? (It's why they formed the Populist Party in the 1890s.) La Wiki says

Although in the US and Europe, it currently tends to be associated with right-wing parties, the central tenet of populism that democracy should reflect the pure and undiluted will of the people, means it can sit easily with ideologies of both right and left. (my emphasis)

130 years ago it tended to be associated with the left-wing parties.

But now the hatred and vitriol of the Globalist Capitalists has shown their dirty head...we see that the Repuke establishment is angling to destroy Trump.

We also see something else: Conservatives are willing to see Trump fail. Because, just as the Republican Party really is not for populism, conservatives are not for Trump's kind of populism. For, his is the kind of populism of Cataline, of Julius Caesar: bread and fantasies.

No Nationalist will ever vote Republican. We've been stabbed in the back, not only by the establishment, but by our own kinsmen who are liberals who call themselves conservatives.

There you go again. Since you self-identify with being a nationalist, please allow us who are conservatives to identify ourselves as we have always done: conservatism has never been fundamentally or primarily found in the Republican party, and to the extent conservatives voted Republican, it was because they found a closer alliance to their goals there than any other worthwhile party. But your finding out that Republicans are will not support nationalism does not say a word about conservatism, since it wasn't the conservatives you were looking to, it was Republicans. Republican liberals have done in nationalism along with many conservative values. It is nonsensical to say that these represent conservatives who are liberals; just so far as they are liberal, they cannot possibly be conservative.

There is no more state people!

Are you renouncing your allegiance to the United States of America? If so, please take your rantings elsewhere.

For, his is the kind of populism of Cataline, of Julius Caesar: bread and fantasies.

What has Trump said that would give you a basis to say this? His populism, if anything, is rooted in his claimed belief that the government should actually prioritize American business and workers. For instance, he has spoken out about H1B abuses in clearly populist and nationalist terms. If anything, the other Republicans have shown their opposition to populism mainly by supporting increases in the number of visas under such programs.

Mike, look farther back; not in his political policies, but in his approach to making money:

“I play to people’s fantasies,” Trump wrote in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

This is the Trump of casinos and beauty pageants and TV shows. Fantasies & circuses.

The same could be said then of Ronald Reagan due to his career as an actor.

Mike T., Trump and Ronald Reagan? Really?! That's a pretty odd comparison in my books. Something like, say, oh I dunno, Andy Griffith and ... Benny Hinn? What an entertainer! Hinn for Prez! Hell, why not?! Ha, ha.

Nothing odd about that comparison. If building a career on entertainment makes you a bread and circus type of leader out of the box, then that accusation is applicable to even people we like such as Reagan.

Conservatives that sing of American exceptionalism all the time, aren't they nationalistic too?

David Brooks

Reaganism was very economic, built around tax policies, enterprise zones and the conception of the human being as a rational, utility-driven individual. The Adam Smith necktie was the emblem of that movement.
It might be time to invest in Émile Durkheim neckties, because today’s problems relate to binding a fragmenting society, reweaving family and social connections, relating across the diversity of a globalized world. Homo economicus is a myth and conservatism needs a worldview that is accurate about human nature

It is undeniable that the American conservatives have liberal pedigree and are liberal in theory and outlook. They retain 18 and 19c liberal optimism that ALL the problems are solvable by the application of reason. There is nothing that an increased application of Adam Smith and Mises can not cure.

Mike T,
"the government should actually prioritize American business and workers."
It is precisely the American businesses that want these H1B visas. They want to maximize their profits and who can blame them?

It is precisely the American businesses that want these H1B visas. They want to maximize their profits and who can blame them?

It's certainly not all businesses, probably not even most. Even if it were, the issue that Trump is raising is that the government has to balance capital and labor's interests and represent both on the world stage. A lot of Trump's opponents are downplaying the issues surrounding immigration and labor policies. Even most of the Christians I know think religious liberty is so important that they have blinders to the other issues facing our country. In the long run, that's dangerous. The average person is not religious and will gladly choose full employment and reduced liberties over poverty and freedom if those are the choices they face. The fact is that the GOPe's policies on perpetually increasing visas and negotiating free trade agreements with developing countries lead to the latter. NAFTA alone is proof of that.

