02 March 2016


I spent last night in Tallahassee, FL, about a 10 minute walk from the State Capitol. I had a feeling in my short time walking near the statehouse that I have also felt in Washington DC. Government, it's buildings, monuments, it's scale, is impressive. But it also depresses me a little. 

Walk down the streets surrounding the Capitol and you find, not only government buildings, but lobbyists, trade groups, and hundreds of other organizations that feed like remoras off of government. I'm not saying we don't need such things. There are causes that I care about that rely on such entities to accomplish important things.

But I wish we didn't need them. I wish government played a simpler, more straightforward role, instead of so much of it being self-perpetuating. Wouldn't it be nice to start over? To dissect the apparati of government, both official and ancillary, and just keep what we "really" need? I truly believe that similar feelings fuel a lot of the fervor for Donald Trump. Of course there are elements of racism and bigotry among his supporters. Prejudice is common, and comes in many forms. But it's clear that a lot of people are just sick of bloated and unresponsive government. They want more, hence the love of Trump (and to some extent Bernie Sanders). It's not about policy. Peggy Noonan explains it really well here.

I have empathy for these folks. But I also believe in politics, and compromise. I will never get everything that I want politically. Maybe I shouldn't (don't tell my wife, but I'm not always right). I have found movements like the Tea Party (and people like Ted Cruz) unpersuasive because their unwillingness to comprise builds greater division and ultimately less productive outcomes.

In case I need to say it, I don't support Donald Trump. I believe he is the wrong choice for president of the United States. However, it does seem likely that he will be the Republican nominee.
I am among the many who have been surprised by Donald Trump's political success. I thought he would hit a (lower) ceiling, or that he would say something inflammatory and lose support. Of course, he has said many, many inflammatory and offensive things, with only positive impact on his levels of support.

You don't have to search hard for commentary on Trump and his "unfitness" for office. I've enjoyed a few, including this one:

Is Trump a Fascist? (Douthat, Dec 2015) 

I've heard some say that Trump's rhetoric is an electoral tactic and that he will change if elected. That might be true. I think Trump is an opportunist (not an evil thing by itself) and I don't know that he believes everything that he has said. But I believe that voting for someone because they might end up being less hateful and extreme is a terrible rationale.

Politics matters, and I agree with David Brooks' column from several days ago. Politicians change. They say what they need to say to get votes, but in the end we usually end up with the person we thought we had supported. Maybe they disappoint us, as Bush did with domestic fiscal policy or Obama has with his executive orders, but they were still clearly the people they had been when they ran for office. 

Would I want to work with or for Donald Trump? No. Would I feel comfortable as the counter-party in a business deal? No. So in addition to everything else he has said and done, for that factor alone I would not support him.

I've been supporting Marco Rubio since an event I attended in June 2015 (photo proof below). 

He's not a perfect candidate (there isn't one), but of all the candidates he is the one that I feel most comfortable supporting. I am a Republican, and Sanders' economic fairytales and Clinton's ethical track record make them both unacceptable for me. There are other Republicans I could support, such as Kasich, but Rubio seemed best positioned and I thought his youth was a strength. Although he is often identified with the Tea Party, I watched his senate campaign closely. I noticed that he did not refuse Tea Party support, but he also did not claim the Tea Party title for himself. His stance on immigration is politically problematic, but meaningful immigration reform is impossible without some level of compromise. There's that politics thing again.

He has to win Florida to have any chance at the nomination. I don't know if he will. If he doesn't, it will mean that Trump did and the nomination may seem inevitable at that point.

I don't like politics, and often don't like politicians, but by voting for someone I am expressing a wish to hire them for the job in question. Politics is the job, and I wouldn't hire Trump. I hope you don't either.

P.S. I have little patience for people who threaten to leave the country if Trump is elected. I have faith in our institutions and the separation of powers. If you don't, perhaps a move to Canada is a good choice. In my opinion, it's a cowardly one.

1 comment:

mohadoha said...

I am shocked Rubio doesn't get more support among Republicans. His latest attempt to discredit Trump did bring him down to the level of teenage insult not up to that of a presidential debate ... sigh. Let it be December already!