I don’t endorse political candidates anymore. I’m retired from that.
I observe the spectacle as a curious outsider, but that’s about it.
Still, I’ve commented with great interest on the Trump phenomenon and the reaction to it. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Trump says plenty of provocative things, so there’s no need to make things up about him. He obviously never said all Mexicans were rapists, but some people genuinely believe he did. He never put down veterans with PTSD as weak. And he certainly never mocked a reporter’s disability — that story was completely made up.
(Yes, I’ve seen the video of what Trump did — but he makes that hand gesture when he criticizes all kinds of wimps and creeps, and in any case Trump’s physical gesture in no way resembled that reporter or his disability.)
To my mind, though, all of Trump’s boorishness put together is but a grain of sand next to the Iraq slaughter George Bush presided over and Hillary cheered.
(And I don’t buy the “Trump supported the war” stuff; his three uninspired words in favor amount to nothing next to everything else he said at the time.)
Donald Trump is very poorly read and seems to know little about the world around him, sniff the sophisticates. (Admission: I myself have registered this complaint.)
This is quite unlike George W. Bush, of course, who we all know spoke five languages when he wasn’t quoting John Milton, composing sonnets, or shedding new light on the is-ought problem.
And oh, no, say the neocons and the GOP establishment: Trump doesn’t talk about “limited government”!
Because that’s what the world needs: more “talk” about limited government.
Where were these alleged conservatives when George W. Bush was pushing No Child Left Behind, government support for homeownership, Medicare Part D, and his countless other sins against limited government, including the bailouts during the financial crisis?
They were either making excuses, or fruitlessly wringing their hands.
Meanwhile, Bush was spreading universal human rights throughout the Middle East — a project Edmund Burke (if only Bush knew who that was) would have scorned as leftist and insane.
At no time did they repudiate him.
Incidentally, for all their caterwauling about Trump’s insufficient conservatism, what view held by National Review or the Weekly Standard these days could be described as conservative? What, apart from leftist rhetoric and legislative and social victories, do these knuckleheads think they’re conserving?
And make no mistake: Trump’s success is a poke in their eyes as well. Here they were, in all their manufactured outrage at the uppity masses who chose Trump over Jeb Bush, and not a single thing they said or did could stop it.
They’ve been paper tigers all along.
A vote for Trump, stated simply, is a middle finger to the media, the academic establishment, the entertainment world, the Social Justice Warriors, the elites of both parties, all of it.
Who in his right mind doesn’t want to give those people the middle finger?
Nationalism, fascism, authoritarianism, blah blah blah — as if any of that is substantively different from what we already have. This is a revolt against the establishment at all levels, and it transcends Trump himself, who almost certainly does not appreciate the full significance of his role or what is happening.
To my mind, Trump’s main fault is that if anything he’s been much too conventional.
His team is a joke: the change America needs involves Rudy Giuliani, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich? Give me a break.
His message is: these particular people I oppose have screwed you. Not the system — the system is fine, citizen! Let us hear no complaints about the system! Let’s simply eject these bad people, and we’ll “take our government back.”
If someone took office and simply stopped bombing, returned diplomacy to American foreign policy, and disengaged — even just to a limited extent — from domestic intervention, I’d be plenty satisfied.
Will Trump do that? I don’t know. There’s plenty to be concerned about, that’s for sure.
I do know Hillary’s intentions, and they’re horrifying all around.
The media, the politicians, and even many libertarians dismiss Trump’s supporters with the usual names: racist, sexist, xenophobic. (I have no idea why Japan, with zero immigration, is never called xenophobic — couldn’t be that our delicate flowers have a double standard!)
There’s a far more charitable way to understand Trump supporters: they are in open rebellion against an establishment that can’t stand the sight of them.
The state apparatus only exacerbates the ideological divisions that exist between people, because it imposes one system on everyone. If this election cycle proves anything, it’s that different folks should be allowed to go their separate ways.
Let the Clintonistas go be governed by Harvard Ph.D.’s. (Btw, for my sticklers, you do insert an apostrophe when making Ph.D. plural.) Let the rest of us figure out what we want, and in general leave each other alone.