It is undeniable that the American conservatives have liberal pedigree and are liberal in theory and outlook. They retain 18 and 19c liberal optimism that ALL the problems are solvable by the application of reason. There is nothing that an increased application of Adam Smith and Mises can not cure.

I deny it.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

To be specific, I know conservatives who deny that all problems can be solved in this world, and especially deny that all solvable problems can be solved merely by an increased application (howsoever much you want) of Smith and Mises.

It's certainly not all businesses, probably not even most. Even if it were, the issue that Trump is raising is that the government has to balance capital and labor's interests and represent both on the world stage.

Mike, I agree that it's certainly not all business, and probably not most. Don't you think that Trump would defang some of the establishment Republican rejection of him if he went around saying exactly what you just said, about _balancing_ capital and labor. Because if a candidate is saying "I want to correct an imbalance I see" he is theoretically capable of finding a compromise position between different extreme camps - someone they might be able to "work with". If he is saying that I must have missed it.

Don't you think that Trump would defang some of the establishment Republican rejection of him if he went around saying exactly what you just said, about _balancing_ capital and labor.

No, not at all. I think it would have them going out of their way to attack him even more because the establishment is wholly owned by the Chamber of Commerce. That is why the same Republicans that will attack illegal immigration because it is illegal say it'd be a great idea to double, triple or more the number of legal slots for legal immigrants. To them, it's just a matter of legality, not a matter of what is good for the majority of America. However, since we are far away from full employment, it is obviously not good for the majority, just the people the establishment really represents.

The Cruz vs Trump thing is really a popular movement to do away with the establishment. It's just a matter of who is going to convince the majority of the other camp that his faction is more likely to accomplish that. The establishment doesn't deserve compromise, it deserves to be run out of town.

Which of my sources is biased:
Mike, look farther back; not in his political policies, but in his approach to making money:
“I play to people’s fantasies,” Trump wrote in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

This is the Trump of casinos and beauty pageants and TV shows. Fantasies & circuses.

I would describe this as biased. It's interesting to me that Tony will spend weeks of effort and research constructing all manner of emanations and penumbras around the issue of natural born citizenship but will grab one quote from Trump and all doubt is removed and all mystery is solved. How many times has Trump said over the years: "I'm a builder. That's what I do." He's said it dozens of times just since he's begun his presidential campaign last year. And it bears a stronger correspondence to his actual business career than "fanstasies and circuses." Trump owned mainly one casino in Atlantic City, the Castle, and went in with partners on 1 or 2 others at various times with whom he was constantly fighting because he always envisioned his casinos being the type of places that catered to wealthy high rollers rather than Joe Public. It was one part of a much larger real estate portfolio consisting of mainly hotels and office/condo towers that he built or remodeled himself (and later on resorts and golf courses again built or remodeled by him). And Trump doesn't seem to get any credit for having the only major hotel (who knows, maybe the only hotel period) on or near the Vegas strip with no gaming on premises.

As far as the Apprentice. Trump says he made about $230 million from the show. A success as far as tv goes but a small fraction of his total wealth. Miss USA, same thing.

Tony,

In case you are wondering why there is a burning hatred of the Republican Establishment, check this out. Governor Deal is your average, mainstream, respectable, civil, polite, "stays without the bounds of proper discourse" Republican politician. He sold out his constituents for the favor of the NFL, SalesForce and Disney. He is no better than the AG who went after Roy Moore because "da law iz da law."

The base is rallying behind Trump more and more because it's better to rally behind a tough alpha male who might change his mind too often than some polite society-fearing jackass who says the right things but will collapse like a house of cards the moment he's called mean things or threatened. Say what you will about Trump, but he would probably have signed that bill just to tell Disney to eat you know what and die.

