Did Conservatives Win Big?
The 2016 presidential election and the campaign leading up to it was an unquestionably painful experience for us traditional conservatives. Left behind by so-called modern conservatism, itself steered by a scripted talk radio in turn directed by a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals and corporations, we found little in the mix to represent us. Some of us veered to Hillary Clinton, others swallowed hard and voted for the Republican while still others (such as myself) could not vote for either. In the end our party’s unwanted candidate prevailed, though not the choice of the majority of the people, but rather through a quirk in the antiquated electoral system. While it seems we should ultimately feel victorious, we all know down deep inside that ignorance was the only victor that day.
So, Donald Trump takes the national presidential election with a rather underwhelming finish, yet he certainly did make history. He is after all, the first president to be elected in great part by the criminal acts and assistance of a hostile foreign power. He is also the first presidential candidate to be elected after praising a foreign leader for attacking the United States and attempting to undermine its institutions. Never before has a presidential candidate encouraged a foreign attacker to attack the United States again. Yes, Russia’s cyber-attack did not involve the dropping of bombs or deadly force, but it did intentionally serve to undermine our democracy and weaken the very foundation of America.
Where Are The Patriots?
Among us there were patriots who spoke out against this attack, but where were those who so love to call themselves patriots? While propping up their nationalist banner with one hand, they were actively waving Donald Trump on with the other, even as he defaced American democracy and encouraged the violations of the anti-American Vladimir Putin. As Putin’s tightly controlled media openly called the United States their enemy and justified ever increasing hostility against all US interests and allies, Donald Trump praised Putin as a great leader and aligned himself with Rudy Giuliani who has worked for, lobbied for and supported anti-America groups such as the terrorist linked Iranian group and Venezuela . Where were the modern conservative patriots then? They were busy making excuses for Donald Trump’s obvious ignorance and disrespect for his own country. They were ignoring his clear business connections to Russia and swallowing insults leveled at the United States that they never would have tolerated from another political party, the press or any other source. They were clearly demonstrating that their conservative values and their love of country were together a disingenuous and frail façade led by the trumpet of wealth-sponsored anti-populace media most clearly represented by extreme rightwing talk radio and today’s limited spectrum news media.
When I was young and curious about politics, my parental guidance brought me to conservative values such as honesty and objective thinking, themes I heard repeated constantly at home. The conservatives I knew while growing up rejected lies even if they seemed to further a cherished political position, for lying was not considered a conservative value. I learned that the rejection of communism was in large part due to the falsehoods presented in its very premise. Oh, how modern conservatism has changed those values along with once strong traditional beliefs in personal freedom and tolerance of ideas. Today, so-called modern conservatives seem not to look at issues or actions in terms of fundamental principles of honesty and fairness, rather they choose to regurgitate the stream of canned rhetoric spewed forth by talk radio pundits and Fox News. It matters not to them that these talk radio hosts are making millions from direct payments to take positions beneficial to the super wealthy such as the constant drive to reduce taxes on the wealthy, eliminate controls on pollution and reduce wages and benefits for all working Americans. No matter how ridiculous the story, modern conservatives believe it. For example, polls show that modern conservatives by large margins, believe evidence shows that Hillary Clinton committed crimes in Benghasi. That position seems to hold even when it is pointed out that the millions of taxpayer’s dollars spent by Republican’s to investigate every aspect of the Benghazi incident resulted in no findings of wrongdoing and that then Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that the investigations were really only part of a “strategy to fight and win” and that it was successful because it brought her poll numbers down. No old-time traditional conservative would have seen that as anything but despicable.
So, what’s in the brains of these modern zealots that causes them to see Donald Trump as acceptable to govern America at the highest level? I don’t know, but there is some commonality among the group. The highest level of support comes from the uneducated masses. Strangely, his largest support group is the group most likely to suffer from his policies of defunding critical services such as education and health and to be hurt by his plans to shift the tax burden away from those who can most afford it. They are mostly uneducated working people, yet they seem unmoved by his track record of paying employees as little as possible. Working to reduce the wages of working people will be a likely scenario in a bid to make large corporations more profitable. They call themselves conservatives and patriots, yet they are comfortable with his track record of lies (almost daily), misrepresentations and disrespect for the United States and its fundamental democratic principles. While calling themselves patriots, they easily ignore the fundamental principles of the Constitution on issues such as individual rights and religious freedom, confusing the latter with a right of religion to steer the government and all its people.
What Will He Do?
Now, what will Donald Trump do as President? Nobody really knows, probably not even Donald Trump. At best his campaign proposals regarding foreign policy, the economy, domestic issues, taxes and the budget have been vague and often contradictory. He has proposed a very sketchy budget proposal that would plunge the country into the worst debt spiral of all time, far surpassing the overspending of the Obama and Bush administrations. His proposed budget will likely result in increased inflation and much higher interest rates. He has proposed a tax program, again in very sketchy terms that would further boost the incomes of the super wealthy while placing a greater percentage of the financial burden on the average working Americans. His banter about foreign policy, including leaving NATO, abandoning long-time allies, getting cozy with our sworn enemy, Vladimir Putin and the suggestion that every nation should have nuclear weapons demonstrates a nut-case approach to international affairs. One doesn’t have to look too closely to see that if President Donald Trump could pull off all his proposals, the United States would likely spiral so far into darkness, disarray and vulnerability by the end of his term that there could be no recovery.
Will the damage be that great? I don’t think so. Donald Trump has already had a fairly negative influence on our foreign relations, but even a Republican controlled Congress can’t let an egomaniacal sociopath ravage the country. Indeed, most of Donald Trump’s crazy proposals have come from ignorance and among the many excuses for voting for him is my personal favorite, “Once he is in the Whitehouse and learns from his advisors, he will understand and reverse his position.” What? Yes, I’ve heard this repeated by Trump supporters around the country and I hope I don’t have to explain why it’s a crazy excuse for having voted for him. The real hope is that the Republican Congress will be able to control him to some reasonable level. Everyone in Congress knows we can’t simply repeal Obamacare or leave NATO or bow down to Russia or start plunging the country into debt at rocket speed. If President Trump takes the path he has proposed during his campaign, the conservative Congress will slow him down. Yes, he can still destroy friendships and alliances and make every American embarrassed to travel abroad, but Congress has the power to keep most of his delusional fantasies from becoming reality and therein lies some hope. There are enough traditional conservative values left in Congress to do that one good thing for the future of the United States of America.
Where's The Risk?
Where the biggest single danger of a Trump presidency lies is in his ability to take unilateral action on the military front. No, he won’t dismantle the Iran Nuclear Agreement, because if the US backs out of that agreement, Iran has a right (under the Agreement) to restart its nuclear program. The big risk factor is not his planned actions, but in his spontaneous actions. Donald Trump prides himself in his ability to make quick decisions. In his own words he regards his shallowness as an advantage in decision making, meaning that he believes it is perfectly OK to make major decisions with very little information. That may work fine for the occasional business decision, but can we really live with a President willing to bring that type of decision making to matters war? Can we trust a President who would take military action before he knows what is really happening? I think not. After all, his total military experience amounts to 5 military deferments from the draft, yet he claims to know more about how to fight ISIS than all the military commanders. Here is where President Trump’s ignorance and proud impetuousness can take us on a disastrous ride. Here is where I hope we weather the storm by blanketing the President with sage advice from real traditional conservatives. For all the hope I have that it will work out, the President-elect’s early cabinet choices and prospective future choices leave little room for hope.