“What do they teach them at these schools?” – The Famous Professor Kirke
After yesterday’s discussion of Stalin, upon the suggestion of a wise reader, I’ve decided to use a series of relatively short, pointed posts to deal with some of the most common arguments we’re seeing for Trump. I’ve linked a list of them below. If there are any you’d like to see dealt with or if you would like to see one dealt with sooner rather than later, please feel free to leave a comment.
“We all agree that Trump is awful, but we also know that Hillary is even worse. If you think that Trump, as a person, is so bad that you wouldn’t vote for him, then look at this platform. It has a lot of good things in it! Hillary’s is terrible and at points, outright evil (i.e. abortion). The platform is what the ticket stands for and what it promises to do if elected. So, if you can’t vote for the person, vote for the platform! It’s our only hope!”
This argument is probably one of the best and most compelling lines of reasoning that can be martialed in defense of voting for the Trump ticket. It has it all: Anti-Hillary sentiment, a frank agreement that Trump is a thorough schmuck, fresh applications of the “lesser-evil” approach, and even a little morally psychedelic guilt-tripping on the side. Unfortunately, if your strongest argument in favor of voting for a candidate is to do it in spite of the candidate rather than because of him, you’re in trouble.
This argument succeeds in completely missing the elephant in the room – The fact that a platform is only as good as the politician standing on it. To accept the above statement, you must completely turn off everything you know about human nature and common sense. We elect politicians to implement agendas that have not yet come to pass. How do we make educated predictions about the future? By studying the past. Therefore, it is not only a luxury to consider someone’s character, it is a necessity.
What do we see when we look at Trump’s character – the “small” point that the argument above leaves out? We see nothing that gives us even the slightest confidence that he will follow through with any of the points of the Republican platform. In fact, Trump himself is proud of the fact that he has “screwed” people over in the past to get what he wants…and what he wants right now is the Oval Office. He goes further (or at least his ghostwriter does), adding:
I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest, the greatest, the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration–and a very effective form of promotion. –The Art of the Deal, 58
But it isn’t “innocent” when it is a brazen lie and he knows it from the beginning. The truth of the matter is that Donald Trump would agree to anything if he thought it would result in you giving him your vote. This is how a Democrat accomplishes an almost overnight transformation into a Republican.
And what about the Republicans in general? Won’t they hold Trump accountable? Please. The lack of Republican backbone is so well established that it isn’t even worth seriously refuting the point. In fact, one of the reasons people are supposedly voting for Trump is because they expect he will hold Republican feet to the fire, rather than the other way round.
To bring it all together, what the argument above really represents isn’t logic or even a sound understanding of ethics in a difficult situation. That well-meaning, intelligent people are willing to offer and accept it shows instead a deep sense of utter desperation – a desperation that Trump is happy to exploit. As he himself noted, “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”
Answering the arguments:
- “We allied with Stalin. Why not vote for Trump?”
- “If you can’t vote for the candidate, vote for the platform. Vote Trump!”
- “Haven’t you heard? Trump is a baby Christian now!”
- “Why is it only Bill Clinton gets away with rape? Vote Trump!”
- “Because Hillary. Vote Trump!”
- “You have an obligation to vote for the pro-life candidate. Vote Trump!”
- “Vote Trump. Because SCOTUS.”
- “But Trump is surrounding himself with good people! Vote Trump!”
- “If Hillary wins, it will all be your fault! Vote Trump!”
- “You should repent of your arrogance and vote Trump.”
- “You will answer to God if you don’t vote Trump.”
Interested in what I think we should do about it? Find out here.