Trump & the Loss of the Conservative Mind

I’ve witnessed a myriad of political delusions in my lifetime: the Kennedy administration as Camelot; the Great Society; Jimmy Carter as the outsider who will redeem us from Vietnam and Watergate; high approval ratings for Bill Clinton despite all the scandals and gross immorality; the belief that Barack Obama is a great healer, uniter, and messiah. All of these, though, were delusions in the general public primarily.

What I’m seeing now—and finding it difficult to swallow—is the delusion on the conservative side of politics when it comes to Donald Trump. Normally clear-eyed commentators are throwing away all their practiced discernment in a foolish rush either to support Trump for the Republican nomination or at least to defend what he says and ignore his history.

It’s truly dismaying to hear Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter—just to name a few—rally to Trump’s side. Websites that I have relied upon for unfiltered information about the culture and politics are doing the same.

Is this the equivalent on the Right of the mania for Obama on the Left in 2008?

Donald Trump, in my view, is not presidential material. First, his character precludes giving him the respect that is due any president. His massive ego, far more evident than in any other candidate (with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton), should, in itself, be a disqualifier.

Losers

Those who have spent so much time criticizing the moral character of the Clintons and Obama are now trumpeting Trump? How sad.

Then there’s his suspicious “conversion” to conservative beliefs, all, it seems, within the past few weeks as he decided to jump into the field as a Republican candidate. Has the collective memory of the conservative movement self-destructed?

My Record

For Trump, I get the feeling that winning the presidency is just another in a long line of trade deals.

Acquisitions

Consider this post a plea for conservatives to regain their political acumen based on true limited government philosophy and Biblical principles of character. Return from the wilderness, please, and reestablish your reputations as trusted sources for sound reasoning.

Trump? We Should Know Better

I will attempt today not to vent my frustration but to have a calm, rational post about Donald Trump. For the past six-plus years, I’ve been distressed with the foolishness of the American voter overall for putting Barack Obama in the White House. That distress is almost equaled by the possibility of Hillary Clinton returning to that address. Yet almost as frustrating is the boomlet for Trump among potential Republican primary voters.

You all should know better.

Trump’s meteoric rise in the polls is astounding, to be sure. When asked why they support him, many are saying it has nothing to do with the issues but merely admiration for someone who speaks his mind so boldly.

Nothing to do with the issues? Is that how Republicans display their political/governmental knowledge?

Supporting a candidate should be based on two things: where he/she stands on the issues; the character of the individual.

Trump is a new convert to all the “right” side of the issues for voters angry with the path this nation is on under Obama. As I noted in a previous post, he historically has been pro-abortion, in favor of a government-imposed healthcare, soft on illegal immigration, etc., etc.

On the character side of the ledger, his many divorces, his superficial Christianity (which is the same as a non-existent Christianity), his tendency to say whatever just happens to enter his brain, and his incessant boasting about his wealth and his intelligence should send warning signals to all. He reminds me of the central character in this old tale:

Humpty-Trumpty

When the fall comes, it will be disastrous.

I’m particularly distressed over evangelical Christians rushing to Trump’s side. Where is the discernment that is sorely needed for this upcoming historic election? Bruce Jenner (yes, I’m still using his real name because he is still a man regardless of his protestations to the contrary) says he is a Republican. Does that mean those of us who take Scripture seriously should look the other way because that puts him “on our side”?

Dream Ticket

A dream? No, more like a nightmare.

Then there’s Trump’s not-so-subtle insinuation that he had better get this nomination or else:

Be Nice to Me

If that should happen, we will have to endure another four to eight years of radicalism in the White House.

I sincerely hope the Republican electorate awakes from its stupor and begins to see more clearly. The outrage over the Obama years and the weak Republican leadership in Congress should not drive us to commit intellectual suicide. Voting primarily on emotion will be our downfall.

The Trump Factor

Donald TrumpYes, I must write about Donald Trump. He’s become such a controversial figure that I have no choice. One wing of Republicans seem to view him as the straight-talking savior they’ve been waiting for, while a broad swath of Republicans deem him the out-of-control candidate that is going to ruin everything. Which group is closer to the truth?

I hoped Trump would not jump into the presidential race. When he took the plunge, I didn’t anticipate he would do so well in the polls. So it’s crucial to know Trump’s character and where he stands on issues, both past and present.

He created a stir with the announcement of his candidacy when he attacked the government’s policies (or lack thereof) on illegal immigration. Most of the country agrees with the anger he expressed over that issue. Critics pointed, though, to his choice of words when speaking of Mexico; they said he was painting a broad brush and stereotyping.

This past weekend, new controversy ensued when, at a forum in Iowa that included most of the Republican candidates, he commented that John McCain was not all that much of a hero for suffering torture during the Vietnam War. He said he preferred people who didn’t get captured, thereby seeming to denigrate not only McCain for having been captured, but all prisoners of war.

