Thursday, May 5, 2016

Republican Sophisticates: Time to Get Over Yourselves

"I could never vote for Trump."

I hear this a lot. I'm not talking about Democrats here, but Republicans, particularly of the educated, northeastern, country club variety. The sort that like Kasich. For this genus, voting for Trump is declasse, a lowbrow act. And they would rather see Hillary Clinton be the next President of the United States than have their sophistication be questioned.

I have one thing to say to these people, many of whom are my friends: get over yourselves.

Let me say first that at no point in the primary process did I support Trump. In fact, he wasn't even in my top ten. I am also well familiar with all the issues surrounding him. He's ideologically vacant. He cheats at golf. He's said a lot of awful things about women. He's a bombastic cartoon character. I know these things. But sometimes elections are the lesser of evils, and the alternative is far, far worse:

Here's what your pride will get you, my snobby friends:

  • the Supreme Court, lost for a generation
  • Obamacare, with us for good, with "fixes" that will cost even more
  • Obama's executive orders, untouched
  • higher and ever more complicated taxes
  • a continued growing of the state

I could go on, but do I need to? The first bullet point alone should stop you in your tracks. Hillary has suggested these two people would make just excellent Supreme Court justices:

But what will Trump do? Interestingly, he has provided more clarity than most give him credit for...

Taxes.  His tax plan is pretty damn good. Four brackets, maxing out at 25%. No Alternative Minimum Tax or marriage penalty. 15% business taxes. No more death tax. If Trump did nothing other than institute this plan, his presidency would be a success. Will he make it a priority? Hell if I know.

Obama's Egregious Executive Orders.  He's promised to rescind them.

Immigration.  We all know this one, but Trump's right, something needs to be done. My local school is being inundated with illegal children who don't speak English, and I live in the New York suburbs, not El Paso. I don't know of a single Republican who opposes robust legal immigration, but we're all tired of being called racists for opposing the illegal variety. Will a wall work? I don't know, maybe not, but it's for damn sure the entire issue will be addressed.

Obamacare.  He says he'll repeal it. Hopefully, he means it. Hillary will only double down as the scope of the disaster becomes clear.

Trade.  I don't like Trump on trade, not one bit. Nobody wins in a trade war. A few years ago, I would have taken Hillary on this one, but like on so many things, she's shifted positions, and now she's about where Trump is...No winning on this one.

Entitlements.  Here's another one where I think Trump is nuts. He says he won't touch Medicare or Social Security. Well, someone will have to, because they're going to be insolvent. Problem is, Hillary will be even worse on this one.

Foreign Policy.  Trump seems to be following Cruz's lead here: intervene only when there is a critical national interest at stake. No more nation building. Seems fairly sensible. Hillary, on the other hand, will likely follow left's instincts of late, which is to intervene only when there isn't a national interest at stake.

The trick here is figuring out what Trump will make a priority, other than immigration. I'm not sure even he knows. But, on balance, there's some good stuff. He could - could - make a good president. What are the odds? Certainly less than 50%, but Hillary is 100% guaranteed to be a disaster, and not simply on policy grounds. There's the sheer weight of her corruption, the personal and professional conflicts, the shrillness, the...oh, you know, Clintonness

She said this a couple of days ago to an out-of-work coal minor, who brought up her promise to eviscerate the coal mining industry and the jobs that go with it:

"What I said was totally out of context from what I meant."

Only a Clinton could dream up a phrase like that. What does it even mean? Taking something out-of-context is something other people do to you; you don't do it to yourself! The sheer national exhaustion that will ensue as the months roll by of a Hillary administration is depressing to contemplate.

I don't know how we got here, either. This was supposed to be the year that conservatives won their party back. Instead, nationalism trumped conservatism. (See what I did there?) Part of me is pleased to see that it's possible in modern America for a non-politician - in particular, a businessman - to become president. But did it have to be this particular guy?

No matter, this is the choice we have, and sorry, there's no sitting it out because that's half a vote for Hillary. So, my erudite friends, suck it up and pull the lever. 

You can tell us all you held your nose.

UPDATE: Trump just said he want to raise taxes and raise the minimum wage, reversing earlier statements and undermining the tax plan that's actually on his website. Not promising, but, again, Hillary will do both those things too. Also note that a GOP Congress will never agree.


  1. Good advice for the sophisticates. And to Republicans who say they won't vote for Trump because they want to save the party: Unless you make your living off of the Republican establishment, what exactly are you trying to save? The wishy-washy Democrat-light cronyism of McConnell and Boehner--also know as the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party? If you can't bring yourself to vote for Trump, rationalize it as a vote against the corruption incarnate known as Hillary.

    1. Hillary sucks, yes. I won't vote for her. But I won't vote for Trump. Because there's more at stake than just this election. Trump is anti free trade. He's anti-immigrant. He's clueless on foreign policy. He's for single payer HC. He's now saying we need to raise the minimum wage.

      On top of all that - he's sexist, racist, and ignorant. He's thin skinned and insecure. He can't handle Megyn Kelly picking on him - how's he going to handle Putin or China?

      What I'm trying to save is the core concepts of the Republican party - take a smart, honorable person who believes in limited government, low taxes, a strong national defense, defense of the constitution, free trade, etc...

      Trump represents none of that - that's why I wouldn't support him. Hillary also doesn't represent those things - which is why I wouldn't support her, either.

      Your argument is that Trump is malaria and Hillary is ebola, and you'd rather have malaria than Ebola. But you're wrong on both counts:
      1) Trump is as bad or worse
      2) We don't have to choose a horrible disease as a President - we're better than that - or at least some of us are.

    2. @Andy You make your point well, and I, too, consider myself a principled conservative. I don't argue that Trump is malaria, only that he might be, or might not.

      Going to the sidelines on this, in my view, is an enormous risk, because we pretty much know what an HRC presidency will bring, and it's a legitimate question whether the republic can, given its current problems, survive. It's not as if we're coming off two terms of Reagan. The damage Obama has done is horrific, and it's not clear we can recover regardless of what we do, or what wonderful conservative we can find four years from now.

      Great nations come and go, and we are following the playbook for decline. An HRC presidency on top of this is likely all it takes to seal the deal, at which point it won't matter if you save the GOP and its core principles.

      Trump may be a Hail Mary, but sometimes Hail Marys work.

  2. Neither one of the two deserves to be President of the United States. This time it is better to throw away the vote than vote for either one of them. The voice should be clear and unanimous; I want to do my civic duty and am voting but neither of these two candidates deserve my vote. They should both get really low numbers below 50% so that the message is clear - neither one of you deserve to be president of the United States. If you vote for either one, then we never know if the message is I support him/her or I don't support the other - I want to say I do not support either.

    1. @Anonymous: While I disagree with you, I would suggest that a more effective strategy than sitting this one out would be to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.

    2. I do not say to sit this one - I say to vote for Bernie or to write a name in. I do not see the Libertarians as a solution.