A Trump experiment

Ann Althouse poses this hypothetical:

1. Imagine a President Trump whose policies all accord with your own. Substantively, he’s like, perhaps, Barack Obama. He’ll appoint the Supreme Court Justice who will give the liberal faction a decisive 5-person majority. He’s very accepting of undocumented immigrants, committed to Obamacare, etc. etc. — whatever it is that you like. But he has all the personal characteristics of Donald Trump. He entered politics from a successful business career, funded his own campaign using his private wealth, and figured out how to do politics on the fly, making mistakes and correcting his course. He got knocked around in the press and by party insiders who wanted to stop him, but he kept going, overcoming 16 opponents. He had his own way of talking and he took it straight to the people, with hundreds of rallies, and he especially connected with working class people. They just loved him, as the elite shook their heads, because he didn’t have the diplomacy and elegance they’d come to expect from a President. Be honest now. How would you like this man? How would you speak about his personal style?
2. Imagine a President Trump with all of the substantive policies of the real Donald Trump — all of them, exactly the same. But this Donald Trump meets your stylistic ideal. He looks, acts, and speaks the way you picture a perfect President. He never seems at all rude or crude or imprecise in his words. His tone — you know the word ‘tone’? — is well-modulated. His sentences are the right length, his vocabulary large without verging into show-offiness. He seems confident, but not arrogant. He’s nice looking and the right age, perhaps 58, and his wife, who’s only exactly as good-looking as he is, is almost the same age. He’s got what everyone regards as a “good temperament.” He’s on task and organized — his administration is up and running like a fine-tuned machine — and putting through all these policies that you loathe and dread. What would you be saying about this Donald Trump?
One of the first comments nails it:

The first would be loved by Democrats. The second would never get elected, but would still be called the next Hitler by Democrats.

So does a later comment:

 

Re: option #2–Mitt Romney would have been a great president, but the Trump haters didn’t like him either.

And …

 

Thought Experiment #1 is what people were hoping to get with Bernie (well, maybe not a successful businessman, but someone they viewed as an outsider.)
In fact, look at TE1. That’s the mythologized version people have of… Obama. He came from academia; he was a political neophyte who learned his way against an antagonistic press (Faux News) and party insiders (Clinton) who funded his campaign through small donations (though this isn’t exactly true and ignores his reneging on his promise to McCain). Obama was a “straight shooter” who “told it like it was,” known for his eloquent speaking style (“Let me be clear,” and other Obama-isms.) Of course, Obama the myth is nothing like Obama the man (a standard left partisan who excelled at retail politics and fundraising), but that myth is exactly what the left WANTS.

And with Lent coming up, I really like this one too:

Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32), with the People being substituted as the one in charge.
The basic story is of a man [the People] with two sons who told his sons to go work in the vineyard. The first son refused, but later obeyed and went. The second son initially expressed obedience, but actually disobeyed and refused to work in the vineyard.
The son who ultimately did the will of the People was the first son because he eventually obeyed by confining his actions (like his Article II oath) to the Constitution and the laws (like immigration) made in pursuant thereof.
“Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”
What’s your answer to the two questions of the previous paragraph on April 15th?

One of the disturbing things about Trump is not Trump himself, but his biggest supporters, who to me are treating Trump just like Democrats and liberals treated Obama and treat (with the exception of Comrade Bernie’s supporters) Hillary Clinton. Trump is president because of how Obama and his apparatchiks demonized white males as Ku Klux Klan members over Obama’s eight years in office, and continued to do so during the 2016 presidential campaign (right, “Deplorables”?), and are still doing so today. Reacting to that kind of demonization is human nature, not racism. In the words of another commenter …

 

Conclusion: none of it makes any effing difference, except insofar as Trump’s boorishness further inflames progs’ smug hatred of the deplorables, and his unconventional politics threatens their political interests.

 

Trump at least makes you think he’s working for you (that is, his supporters), which is the way it’s supposed to be, and not the other way around, which Democrats appear to believe. In that sense his recklessness with words works in his favor, unless, I suppose, you’re one of his targets.

Speaking of targets, one reason for Trump’s most ardent supporters’ most ardent support is his campaign against the news media, which is a symbiotic–parasitic relationship given how much free publicity the media gave him and continues to give him. I don’t like to be lumped in with the MSNBC idiots, but ignoring your readers or listeners or viewers is at your own peril, particularly these days when media companies’ bottom lines prompt job cuts. (I speak from experience.) It’s a corollary of today’s unfortunate reality that everyone today seems to make decisions based on emotion and not facts and logic.

Anyone who thinks all Republicans have problems forming complete sentences and all Democrats are, to borrow a phrase from Dan Patrick, cool as the other side of the pillow, have not seen several Wisconsin Democrats, including, for inexplicable reasons, the people the Democrats hire as their media spokespeople. Democrats in this state look like Lon Chaney’s Wolfman whenever is brought up Gov. Scott Walker, who is such a (insert your favorite pejoratives here, printable or not) that he’s been elected three times by a majority of Wisconsin voters and will win his fourth term next year. (Yes, that’s a prediction, partly due to the ineptitude of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.)

Back to Trump and his boorish style, which is unquestionably a selling point among his most ardent supporters, of which I am not one. (Worshipping politicians is evil.) Trump’s style gets in the way of whatever he’s trying to do. Trump’s administration’s inability to speak without having to, in the words of a former boss of mine, re-rack what he or they say (how many illegal immigrants do we have — 12 million? 14 million? 140 million?) makes defending him difficult for those who are not merely responding emotionally based on their hatred of the other side. Trump’s pulling the plug on Obama’s most onerous regulations also helps, though I wish Trump would simply eliminate (and therefore fire) as many federal employees as are necessary for the federal government to reach the currect size. (Because, unlike Trump, I am not a big-government conservative. In my ideal world, millions of Americans wouldn’t be able to identify elected officials not out of ignorance, but because they’re not important.)

More important than his style is the substance. I didn’t support Trump largely because I didn’t believe he would actually govern in a conservative fashion. Happily most of his Cabinet picks have been conservatives, though I’m not a fan of all of them. (The jury is still out about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, for one, but I’m a big fan of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruett, because the environmental movement has far too much power in this country.) So is his first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. I’m also not particularly fan of his conclusion that the majority of our problems are because of immigrants, legal or not. (The evidence does not support that conclusion.)

The other big reason I didn’t support Trump is his trade policies, which will result in higher prices for American consumers, which is a far larger group of Americans than those affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement or the Trans Pacific Partnership. Who has benefitted from NAFTA and would benefit from TPP? Wisconsin farmers, whose work totals one-third of our economy. (And actually larger than that, given how many ag-related manufacturers Wisconsin has.) So who will be hurt by Trump’s next trade war? Wisconsin farmers. The fact no one I’m aware of from the Wisconsin GOP has spoken out against Trump’s wrongheaded trade policies is disturbing.

Trump hasn’t said what kind of tax reform he favors. (The border adjustment tax apparently supported by Congressional Republicans is a tax by another name, and the last thing we need is any kind of tax increase.) He also hasn’t said what kind of ObamaCare repeal and/or replacement he favors. Unless you’re a Trump lover or hater, the jury is still out.

Trump (and his fans) may have made the divide between political left and political right worse, but he certainly didn’t create the divide. “E Pluribus Unum” is a Utopian fantasy, probably forevermore.

 

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