Generally speaking, I am not a fan of polls. For one, I’ve never been polled by anyone. For another, the number of people being polled often strikes me as too small a sample from which to draw broad conclusions. Also, those samples more often than not tend to oversample one group, Democrats, let’s say, over another group, which again leads to questions of accuracy.
Bottom line, I don’t trust ‘em and tend to ignore them in preference to the only poll that actually counts, the election itself.
I’ve often asked myself, what would I do if I were to be contacted to participate in a poll. Not sure how I’d answer. My curmudgeonly self would probably tell them to go pound sand. My impish self would probably participate, but answer exactly opposite of how I really think in order to help bring inaccuracy and disrepute to the poll itself when later compared to real results.
But I will still read them. Sometimes they will include information that is worth contemplating, at least as abstract possibilities.
Recently, Dan Balz wrote an article for the Washington Post which reported on a number of polls. They seem to indicate changes are occurring that may affect future elections, particularly when it comes to Donald Trump.
Essentially, the article suggests support for Trump among Republicans is softening, and likely to get softer as other Republicans burnish their credentials and as Trump’s age sinks in for voters. Were he to be re-elected, Trump would be the oldest candidate ever elected President. Yes, even older than Biden in 2020, and we’ve all seen how that turned out.
Trump is still an energetic and cognitively vibrant man, which is good. But time catches up to all of us. No exceptions. It is reasonable to ask, after watching the cognitive failings of Joe Biden on pitiful display, is it worth risking another round of Presidential dotage?
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In the name of full transparency, I was not a supporter of Trump when the 2016 election cycle kicked off. I was more of a Ted Cruz man, knowing full well that the Texan lacked charisma as a leader. I liked Cruz for his intellect and his principled stance of certain positions.
Trump, for me, had a questionable – almost indecipherable – background such that it was unclear just where he stood politically. He famously contributed to, and socially interacted with, various Democrat politicians through the years. Then again, he was a real estate developer who needed political support for his projects, so why wouldn’t he support those from whom he might later need regulatory support?
Also, Trump’s moral character had been called into serious question, and that led me to question if I would want such a person as the country’s leader.
Though I did not personally support Trump, I was not a never-Trumper. I was not deranged about it. I just preferred Cruz.
When Trump was the only Republican left standing, it became clear that his opponent was going to be Hillary Clinton. In the name of God, is that really a choice? It wasn’t for me. So though I had serious misgivings about Trump, there was no way on this side of mortality that I would ever – ever – ever – ever – vote for that reptilian monstrosity known as PIAPS.
Trump did have some endearing qualities. He regularly vented about the media and its bias. He also vouchsafed the American worker, who had suffered long enough at the hands of the social and political elite who considered themselves the anointed and who disparagingly dismissed working Americans as rubes, or what H.L. Mencken called the ignorant booboisie.
So come election time, though I didn’t feel particularly good about him, I voted for Trump. To my great surprise, he won. Clearly, he tapped into the reservoir of political animosity toward the elite political and media class and it carried him to the Presidency.
The fact that so many absolutely hated Hillary no doubt also contributed to his victory.
And make no mistake, I was tickled pink that Hillary had, at long last, been sent to the trash heap of history where her Foundation donations would dry up and opportunities for even more grift were denied her. Only to see that her name is now being raised from the dead by democrats contemplating 2024. She is the living embodiment of the “living dead.”
Once Trump was in office, I was ecstatically pleased with what he did. He hacked away as best he could at the regulatory state, which has been a drag on American productivity for decades. As a free-market advocate who learned economics under the auspices of the Friedrich Hayek’s, the Milton Friedman’s and the Thomas Sowell’s of this world, such slashing of regulatory tyranny was a godsend.
His good work unleashed the economy to reach record levels of productivity and employment. But then, of course, the pandemic hit which undid all of this good work through an enforced shutting down of the economy.
He also made his mark on the international stage, with his direct talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, with his upholding of sanctions against Russia, with his deft handling of China’s Xi Jinping, his hectoring of NATO countries to fulfill their contractual obligations, and with his moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after years and years of delay and cowardice on the part of U.S. politicians.
Not only that. Through his diplomatic work he negotiated the Scylla and Charybdis of competing Sunni and Shia forms of Islam to bring about the Abraham accords, which has tipped the balance among moderate Sunni Arab countries toward acceptance of Israel while further isolating Shia Iran.
Who would have thought that some brash Manhattan real estate tycoon could manage such a diplomatic coup?
Need I even mention his work at the Southern border, which, since he has left office, has become a shambles veering toward complete anarchy.
And all of this while a thoroughly deranged media and Democrat political leaders – not to mention the nitwit Hollywood celebrities and TV pundits who think the typical American worker hangs on every word they say – were working day and night to destroy Trump and sever him from his political base among the American people.
