07 Oct 2016

Looking Rationally at Trump

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Jonah Goldberg explains his perspective, which is pretty much exactly what all the rest of us Movement Conservative NeverTrumpers think.

In my most selfish moments, I want Donald Trump to win the election. …

Trump got to where he is for a lot of reasons, starting with a 17-candidate collective-action problem, myriad failures of both the GOP’s establishment and anti-establishment wings, and, of course, the cold, indifferent cruelty of this meaningless, empty universe where nothing matters and the living envy the dead. But giving Trump his due, he also got to where he is because he was great at punching-up. When he took on Jeb Bush, Reince Priebus, the media, Washington, etc., he was punching up. He wasn’t just the outsider coming into town to blow things up, he was Godzilla smashing all before him. In the standard Godzilla movie there’s always that scene where the hapless Japanese army tries to lure the beast toward some electric power lines. Godzilla takes the bait and bites the power lines. But the shock doesn’t kill him, it makes him stronger! That was Trump in the primaries. Mangling metaphors somewhat, people told him “You can’t chomp those power lines! Those are the third rails of American politics!” Trumpzilla cared not, bit them, and got stronger.

But here’s the problem: Everyone thinks Godzilla is cool when he’s fighting Monster Zero or swatting away fighter jets. But when they have that close up shot of Godzilla’s clawed foot coming down on a child or a screaming woman, all of a sudden, you can’t cheer the King of Monsters. So it is with Trump: He wins when he punches up. He loses when he punches down.

And that’s Trump’s Achilles’ heel: He can’t resist punching down. He can no more stop himself from “counter-punching” the little guy than my dog can agree not to chase rabbits. (“It’s just so hoppy! I must kill it!”) …

If Trump could stay on message, if he could be a disciplined candidate, I think he’d be ten points ahead by now. But realistically, this is no different from saying if he could control anything metal with his mind, he would be Magneto. …

Okay, so why in my selfish heart of hearts do I want Trump to win? Because that’s the only surefire way my opposition to Trump can be vindicated. If he loses, every time Hillary Clinton does something awful — which will be a lot — people will say, “If Trump were president this wouldn’t be happening,” or, “This is all the fault of the ‘Jonah Goldberg class,’” or, “If we had Mr. Trump’s broad-shouldered leadership, the grain harvests would be historic.” …

And that’s why I say that in my selfish moments, I want him to win. Contrary to all of this incessant blather that I want Hillary Clinton to win because it will be good for my bottom line, the truth is the best thing that could happen for me personally is for Trump to win and then prove to be the spectacularly awful president I am quite confident he would be. The I-told-you-sos would be delightful, the tears of some of his supporters, delicious. …

Candidate Trump can’t be managed. Everyone with any contacts in or around Trump world has heard the stories about how his staff tries to impose discipline on him. The jokes about Kellyanne Conway desperately trying to hide his phone from him to keep him off Twitter are funny because they’re true.

And yet, you’re telling me that when Trump wins despite rejecting all of this advice and actually takes possession of Air Force One, and when the Marine guards start saluting him as the band plays “Hail to the Chief,” I’m supposed to believe this staggering narcissist will suddenly become manageable? Seriously?

Moreover, throughout his entire career in business, he’s made a name for himself as a promise-breaker, welcher, and snake-oil salesman, willing to say whatever he needs to in order to close the deal. “Sure this car gets 200 miles to the gallon. Sign the check and you’ll see.” That is what the art of the deal really means for him. He’ll get the White House and he’ll say to the rest of us looking to cash in his political promises, “Try and collect.”

Trump is not a conservative. He has some instincts that overlap with conservatism — the importance of law and order, the value of military strength etc. — but these instincts are not derived from any serious attachment to ideas or arguments. They stem from his lizard-brain machismo and his authoritarian streak. He never talks about liberty or limited government unless someone shoves it into his teleprompter. His ideas about economics and public policy are shot-through with dirigisme. He’s learned to talk the talk about free-market solutions, but in his heart he’s still the guy who believes single-payer health care works “incredibly well.” The one adviser we know he listens to is his daughter, and she is certainly no conservative. Does anyone believe he will side with Mike Pence and against her in a fight over, say, Planned Parenthood?

Read the whole thing.

8 Feedbacks on "Looking Rationally at Trump"


“Contrary to all of this incessant blather that I want Hillary Clinton to win because it will be good for my bottom line, the truth is the best thing that could happen for me personally is for Trump to win and then prove to be the spectacularly awful president I am quite confident he would be. The I-told-you-sos would be delightful, the tears of some of his supporters, delicious.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/g-file/440609/donald-trump-tweet-storm-debate

The solution is rather simple. Vote for Trump. Even if everything Goldberg says is true about Trump, and some of it is projection, he is STILL the better alternative.

