Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Vote Will Go to . . . (ARRGGHH!) Donald Trump

The New Jersey Star-Ledger, not surprisingly, has endorsed Hillary Clinton (Clinton for president: Why we need a landslide). Tellingly, the Star-Ledger offers only one primary reason to vote for Clinton: Trump is so bad, he must be stopped. Thus, the Star-Ledger urges all voters, including Republicans repulsed by Trump, to vote for Hillary. The Star-Ledger writes:

Those who would cast their votes for third party candidates need to think again. If they want their votes to have political impact, they need to strengthen the prospects of a landslide by voting for Clinton. They need to vote strategically, given the enormous stakes.

So yes, this endorsement of Clinton is full-throated and without reservation. Trump's popularity has revealed a sickness in our body politic that is flat-out dangerous. A crushing win by Clinton offers the best hope for a cure.

What about Hillary and the Democratic Party on the issues? The Star-Ledger makes some passing observations, but mostly smears Republicans.

I left these comments:

Yes, Americans need to “vote strategically.” With Clinton the likely winner, we really need another 1972 in reverse.

One of the most tragic aspects of the Trump nomination is that actual issues have been pushed to the periphery of the electoral stage. This means that the horrendously statist political agenda of the Democratic Party—its anti-reliable energy, anti-industrial environmentalism; its economic agenda that seeks to turn the middle class into a welfare class based on a radical anti-individual achievement neo-communist egalitarianism that values economic equality over individual rights, political equality, and economic progress; its sharp turn against freedom of speech, including its neo-fascist prosecutorial attack on dissenters from the Left’s climate catastrophist dogma; its lack of serious concern for national security; its nomination of “living constitution” (read a-constitutional) judicial nominees, and more—is largely getting a free pass.

It shouldn’t.

We mustn’t forget that there is more to this election than a presidential ballot. We need another 1972 ticket-spitting election. In 1972, at a time when Democrats handsomely outnumbered Republicans, Richard Nixon won a landslide against a horrendous Democratic nominee, George McGovern. Many Democrats crossed over and voted for Nixon. But Nixon had no coattails, as Democrats held onto comfortable margins in Congress.

Today we have the opposite situation of 1972. And we need a ticket-splitting repeat, in reverse. Ever since the GOP nominated Donald Trump—in my view a disastrous choice—I have agonized over my presidential vote. Do I hold my nose and vote for Trump—or not? I am not alone. Many pro-liberty people are facing the same dilemma. This year’s presidential dilemma makes congressional elections more crucial than ever.

As a Republican-leaning, pro-liberty Independent, I urge that if you feel we must elect Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump, then it is equally important to retain the GOP hold on Congress—both Senate and House. This will force Hillary into bi-partisan mode. This is not to say that the Republican Party is reliably pro liberty, pro rights-respecting government. But what else is there? They’re all we have if we’re going to have any chance to blunt the hard Left dehumanizing collectivist/statist designs of the Democratic Party. Let’s face it, we who advocate Americanism—individualism, reason, liberty, scientific/technological/economic progress, “the people” as citizens with a government as opposed to subjects of the rulers—are on the defensive. Before we can reverse the socialist/collectivist/statist trend, we must first halt that trend.

Ironically, a GOP Congress could also be needed to restrain Trump’s own authoritarianism, should he somehow manage to win (I believe a Clinton win is a foregone conclusion, despite the latest email hubbub. Either way, America will be faced with a statist in the White House. Feel the need to vote for Hillary? Then vote straight Republican down-ballot. Fear a Trump presidency? Then vote straight Republican down-ballot. Either way, For Congress: Vote the Republican Party.

As for me, I have now come to a decision. I will be voting for Trump.

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are terrible on a whole host of issues; on national security, environmentalism and energy, the First and Second Amendments, tax and regulatory policy, egalitarianism, judicial nominees, and other issues. For my review of the Democrats’ agenda, see my post Election 2016: Forget the Lies. It’s About the Issues. Given the enormous lawmaking power that Congress has reneged to the Executive Branch of the federal government, in the form of the regulatory apparatus, no Democrat can any longer be trusted to hold that office.

