Flawed Person vs. Toxic Party: The 2016 Choice

Jonah Goldberg recently criticized conservative defenders of Donald Trump for refusing to acknowledge that the 2016 election confronts us with a no-win scenario: "we are being asked what kind of bread our mandatory crap sandwiches shall be served on."  The criteria for Goldberg's equivalence between the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees are "ideas" (by which I think he means "policy ideas") and "character," with particular emphasis upon the latter.

Goldberg intends to muddle through November with a calm conscience by "[saying] Hillary is corrupt, deceitful, and unqualified and [saying] likewise about Trump."  That's Goldberg's prerogative, but if he spends the rest of the year writing about the character and qualifications of the individual candidates, he'll just be distracting his readers' attention from the really important stakes. 

Hillary Clinton is about to become the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.  The critical word here is party.  The Democratic Party is a powerful political organization that over the course of more than a century has already substantially shaped the government and culture of the nation that Mrs. Clinton aspires to lead.  This party is guided by a fairly coherent and widely propagated ideology, a variant of Marxism that adds to the struggle of labor against capital other putatively  inevitable and historically determinative struggles between an oppressor class of white race and an oppressed class of non-white races, an oppressed class of females in struggle against an oppressor class of males, an oppressed LGBTQ class against oppressor heteros, an oppressor human species against the oppressed non-human environment, and an oppressor West against an oppressed global Rest.  A corollary to the Democratic Party ideology is a posture of contempt, or worse, for those who remain unindoctrinated.  This "progressive" ideology does not reside inertly inside Democratic heads.  The Party's numerous adherents derive a sense of deep purpose in advancing the aforesaid struggles wherever the opportunity presents itself to them as individuals.

When a Democrat occupies the White House, that means that the Democratic Party occupies the White House, with its disciplined corps of countless and usually little known activists – Jonathan Grubers, Lois Lerners, Eric Holders, etc., etc.,  etc.  The party membership is not even limited to the official branches of government, as it also includes para-governmental affiliates such as the New York Times, the Clinton Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and most universities.  Consequently, even when the Democratic Party does not hold the White House, its loss of power is only limited and temporary – which, by the way, is why Democratic legislators confidently remain on offense even when an electoral setback puts them in the minority, while their putative opponents often remain timidly on defense even when enjoying legislative majorities.

Since this political organization, the Democratic Party, is what it is, the single most important issue that confronts voters in every American election is the issue of the Democratic Party itself.  Its power is immense – does it do now, and will it do in the future, great good or great harm?  Is it even loyal to the U.S., its citizens, and its laws?

Thus, whether Jonah Goldberg acknowledges it or not, the question he will be answering when he votes in November is whether to support or oppose the Democratic Party's continued hold on the reins of national government.  The personal identity of the Democratic nominee for president has little effect on what is at stake.  Neither does the personal ethical character of the Democratic nominee.  A party that could dismiss, excuse, and cover up the ethical lapses and incompetence of a Hillary Clinton, a Barack Obama, or a Lois Lerner is an ethically corrupt party, and that's much worse than a single ethically corrupt individual in whatever office. 

In this light, a voter who understands the damage the Democratic Party does when it holds the White House – and even when it doesn't – faces an easy choice in the election, because the Democratic Party sets such a low bar for the alternative.  Donald Trump, imperfect though he may be, has no trouble clearing it.

In the first place, Donald Trump does not belong to the Democratic Party, and this is evident despite any campaign contributions he may have made in the past or any liberal-like positions he may hold or once have held, because Trump does not read from the playbook of Democratic Party ideology,  and he doesn't care what names party propagandists may call him.

So if Trump gains the White House, the Democratic Party loses it.  That's good for America.  In fact, Trump is not really a Republican, either, so another  thing we know about a President Trump is that his official powers will not be fully amplified by a compliant party apparatus (not that the Republicans have much of one anyway).  This means that in a Trump administration, the effective powers of the presidential office would almost automatically be reduced from those of the Obama White House.  That would be an improvement, even if Trump himself didn't plan it. 

A Trump victory in the election, in itself and without regard for the subsequent success of his presidency, would also be a clear win for America, because the voters would at least have stood up to the Democratic Party, while if the Democratic Party retains the White House, its sense of entitlement, unaccountability, and ambition will continue to expand even faster.  The only way to throw the bums out is to cast votes to replace them.  That's a good reason to vote for Trump.

The relevance of Trump's personal character and temperament is much overblown, especially by Democrats who personally despise and defame every opponent and seek to bully the voters, but also by public conservatives like Goldberg who fear the taint of association with Trump more than they do the systematic destruction of the Constitution (and more) by the Democratic Party.

I agree that Donald Trump is a person of flawed character and uncertain convictions.  In the primary campaign, he said a number of malicious things I think a good person shouldn't have and some things that a prudent person wouldn't have.  But the harm of Donald Trump's unscrupulous or tactless speech, or of his alleged practices as a businessman, is absolutely negligible compared to the systematic institutional harm that the Democratic Party inflicts silently every day (and, I might add,  the harm of Trump's speech would be even less if the Democratic Party media did not deliberately exaggerate it – but that's just our world).  Trump also may not know much about policy, and he may sometimes contradict himself, but like the proverbial first five hundred people in the Boston telephone directory, he's still a better bet to make good policy than any Jonathan Gruber.

Finally, to give Donald Trump just a tiny bit of credit for personal character, he at least has the common sense and courage, or maybe just the plain nerve, to stand up and yell "Stop" when he's had enough.  That, in one word, is what I think millions of voters heard in the Republican primaries.

I was a Cruz supporter, but in the end I had to admit to myself that I heard it, too.  It's the "conservative" pundits at National Review who seem to be deaf.