I understand why there's a burning hatred of the Republican Establishment, but does anyone really think Trump would make a better Deal than the Governor on this issue?

Trump's response to a request to pledge to sign the First Amendment Defense Act in first 100 days of his Administration:

http://thepulse2016.com/paul-dupont/2015/12/17/what-the-non-pledgers-said-in-support-of-fada/

From his letter:

If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signature and enactment.

He's basically claiming he won't veto 1A-related legislation if Congress sends it to him. But that wasn't quite the question.

Why do you think he would be better than Deal in if he were in Deal's shoes? The pressure on Deal is coming from businesses who will want to stop doing business in the state, including governments that won't pay for travel related to that state. Is it your opinion that Donald Trump would stand up against that?

Why do you think he would be better than Deal in if he were in Deal's shoes?

I think the W4 contributors are operating under a different set of assumptions than most of us who support him to some degree. Deal, like the vast majority of Republicans, is spineless. He's probably got barely a smidgen of alpha male in him. It really doesn't matter what a man says he believes if he's such a wussy pitiful excuse for a man that he cries uncle when people gang up on him in the press. By comparison, Trump's attitude is more along the lines of "I'm not locked in here with you, YOU are locked in here with ME." Who knows what Trump would have done relative to the legislation. What we do know is that odds are pretty good that if the NFL, Disney, etc. came at him, he'd punch back twice as hard.

On principle.

Trump punches back at least twice as hard on principle to make it clear that he is a very hard target. If he were governor, odds are pretty good that even if he didn't like the legislation much, he would not only sign it as a screw you to those companies, but urge his incredibly large social media follower pool to launch a social media campaign against those companies that would make what GamerGate did to Gawker's advertising look insignificant (and there, a tiny number of gamers cost them over $1M in ad money and several key relationships like Intel).

The pressure on Deal is coming from businesses who will want to stop doing business in the state, including governments that won't pay for travel related to that state.

And Deal could have retaliated by telling those governments that he would begin blatantly poaching their most lucrative businesses. He could start with a real kick in the gut to California like offering Tesla no taxes on anything they do for 20 years to move production from the Bay Area to Georgia.

Mike T,

I appreciate your spirited defenses of Trump -- for the most part you are civil and thoughtful. I think you are wrong about the legislation in Georgia, but I also think you are right to be dismayed and frustrated at how easily our side refuses to fight back. As you suggest with your last comment, there are many interesting and clever things an aggressive and serious Governor could do to make life difficult for corporate America if they are really going to play hardball when it comes to religious liberty for Christians. Georgia would have been an excellent test case -- would Coke and CNN and all the rest of the big corporations really just pick up and leave the state if Deal stood his ground? Would all that film production (lots of TV is shot in the state, including my favorite cable show, "The Walking Dead") just pick up and leave? All those factories? I don't think so -- which makes Deal's decision all the more tragic.

But having said all of that, I tend to agree with Jake -- everything about Trump suggests he is more interested in making business happy -- not frustrated Christians.

Jeff,

The biggest issue with Trump is that he's not ideological and he's his own man. That means he's not predictable. I don't think it's a given that he's just terribly interested in making business happy. If he were, he'd have pulled a Deal on his comments about standing up to China. The very fact that he's willing to fire so many shots at free trade deals, the trade status quo (never make countries like China uncomfortable) and such suggests that he's not what a lot of his critics think. Of course, he's also not what a lot of his ardent supporters think he is either.

