Sunday, October 16, 2016

Echoes of 1972? The Trump Dilemma: The Democrats are Worse

The New Jersey Star-Ledger is calling for Republicans to abandon Donald Trump and vote for Hillary in the same way that Democrats abandoned George McGovern in 1972, handing Richard Nixon a landslide victory. In Republicans for Hillary: Time to come out of the closet, Star-Ledger editorial writer Tom Moran, who approvingly cited a guest column by former Republican Governor Christie Whitman that compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini., goes:

Will there come a point when Republicans of good will abandon their party this year, and do what they can to save America from the risk of Donald Trump winning the presidency?

It's a tall order for conservatives. They would have to content themselves with trying to hold Congress for now, so that Hillary Clinton is forced to govern as a centrist.

The only close precedent in modern history came in August of 1972 as the Vietnam War raged, after Democrats nominated Sen. George McGovern, the peace [far Left] candidate from South Dakota.

A former Democratic governor of Texas, John Connally, led a mutiny against McGovern and founded the group "Democrats for Nixon." He recruited several unions, including the Teamsters, along with a meaty list of Democratic governors, legislators and mayors, including Thomas Dunn of Elizabeth [NJ].

In the end, 1 in 3 Democrats voted for Nixon, giving him a 23-point landslide in the popular vote, the fourth largest in history. Democrats then moved to the middle, and soon recovered their footing.

I left these comments, edited and expanded for clarity:

The Star-Ledger is correct. Trump is bad. But here’s the Trump dilemma: The Democrats are worse.

The Democrats have lurched more heavily toward statism and nihilism than ever before, including 1972. The Democratic Party has been captured by environmentalist witch doctors who would sacrifice human energy needs to the climate gods; radical neo-communist egalitarians who value economic equality over individual achievement and political equality; warriors against free speech and intellectual freedom, in the form of endorsing a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United, thus giving the political class the power to control political speech; fascists who believe dissent should be criminalized as fraud, in the form of endorsing the prosecutorial inquisition by a cabal of Democrat  AGs United for Clean Power” against Exxon and dozens of pro-free market intellectual organizations who challenge the Left’s climate catastrophist dogma; liars who mis-identify the causes of the 2008-09 financial crisis and Great Recession—putting primary blame on “Wall Street” rather than government “affordable housing” crusades—for the purpose of rationalizing massive regulatory expansion; an insatiable appetite for taxing away earned wealth to create new and ever-broader handouts, effectively proposing to “save” the middle class by turning it into a vast welfare class; and an unrelenting power-lust that drives them to ceaselessly expand the federal regulatory tyranny with new freedom-restricting regulations to “solve” every “crisis” they can dream up.

Whatever remnants of the “Old Left” liberalism of the likes Scoop Jackson, JFK, Patrick Moynahan, and Joe Lieberman still moderate the Democrats was thoroughly crushed by the demagogic, explicitly socialist rise of Bernie Sanders. The Democrats’ disdain for constitutional limits on their power appears insatiable. As a registered Independent, I have no loyalty to either party. My loyalties lie with individual rights and a government constitutionally limited to protecting those rights—the original American system.

Obviously, Trump doesn’t fit the bill. Given the choices, I’m forced to choose between bad and catastrophic. But here’s the question. If we adopt the Star-Ledger’s call to vote for Hillary to stop Trump, how then do we stop the Democrats? Here’s a possible compromise: Vote for Hillary to stop Trump, then vote for a Republican Congress to check Hillary and stop the Democrats. “Republicans for Hillary” and “Democrats for a Republican Congress.” That would lead to the mirror image of what happened in 1972, when Nixon won big but Democrats retained Congress. Think the Star-Ledger and the Democrats will go along? We’ll get global cooling in you-know-where before that happens. Resentfully and tragically, at this point I feel I have no choice but to vote for a bad Trump, as a vote for Johnson/Weld would only strengthen a catastrophic Hillary.


The analogy to 1972 is invalid in one important respect. In 1972, McGovern pulled the Democrat Party farther to the Left, where it already leaned. In 2016, Trump didn’t pull the Republican Party farther Right, where it already leaned. He pulled the GOP to the Left.

Nonetheless, given the almost-certainty that Hillary will win, the best pro-liberty forces can hope for is for Republicans to hold congress. This would not, however, be as advantageous for the Right as the 1972 outcome was for the Democrats. Then, the federal government wasn’t as powerful as it is today. Today, the much-bigger regulatory leviathan awards much more power to the executive branch to make fiat law, bypassing Congress. So a Republican Congress would be much less effective at checking Hillary’s statist impulses than it would have been 44 years ago. But that looks to be our best hope.

Related reading:

Election 2016: Forget the Lies. It’s About the Issues


Mike Kevitt said...

This is a test. If it works, I'll submit an actual comment.

Mike Kevitt said...

I'll now try to submit this comment which wouldn't go thru before.

First, I never call the D. candidate for president Hillary. That gives her friendly respect, totally uncalled for. She doesn't deserve it. I call her Ms. H. Clinton, as in-personal as I can think of.

Second, the Democrats need only the presidency. That guarantees them the Supreme Court. They will not need the legislative branch. They'll have a free and open field. I think we're cooked. We need another New World or, what?

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

My hope is that a GOP congress can at least blunt her SCOTUS nominees, forcing her to avoid the most radical Leftist judges. It's a small comfort. But that's all we've got. Even if Trump somehow wins, there's no guarantee he'll appoint pro-liberty, pro-constitution judges.

Mike Kevitt said...

Yes, GOP congress might prevent the worst Supreme Court nominees. If Trump does somehow win, I think he will at least protect the 2nd. Amendment with Supreme Court nominees even if he's stuck with a Democratic senate. But I'm not sure about the 1st. Amendment. He's less likely to protect that.