During every presidential election cycle, both Democratic and Republican talking heads trot out the same tired conventionalities that they predictably use to promote their preferred candidates and undermine those whom they dislike.
Given the Big Bang that is Donald Trump’s candidacy, the political props posing as species of reason have been particularly visible this time around. Let’s look at some of them, and how they’ve been used in connection with Trump.
Candidate X lacks the experience to be President.
The old argument from experience (or inexperience) is patently disingenuous. And notice, it’s always and only the other guy’s candidate who allegedly suffers from a deficit of experience in regard to the office of the presidency.
Yet the cold hard truth is that no one who hasn’t already been President of the United States has the requisite experience for this office.
To be more exact: That an individual has been the CEO of a company; established a business empire; served in the military; or served as a US Senator or Congressman does not in the least qualify that person for the presidency.
However, neither does the fact that a candidate has years of experience governing a state bestow eligibility.
That’s right: There is no parity between governing a state of 8 million residents, say, and governing a country of well over 300 million.
None of this, of course, is meant to imply that such backgrounds are disqualifiers. What it does mean is that the only way to acquire the requisite experience for the presidency is by being the President.
The presidency is not unlike any and every other activity in this regard: Knowledge and skill—i.e. experience—comes from practice.
There is one other fact that exposes this phony argument for what it is. The argument from experience would have us think that the President is like the Wizard of Oz, a lone individual who spins ideas from his own noggin and effortlessly imposes them upon the world.
But no one knows better than those who tirelessly appeal to this argument that nothing could be further from the truth, for the truth is that every president is surrounded by an army of advisers.
Candidate X is “too extreme.”
“Extremism” is one of those catch-all charges that mean nothing other than that the accuser dislikes the person against whom he hurls it.
When some version or other of it is used against Trump—as it is leveled against him incessantly—it is particularly perplexing. And it is even more preposterous when his Republican opponents brand their party’s presidential frontrunner with this label.
Notice, because of, say, his remarks on illegal Mexican immigrants, the Mexican government, and his desire to build a wall along the southern border for which he’ll make Mexico pay, Trump’s GOP critics treat him as “divisive,” as too immoderate—too “extreme.”
This is rich for more than one reason.
For starters, Trump’s popularity continues to soar precisely because large numbers of Americans agree with him. In stark contrast, over the last decade, Republicans suffered dramatic reversals of fortunes exactly because large numbers of Americans have disagreed, and disagreed vehemently, with them over their party’s positions on, among other issues (including immigration), the Iraq War.
Yet Trump is the “extremist,” the “polarizer,” the “divider.”
Trump’s critics blast him for comments that he’s made about some brown people—even though Trump never so much as laid a finger on anyone. At the same time, his Republican (and Democrat) objectors are responsible for launching a war on false premises that, besides costing Americans trillions of dollars and the lives of thousands of her children and thousands more crippled, has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of brown people—men, women, and children—throughout the Middle East and the destruction of their communities.
Incidentally, this catastrophic foreign policy decision Trump opposed.
But Trump neither harms nor, much less, kills anyone, yet it is he, and not his critics, who isthe “extremist” of sorts, the “racist,” the “polarizer,” the “divider.”
Candidate X is not really a Republican or “conservative”
Obviously, this accusation has been leveled at Trump with all of the fury with which his critics have charged him with being an “extremist.” And for more than one reason, there can be no question that this allegation is just as bogus and just as hypocritical coming from them as is the latter.
First, when Trump’s Republican critics claim that he’s not a “conservative,” they mean to imply both that they are conservatives and that Trump is really a “liberal” Democrat.
Their rhetoric notwithstanding, the first implication is patently false: Trump’s GOP rivals and detractors are most decidedly not conservative. The Republican Party is every bit as much a champion of Big Government and the Politically Correct ideology that it’s been used to promote as is its counterpart (To anyone who takes issue with this judgment, I pose one simple challenge: I defy you to identify a single government program, let alone an agency or department, that Republicans have cut. I’ll even be generous and allow you to go all the way back to the Reagan years. I guarantee that you can’t do it).
And as I’ve shown, Trump’s detractors among his rivals in the presidential contest are hardly conservatives. On most, virtually all, issues—immigration, social engineering (both here and abroad), war, affirmative action, tax increases, government spending, socialized medicine, the criminalization of drugs, NSA spying, etc.—their talk aside, they have proven themselves to be indistinguishable from Democrats.
Second, Trump certainly has a checkered record that lends itself to the charge that he’s more of a “liberal” Democrat than anything else. But as I’ve just noted, the histories of his Republican opponents are at least as checkered on this score and, truth be told, probably worse in some respects.
At any rate, Trump hasn’t spent years and decades manipulating voters into thinking that he was a “conservative” only to repeatedly betray those voters upon getting elected and reelected.
Finally, and most tellingly, Republican “experts” and commentators are forever preaching to the hayseeds that compose the base of their party that only those candidates that can appeal to “moderates” stand a chance of being elected to the presidency. Though they never say as much, what this means is that only “moderates,” or those who are perceived as “moderates,” can get elected.
And what this in turn means is that only “liberal” Republicans, or those who are perceived as “liberal” Republicans, can get elected.
Take note: By Trump’s Republican critics’ own lights, the objection that Trump is really a “liberal” Republican contradicts their objection that he is an “extremist,” for if he really is a “liberal” Republican, then, by their reasoning, he is the “moderate,” the one politician who can “reach across the aisle!”
If they’re not careful, in their desperation to discredit Trump, his Republican critics will only discredit themselves—if they haven’t already.