Trump is not as bad on policy. He’s terrible on trade. He is terrible on freedom of speech. He is an unknown regarding his Supreme Court philosophy. In fact, he is either ignorant or indifferent to the United States Constitution. He is a bully, willing to use the regulatory/tax policies—the power of the governmental gun—to coerce and punish companies that don’t succumb to his whims. His immigration policies are xenophobic, including his “temporary” ban-all-Muslims proposal, which indicates he doesn’t understand the Islamic enemy or how to fight it. His slogan, “Make America Great Again,” smacks of nationalism, a basic element of fascism. He never mentions individual rights (America’s “greatness” is that it was founded on the ideal that the individual must be free to live for himself, not the nation or the state.) He is a welfare statist and a demagogue, though less so than the Democrats. Trump promises to appoint judges who respect the constitution, but that is not at all certain given that the constitution is designed to protect the people from power-lusters, of which he is one.

On the other hand, Trump is decent on tax policy. He will likely be better on economic regulation. Gun rights are probably relatively safe under a Trump Administration. He promises to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with free market-leaning reforms (though I wouldn’t hold my breath).  Importantly, Trump is not a committed social conservative (despite his pandering rhetoric). He'll probably be good on energy, if for no other reason that he's not an anti-fossil fuel ideologue.

On balance, while he is no Hillary Clinton, Trump is not someone I want as president.

However, there is an important intangible that must be considered. Hillary is a Democrat, so she will be surrounded by likeminded statists, many even further to the Left than she. The primary influence on Hillary will be to pull her even further to the Left; i.e., toward less individual liberty and more dependence on (and thereby control by) government. Trump, on the other hand—though statist and himself more like a Democrat than a Republican—will be surrounded by people who are to his Right on economic issues. This means the primary influence on Trump will be to pull him to the Right; i.e., toward more individual liberty and self-responsibility.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Trump will listen to them. The wild card, of course, is that Trump is, well, a wild card. With Hillary, we pretty much know what we are getting. But Trump? Who knows. He could be much better than expected (or at least less bad). He can also be even worse than he sounds—so bad that we could see the ultimate absurdity: A Republican president impeached by a Republican Congress for anti-constitutional behavior. It’s not a prediction. But with Trump, who knows?

A much more likely danger is that, typically, off-year elections favor the party that doesn’t hold the White House. This means that a bumbling (or worse) Trump presidency could lead to a Democrat Party sweep in 2018. But that more distant danger is trumped—so to speak—by the more immediate danger posed by a Hillary Clinton presidency.

I fully recognize the unsavory reality that I will have to spend the years ahead defending my vote for Donald Trump. I will be lumped in with bigots of all sorts by the simple-minded idiots who can’t fathom that there are many reasons that go into the choice of a candidate. My vote for Trump is not a Trump endorsement (that's why the title of this post starts with "My Vote Will Go to" rather than with "For President"). He is not a better choice. He is the least bad choice. My vote for Trump is an indication of how much I despise what the Democrats stand for—their utter disdain for individual rights, the constitution, and the rule of law, and their lack of basic respect for their fellow human beings' freedom to live by their own judgement.

I am under no illusions that Trump is good for individual liberty, free market capitalism, or the constitutional rule of law. He is not. When he leaves office 4 or 8 years from now, should he defeat Hillary Clinton, he will likely leave behind a less free, more statist America, on balance. But given the horrendous alternative that is Hillary Clinton and the dehumanizing collectivism/statism of the modern Democratic Party—and with the thought that the most important vote is the Congressional elections—I’ll hold my nose and take a chance on Trump.

None of this is meant to convey the message that the current Republican Party or its nominee is the answer to America’s problems generated by the trend toward statism. The solution to those problems is much deeper—that is to say, philosophical and moral. In the longer run, individualism must win out over collectivism—a battle that collectivism is currently winning. The Republican Party by and large is not philosophically and morally equippied to turn the tide, which is why it has been losing to the Left for a century. At this point in time, Trump and the GOP could serve to slow the trend toward collectivism and buy individualism some time. A little breathing room is the most we can hope for on November 8th, 2016.

