Two for Trump

I remember watching from my computer the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. After the most contentious (if we’re being charitable) and horribly vitriolic and stupid (if we aren’t) election of my admittedly short lifetime, the inaugural was marked by the opposition effectively rioting, a now famous gif of someone yelling “Nooooo” at the moment of the Oath of Office and the kind of violence that still largely exists on the Left side of the spectrum. This was, if nothing else, going to be a new age of absurdity, emotional arguments and idiocy to rival any given college course you don’t really need for your major.

Three years since, I find myself simultaneously bored out of my skull with the repetition brought about by the feral mindset of many of his critics and embarrassed that they have actually served to drag the state of American discourse to depths not seen before. Everything is racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and everything else. God forbid we engage serious issues with the level-headed approach they deserve.

Trump’s best asset: his continuous opposition

Still, the only thing that makes this era of politics fun (in a terrifying kind of way, akin to riding a janky roller coaster) is the predictability of Trump’s numerous critics and not just the aforementioned offended minority. Now, granted, some MAGA people just go along with everything. They found a way to see their godking chasing out General Mattis, the undisputedly most revered, respected and brilliant military mind of our time, from the DoD as a net positive. However, Trump’s critics can only think in terms of hyperbole, image manipulation and the most powerful historical parallel public school taught them without any appreciation for why the parallel doesn’t work.

We’ll tackle that last part first and move to other hypocrisies. I’ve maintained for a while that Trump’s best asset is not his dwindling number of diehards, but his bullhorn opposition and their use of parallels. They compare him to Nixon even though his battle with the media at large is nearly identical to Obama’s battle with Fox. They compare him to Hitler even though they share no similarities whatsoever and Trump has not restricted the rights of LGBT people, women or the media (who continue to air whatever they please, but we’ll get to that).

When we leave the specific historical parallels, we’re left with words used so often they mean nothing, spoken by people who exhibit their accusations better and with greater alacrity than their target. They say he’s a tyrant but he was duly elected, and hasn’t oppressed anyone, and has not shut down people he disagrees with. This cannot be said for what the Left has done online and in school and in the media. They say he’s a threat to democracy and our Constitution while displaying an open contempt for the document themselves, especially the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5thand 10thamendments.

When we leave the parallels we’re stuck with hyperbole and half-truths. They say he’s going to destroy the country, as if both parties haven’t been working toward that end for at least the last 30 years. He’s using a former Japanese internment camp, which the same one Obama used, but now the Japanese tidbit is a bad thing. All of this while Trump is just cruising along, tweeting and despite being abrasive, is not nearly as abrasive in comparison to his adversaries.

And, most laughably, they call themselves the #resistance. There are many freedom fighters throughout history folks. Vastly overstating the evil posed by your political enemy who is compared to you quite benign, to the point of self-parody doesn’t put you in that noble company.

And finally, let us consider their methods. Let us not forget that Trump’s opponents supported Antifa until they became unpopular and they have slowly started to re-embrace the group. To his opponents, doxing people who work for or support Trump, showing up at their homes, threatening them and their families and friends, harassing them at all hours of the day and trying to get them isolated from all forms of support are all acceptable behaviors.

Trump’s second best asset: his potential 2020 opponents

All that can be seen from the outside is that, regarding Trump and the 2020 Democratic crowd of hopefuls is that we are cedeing our place as a global leader. It is true that Trump is not an excellent leader. However, for the last three presidents now, the guiding philosophy of the opposition has been “anyone but” Bush, Obama and now Trump. To hell with whether or not the person is a capable leader who can face down Russia and China, to say nothing of Iran and North Korea, we just want the other guy out of office. The result was weak leadership in the cases of Obama and, to an admittedly lesser extent Trump. And so we have this cartel of weak, milquetoast candidates known for being not-white, not-Trump and of decidedly average diplomatic and economic stock. A Political Science doctoral candidate Steve Kaszycki gave this brilliant, short breakdown of the coming Democratic candidates before the two night debate.

Night one:
Cory Booker, who is desperately overcompensating for the fact that he is a pragmatist at heart and not an ideological warrior.

Julian Castro, who is running for Vice President.

Bill de Blasio, who is utterly deluded and will not be seen in another debate.

John Delaney, who hasn’t updated his calendar since 1992 and will also not make another debate.

Tulsi Gabbard, who has the most to gain as someone who on paper should gain some traction despite having an overall issue concentration at odds with where the base is (they don’t disagree, they just don’t place as much salience on foreign affairs).

Jay Inslee, who has the resume of a viable candidate but the campaign of an issue candidate.