Got My Vote

The furor over this has been high-pitched, and may I say, rightly so. One doesn’t have to particularly appreciate McCain’s record as a senator to feel this was a low blow at someone who did suffer significantly during that war. He didn’t choose to be a prisoner of war; he didn’t become one because he was a “loser,” which was the impression Trump gave.

Trump is hitting a nerve with some Republicans who are angry with Obama and fed up with the lackluster performance of a Republican party that controls the Congress and could be setting a stronger agenda. Trump is their outlet.

To jump on the Trump bandwagon is a big blunder for Republicans.

Let’s start with what he really believes. Talk about evolving—he is the champion in that sphere.

His history of political donations leans heavily Democrat, even to the support of Hillary Clinton. He is on record as favoring Obamacare and would like to see America go further and adopt the Canadian universal healthcare system.

On the illegal immigration issue, where he is making a huge splash today, back in 2012, he criticized Romney for being too harsh with his “self-deportation” comments.

He’s always been a supporter of abortion “rights” and is, we are told, “evolving” on the same-sex marriage issue.

The controversy over the McCain comment overshadowed another one he made at that same Iowa forum: he said he had never asked God for forgiveness for anything. According to those who reported on the aftermath of his time on stage there, that was the comment that created the most stir in the audience, as many, for the first time, realized he has no concept of what it means to be a Christian.

When I look at Donald Trump, I see a man who is in love with himself more than anything else. He is self-centered to the max, akin to Barack Obama’s constant usage of the words “I,” “my,” and “me” in all his speeches.

Trump seems to think he deserves to be president because he has made a lot of money (to which he refers constantly) and is super-smart.

For all these reasons, I cannot support the Trump candidacy, and I think Republicans in general, and Christians specifically, who do support him are either ignorant of his true character and beliefs or are letting their anger over what is occurring in our nation influence their vote.

Some seek to portray the Trump candidacy as a split between true conservatives (his supporters) and the Republican wishy-washy establishment that fears he will take away their authority.

Combover

That’s not an accurate assessment. Those who understand Biblical truths and a conservative philosophy of government should be the first to avoid a Trump candidacy.

And all those “establishment” Republicans? They have a point. Trump, when asked directly, refused to rule out a third-party candidacy if he should not win the Republican nomination.

I can say with some assurance that he will not win the Republican nomination. If he then follows through with a third-party candidacy, what will be the result?

Welcome to the Hillary Clinton presidency.

That, by itself, should be enough to shake his supporters out of their dream world. He could be the instrument for ushering in a new nightmare.

It was a strong third-party candidacy—Ross Perot back in 1992—that gave us Bill Clinton. Isn’t it time to learn something from history?

The Baneful Effects of a Third Party in Presidential Elections

Earlier this month, I spoke at the Winter Haven, Florida, 9-12 Project. Last night I was closer to home at the Lakeland 9-12 Project meeting. As with the Winter Haven group, these are sincere citizens who want to see substantive change, as opposed to a vague, dreamy “hope-and-change” mantra without meaning. They are committed to restoring the original intent of the Constitution and in helping educate the public on basic principles.

My topic was the effect of third parties on elections. Here are a few of my prime examples.

In 1844, the Liberty Party entered the presidential election as an alternative to the Democrats and Whigs. This party had one issue only—the abolition of slavery. James G. Birney, a man of principle and courage was its presidential candidate. He had put his life on the line many times for his beliefs. I admire him. But since this was a one-issue party, defeat was inevitable; you have to develop a broad agenda and distinct philosophy of government to attract more people to your side. However, this small party probably turned the election in a direction it wouldn’t have gone otherwise. The Democrats were the pro-slavery party, while the Whigs, though divided on the issue, at least had some reformers who wanted to take steps to eliminate slavery. If any progress were to be made for abolition of slavery, it would have been far better had the Whigs won. However, the Liberty Party, although it took only 2% of the popular vote, drained enough support from the Whigs that the Democrats carried New York, the state with the largest number of electoral votes. If the Whigs had won that state, their candidate, Henry Clay, would have been president. Instead, we got James Polk, who supported the slave system.

Then, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt challenged sitting president William Howard Taft for the Republican nomination. Roosevelt was denied the nomination, and was so angered by it that he started his own third party known as the Progressives [with a nickname of Bull Moose]. Roosevelt effectively split the Republican vote in that election, putting Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House. Wilson, who was even more progressive than Roosevelt, championed the idea that the Constitution was a “living document,” and that original intent should be shelved. If Taft hadn’t been opposed by Roosevelt, he probably would have won reelection and Wilson never would have become president—he garnered only 42% of the popular vote.

Finally, in 1992, the entrance of Ross Perot into the race took away 19% of the vote that traditionally would have gone to the Republicans. The result? The presidency of Bill Clinton.

