Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
In the end, the strongest argument for a Trump vote has always been this:
Three weeks out from
Election Day, the Never Trump argument has been neatly summed up by Bill
Maher. Not only is Donald Trump coarse and boorish, anyone who supports
the man is as revolting as he is.
On his show last
month, Mr. Maher put it this way to Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway:
“You are enabling pure evil.” The HBO comedian went on to amuse himself by
adding that “Hillary was right when she called a lot of his supporters
Mr. Maher might have
added that it is also a well-worn Democratic trope. After all, wasn’t it Barack Obama who described small-town Americans as
bitterly clinging to guns and religion and disliking anyone who is different?
As for Hillary Clinton, in her deplorables crack
she dismissed half of Mr. Trump’s followers as “racist, sexist, homophobic.”
Less well noted (but more telling), she also declared them “irredeemable.”
This is an old
argument for the left. But Republicans are now hearing it from the right as
well. Which puts conservative Never Trumpers in a curious position vis-à-vis
government of, by and for the people: Are the tens of millions of Americans who
will pull the lever for Trump come November evil too, or just invincibly
Give the Never
Trumpers their due: Most do not shy away from the implication that anyone who
would vote for Mr. Trump is as low and base as he is. Their problem is that the
argument doesn’t seem to be having much traction with Republican voters. A
Monday found that while Mrs. Clinton enjoys the support of 78% of Democrats,
Mr. Trump is supported by 74% of Republicans. Other polls show that even after
all his fumbles and embarrassments, the vast majority of Republicans do not
want Mr. Trump to drop out.
One reason may be that
the argument about morally corrupt GOP voters is not really an argument. More
precisely, it’s an argument Republicans typically hear from the left. Instead
of weighing the prosaic facts—i.e., the practical ramifications of having Mrs.
Clinton sitting in the Oval Office versus Mr. Trump—how much easier it is to
try to end all discussion by pronouncing the GOP nominee repellent.
Trump supporters get
this. Probably few were surprised by the “Access Hollywood” tape that showed
Mr. Trump in full Bill Clinton mode. They support him in spite of it.
They support him
because they fear political correctness is making vital discussions about the
country impossible—and conclude that any candidate who’s going to take this on
is not going to be Miss Manners. They support him because they know what they
will get if Mrs. Clinton wins, as now looks likely.
They support him
because they get the contempt dripping from Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton whenever
the subject is the things they cherish: faith, patriotism, the decency of
ordinary citizens, and so on. Above all, they support him because they also get
that the elite contempt for Donald Trump is a proxy contempt for them.
Still, each new day
brings new accusations and analogies. Like college sophomores ransacking
history for the most extreme metaphors, no pejorative is too fantastic. Trump
is Hitler! Trump is Mussolini! Trump is Nietzsche! Even George Will just
likened the GOP convention to a “mini-Nuremberg.”
cheapest moralizing has been reserved for those trying to make the best of a
bad situation. Thus Trump running mate Mike Pence finds himself
accused of moral turpitude for working to keep the Republican Party from coming
apart and giving voters some hope for a conservative agenda if Mr. Trump were
Ditto for House
Speaker Paul Ryan, excoriated by the Trumpers for his efforts to preserve the
GOP’s House majority and by Never Trumpers for refusing to un-endorse the
Republican nominee. Mr. Ryan understands that losing the Congress would give
President Hillary Clinton two years to push through the progressive wish list,
not to mention putting a liberal majority on the Supreme Court, preserving
ObamaCare and maintaining the travesty that is the nuclear deal with Iran.
Having watched what the 2010 GOP House takeover did to the Obama agenda, she
would no doubt take full advantage of the time she has to act.
In the end, the
strongest argument for a Trump vote has always been this: The alternative is a
president who lies, whose public life has been a series of scandals from cattle
futures to the destruction of documents under subpoena, who would be a third term
for disastrous Obama policies at home and abroad, and who has never taken a
position that wasn’t done from naked political expediency—from supporting the
Iraq war in 2002 or opposing it later to invoking Abraham Lincoln to
justify saying one thing in public and another in private.
Meanwhile, the Never
Trump movement’s contribution has been to give us a word for all those who have
weighed this evidence and have found the argument against a Clinton presidency