From my perspective, we already have a million Trumps minus the cajones in the Republican Party. How can one with real cajones be worse than the million castrati masquerading as men? I don't know anything about the Georgia governor elections last cycle, but I would bet that Deal talked a good game about religious freedom because almost all southern Republicans do. What did the people of Georgia gain? Nothing that I can see. He has an excuse that will play well in many churches: "dem mean corporations done bullied me." However, people are looking for a lot less excuses today. I think the only reason you see more tolerance for that in Christian circles is just that Christian culture in the US today is even more selectively non-judgmental than mainstream society.

eorgia would have been an excellent test case -- would Coke and CNN and all the rest of the big corporations really just pick up and leave the state if Deal stood his ground? Would all that film production (lots of TV is shot in the state, including my favorite cable show, "The Walking Dead") just pick up and leave? All those factories? I don't think so -- which makes Deal's decision all the more tragic.

Deal could have gone to the legislature and done something radical like demand a law that abolishes corporate taxes and raises individual income tax. It would have put both the voters and the corporations in the spotlight. The corporations would have to leave a no tax state out of protest, something their shareholders would probably not appreciate and might sue over. The individual voter would have to decide whether his religious liberty is worth more to him than a few percentage points of his income.

Once again, Trump gets a lot of his opponents to accidentally reveal who they really are. With conservatives like these, bring on the Communists. At least we'll get truth in advertising from them.

Mike T:

Get with the programme, man. Trump must be blamed for the bankruptcy of mainstream conservatives because he exposes it.

I'm copyrighting the phrase "Trumpster fire" in anticipation of Cleveland.

Trump must be blamed for the bankruptcy of mainstream conservatives because he exposes it.

Heh. I am all for letting "mainstream" (read: unprincipled) conservatives take their own blame for their follies.

Any half-way decent principled conservative would know why typical conservatives went from holding that women should be punished for seeking abortions to saying otherwise: it was politic to sever the issue of punishment from the issue of the wrongness of abortion in order help counter the sentimentalism thrown at conservatives by liberals who nattered about "the poor, poor women" without any shred of actual argument. That it was a tactic, not a principle, was lost on those who are not principled conservatives, of course. And, unfortunately, the habit of defending "the poor women", (who, truly, have been victimized by the satanic pro-choice movement) became a thoughtless habit to some of those who had once recognized the difference between tactic and principle.

Of course, some of those brow-beating Trump over this are merely using it as a handy stick, not because they actually believe he greatly deserves it for this. And some of those beating up on him do so also as a tactic, so as not to leave eviscerated the heretofore tactic of defending the poor women from their victimizers to keep off the charge of being cold, heartless men. That doing so (trying to save the tactic) is probably useless may not have occurred to them.

Naturally, a johnny-come-lately to conservatism, one who had not watched and felt conservatives squirming and twisting in the popular wind of sentimentalism swayed by pro-choice media sloganeering, could be ignorant of all this back-story.

Frankly, I was surprised that Trump backtracked on this. Sure, it is politically foolish to give liberals a stick to beat you with on this issue, but it certainly isn't LIKE Trump to recant on his answer merely because some think his comments "not politic". Why do so here?

Had he actually known the real ins and outs of the problem posed by the question "would you punish women" he could have devised (beforehand) an appropriately (crass and in-your-face) artful rejoinder that neither implied "yes I would punish women" nor backtracked on "abortion is wrong". That he had no such position ready, nor could elucidate later one without backtracking, speaks poorly of either his political acumen or his grit (they "got to him" and he let himself be backed into a corner). (And it speaks poorly of his staff, frankly, who let him down by not laying out a pro-Trump response instead of a namby-pamby answer.) But everyone makes a mistake or two, I would score that a minor kerfluffle.

The recent determination of the liberal establishment to persecute by destroying the livelihood of any business owner who is unwilling to celebrate sexual perversion convinced me that I can in good conscience vote to increase the power of the Republican party even though I am in principle opposed to democracy, and even if the Republican candidate is not at all worthy of a principled vote from me.

What makes you think the GOP would not be in lockstop, especially given that most of these initiatives celebrating sexual perversion are backed by Big Business (see, e.g., North Carolina).

