Our Betters: Trump Must Now Exercise 'Magnanimity' toward Democrats

It is November, and the air reverberates with cries for unity and bipartisanship.  The Republicans must have won an election.  Sentiments such as "I won" and "You ran the bus into the ditch, so now sit in the back seat and be quiet" are more associated with Democratic triumphs.

Advising the new president on his treatment of Democrats, the Wall Street Journal's editors counsel "charity for all."  They draw upon Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, delivered just before the end of the Civil War.  Is that really applicable to Mr. Trump's dealings with his political adversaries?  Lincoln spoke after the South had suffered the slaughter of its manhood, the destruction or besiegement of its cities, and utter defeat, with formal surrender a month away.  Lincoln's admonition looked to a time after victory.

Winning an election is not in and of itself victory – not if the objective is to change the nation's course and to preserve its constitution.  The election placed the necessary means of success in the Republicans' hands – the presidency and legislative majorities in both house of Congress – but it remains for them to use those means.  Victory on D-Day was won not merely by sending an armada into the English Channel.

The South capitulated at the end of the Civil War.  Have the Democrats capitulated?  Do they show any signs of moderating their hatred of the president-elect or of conservatives like Senator Sessions, whose nomination to the office of attorney general they vow to derail?  Do we discern any lessening in their contempt for the Constitution itself, as demands to abolish the Electoral College or even to corrupt its imminent vote abound?

Victory in the coming term means overcoming the Democrats, not accommodating them.  It means President Trump following through on his campaign promises, despite the Journal's sneer that "the businessman likely didn't win on his program, to the extent he has one," and despite virulent resistance from the party out of power.   

There could well be "charity for all" – charity for ordinary Americans, not for the Washington grandees of the defeated party.  There could be charity for coal miners and oil rig workers whose livelihood is taken away by the callous misanthropy that calls itself "environmentalism."  There could be charity for black children who only want a chance to receive a decent education at a school their parents select for them, but instead fall prey to the vultures of the Democratic Party and their union patrons.  There could be charity for the defenseless infants butchered in the abattoirs of Planned Parenthood.  There could be charity for American families whose schools and hospitals are overrun by an invasion of illegal "immigrants."  There could be charity for American soldiers, sent to die in foreign lands with no plan for victory.  There could be charity for those whose convictions run afoul the gay rights agenda and so are dragged before the courts and hounded into penury.  There could be charity for all those victims of wayward policy, except that it wouldn't be charity at all.  It would be justice.

The Journal is adamant that no additional investigation of Mrs. Clinton is warranted – "Mr. Trump should go further and drop his campaign vow to investigate her and call off the Republicans in Congress."  Vows of that sort are fine for gulling the indigenous yokels at election time, but when we arrive in Washington, we grow up.  Hillary Clinton, after all, is not just anybody.  She and her husband are so venerated that public comity forbids holding them to the stricture of law.  "Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion," Jefferson's pithy little notion, has its place on the walls of buildings, but in the pantheon of our capital, the august "move on."  It is once again time to "Moveon.Org."  Trump appears to have acceded to this specific demand for amnesty.

Why should Hillary Clinton not be subject, for once, to a criminal investigation unimpaired by a politicized Justice Department, or by Obama's pardon – still a distinct possibility?  Why should it not be affirmed that in this country, the most humble may enjoy the law's protection and the most exalted feel its censure?  Are the Journal's editors expecting magnanimity from the Democrats the first time anything untoward and new is revealed about President Trump (if that were conceivable), or about his vice president, or any of his subordinates?  Perhaps the editors do harbor such an expectation, for it is no more absurd than their thesis that Senator Ted Cruz was responsible for the ascent of Mr. Trump.

It was because Cruz attacked all the sensible Republicans in Congress and characterized them as the "establishment," and because Cruz remained cordial to Trump early in the campaign and so "normalized" him, that Trump prevailed.  That has been the Journal's argument for some time.  The idea that Republican voters do not care to be misled, do not like being told during the election campaign that the congressional Republican Party is going to stop Obamacare and amnesty only see it vote to fund them after the election is over, even now seems not to enter the minds of the Journal's editors.  Instead, they wish President-Elect Trump to emulate the Republican politicians he defeated precisely by being different from them.  What succeeded must be abandoned in favor of what failed. 

To their credit, the Journal's editors cite a lesson that "the political class should have learned" – namely, "to be more respectful of voter sentiment and the refusal of the American public to accept economic decline without a fight."  They include themselves in the culpable "political class."  But the supposed respect for the voters flies when the editors' attention turns to governance.  For the first and indispensable manifestation of respect for the voters is keeping the promises by which their votes were elicited.  It was the failure of Republican office holders to do that, not Senator Cruz calling them on it, that gave rise to Donald Trump.  It will be by his doing what he pledged that they remain his passionate supporters and, if the congressional conference follows, the party's.

