The decision to nominate Trump was a mistake. In fact, it was worse than a mistake. It was suicidal. But the decision having been taken and having become inevitable, conservatives ought to vote for Trump if they are going to vote at all. The choice between two non-conservatives was forced upon us, but conservatism can survive only one of them, and his name ain’t Hillary Clinton. Still, Trump will probably lose the election (although the race is tightening). The models all agree on that front and have for some time now (FiveThirtyEight, TheUpshot, and Princeton put the probability of a Clinton victory at 0.65, 0.86, and 0.97, respectively). No amount of conspiracy theorising about the polls, laughable appeals to crowd sizes, or fatuous comparisons to Brexit is going to change what is manifest to those of us who aren’t part of the cult of Trump’s personality. We warned that he’s an unelectable buffoon. Trumplings didn’t listen. As a result, on 8 November, they will reap what they sowed and the scourge of leftism will be upon us. Unfortunately, the rest of us will also suffer as a result of their ruinous decision to support him.
In the light of the fact that Trump is, and always has been, very likely to lose to his Democrat opponent, can Trumplings mount an adequate defence of their early support for him? Let’s grant, for argument’s sake, the (obviously erroneous) assumption that Trump would be an effective president if he were elected. In fact, let’s grant that he would be the most effective of all the other candidates. Trumplings would still have all their work ahead of them. Given the stakes, a candidate’s having that property is transparently not sufficient for his being the one whom voters ought to support. He must also be electable. If a candidate is very unlikely to win, it’s not terribly important that he’d be a good president if only he could manage to get elected. From a conservative perspective, Ed McMuffin would make a better president than both Clinton and Trump, but it’s obviously unwise for conservatives to support him. Similarly, many alt-right Trumplings believe that the white nationalist Jared Taylor would make a better president than Trump, but even they’d recognise that writing in his name would be both foolish and an exercise in futility. (And if that doesn’t convince you, just ask yourself whether you’d vote for an unelectable Trump over a thoroughly electable Rubio if his opponent were someone very much like Hitler or Stalin. If you’d still pick Trump, knowing that this would basically guarantee the election of the likes of Hitler or Stalin, congratulations, you’re a moral reprobate.) This suggests that some sufficient degree of electability is required if one’s support for some candidate is to be rational or permissible when the stakes are high.
And the stakes are very high indeed. The next president will settle virtually every major social issue. Abortion, gun rights, religious liberty, mass immigration, marriage, and capital punishment are just a few of the victories the Left will achieve if Clinton wins. And instead of nominating someone who likely would’ve prevented the Left’s total and complete victory on these issues (even if only for a few decades), we nominated someone in Donald Trump who is to the Left the gift that keeps on giving. What will we get for nominating someone who can’t win? The millions of unborn babies who will be slaughtered in the womb, the hundreds of people who will be murdered by criminals as a result of our removing from the law the tremendously effective deterrents of execution and common gun ownership, the millions of children who will suffer as a result of the pernicious assault on marriage, the thousands of Christians who will be forced to violate their consciences, and, yes, the eventual decimation of American culture from vast swathes of this country as a result of mass, uncontrolled immigration—never mind, at least we were able to antagonise the Left for a few months and get a few laughs. This is masochism.
At this point, Trumplings almost invariably question whether conservatism has accomplished anything of significance over the last few decades, implying that it doesn’t really matter if conservatism is destroyed. The answer is obviously in the affirmative, even without going into specific examples (to which I’m coming). Just ask yourself: Where would we be if the conservative movement hadn’t been standing athwart the leftist locomotive? Where would we be if the conservative movement hadn’t taken over the Republican Party? If it weren’t for people like Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, and, of course, Ronaldus Magnus, the Republican Party would still be a comfortable home for Rockefeller moderates who would’ve happily seen, and wouldn’t have opposed, a socially leftward march. In short, the Republican Party would be much more like the Tory Party (‘Conservative Party’ is a misnomer) in the UK and much less conservative than it is now. If nothing else, a significant accomplishment of the conservative movement is that it has stood athwart the Left and has slowed their relentless march leftward even if it hasn’t been as successful as we’d like.
But it’s trivially easy to cite specific accomplishments, ones that are significant enough to make the Left hysterical. I’ll just mention one important area in which we’ve made significant progress: The Supreme Court. District of Columbia v. Heller guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear arms for personal defence. Citizens United v. FEC protects our freedom of political speech. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. protects religious liberty against attempts by the Left to force people to pay for abortifacients. Gonzales v. Carhart upholds the federal ban against partial birth abortion, which is morally indistinguishable from infanticide. There are many more such examples. These wouldn’t have been possible in the absence of a conservative-leaning court.
