My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:
Some of our worst mistakes have been born out of the frustration to do something. Frustration over the rising cost of health care pushed the country to lurch into the disaster of Obamacare. Frustration over the ongoing American cost of Iraqi peace lured our nation into a precipitous withdrawal and the rise of ISIS. The Republican Party appears on the cusp of making another horrible mistake by making Donald Trump their nominee.
The rise of Trump is born out of the frustration of many Republicans with the direction of this country and the perceived inability, or unwillingness, of the Republican establishment to alter that direction. Republicans are frustrated with the ongoing failure of the federal government to stem the tide of illegal immigration that continues to drain our nation’s resources and jobs — particularly in the blue collar construction and agricultural industries.
Republicans are frustrated with the ever-increasing scope and size of the federal government. Between the rogue EPA’s onerous regulations to the federal government mandating the parameters of our health insurance, the federal government has its grimy fingers digging into the most mundane aspects of our everyday lives.
Many people, including Republicans, are frustrated with an increasingly violently intolerant culture that demands conformity to liberal thought. There are aspects of our American culture that no longer permit robust and respectful discussion about issues like gay marriage, race relations or even environmental sciences. Instead, any deviation from the current liberal canon is met with accusations of hate speech, ostracization and protests.
In the stew of all of this frustration, Trump bobbled to the top with the promise to “do something.” What will he do? Trump’s prescriptions are generally fanciful ideas, coated in bluster, broiled in rhetoric and sold with a vat of ego on the side. For example, Trump promises to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it. He promises to eliminate the “lines around the states” to fix Obamacare. Trump plans to “make a deal” to bring peace to the Middle East. Serious people can do little but roll their eyes at such dross.
Trump’s lack of substance can, perhaps, be forgiven as people often look to presidents for broad-stroke ideas, not detailed policy plans, but his history and background cannot. Trump is a lifelong New York liberal. He is ardently pro-choice, anti-Second Amendment and pro “yuge” government. That is, he was until about a year ago when he decided to run for president as a Republican. Now he espouses all of the appropriate views if you are dim enough to believe him.
Trump’s personal and business life is also revealing. The story to his personal wealth is a long story of hustling, shady business practices, bankrupting others and outright frauds like Trump University. His personal life is a deviant jumble of mistresses and divorces.
Trump is everything Republicans have stood against for decades, but they are about to nominate him for president because he is speaking to their basest emotional frustrations and too many Republican voters have lost faith in the establishment.
Sometimes, however, the consequences of “doing something” for the sake of an emotional salve to untreated festering frustration is far worse than the disease. Should Trump win in November, he would not only be a bad president, he would be a dangerous one. His morals are unmoored by philosophy, religion, custom or even common decency, and his tempestuous ego will not be fettered by the strictures of the Constitution. Frustration and anger are not governing philosophies.
But more likely, should Trump be the Republican nominee, President Hillary Clinton will be sworn in next year (for you Bernie Sanders fans, the nomination process is rigged for Clinton). Trump has not yet garnered a majority of Republicans and his strong unfavorable ratings make a general election victory virtually impossible absent an utter collapse by the Democrats.
Furthermore, there are many conservatives, of which I am one, who will not vote for Trump in November under any circumstances. A President Trump presents too much of a danger to the republic and the conservative movement for me to even hold my nose and cast a vote in his favor. And while some Republicans will still turn out and vote for their senators and congressmen, many will not. The result could be a catastrophic loss for the Republican Party losing the White House, Senate and threatening the House. But if the Republican Party nominates Trump for president, they deserve a catastrophic loss. Unfortunately, the country will be worse for it.
There is still a little hope that Republicans will get their act together and nominate someone worthy to be our president, but the window of hope is closing rapidly.