More often than not, third parties allow someone to win who normally wouldn’t. And the one who wins quite often is worse than the one from whom votes were drained. In an attempt to achieve the perfect, third parties usually end up providing us with a raw deal. As the cliché goes, the perfect can be the enemy of the good.

If I have one electoral fear right now, it’s that someone, whether it be Donald Trump or Ron Paul, will decide to run as a third-party candidate in 2012, thereby ensuring an Obama reelection. I hope history can come along and be a guide—don’t destroy our best chance of reversing what has occurred on Obama’s watch. Don’t allow disunity to give this man a second term. I’m not sure the country can survive another four years.

Who Has the Vision?

Mike Huckabee is out. I’m sad over that, but trust his judgment. Donald Trump is out. I’m thrilled over that, yet not assured that he will stay out, but will try his hand at an independent run, thereby throwing the race to Obama.

This week, Newt Gingrich pretty much frittered away any chance he had, however small. I wasn’t his supporter anyway, but I at least acknowledge his ability to communicate and his flair for coming up with ideas. His marital failings, and the manner in which they were carried out, reveal a deeper problem. I believe God can turn someone around via true repentance, but I wasn’t convinced his repentance was very genuine. Yet now, with his attack on Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for getting us out of our debt problem, Gingrich has alienated most of the rest of Republicans who weren’t as focused on moral issues.

I never believed Gingrich had much of a chance to get the nomination in the first place, but he is now electoral toast with Republican primary voters. His political fate is sealed, and his run is over almost as soon as it began.

That leads some commentators to think that Mitt Romney is the frontrunner, which I find highly disturbing. This is the man who won’t disavow his own healthcare plan that is bankrupting Massachusetts. Somehow, he wants us to believe that what he did with that plan, which is the forerunner for Obamacare, is somehow different than the Obama approach.

Sorry, I’m not convinced. If this is the best the Republicans can do, they will deserve to lose again in 2012. However, I’m still hopeful that primary voters will not succumb to this type of doubletalk and will instead gravitate toward someone who will effectively challenge the Obama agenda and present a positive vision for the future.

Who will that be?

The Albatross & the Trump Card

Two businessmen are making noise as presidential contenders: Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. Both have serious flaws. I know my opinion of them will not sit well with everyone, but I always strive to be as open as possible about my views, realizing that I could be wrong, but believing that it is important to air legitimate concerns.

For Mitt Romney, this is a second time around; he fell short in 2008, but now feels the time is right for a comeback. I freely admit that his Mormonism is a stumbling block for me. From my perspective, Mormonism is a cult, and not a variant of the Christian faith. Yes, I know Mormons are moral, and I wish to work with them on policy issues where we have agreement, but it would be troublesome to me to have someone with Mormon theology as the chief executive in the land. Would that be worse than someone whose religion is false in other ways, such as radical liberation theology? Neither is desirable.

But beyond his religious beliefs, I have deep concerns about his policies. Is he really pro-life, or is this late conversion to that stance just a political ploy? That is a real issue, given his past pro-choice position. He also now claims to be opposed to Obamacare, but isn’t that simply a newer version of what he championed in Massachusetts when he was governor? Romney may be trying to run away from his past, but it’s going to weigh him down.

On to Trump, who is a surprise entry into the race. He’s certainly a celebrity, and he’s definitely made a mark in the business world. Anyone who is a billionaire has left his imprint.

But just who is Donald Trump? What does he believe? A few years ago, he was trumpeting [pardon the slight pun] his own plan for universal healthcare that mirrors both Romney’s and Obama’s. Are we to believe he is now totally opposed to what he formerly proposed?

He also recently taped an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he espoused pro-life views that he never held previously, and in which he declared that he is a Christian—which will probably come as a shock to most who know him. Amazing, isn’t it, how born again someone can become when running for president in a party that includes the majority of politically active evangelicals. Please forgive me if I sound less than convinced that his conversion is genuine. Much as I hope it is the real thing, it will take more than one interview during a run for the top spot in the land to thrill my heart.

Political use of religion? Has anyone ever done that before? The better question is—when has this not been done? I worry about his character, and that he may stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

There’s already speculation—fueled by his own comments—that if he fails to win the Republican nomination, he will run as a third-party candidate. Putting his own ego first, he would doom the eventual Republican nominee to defeat by this scheme. He would be the ultimate spoiler, practically ensuring that Obama survives to take the nation down a disastrous path for another four years. Trump’s role would be similar to Perot’s in 1992, which gave us eight years of Bill Clinton.

Yes, he is a “trump card,” and he’s also just a celebrity out for his own advancement. He’s not a serious candidate, and it is astounding that some polls already show him ahead of the Republican pack. That’s not merely astounding—it’s nearly depressing.

If Republicans really want to lose in 2012, they can’t do better than nominating either Romney or Trump. But I’m still counting on the rank and file of the party to show more common sense.