Related Reading:

Sanders’s Open Socialism Blows the Cover Off of the Left’s Stealth Socialism


Mike Kevitt said...

"ARRGGHH!" Maybe you followed Shultz's Peanuts comic strip, though, maybe not. I didn't, but I'm well aware of that expression and of where it came from. I could've used that expression myself. No problem.

Yes. A republican Congress might give us 2 or 4 yrs. breathing room. But I think we're gonna have to breathe whether we have room or not, for a LONG time. Yaron Brook, of the ARI, says the educational process will take years (?), decades, maybe a century, maybe longer before anything jells. I think we're so far behind the curve, like 100 years or more (the likes of Ayn Rand 'should've' been born in 1805, not 1905). I think we'll endure another centuries-long Dark Age, then centuries more of convulsing toward another Enlightenment, this time on the proper and full philosophical basis so it can be forever instead of a lousy couple centuries.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

Yes, I'm a Peanuts fan. It's the best term I could come up with that fits.

I remember Brook also saying there couldn't be another Dark Age because the world is now too big. Much of the world has lived under the ideas grinding America down, and is moving away from them. America can crash and people will just move to some other part of the world that is recovering and flourishing, like China.

30 years ago I believed America had turned the corner. We survived the 60s and 70s and the economy was booming under lower taxes, less regulation, and the Cold War was turning in America's favor.

But, people didn't learn. I think the odds favor some sort of economic cataclysm. However, when the new Enlightenment and recovery comes, it won’t be “forever.” Knowledge must be passed on through education. The “proper and full philosophical basis” must be relearned by each succeeding generation, forever and ever. Eternal vigilance is and always has been a must.

On the other hand, though I now believe less likely, the turn might be closer at hand. The 1960s New Left is now in charge, but that won’t last forever. Maybe something worse will follow—or maybe something better. One thing Trump has likely done is trigger a Republican reformation. We’ll see where that goes.

Mike Kevitt said...

Absolutely, knowledge and values must be taught to each generation. It can't be transmitted genetically. But once the full philosophical basis prevails, an enlightenment CAN last forever IF each generation is taught.

I see why you say no new dark age, at least not worldwide, maybe just in western culture, shared equally by the U.S. If I ever go to another country because the U.S. has become 3rd. World, I'd take my ideas with me and push them, even in China, a communist dictatorship. I don't think any part of the world that is flourishing really understands. They're just having a 'boom' time. It might be a long boom, but only for a while, and not for 200 yrs. or so. They're only cashing in on the temporal and fading influence of the U.S., picking fruits but planting no seeds.

The U.S. has the seeds, but they must still be bred to fullness and planted (taught) and re-taught. Even in our own dark age, we still have the seeds. I don't think any other place does. I'll probably stay here and push here.

Mike Kevitt said...

After 1981, I 'kinda' thought we had turned a corner in the right direction, though I kept watching and hoping, attentively. But Reagan so often pulled back from thresh holds and DIDN'T nail things down. He showed the left his soft edge, with substance. I can't even remember the specifics now. I just remember he pulled back. To the contrary, I remember how awful Carter was. But, when Reagan trounced him, I actually recounted all the good things Carter did. I was surprised at the length of my list. But, likewise, I don't remember the specifics, the list. In both cases, I forget, and I didn't write anything down.

Since Reagan, there's been little point in writing anything down. It's all been nothing, or bad, despite fleeting appearances of momentary good. During B. Clinton, the moment was a semi-enduring mirage, in some ways, plus anticipation of G.W. Bush's response to 9/11, which soon disappointed.

Even if the GOP keeps both houses of Congress and we score big in 2018, I think it's only pragmatic, because we're generations behind the curve. Dumbo right wingers will give it all away to the leftists, in 2020, as if leftists will even need it by that time.

Verily, verily I say unto thee (please excuse the KJV religion), we're cooked, until another Enlightenment, etc., which must be fought for not just intellectually, but also physically, just like before. Before the violent U.S. Revolution, there was plenty of violence for it in the colonies and in Europe, not just in the UK, but in all of Europe for even centuries previous. No different, today.