Amy Klobuchar, who is totally not a terrible boss and will totally not be intent on cutting into Warren’s numbers.

Beto O’Rourke, who may be too busy trying to find the median primary voter to actually articulate anything of substance and whose star is fading fast.

Tim Ryan, who is an actual member of the house of representatives, and who will not be in the next debate.

Elizabeth Warren, who currently has a stronghold on the upper middle class twenty somethings who studied cultural anthropology, amassed $60k in college debt, and want other people to pay their loans for them.

Night 2:
Michael Bennett, who is so inconsequential that I really have nothing more to say about him.

Joe Biden, who is enjoying the perks of having universal name recognition and trying to make everyone in the primary forget large portions of his voting history in the Senate.

Pete Buttigieg, who is the smarter, more diverse version of Beto.

Kirsten Gillibrand, who has risen to this point on the backs of colleagues whom she has metaphorically knifed to get ahead, and who will desperately invoke trendy social theory buzzwords that she does not actually understand let alone believe in, on her way to an early exit from the race that is the closest thing to karma that politics can give.

Kamala Harris, who currently isn’t even polling very strong in her home state, and may be an early exit from the race despite being on paper a strong candidate.

John Hickenlooper, who is in the wrong party.

Bernie Sanders, who is not doing as well as I expected, but who will certainly bring the crotchety old socialist grandpa energy to the debate stage.

Eric Stallwell, whose name you won’t remember and don’t have to, because he wont make the second debate.

Marianne Williamson, whose presence in this debate is apparently a testimony to the continued media power of Oprah.

Andrew Yang, who may be the most clever self-promoter I’ve seen in a while, and who actually is an intelligent and articulate person.

While this may come off as a blindly cynical view of the Democratic candidates,  I fail to see anything hopeful about them. Assuming you even know who some of these people are, every single one of them is having difficulty espousing ideas on more than one topic, and what we do have are vagaries about “saving lives through gun control” and “boo the 1%” and “socialism will work this time”.

Let’s talk about a few of the marquee polices of the Democratic candidates. We have Sanders and Warren both talking about student debt forgiveness by saying there’ll be a high tax rate on the rich. There are several issues that they fail to address.

First, what is being done about the cost of tuition itself? If nothing, then the next generation will be faced with the same problem they are promising to assuage for this one.

Second, “we’re only going to tax the rich” has never been true. While Trump and Bush both cut taxes across the board, even Sanders 2016 proposal involved tax hikes on the middle class. And one quick rejoinder about “the rich got bigger cuts”. That’s because 5% of 5 million is larger than 5% of 100,000. It was a nice rhetorical slight of hand, it just wasn’t a fair comparaison.

Third, will the money actually be allocated to paying off student debt? This requires the government to be honest, effective and manage money correctly. Traits it has failed to demonstrate throughout history.

Then we have gun control which makes up the beginning, middle and end of Swallwell’s campaign. He has a 65-point gun control plan featuring waiting periods, ammunition and firearm bans, mandatory surrendering of some guns and registration of others, an insurance plan for some reason, banning online sales of guns and ammo (despite online sales of firearms being required to ship to an FFL dealer). “Eliminate small federally licensed firearm dealers who do not have a brick and mortar storefront” (So, eliminate small businesses.), “Expand the powers of the ATF” and other wildly unconstitutional points.

This is my wheelhouse, so we could be here all day. To ensure we’re not, I’ll handle a few in short order.

Insurance: what insurance company will cover you if you murder someone intentionally or negligently? Furthermore, property damage from firearms in negligent discharges are minimal.  This is merely a way to price more people, especially the poor, out of having the most effective defense weapon available.

Mandatory surrendering: unconstitutional

Ammo and magazine bans: same

Firearm bans: Also unconstitutional

Expanding the powers of the ATF: Not remotely needed.

Eliminate small business: Not remotely good

Vague training standards: easily a tool to make owning a gun nearly impossible.

And one more here is a favorite: “Outlawing civilian possession of “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons” with an exception for guns maintained by shooting ranges and hunting clubs. This would include a “buy back” followed by criminal prosecution for anyone found in violation of the prohibition

Ok, “Miltary style” etc. etc. are scary buzzwords. Period. The second clause, through it’s mandatory surrender, basically creates criminals to prosecute. Which is what gun control does.

A cursory glance at the candidates for 2020 show that Trump, by comparison, looks like the only person concerned with freedom and, more scarily, the realities of evil and economics. And when Trump is the most rational person in the room, the only saving grace is that the nation is in less danger than it could be if someone else were in charge.

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