I know you are thinking that it is not possible, but remember that it is becoming increasingly likely that Hillary's general election opponent will be Donald Trump. David Harsanyi at The Federalist has put together what might be called the thinking person's reasons to support Hillary over Trump in the general election. The title is "Why President Trump Would Be A Bigger Disaster Than Hillary." OK, it's a rather low bar. See what you think.
The main idea is that Hillary is so grating and annoying that she will make everybody hate her and thereby enhance the prospects for conservative principles to advance over a longer term.
Hillary, as you may have noticed, does not have the charisma of Barack Obama. Not only will she be divisive and ethically compromised, but Hillary will also galvanize the Right. Her presidency — even more now that she’s dropped the pretense of centrism — would reinforce the traditional ideological distinctions we’ve debated for years. Republicans would almost certainly unite against her agenda, which will be little more than codifying Obama’s legacy — a collection of policies that half the country still hates. She won’t be able to pass anything substantive.
But couldn't Trump accomplish at least something useful? Harsanyi doubts it; and, frankly, so do I. Excerpt:
[In a Trump presidency,] the temptation in Congress to follow Trumpism — a philosophy based on the vagaries of one man — will be strong. Trump’s inclination is never to free Americans from the state (“we’re gonna take care of everybody!”) but rather to do a better job administering the state through great deals and assertive leadership. Or, everything the Founders didn’t want the presidency to be.
Unfortunately the promise of Trump is not that he will rein in the overreaching state for the benefit of everyone, but rather that he will turn the tables so that now the state will be used by us against them.
There is little question Trump would abuse power. In some way, it’s the point of his candidacy. The thing that gets his admirers excited. “Finally, someone who will use the IRS for us. Someone who will circumvent Congress for us. Obama gets everything; why shouldn’t we?”
It's not a prescription for long-term success in a closely divided country. Sooner or later, the other side will be back in control, and will take revenge.
And finally, there's the question of whether Trumpism will actually be to the benefit of what appears to be his core constituency, namely the angry and largely blue-collar voter.
There’s a difference between caring about the plight of working stiffs and embracing isolationism, high tariffs, and other policies that would destroy their long-term prospects. Is everyone supposed to surrender to mercantilism because it makes 30 percent of angry voters feel better?
None of these are bad points. But Harsanyi is definitely being a bit of a contrarian just for the purpose of generating some controversy and discussion. (OK, I might do a little of that from time to time myself.) Just a few counter-points to consider:
- The one area of policy where Trump has actually proposed a plan in some detail is the income tax, where his plan (if adopted -- a big if) would simplify things and shrink collections significantly. He also has no particular loyalties to the bureaucracy, and rails against the debt. Isn't there at least some chance that he would try to push at least a little to shrink the government or, perhaps, grow it more slowly?
- Trump is on to the fact that climate alarmism is a scam.
- How will a President Trump react to the poverty scam, that is, the fact that governments spend about $1 trillion per year (federal share, about $700 billion) to fight poverty without ever reducing poverty in the slightest? I would have at least some hope that he would direct some attention in this direction. And clearly Hillary would not -- her loyalties are to the bureaucrats and interest groups that are on the receiving end of all that government largesse. Of course, so far in his campaign Trump has not expressed any interest in these issues. GW Bush never turned any attention to these issues either, although one may say that he was pre-occupied with foreign policy.
- Any Hillary nomination to the Supreme Court would be a disaster. Would Republicans be willing to leave Supreme Court vacancies open for years? With Trump, there's at least a little hope; although I'm not sure at this point that he even understands what the issues are with Supreme Court appointments.