Against the Hysteria: Trump Is Helping — Not Hurting — the Political Debate

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

There have been two voices of reason amidst the hysteria in response to Donald Trump’s latest outburst. “Instead of debating the proposal in a reasoned way, the political class—both parties—and … the media are treating it as a thoughtcrime,” writes James Taranto. While there are, he notes, some good practical, policy and moral arguments to be made against Trump’s Muslim immigration proposal, the reaction of the establishment has been unhinged. The other GOP candidates who, rather than suggesting reasonable alternatives, are joining the hysteria by spouting the same P.C. bromides as The New York Times (“not who we are,” etc.) are making a big mistake. They’re leaving the field to Trump as the only candidate addressing the valid fears of the public. When a native-born Muslim-American and his Saudi bride dump their 6-month-old, and, in the name of Allah, mow down the co-workers who gave them a baby shower, we’ve got a big problem. We need to deal with it rather than giving condescending moral lectures to the American people. Hopefully, Trump won’t be the only candidate who gets this.

David French makes the even more important point that by saying outrageous things Trump is shifting the boundaries of the political debate that have been set by the P.C. left and is making it possible for others to say reasonable things. As I’ve argued previously, a main reason for the political-gravity-defying success of Trump’s candidacy is that he has given voice to the disgust with the growing tyranny of political correctness, which “is no longer just a sideshow one can joke about. Continue Reading

Confessions of a Formerly Anti-Trump Voter: He’s Good for the Country

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

I’m not coming around on Donald Trump.  Well, not really.

I still basically agree with those conservative commentators who think he’s an obnoxious glitterati Kardashian-with-a-toupee buffoon.  I’m particu­larly repulsed by his pursuit of the most superficial trappings of gaudy wealth and his dismissal as“losers” of anyone whose life hasn’t centered around this (like, say, me).  And I recognize that, unfortunately, this is precisely what appeals to a certain type of voter about him.

But let me explain why, if I haven’t quite become a Trump pod person yet (Fiorina-Rubio is my current ticket), I have joined Ross Douthat in the ranks of the “anti-anti-Trump.”  Like the majority of respondents in Bill Kristol’s unscientific straw poll of Weekly Standard readers, I don’t want him to be President, but to my amazement, I’ve come to think his candidacy has been good for the Republican Party — and for the country.

There are essentially two reasons for this, though they’re really flip sides of the same coin.  Incongruously, this jet-setting billionaire is galvanizing the party’s voice against the trendy tyranny of “political correctness” while moderating its harsh “47%” tone on economics.  Peggy Noonan summed it up in a recent quote about Rick Santorum that is actually as or more appli­cable to Trump this year: he is “evoking the now-frayed connection between the American working class and a Republican Party that 35 years ago became their natural, welcoming home and later threw them over to tend to the causes of the donor class.”

The incident that led me to begin mellowing on Trump illustrates the first of these two reasons.  Continue Reading