Who’s more likely to get us into a hot war with Russia? Remember, with Russia firmly embedded in the Middle East now, it’s no longer a proxy war.

Who’s more likely to nominate conservative/centrist judges– and the appellate courts may be more important the the Supreme Court in undermining the waning understanding of the constitution.

Who’s more likely to continue enabling the Fed/Wall Street Bankers?

So the bottom line. Trump is Nixon. Was he a better alternative than McCarthy– and a Democrat congress? You bet.
Trump will get rolled by Democrats in congress just like Bush.
Trump is a blowhard like LBJ, and is going to show us his scars, pull the dogs ears, and more.

But whether or not Trump wins, the conservatism is never going to be the same. Conservatives are realizing that Republican elites are as much a problem as Democrats, in that they put their self-interest ahead of the country.

Americans are awakening to the fact that globalism in the name of free trade enriches a certain class of Americans, and that doesn’t include the middle class.

That a little diversity can be managed, but unlimited diversity just means chaos. And that’s where we are at this point in time.

This election may prove that it’s too late to conserve the principles that led to America’s greatness, even as we see the same decline of European style socialism we seem bent on following that same decline.


Low-information perspective here, I’m afraid, Brian. Richard Nixon ran against Hubert Humphrey in 1968. The 1968 election gave majorities of both houses of Congress to democrats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90th_United_States_Congress

In 1972, Richard Nixon ran against George McGovern. (That was the first presidential election in which I was old enough to vote. I declined to vote for either Nixon or McGovern. I voted sarcastically for John Schmitz, a Bircher. The 1972 election also gave control of both houses of Congress to the democrats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/92nd_United_States_Congress

I’d say that, right now, it looks like Trump is blowing the election. If he loses, my guess is that Pat Buchanan, Vox Day, and all the rest of the Alt-Right imbeciles will have to go crawl back into the fever swamp, and old-school Movement Conservative intellectuals, like Jonah Goldberg, will be back in unquestionable charge of leading the opposition.


Momentary memory lapse. McGovern. It was also my first election, and I voted for McGovern, being a naive anti-war college hippie.
My point still stands.


I’m curious how you reconcile the fact that within a certain number of years, unchecked immigration- both legal, but certainly illegal will change the political landscape forever, giving the left a permanent electoral advantage, leaving little to conserve?

I live in a region heavily dependent on seasonal laborers and seen the effect for 50 years on immigrate assimilation (for the most part Mexican).

Many of the first generation immigrants did assimilate (agriculture became predominate in the 60’s here). By the 80’s, with the help of the government the assimilation changed to more acceptance of multiculturalism as if that would have no effect on the underlying culture.

Fast forward to now and not only is multiculturalism celebrated, it’s demanded that the majority culture not dilute the minority.

And that is a good thing?


I’m obviously a strong opponent of multiculturalism and I believe we should change our society’s approach and insist that immigrants assimilate.

It should be obvious though that less-than-rational nativist impulses have been widely adopted and are currently highly influential. Politicians are mostly scum and make little effort to resist bad ideas (like Nativism). Whoever wins in November, immigration will be curtailed.


“Whoever wins in November, immigration will be curtailed.” Surely you jest! Please explain the reasoning behind your assertion that a Hillary victory will curtail immigration.


There is an enormous wave of anti-immigration sentiment underway these days in this country, very much resembling the wave of resentment of immigrants in the early 1920s that led to the first federal restriction of non-Chinese immigration in 1924, and a membership of 4 million (15% of eligible Americans) in the Ku Klux Klan. That’s why Trump was nominated. Politicians respond to that kind of public feeling. The democrats are not going to risk losing power fighting a political impulse that popular.


Since when have politicians, who you have rightly discerned to be mostly scrum, ever responded to the wishes of the American people? They may make appropriate noises during a campaign, but the Democrats are true believers in multiculturalism and the “establishment”/Chamber of Commerce Republicans are also gung ho for immigration. Wikileaks has recently removed any doubt of Hillary’s enthusiasm for open borders. All the powers that be are in agreement. American voters have patiently waited decades for a border fence or simple rule of law to no avail. Barring a major cataclysm like a Trump presidency (and then only MAYBE since politicians seem to have a penchant for lying), I see no hope for curtailment of immigration, legal or otherwise. But perhaps I am wrong.


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