Jonah Goldberg recently criticized conservative defenders of Donald Trump for refusing to acknowledge that the 2016 election confronts us with a no-win scenario: "we are being asked what kind of bread our mandatory crap sandwiches shall be served on."  The criteria for Goldberg's equivalence between the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees are "ideas" (by which I think he means "policy ideas") and "character," with particular emphasis upon the latter.

Goldberg intends to muddle through November with a calm conscience by "[saying] Hillary is corrupt, deceitful, and unqualified and [saying] likewise about Trump."  That's Goldberg's prerogative, but if he spends the rest of the year writing about the character and qualifications of the individual candidates, he'll just be distracting his readers' attention from the really important stakes. 

Hillary Clinton is about to become the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.  The critical word here is party.  The Democratic Party is a powerful political organization that over the course of more than a century has already substantially shaped the government and culture of the nation that Mrs. Clinton aspires to lead.  This party is guided by a fairly coherent and widely propagated ideology, a variant of Marxism that adds to the struggle of labor against capital other putatively  inevitable and historically determinative struggles between an oppressor class of white race and an oppressed class of non-white races, an oppressed class of females in struggle against an oppressor class of males, an oppressed LGBTQ class against oppressor heteros, an oppressor human species against the oppressed non-human environment, and an oppressor West against an oppressed global Rest.  A corollary to the Democratic Party ideology is a posture of contempt, or worse, for those who remain unindoctrinated.  This "progressive" ideology does not reside inertly inside Democratic heads.  The Party's numerous adherents derive a sense of deep purpose in advancing the aforesaid struggles wherever the opportunity presents itself to them as individuals.

When a Democrat occupies the White House, that means that the Democratic Party occupies the White House, with its disciplined corps of countless and usually little known activists – Jonathan Grubers, Lois Lerners, Eric Holders, etc., etc.,  etc.  The party membership is not even limited to the official branches of government, as it also includes para-governmental affiliates such as the New York Times, the Clinton Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and most universities.  Consequently, even when the Democratic Party does not hold the White House, its loss of power is only limited and temporary – which, by the way, is why Democratic legislators confidently remain on offense even when an electoral setback puts them in the minority, while their putative opponents often remain timidly on defense even when enjoying legislative majorities.

Since this political organization, the Democratic Party, is what it is, the single most important issue that confronts voters in every American election is the issue of the Democratic Party itself.  Its power is immense – does it do now, and will it do in the future, great good or great harm?  Is it even loyal to the U.S., its citizens, and its laws?

Thus, whether Jonah Goldberg acknowledges it or not, the question he will be answering when he votes in November is whether to support or oppose the Democratic Party's continued hold on the reins of national government.  The personal identity of the Democratic nominee for president has little effect on what is at stake.  Neither does the personal ethical character of the Democratic nominee.  A party that could dismiss, excuse, and cover up the ethical lapses and incompetence of a Hillary Clinton, a Barack Obama, or a Lois Lerner is an ethically corrupt party, and that's much worse than a single ethically corrupt individual in whatever office. 

In this light, a voter who understands the damage the Democratic Party does when it holds the White House – and even when it doesn't – faces an easy choice in the election, because the Democratic Party sets such a low bar for the alternative.  Donald Trump, imperfect though he may be, has no trouble clearing it.

In the first place, Donald Trump does not belong to the Democratic Party, and this is evident despite any campaign contributions he may have made in the past or any liberal-like positions he may hold or once have held, because Trump does not read from the playbook of Democratic Party ideology,  and he doesn't care what names party propagandists may call him.

So if Trump gains the White House, the Democratic Party loses it.  That's good for America.  In fact, Trump is not really a Republican, either, so another  thing we know about a President Trump is that his official powers will not be fully amplified by a compliant party apparatus (not that the Republicans have much of one anyway).  This means that in a Trump administration, the effective powers of the presidential office would almost automatically be reduced from those of the Obama White House.  That would be an improvement, even if Trump himself didn't plan it. 

A Trump victory in the election, in itself and without regard for the subsequent success of his presidency, would also be a clear win for America, because the voters would at least have stood up to the Democratic Party, while if the Democratic Party retains the White House, its sense of entitlement, unaccountability, and ambition will continue to expand even faster.  The only way to throw the bums out is to cast votes to replace them.  That's a good reason to vote for Trump.

The relevance of Trump's personal character and temperament is much overblown, especially by Democrats who personally despise and defame every opponent and seek to bully the voters, but also by public conservatives like Goldberg who fear the taint of association with Trump more than they do the systematic destruction of the Constitution (and more) by the Democratic Party.

I agree that Donald Trump is a person of flawed character and uncertain convictions.  In the primary campaign, he said a number of malicious things I think a good person shouldn't have and some things that a prudent person wouldn't have.  But the harm of Donald Trump's unscrupulous or tactless speech, or of his alleged practices as a businessman, is absolutely negligible compared to the systematic institutional harm that the Democratic Party inflicts silently every day (and, I might add,  the harm of Trump's speech would be even less if the Democratic Party media did not deliberately exaggerate it – but that's just our world).  Trump also may not know much about policy, and he may sometimes contradict himself, but like the proverbial first five hundred people in the Boston telephone directory, he's still a better bet to make good policy than any Jonathan Gruber.

Finally, to give Donald Trump just a tiny bit of credit for personal character, he at least has the common sense and courage, or maybe just the plain nerve, to stand up and yell "Stop" when he's had enough.  That, in one word, is what I think millions of voters heard in the Republican primaries.

I was a Cruz supporter, but in the end I had to admit to myself that I heard it, too.  It's the "conservative" pundits at National Review who seem to be deaf.