There is, then, a lot to lose (the objections of those in the alt-reality who suffer from monomania notwithstanding). A court packed with Clinton appointees will almost certainly reverse these conservative accomplishments. An electable Republican nominee would’ve shifted the court rightward, protecting these accomplishments and reversing leftist ones, such as Roe v. Wade.
We’re also told by Trumplings that demographics will destroy conservatism anyway, so we might as well have taken a chance with Trump. There’s nothing to this drivel. First, this is like citing the unremarkable fact that we’re all going to die at some point as a reason for committing suicide now. Second, there were anti-mass immigration alternatives to Trump who were both more electable and more reliably right-wing (e.g. Ted Cruz). For Trumplings, the problem with these candidates was not their positions on immigration, it was the fact that they were ‘too PC.’ Any politician who wants to win must be! That someone like Trump can make you laugh more than someone like Cruz isn’t a good reason to prefer the former. Obviously. Third, what, exactly, is Trump going to do to solve the ‘demographic problem’? Eliminating immigration altogether wouldn’t do that (and says he will increase legal immigration; more on this below). Deporting every last one of the 12 million or so illegals won’t solve the problem (and he can’t do that). What can he legally do to stop the white share of the population from decreasing? At this point Trumplings will point out that he’d delay the catastrophe and give us more time to figure something out. But that undercuts the ‘demographics, so what the hell’ line I mentioned above. And if delaying the catastrophe is so important, why did you nominate the least electable candidate?
Trumplings now appeal to the most facile argument of all: Even if Trump loses, he’s shifted the ‘Overton window‘ (the range of publicly acceptable ideas)! First, even if this were true, it pales in comparison to the incredible harms that will follow from Clinton’s victory, a victory which could’ve been avoided if only we had nominated an electable Republican. And if we lose now that we’ve chosen not to, does anyone really believe that the Republican Party will move even further to the right? Trumplings are gullible, but I hope not that gullible. Second, it isn’t true, at least not when it comes to the issue about which Trumplings care most. Let’s take the idea with which Trump is most often associated: the wall. About 66% of voters now oppose building a wall on the Mexican border (84% favour outright amnesty). In 2015, 51% of voters supported building a wall. What explains this? Could it be that, before Trump’s ruinous intervention, his unpopular face wasn’t associated with that idea?
All of this for someone who is transparently a manipulative, shapeshifting demagogue. We know that Trump changes his positions as often as he changes his suits, whenever it will personally benefit him to do so. He’s taken multiple positions on the same issues during this campaign, sometimes on the same day. He regularly boasts about his ability to compromise, something he’d probably be good at precisely because he hasn’t any principles; it would be very easy to compromise the ones he pretends to have. And we’re supposed to put our faith in this man? We’re supposed to believe that he isn’t going to give in to ‘immigration reform’ if, in return, he’ll get his damn wall? (We’re already seeing signs of this. Just yesterday Trump said, ‘I want people to come in. I want tremendous numbers of people to come in…And we’re going to have that big, beautiful door in the wall. But you know what? They have to come in through a process. They have to come in legally.’ What a cuck!) It’s a shame that Trumplings likely won’t have the opportunity to be disappointed in their saviour!
Let me mention in closing one of the many ironies of this election. During the primaries, Trumplings refused to support more electable Republicans who obviously would’ve been better than Clinton, ostensibly because they weren’t good enough on some of the issues (Rubio comes to mind). Never Trumpers are now opposing Trump because they claim, with plausibility, that Trump isn’t a conservative, despite the fact that, whatever his faults, he’d make a better president than Clinton. Both made the same mistake: refusing to set aside complete ideological purity in order to defeat the Left. Moving forward, conservatives should prevent this from ever happening again by applying a modified version of the Buckley Rule: One should nominate the most electable conservative candidate. It wasn’t applied in this election. Instead, we nominated the least electable and least conservative candidate. Ah…what could’ve been! Alas, we’ll likely never know.
If he manages to win (and I hope he does), we don’t know whether he’ll govern as the right-wing president Trumplings imagine. If Trump loses, Trumplings will be blameworthy for the end of the Right in this country.
- Trumplings Probably Destroyed the Right - November 3, 2016
- The Left Injects Its Poison Into Everything Else, So Why Not Sports? - October 19, 2016
- Jason Stanley’s Response to Rightly Considered - October 6, 2016
- Did Swinburne get Swindled? - September 26, 2016