Conditions for Supporting Trump

Now that Donald Trump is certain to be the Republican nominee, conservatives ought to consider whether or not to support his candidacy in the general election.

Trump can hardly complain if these conservatives do not reflexively support the Republican nominee.  He is, of course, now the establishment himself – even if one could ever imagine an insider Manhattan billionaire to be anything but the establishment.

Regardless of which would be the more awful president, Hillary or Donald, there are a couple of reasons why President Hillary would be better for the conservatives in America than President Trump.  These are reflections not of the virtues of Hillary, which are nonexistent, but rather of the ghastly hideousness of Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton. 

First, because Hillary is an unbelievably unappealing figure – ugly, dull, screeching, stupid, boorish, and vain – she would fail so quickly and so badly and so utterly as President Hillary that conservatives going into the 2018 midterms would be energized and united.  Nominating strong conservatives in Republican primaries and then electing those in a 2018 landslide would create the prospect of a genuine conservative revolution two years later. 

Republicans today who worry about 2016 being a Goldwater debacle ought to go back fifty years and realize that the 1966 midterm, because LBJ was responsible for everything, was a massacre of Democrats, and because Southern Democrats stood with conservative Republicans in Congress, LBJ could do nothing in his last two years.

This is the problem of President Trump for conservatives: he would become the face of the Republican Party, which would deny principled conservatives a free hand to attack leftism in America.  His duplicity and failures would become those of the Republican Party, assuming he governed as he campaigned.

Second, because Hillary is such a monstrously bad person and such a profoundly unlikeable creature, the militant feminists who support her today simply because she is their comrade will be saddled with her failures.  The next time a woman runs for president from the left offering nothing but her gender, the successful retort will be that she sounds just like Hillary.  Driving a wooden stake through the vampire heart of geriatric militant feminism would almost be worth four years of hearing Hillary's voice. 

This does not mean that conservatives ought not to support Trump in 2016, but it does mean that conservatives should not unconditionally support Trump just because he is the Republican nominee.  Trump is, of course, the quintessential RINO (Republican in Name Only) who principled conservatives have long warned must be resisted.

Conservatives ought also to ignore the mantra of every single presidential election since 1948 – to wit, "This is the most important presidential election of our lifetime."  Looking back over those decades, only Reagan's victory in 1980 truly transformed America.  Trump vs. Clinton smells a lot like Ford vs. Carter or Nixon vs. Humphrey or Clinton vs. Dole. 

Republican presidents have mattered, however, in two vital ways: 

Appointments to our super-legislature, the Supreme Court, affect our constitutional rights in long and deep ways.  George H. Bush appointed Clarence Thomas, and his son appointed Sam Alito.  Democrat presidents invariably appoint dull leftist hacks, and Republican presidents, alone, have appointed good justices (and a few bad ones).  An announced list of fifty solid conservative judges or lawyers that would constitute the pool from which all Supreme Court nominees would be drawn is something that would matter to conservatives.

The vice presidential nominee, if the party nominee wins, becomes the presumptive leader after that president leaves office.  Ronald Reagan made one single mistake: he chose George Bush instead of Jack Kemp to be his running mate.  Kemp, who would have won in 1988 at least as easily as Bush won, would have continued the free-market policies of Reagan and might well have won in 1992, allowing conservative Republican presidents a 16-year period of appointments to the Supreme Court – no Ginsburg, no Breyer – which would have made a big difference in the contests today between government and citizen, between states and Washington, and between Congress and the lesser branches of the federal government.

If Donald Trump picked a young, articulate, attractive conservative as his running mate, ideally one of the many good Republican governors in Flyover Country, that would make his victory in November important for America.  On the other hand, if Trump picks a calamity like Christie or Kasich, then that means conservatives have little interest in his victory, which would make these hyper-RINOs into the leaders of the party.

These two promises – a more conservative Supreme Court and a future conservative to lead the Republican Party – are enough.  Less than that leaves conservative with no reason to vote for Trump.

