Donald Trump: The Anti-Lincoln

National Review's eloquent condemnation of the most unqualified man ever to be seriously considered by a major party for a presidential nomination- Donald Trump- has predictably been met by a tsunami of incoherent but hostile babble by his misguided supporters.

Predictably, instead of refuting what NR has to say about their hero, they have responded pretty much as he himself responds to criticism: not by refuting it, but by attacking those who have made it.

W
e have at length reached the point where I firmly believe that anyone who would under any circumstances go beyond using Trump as a megaphone for his or her own anger by supporting The Donald in the polls and opinion columns and vote for him in a process designed to choose a president is beyond convincing and beyond reason.

I cannot respect anyone who could do that. Nor will I shrink for making it as clear as I can to them what the consequences of such a breathtakingly self-defeating action would be.

Trump is an egomaniac and a borderline psychopath who actually has the gall to insist that he never does anything wrong.

Read that sentence again. Could any psychologically healthy person make that claim? Could anyone who can be trusted with the most powerful position on Earth make that claim?

Confront The Donald with a substantive question about any policy issue- any issue at all- and watch with amazement as he finds a way to change the subject without answering it.

He has to because he can't answer it. He admits to getting his national security advice from Sunday morning news programs.

Poll after poll, year after year, has shown the disgust of the American people for the partisan squabbling in Washington. It's the reason the voters as a group are so turned off by politics. And yet the ascendent wing of the Republican party are the very people who like it that way- who consider compromise a dirty word, who insist on getting their way all the time, and who threaten to hold their breath until they turn blue if they don't.

When they shut down the government, the American people quite rightly blame them, not President Obama. Rightly or wrongly, he president simply does what he does; blaming him for the shutdown when the Congress refuses to fund the government without bending to its will is like saying that when a child is kidnapped and murdered because a ransom isn't paid, the moral responsibility is with the parents of the child rather than with the murderer. Yet the guy who seems to be the only real alternative to Trump at the moment- Ted Cruz- has built a candidacy out of such petulant, childish, voter-alienating and self-defeating antics. That's one reason why Cruz, too, is a certain loser in November.  But that's another argument for another time.

Right now people are angry. Whether they are right or wrong about ay one of the various reasons for their anger is beside the point. They have a right to be. Expressing their anger through the medium of the Trump candidacy is  understandable- to a point. And the one and the only hopeful thing about this situation is that we have not yet reached that point.

When people actually vote for Trump as a part of the process designed to elect our next president, that point will have been passed. America cannot afford to elect an ignorant, impulsive, psychologically immature showman to the White House. The world cannot afford to have America do so. And it won't.

Right now Trump has the support of about a third of the smaller of the two American parties. That's far more than his nearest rivals, Cruz, and Marco Rubio. But considered as a percentage of the electorate come November, it's a tiny fraction.

The polls say that a third of the Democrats may cross over and support Trump. Well and good. But two-thirds won't. A large percentage of Republican and normally-Republican voters (myself included)  will not vote for him under any circumstances. We won't vote for Hillary or Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley or even Jim Webb. We'll just stay home on Election Day.

Trump can't afford to lose as large a chunk of his own base as he inevitably will. Not when the independents will break so heavily against him. When it comes to actually choosing a president, nobody who is in possession of his or her faculties, who is actually using them, and who has a working knowledge of Trump and his history is going to vote for him.

The Democratic attack machine did a pretty good job on John McCain and Mitt Romney with far less. Count on it: by November 7, the country will know all about Mr. Trump- and despite Hillary's legal problems, the Benghazi affair, and all that, Lindsey Graham's observation remains the operative fact: "Dishonest beats crazy."

If Trump is nominated, it will go down to a historic defeat even at the hands of a candidate as flawed as Hillary Clinton. An election which by all rights the Republicans ought to win will be lost for want of a viable alternative to Hillary.

Several of the most liberal Supreme Court justices will be retiring in the next four years. If a Republican were to be elected, they could be replaced by conservatives. Roe v. Wade and Obegefell v. Hodges could be modified or even overturned. But if Trump is the nominee, that won't happen- because it will be Hillary who will be appointing their replacements.

If Trump is the nominee, the Democrats will retake both houses of Congress; the landslide will be decisive enough that this will be inevitable. The GOP will lose governorships and state legislatures all over the country. But that's not the worst part.

The worst part is that Trump's nomination would  spell the death of the Republican party.
If Trump is nominated, the Republican brand will be permanently stained.  It will be almost impossible for any moderate, rational person to think of himself or herself as a Republican. At best, the party will split between  the Cruz wing and the "Establishment" wing; at worst, the "Establishment" wing will grumble a lot and then go along as the junior partner essentially without a voice in a permanently crazy and permanently marginal party unable to offer any meaningful opposition to the Democrats and "progressives-" who will hold both the White House and both houses of Congress for a generation. The Republicans really will be "the party of 'No,-" a powerless opposition, reduced to impotent grumbling and unable to offer an alternative because it won't have the following to make anything it proposes credible. 

No, as scary as the prospect of someone as ill-informed and psychologically unfit as Donald Trump to the White House might be, that isn't the real danger because it's simply not going to happen. The danger is the scenario I've just outlined- because if Trump is the Republican nominee, it will happen.

Is that really a price those angry Trump voters are willing to pay? Because if it is, then God help us all.

Donald Trump is the anti-Lincoln. In 1856, the Whigs had become irrelevant, and the time had come for a new political party based on a set of principles whose time had come. All that was lacking was the personality needed to lead the movement. It came along in 1860, in the person of Abraham Lincoln.

Now, the party of Lincoln- frustrated by eight years of misgovernment by an extremist president whose extremist ideology is defended by an adoring and ideologically sycophantic extremist media- has seized upon a series of ideological distinctives which are at best a grotesque and distorted parody of the principles upon which it was founded.  Genuine Republicans are decried as "RINOs" by mean-spirited and irresponsible people with far less claim on the name "Republican" themselves than those have at whom they sneer.  The lifeblood of liberal democracy- compromise- is decried as poison. The Republican party is on the brink of ceasing to be relevant, of splitting into fragments, of going the way of the Whigs.

The GOP might survive Ted Cruz. It might. I doubt it, but there's a chance. But in Donald Trump, the anti-Lincoln has come: the man whose personal obnoxiousness would only make our mortally dangerous loss of civility terminal, but whose lack of conviction, whose absence of personal qualifications, and whose political instability and personal volatility would do exactly the opposite of what Lincoln did.

It would complete the process of making the Republican party unable to lead, unable to effectively oppose, and unable to play any meaningful role in the life of the Republic. In fact, it would turn the Republican party into a bad joke, and cause both it and the nation to be laughed at all over the civilized world.

Donald Trump is the anti-Lincoln. His nomination would give the coup-de-grace to the party to which Lincoln's nomination completed the process of giving birth.

It would be a high price to pay for the emotional release of throwing a political tantrum, however justified.

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