It is November, and the air reverberates with cries for unity and bipartisanship.  The Republicans must have won an election.  Sentiments such as "I won" and "You ran the bus into the ditch, so now sit in the back seat and be quiet" are more associated with Democratic triumphs.

Advising the new president on his treatment of Democrats, the Wall Street Journal's editors counsel "charity for all."  They draw upon Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, delivered just before the end of the Civil War.  Is that really applicable to Mr. Trump's dealings with his political adversaries?  Lincoln spoke after the South had suffered the slaughter of its manhood, the destruction or besiegement of its cities, and utter defeat, with formal surrender a month away.  Lincoln's admonition looked to a time after victory.

Winning an election is not in and of itself victory – not if the objective is to change the nation's course and to preserve its constitution.  The election placed the necessary means of success in the Republicans' hands – the presidency and legislative majorities in both house of Congress – but it remains for them to use those means.  Victory on D-Day was won not merely by sending an armada into the English Channel.

The South capitulated at the end of the Civil War.  Have the Democrats capitulated?  Do they show any signs of moderating their hatred of the president-elect or of conservatives like Senator Sessions, whose nomination to the office of attorney general they vow to derail?  Do we discern any lessening in their contempt for the Constitution itself, as demands to abolish the Electoral College or even to corrupt its imminent vote abound?

Victory in the coming term means overcoming the Democrats, not accommodating them.  It means President Trump following through on his campaign promises, despite the Journal's sneer that "the businessman likely didn't win on his program, to the extent he has one," and despite virulent resistance from the party out of power.   

There could well be "charity for all" – charity for ordinary Americans, not for the Washington grandees of the defeated party.  There could be charity for coal miners and oil rig workers whose livelihood is taken away by the callous misanthropy that calls itself "environmentalism."  There could be charity for black children who only want a chance to receive a decent education at a school their parents select for them, but instead fall prey to the vultures of the Democratic Party and their union patrons.  There could be charity for the defenseless infants butchered in the abattoirs of Planned Parenthood.  There could be charity for American families whose schools and hospitals are overrun by an invasion of illegal "immigrants."  There could be charity for American soldiers, sent to die in foreign lands with no plan for victory.  There could be charity for those whose convictions run afoul the gay rights agenda and so are dragged before the courts and hounded into penury.  There could be charity for all those victims of wayward policy, except that it wouldn't be charity at all.  It would be justice.

The Journal is adamant that no additional investigation of Mrs. Clinton is warranted – "Mr. Trump should go further and drop his campaign vow to investigate her and call off the Republicans in Congress."  Vows of that sort are fine for gulling the indigenous yokels at election time, but when we arrive in Washington, we grow up.  Hillary Clinton, after all, is not just anybody.  She and her husband are so venerated that public comity forbids holding them to the stricture of law.  "Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion," Jefferson's pithy little notion, has its place on the walls of buildings, but in the pantheon of our capital, the august "move on."  It is once again time to "Moveon.Org."  Trump appears to have acceded to this specific demand for amnesty.

Why should Hillary Clinton not be subject, for once, to a criminal investigation unimpaired by a politicized Justice Department, or by Obama's pardon – still a distinct possibility?  Why should it not be affirmed that in this country, the most humble may enjoy the law's protection and the most exalted feel its censure?  Are the Journal's editors expecting magnanimity from the Democrats the first time anything untoward and new is revealed about President Trump (if that were conceivable), or about his vice president, or any of his subordinates?  Perhaps the editors do harbor such an expectation, for it is no more absurd than their thesis that Senator Ted Cruz was responsible for the ascent of Mr. Trump.

It was because Cruz attacked all the sensible Republicans in Congress and characterized them as the "establishment," and because Cruz remained cordial to Trump early in the campaign and so "normalized" him, that Trump prevailed.  That has been the Journal's argument for some time.  The idea that Republican voters do not care to be misled, do not like being told during the election campaign that the congressional Republican Party is going to stop Obamacare and amnesty only see it vote to fund them after the election is over, even now seems not to enter the minds of the Journal's editors.  Instead, they wish President-Elect Trump to emulate the Republican politicians he defeated precisely by being different from them.  What succeeded must be abandoned in favor of what failed. 

To their credit, the Journal's editors cite a lesson that "the political class should have learned" – namely, "to be more respectful of voter sentiment and the refusal of the American public to accept economic decline without a fight."  They include themselves in the culpable "political class."  But the supposed respect for the voters flies when the editors' attention turns to governance.  For the first and indispensable manifestation of respect for the voters is keeping the promises by which their votes were elicited.  It was the failure of Republican office holders to do that, not Senator Cruz calling them on it, that gave rise to Donald Trump.  It will be by his doing what he pledged that they remain his passionate supporters and, if the congressional conference follows, the party's.