Now that Donald Trump is certain to be the Republican nominee, conservatives ought to consider whether or not to support his candidacy in the general election.

Trump can hardly complain if these conservatives do not reflexively support the Republican nominee.  He is, of course, now the establishment himself – even if one could ever imagine an insider Manhattan billionaire to be anything but the establishment.

Regardless of which would be the more awful president, Hillary or Donald, there are a couple of reasons why President Hillary would be better for the conservatives in America than President Trump.  These are reflections not of the virtues of Hillary, which are nonexistent, but rather of the ghastly hideousness of Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton. 

First, because Hillary is an unbelievably unappealing figure – ugly, dull, screeching, stupid, boorish, and vain – she would fail so quickly and so badly and so utterly as President Hillary that conservatives going into the 2018 midterms would be energized and united.  Nominating strong conservatives in Republican primaries and then electing those in a 2018 landslide would create the prospect of a genuine conservative revolution two years later. 

Republicans today who worry about 2016 being a Goldwater debacle ought to go back fifty years and realize that the 1966 midterm, because LBJ was responsible for everything, was a massacre of Democrats, and because Southern Democrats stood with conservative Republicans in Congress, LBJ could do nothing in his last two years.

This is the problem of President Trump for conservatives: he would become the face of the Republican Party, which would deny principled conservatives a free hand to attack leftism in America.  His duplicity and failures would become those of the Republican Party, assuming he governed as he campaigned.

Second, because Hillary is such a monstrously bad person and such a profoundly unlikeable creature, the militant feminists who support her today simply because she is their comrade will be saddled with her failures.  The next time a woman runs for president from the left offering nothing but her gender, the successful retort will be that she sounds just like Hillary.  Driving a wooden stake through the vampire heart of geriatric militant feminism would almost be worth four years of hearing Hillary's voice. 

This does not mean that conservatives ought not to support Trump in 2016, but it does mean that conservatives should not unconditionally support Trump just because he is the Republican nominee.  Trump is, of course, the quintessential RINO (Republican in Name Only) who principled conservatives have long warned must be resisted.

Conservatives ought also to ignore the mantra of every single presidential election since 1948 – to wit, "This is the most important presidential election of our lifetime."  Looking back over those decades, only Reagan's victory in 1980 truly transformed America.  Trump vs. Clinton smells a lot like Ford vs. Carter or Nixon vs. Humphrey or Clinton vs. Dole. 

Republican presidents have mattered, however, in two vital ways: 

Appointments to our super-legislature, the Supreme Court, affect our constitutional rights in long and deep ways.  George H. Bush appointed Clarence Thomas, and his son appointed Sam Alito.  Democrat presidents invariably appoint dull leftist hacks, and Republican presidents, alone, have appointed good justices (and a few bad ones).  An announced list of fifty solid conservative judges or lawyers that would constitute the pool from which all Supreme Court nominees would be drawn is something that would matter to conservatives.

The vice presidential nominee, if the party nominee wins, becomes the presumptive leader after that president leaves office.  Ronald Reagan made one single mistake: he chose George Bush instead of Jack Kemp to be his running mate.  Kemp, who would have won in 1988 at least as easily as Bush won, would have continued the free-market policies of Reagan and might well have won in 1992, allowing conservative Republican presidents a 16-year period of appointments to the Supreme Court – no Ginsburg, no Breyer – which would have made a big difference in the contests today between government and citizen, between states and Washington, and between Congress and the lesser branches of the federal government.

If Donald Trump picked a young, articulate, attractive conservative as his running mate, ideally one of the many good Republican governors in Flyover Country, that would make his victory in November important for America.  On the other hand, if Trump picks a calamity like Christie or Kasich, then that means conservatives have little interest in his victory, which would make these hyper-RINOs into the leaders of the party.

These two promises – a more conservative Supreme Court and a future conservative to lead the Republican Party – are enough.  Less than that leaves conservative with no reason to vote for Trump.