Tony:

'Conservatives' are outraged that Trump vocalised the true conservative position on the criminality abortion.

And what's that? 'No-Compromise' Cruz advocates the compromise position that was concocted by 'conservatives' on the basis of expediency? Say it ain't so!

GJ, good thing you put 'conservatives' in scare quotes. You hit the nail right on the head.

Fortunately, 'No-Compromise Trump' would never backtrack on telling it like it is. Oh, wait...which version are we supposed to believe, again?

Now, if Trump had "explained himself" further by saying that not only are we going to put the women in jail, but we are going after the husbands, boyfriends, and fathers and mothers who advise and urge their wife / girlfriend / daughter to get an abortion, for conspiracy to commit and accomplices to a crime - THEN we'd be getting somewhere, no?

GJ, good thing you put 'conservatives' in scare quotes. You hit the nail right on the head.
Quite, I do intend that to hammer faux-conservatives like Cruz.
Now, if Trump had "explained himself" further by saying that not only are we going to put the women in jail, but we are going after the husbands, boyfriends, and fathers and mothers who advise and urge their wife / girlfriend / daughter to get an abortion, for conspiracy to commit and accomplices to a crime - THEN we'd be getting somewhere, no?
That such people are guilty of conspiracy to commit/abetting a murder is an obvious corollary from the true conservative position.

But hey, true conservatives don't compromise for expediency's sake except when they do!

Trump had a townhall on FOX a few days after the Matthews interview where he was asked again about abortion and Trump made the point to say that he had received many heartfelt hand written letters and emails from pro-lifers thanking him for his original answer and saying they felt someone on the conservative side was finally speaking for them. So Trump says that while he felt the need to clarify his answer what he said to Matthews was not wrong. A backtrack on the backtrack? No, he's just being deliberately ambiguous on this point because he knows abortion is not in his wheelhouse -- unlike immigration, trade and foreign policy -- and he's relying on the conservative consensus only to discover there is no consensus on this and he wants to keep all the pro-lifers together.

To be fair to Trump, the question was should women who procure an abortion under a law criminalizing abortion be punished. He was not asked about accessories or others, so why do you bring that up?

Andrew E:

...he knows abortion is not in his wheelhouse...

Agreed. The most credible explanation in my view is that Trump tried to say something consistent with the mainstream pro-life position, and inadvertently discovered that the mainstream pro-life position is inconsistent.

To be fair to Trump, the question was should women who procure an abortion under a law criminalizing abortion be punished. He was not asked about accessories or others, so why do you bring that up?

Because, c matt, I put it for when he was explaining himself further, i.e. after he first put up his conservative but impolitic answer, and later realized he might want to expand on the topic to, y'know, explain himself further. At that point anything he felt like adding is fair game. And, as GJ said, it seems like a corollary to the principle that accessories would also fall under opprobrium. Corollaries seem relevant to the topic.

he knows abortion is not in his wheelhouse

Andrew, that's probably a fair thing to say. Immigration probably is, and trade, well he has spent his life in making deals so trade probably is. Foreign policy? Not so much, as far as I have seen.

What sorts of things SHOULD be in the wheelhouse of a conservative leader of a major country?

The most credible explanation in my view is that Trump tried to say something consistent with the mainstream pro-life position, and inadvertently discovered that the mainstream pro-life position is inconsistent.

Dalrock's recent observation about the pro-life movement's behavior is pretty spot-on. They have painted themselves into a corner where it doesn't matter what is in their hearts, all of their observed political behavior now supports the pro-choice arguments.

The most appropriate statement from Trump would have been to say that if abortion is murder, it should be punished accordingly. Then point out that getting rid of Roe v. Wade would not necessitate declaring abortion any particular legal act, but leave it up to all 50 states to decide and observe that the prohibition on ex post facto laws means that the vast majority of liberals' crazy scenarios cannot constitutionally come to pass (ie we cannot constitutionally punish any prior act of abortion).