Tom Nichols is not sad about losing friends over this election. He says,”Put another way, if my opposition to Trump is going to cost me friends, then all I can say is: So be it.”
The Professor knows he’s right and that all will come to see his rectitude eventually. “With my friends and family who still cling to Trump, I never waver from my insistence, directly and firmly, that they are making a terrible mistake, and that Trump is making them worse people for being involved in his message.” [Emphasis added.]
A few more chestnuts from Mr. Nichols:
“But Trump’s candidacy isn’t really about politics, which is why it divides people so deeply.”
“In fact, Trump’s policies are not policies. They’re just feverish revenge fantasies.”
“Trump’s supporters are now like roaring drunks in a bar fight, people who you might have tried to reason with five drinks earlier but now are just lashing out at everyone in every direction.”
“This blind madness puts both political and emotional distance between Trump supporters and the rest of us.”
“In the end, I can only say it again: if I lose a friend only because I am opposed to man who is, in my view, a mortal enemy of everything American, then so be it.”
Now, contrast this with Mark Steyn’s piece coming out on the same day:
Trump is demonized as a Caesar – the strong man as embodiment of the state – but in fact his rise was driven by highly specific policies: build the wall, end mass Muslim immigration, make health insurance purchasable across state lines. Trump is inviting you to vote for something; Clinton to vote for someone: With Hillary, power and authority are all, and public policy is simply collateral damage.
Nearly 50%, possibly more, of the country will vote for Donald Trump. Are they all vengeful, unthinking, “roaring drunks” beheld by “blind madness?” If so, why is the republic worth saving at all? With a good percentage of the U.S. electorate living on the dole and the rest just flailing in a haymaking rage, what’s the point?
I’m sick of being reduced to an unthinking zombie for taking Trump and his phenomenon seriously. People support Trump for valid reasons. Like it or not, his policy positions won support. For any candidate, choosing Trump is a mix of policy, personality, philosophy and gut decision. So I’m going to list the reasons, as crystalized as possible, that people would vote for Trump.
Let’s start with the most superficial, Personality:
Now, there’s Philosophy:
Then, the Policy:
Gut Decision: He can be obnoxious, but he’s not a politician. Hillary is horrible. He can’t be worse and could be a lot better.
Tom Nichols calls Trump a “a scam artist whose entire career has been based on victimizing the working class.” Donald Trump took a couple million dollars and made a couple billion. He lost big too, and then gained it back. He’s employed thousands of people. That is something. It’s not like he lost $6 billion of the taxpayers money as Secretary of State, for example.
…is a vote, in other words, for a far more chaotic and unstable form of political leadership (on the global stage as well as on the domestic) than we have heretofore experienced, and a leap unlike any that conservative voters have considered taking in all the long years since Roe v. Wade.
Indeed, it is. Why would sane people, maybe over 50% of the electorate, believe that voting this way is a rational choice? Tom Nichols believes it’s revenge. Other friends have told me that it’s racism (conservatives with straight faces have said this to me.) Ross Douthat gives this reasoning:
I agree with them that grave evils will follow from electing Hillary Clinton. But the Trump alternative is like a feckless war of choice in the service of some just-seeming end, with a commanding general who likes war crimes. It’s a ticket on a widening gyre, promising political catastrophe and moral corruption both, no matter what ideals seem to justify it.
If one believes “grave evils” will come of electing Hillary, part of the answer is right there.
The anti-Trumper has to believe every Trump bombast as literal (no satire, no humor, no exaggeration) while simultaneously arguing that he won’t follow-through with anything he’s said and will disappoint voters expecting someone conservative. Most people know, though, (well this writer does, anyway) that Trump isn’t a conservative. He’s all over the road ideologically–like most Americans.
The anti-Trumper has to believe that a known, grave evil emanating from Hillary Clinton is less bad than an unknown, hypothetical evil in Donald Trump. Hillary is 100% against conservative ideals, but…what? She will control the executive branch and solidify the corruption. That is absolutely certain. It’s bizarre to have people argue that Trump is quasi-liberal and might do bad things so don’t elect him because it makes you a bad person, while simultaneously saying that yes, Clinton is 100% liberal and will do bad things, but she’s not as bad and voting for her is the right thing to do. (Or the dodge–voting for Evan McMullin is the right thing to do.)
Republican voters have had it. They are rolling the dice with their eyes wide open. They believe if Trump only does half of what he says it will be better than all of what Hillary does.
The true conservative impulse is to conserve traditions, ideals and institutions. Guys like Mr. Nichols and Mr. Douthat seek to conserve processes and policies and status quo. They fear disruption. Republican voters are looking to conserve something more fundamental: ideas that made America great–ideas like freedom of speech and belief, sovereignty, and American exceptionalism.
Donald Trump voters have legitimate, positive reasons to vote for the man. They also have legitimate reasons to fear Hillary Clinton.
Tom Nichols says this isn’t about politics. Wrong. This is exactly politics. People seek to vote their interests and when it’s between Hillary and Donald, they believe Donald Trump represents their interests best.