I am no fan of Trump. Those who know me know I’ve consistently referred to him as a buffoon. I have not supported his candidacy in any way, and never will. I want to still be able to make fun of Bill Clinton for being a philanderer and sexual predator without being a hypocrite. Among other things. But I see people consistently getting things wrong about him, so this is to address several of those things. I would like to see people understand the Trump phenomenon better than they do.
Trump supporters are making better points than Trump.
Not everybody who supports Trump think he’s the best or smartest guy around. They like that he is plain spoken, after so many years of listening to people who, at best, talked a good game, but have not delivered the changes conservatives want to see. He isn’t afraid to say things that offend people, and that sounds kinda like honesty of a kind that’s very rare in the political class. He will speak about having solutions to problems conservatives care about, like illegal immigration and the permeability of the border, and doesn’t care when people call that racist. Conservatives aren’t necessarily concerned about illegal immigration and the permeability of the border because they are racist. They would prefer to see immigration laws followed and enforced, rather than disregarded, not because they hate people with dark skin, but because laws matter to them.
Trump is a phenomenon based in frustration with the political class among conservatives, much like the Sanders phenomenon is based in frustration with the political class among progressives/liberals. That frustration is real, and isn’t just going to go away based on scorn and contempt from the political class, nor from the political opposition.
Trump is a product of the left at least as much as he is a product of the right – not the reasons you think from that sentence.
For my friends on the left who are so upset about Trump finding the success he has, you might well share responsibility for that success. If you’ve called conservatives idiots, fascists, Nazis, racists, bigots or homophobes, you’ve contributed the cumulative cry of wolf that the American right has tired of. They’ve seen those charges raised against people they like and care about, like, maybe, Ronald Reagan, George Bush (either of them), Bob Dole, John McCain, or Mitt Romney, and used to make them all less effective than they might otherwise have been. So, when you use them against Trump, it doesn’t have much of an effect in making him seem less attractive to them. It gives him street cred in ways you probably don’t intend. In the future, you might want to encourage your fellow travelers to be more cautious in their use of hyperbole if they want their concerns to be taken seriously.
Trump is not, yet, the Republican Nominee. No matter how many delegates he’s been credited with. The Republican nominee will become such at the Republican National Convention this summer. Prior to that, the most generous term for Trump that’s reality-based is “presumptive nominee.”
#NeverTrump isn’t support for Hillary.
I believe in and support our two-party system. I don’t romanticize a mythical time when we have hundreds of politically relevant “Third,” (really, “minor”) parties, and really see such dreams as silly and naive. I know that there, in usual years, are only two viable presidential candidates, the nominees of the major parties. But this is a year when there is a strong anti-establishment tide in both parties, and outcomes are far from predictable. So, when people come at me with the Party Loyalty argument, telling me that I need to support Trump or I’m voting for Hillary, I already know all the verses and choruses to that song — I’ve sung them for more than 30 years. That argument doesn’t work on me in this case.
My loyalty to the party is finite. Nominating someone like Trump betrays me and that loyalty.
If I did vote for Trump, it would make no difference. My state is very blue, and will go for the Democrat nominee regardless of how I vote.
I’m okay with my vote for the Libertarian Party’s nominee being symbolic. That’s more meaningful to me than voting for a candidate I dislike this much and looking like I support him. I would much rather help to improve the profile of the LP, which I would like more people to pay attention to.
#NeverTrump isn’t an invitation to tell me how stupid I am.
Being rude to me isn’t going to change my mind about supporting Trump. I’m not going to change my mind or support Trump.