Fact is, the typical American worker, long overlooked by the social and political elite, did not give one insouciant damn about what they had to say. They knew the machinations of these Trump haters was a charade and kabuki theatre. Trump had stood by them, and by God they were going to stand by Trump.
So all in all, I was very pleased by what Trump had done as President. I whole-heartedly voted for him in 2020. I believe he’s made some tactical errors in his approach to the whole January 6 affair, but overall I am very pleased with his work as President.
Victor Davis Hanson, the indefatigable historian and classicist from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, wrote a book about Trump titled The Case for Trump. In it, Hanson takes note of Trump’s many flaws of character, but ultimately comes down on the side of the worthiness of the man as a leader and statesman.
The image I take from the book is in the penultimate chapter where Hanson likens Trump to the classic tragic hero. Drawing from such figures as Greek heroes of classic literature to modern film and literature, he gives several examples of tragic heroes.
Think of Shane, where a stranger trying to escape his gunslinging past rides in and takes up residence at a small ranch as a work hand. All of the small ranchers in the town suffer under the coercion and insulting oversight of the man who runs the town and the largest ranch thereabouts.
Shane, the stranger, is forced to accept the insults and the mockery, all while trying to stay civil and be true to the values he now wants to embody. A drink is thrown in his face. He takes it. But only for so long. There is the classic barroom fight, and later a dramatic gunfight in which Shane kills those who are making life miserable for the small ranchers.
Then, he must leave. “There’s no living with a killing,” Shane tells an admiring young boy. “there’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand, a brand that sticks. There’s no going back.”
Shane then leaves, off into the snow-capped mountains, knowing that he has improved the situation for the small ranchers, but that they must now work to protect themselves from any other threats to their lives and livelihoods.
Well, Trump, too, is a kind of killer with his tweets and rambunctious confronting of the media with its misreporting and outright lies. And it is a brand. He will never get away from that brand. And just as the small ranchers cannot fully adopt the violently confrontational ways of Shane, so, too, do many think the corrosively confrontational ways of Trump needs to be set aside, no matter how emotionally satisfying they may have been at the time.
So, Hanson sees Trump as a tragic hero, as someone who, like Shane, “can’t break the mold.” In commenting on tragic heroes, with Trump in mind, Hanson writes:
Tragic heroes do not necessarily intend to be heroic. Sometimes their motives for confronting dangers or solving crises can just as easily be self-centered or arise from a desire for personal vengeance or fantasies of self-redemption or just an endless need for adulation. Again, they care for their reputations and their sidekicks more than they do the law. … But the various circumstances in which tragic heroes appear on the scene, inadvertently or by design, are not so important as the fact that they sometimes do.
So Trump has served us well. He came when we needed him and he helped put some cajones back into the conservative movement.
All things considered, though, I think he should walk away from the Presidential election of 2024. His age is a major factor in my thinking. Also, I tire quickly at seeing the same politicians constantly on stage. Hillary, Biden, the Bushes. I am ready for new blood.
At present, I am very impressed with Ron DeSantis in Florida. He takes no guff from the media, giving at least as good as he gets, and often giving a good deal more. He has managed the improbabilities of the COVID pandemic about as well as any governor in the country, and his actions as chief executive in Florida demonstrates a clear preference for individual liberty for citizens confronted with governmental power and arrogance.
More importantly, DeSantis is a policy guy, where Trump is more a vision guy. There is a reason why governors tend to make for good and effective Presidents. They understand the workings of government from an executive perspective, which is a valuable asset.
As for Vice President, there is a good bench in the Republican party – something that cannot be said about Democrats – from which to choose. For one, I am intrigued by the possibility of Mike Pompeo bringing his experience as CIA Director as well as his notable successes as Secretary of State, both of which would complement DeSantis’s candidacy admirably.
And what about Trump? I think he would best serve the country’s interests to stand back and vigorously support a ticket like DeSantis/Pompeo. Further, I think if DeSantis were to be truly bold, when elected he could name Trump as the Ambassador to the United Nations where his kick-ass, take-no-prisoners approach is exactly what is needed in that moldy and decrepit institution.
I know many will disagree with my views here. So be it. All I ask is that you spare me the usual epithets of RINO and Trump-hater. For one, I’m not a Republican, but an independent conservative/libertarian, so I am a Republican in no name whatsoever. As for being a Trump hater, I should think what I have written here will dispel that.
Regardless, have at me.
By Ron Nutter
Ron Nutter is a regular contributor to The Blue State Conservative, and retired college professor of Philosophy and Religion living in a cabin on a mountain in Western North Carolina with his retired physician wife, and he still reads voraciously.
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Featured photo by Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily from USA, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons