Some initial post-election observations:
- First, I’m very surprised that Trump won. I never believed he had a realistic chance. Count me among the long list of chumps that badly underestimated him.
- Second, I’m very happy that the Republicans held the Senate and the House.
- Third, statists are likely to be very happy with many of Trump’s initiatives. Liberty-lovers will have to battle Trump as hard as we battled Barack Obama on many fronts. A GOP Congress is needed to keep Trump statism in check. But, on balance, the election results are better for liberty, at least in that this election will slow the statist trend in the short term.
And the short term is very important, especially for the long term. If that seems oxymoronic, let me explain.
The biggest issue in this election, in my view, is judicial nominations, especially United States Supreme Court judicial nominations. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is the last judicial bulwark fo constitutional, rights-protecting government. Today, there is a much better chance that the U.S. Supreme Court is safe from the enemies of the constitution for the foreseeable future. Assuming Trump appoints pro-constitutional judges—not a slam dunk—the Supreme Court appears much safer for years to come, from an individual rights perspective. The bonus is that Trump is not much of a social conservative. So we are more likely to get judges like Anthony Kennedy, who tends to lean toward individual liberty across the board; i.e., in economic, political, and social issues; e.g., he voted to legalize of gay marriage, for free speech in Citizens United, and in favor of education tax credits for parents who send their children to schools with ties to religion. Though he’s not perfect, he’s better than the hard core conservatives, at least on personal morals liberty; Of course, good judicial picks are not guaranteed. This is, after all, President Donald Trump.
But a President Hillary Clinton was sure to appoint terrible judges. In areas from free speech to regulatory powers to gun rights to school choice/ parental control of children's’ education, the collectivist “It takes a village” Hillary was likely to appoint judges who would side with statists and do lasting and possibly irreversible damage to Americans’ inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There are many concerns about Trump, of course, Though I voted for him—I didn’t make up my mind on how to vote until only a few days ago. I would have never voted for Hillary. My choice was Trump or abstain. Even though I voted for him, I was never an actual Trump advocate. But, at least concerning the SCOTUS threat to our liberties, I can feel much more hopeful. The Republicans’ gamble of blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court pick after the death of Antonin Scalia is looking pretty good, especially since a Hillary win would have meant an even worse pick than Obama’s. I cannot overstate my relief regarding SCOTUS. Judicial nominees, my immediate concern, have broad long term ramifications. That's why I said, regarding this election, “the short term is very important, especially for the long term.”
I don’t like Donald Trump. He said a lot of stupid and offensive things. He often appealed to the worst kind of emotions. On this, his demagoguery mirrors the Democrats, who always appeal to the basest emotions—in particular, greed, envy, and racial affiliation (racism).
Whatever you think of him, we need to tip our hats to Trump. He pulled off one of the greatest political achievements ever; certainly in my lifetime; in my view bigger than Obama’s upset of Hillary in 2008, and Richard Nixon’s political comeback in the 1960s. From the beginning, nobody took him seriously. Everybody kept underestimating him. And he pulled off upset after upset until the mother of all upsets on November 8th. At least on this score, he deserves recognition. He saw something in the electorate that few others saw, and—like a dumb fox—he capitalized on it, albeit often with unsavory and incendiary language. Nonetheless, congratulations to Donald Trump.