Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Ethos of Large Government and Smaller Citizen

     There is an ethos of political thought that postulates our politics has become so consuming in American modernity because government has become so large, thus becoming more intrusive in the lives of its citizens. An ever-increasing federal authority is at least partially responsible for the political season going from occupying the space just before elections, as was the case for much of our history, to gobbling up most of the oxygen in media and elsewhere. It is this ethos of the relationship between a growing government and the importance of politics to the average American that I see as a major reason for the appeal of Donald Trump by some Republican primary voters.
     First some facts. The latest polling data shows that only seventeen percent of eligible voters have voted in the Republican primaries. Of those seventeen percent, only a third have supported Mr. Trump. So in other words the claim by some of his zealots that "America loves Trump," is simply not borne out by the math, which shows he has about six percent support among the total number of eligible voters. Still there is substantial support for part time businessman-part time reality TV star-part time politician.
     When asked why they support The Donald, his votaries can only grasp at the straw of his bombastic invectives as proof of his strength. They see him as some kind of protector, as the simple peasants would have seen a king in a time long ago. It is not important to Trump supporters what he believes (if anything) or what form his policies might take if he is elected president. They are mired in the base instinct of supporting the man they see as the strong horse. This emotional response is a result of the ethos of expanding government, and the corresponding growth in the importance of politics in the lives of the citizens.
     My theory is supported by the fact that those who support Mr. Trump are not concerned with the traditional tenet of conservatism, i.e. limiting the size and scope of the federal government. In fact, Donald Trump's stated policies would actually increase the size of government, not shrink it. His vacuous campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," is a harbinger of that expansion under a President Trump. Those who think America is not great unless Mr. Trump is president, and only the federal government under his guidance can make it great, have shown a limited understanding of what made America great to begin with.
     The support for Donald Trump as president is not surprising in this Leftist infected culture where the weakening of self reliance has become an epidemic. It is just surprising to me that it seems to have metastasized in what was once the conservative movement. And those calling themselves conservatives, then looking for a father figure as president, is a disgusting development that I find abhorrent. It was not that long ago that a celebrity referred to Barack Obama as a father figure for the country and these same conservatives pilloried him for it. Now it seems they are supporting a man for president whose only apparent qualification for the job is the perceived strength that his followers have lost in themselves. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 15-The Death Knell for Trump Campaign

     After the primaries of yesterday, March 15, 2016, the Republican field has narrowed yet again. A field that began some 12 months ago with 18 candidates, is now a three man race, made so with the exit of Marco Rubio after the Florida senator could not garner a win in his home state. Ohio governor John Kasich however proved he could win, albeit in his home state, yet he was the only non-Trump candidate that won a state. Nobody knows how the race to become the Republican nominee will end, although one can make the case that Donald Trump may have reached his peak and is on his way to losing the nomination.
     With many of the remaining states awarding their delegates on a proportional basis, and with Mr. Trump needing 60% of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination outright, there is little chance that the Republican convention in Cleveland this July will not be an open one. Mr. Trump has not even gotten near 60% of the vote in any of the proportional states that have already had their primaries, there is nothing to suggest he will do so in the remaining ones.
     Mr. Trump and his glassy-eyed devotees understand this fact, even if it is on a very basic level able to be grasped by their limited intellectual acumen. This is why they have been lately making noise that if Trump has the most delegates at the end of the primary process, and is short of the 1237 needed to clinch the nomination, he should be awarded the nomination anyway. This ignoring of the rules because they interfere with one's political agenda is not conservative or based on traditional American values.
     Of course no one could accuse the Trump campaign and his deluded votaries of being either conservative or tethered to the values which founded this great nation. That is what makes his campaign so surprising to me, one who always thought this kind of chicanery and deceit was a tenet of the Left and did not have a home in the Republican Party. The Trump campaign, and more importantly the churlish manner in which his supporters have conducted themselves, has illustrated to me that Leftism has indeed infected the Republican Party.
     But I digress. I think the March 15 primaries might just become the death knell for the ill-advised Trump campaign. For if he does not reach the required 1237 delegates, and the convention in July is an open one, he will not survive when delegates are able to vote their conscience and are not bound by polling results. If this happens, John Kasich could be seen as a compromise choice and may just win the nomination. Whatever the outcome, for the sake of the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and the nation, Mr. Trump must not be the nominee.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Carson The Anti-Trump

     With the announcement by Dr. Ben Carson that he is suspending his campaign, the field for those seeking the Republican nomination to represent the GOP in this November's general election has once again narrowed. Dr. Carson realized, as all second tier candidates realize at some point, single digit support is not going to win the White House. But with the departure of the good doctor there is a sense of sadness in my heart, for the Republican Party, for the political process, and for the country as a whole. You see, Ben Carson was the anti-Trump. Not just the opposite of the front runner in the level of support for his campaign, but the opposite of the front runner in his maturity, manner, demeanor, and sensibility.
     Where Ben Carson grew up in abject poverty, raised by a single-mom, Mr. Trump was coddled in the palace of wealth built by his father's business acumen. Where Ben Carson struggled as a child (with the constant support and guidance of his mother) to rise from the bondage of the ghetto, Mr. Trump's only struggle was how fast he could return the silver spoon to his mouth once it was again filled with the sweet sauce of wealth he did not earn. And where Ben Carson dedicated his life and career to healing the sick and saving lives, Donald Trump dedicated his to the pursuit of narcissism and self aggrandizement.
     Ben Carson is a warm Summer breeze gently rustling the leaves on the tree of change. Donald Trump is a gale force hurricane uprooting that tree and rendering it useless. Ben Carson speaks with the precision and accuracy of a surgeon's knife. Donald Trump speaks like a shotgun fired into the openness of an empty landscape. Ben Carson is not hurtful, vain, deceitful, vacuous, or possessed of guile. Donald Trump is all of those things.
     Ben Carson is a man who has developed a substantial set of values over a life time of experience. Donald Trump's values are malleable and ephemeral like a high school romance. Dr. Carson manipulates nothing to his own ends. To Mr. Trump, manipulation of anything he can is the ultimate end. Ben Carson is a giant of a man who seeks to build up others to his level. Donald Trump is a small and petty man who seeks to increase his stature by climbing over the bodies of those he tears down.
     Yes, I am saddened by the departure from the Republican presidential race by one of the most decent men to have ever entered a political contest. And I am dismayed and flummoxed by the current front runner having substantial support among people from a Party who claims values as their watchword and decency as their anchor in the sea of political discourse. It speaks ill of us as a Party specifically, and more generally as a nation, when voters choose to support the Trump over the anti-Trump.