This week, there honestly wasn’t much in the way of new news on the political scene.
Donald Trump has continued his utterly predictable descent into vulgarity and unchecked electoral self-immolation, Hillary has continued to play prevent defense and nationwide Republican elected officials have continued to try and figure out if it is more in their self-interest to support the unsupportable or to distance themselves from the disaster, who is their party’s nominee.
This is the slimy side of politics, as politicians mouth platitudes but refuse to take a stand against Trump’s unacceptable behavior. If this is the end of the Republican Party, then let history show that it had plenty of moments when it could have exited the highway of destruction but chose not to. On many occasions, individuals within the party have had the chance to take a firm stand, but instead have indecisively vacillated and refused to be the public leaders they might fancy themselves.
All that said, I want to look at some of Trump’s supposed views. No doubt some elected officials and voting citizens might back the man because he is bringing up issues that have not been brought up much in national politics by either Democrats or Republicans – or was, I suppose, seeing as there has been very little talk of issues not related to the bedroom either of himself or his opponent in recent weeks.
However, I disagree with those who support him for that reason for the simple fact that if the spokesman is a fool then the movement supporting him and any of the legitimacy of the issues it discusses will be seen as foolish as well, regardless of their own validity.
And of course, the talk of religious tests, impossible walls, the use of nuclear weapons, special politicalized prosecutors and the like are foolish on their own merits, not being true issues, but rather rhetorical boogeymen conjured by a freelancer on the podium.
Not everything the Donald has been spewing has been ad-libbed abject filth, nor has it all been completely incorrect or completely without merit.
On immigration, the current system truly is broken. This is something which is readily admitted to by both Democrats and Republicans. And the current Administration has done little to address this except through extra-constitutional means, such as the DREAMERS Act. Trump is right to say that it needs to be fixed. Building a wall and barring Muslims from entering may not be the best solution, but a solution should be found.
Trump is right that immigration is not a right. If the United States was to bar immigration from any nation, or to bar all immigration, or to only allow selective immigration, those are all policies, which regardless of their own merits, are well within the boundaries of the sovereign authority of the nation state and which are not immoral or wrong in and of themselves.
On foreign policy, Trump and other Republicans are right to maintain that the current administration has been a failure. The president’s dangerous deal with Iran was clearly one of the worst deals of all time. Secretary Kerry and President Obama were completely beaten at the bargaining table by a second rate petro state, even though the United States’ held all of the cards.
The only time I believe that Trump is not exaggerating is when he says that he knows dozens of people who could have negotiated a better deal (though to be fair, everyone probably knows at least a half dozen people who could have negotiated a better deal). And when Trump argues that America is not seen as strong in the world anymore, anyone who has seen the current administration’s weakness in regard to the Russian invasion in the Ukraine, the litany of war crimes being committed in Syria, the continued bellicosity of the Chinese in the Pacific Ocean and that state’s continued expansion throughout Africa and of course the unstemmed rampaging brutality of the Islamic State in the Middle East – including the cold-blooded execution of American citizens – cannot reasonably maintain the man who won a Nobel Peace Prize before he had even taken office has made the world any more peaceful or been successful in his foreign policy.
On trade, pacts have cost Americans some jobs. Now, this is not a one-way street by any means, as NAFTA and the like have been net-benefits for the United States economy. However, these benefits have been achieved by unilateral action by elites in Washington, action taken with no regard for the effects which they would have on blue-collar workers in Ohio, Michigan and across the nation. I am generally opposed to government action, but it seems even to me that if the government is going to take such action, they should do something to ensure that they are not harming the common man at the expense of the globalized elite. Blue-collar white America is not wrong to feel that it is being rapidly left behind in today’s world. As former Marine and Yale Law graduate J.D. Vance poignantly chronicles in his recent book Hillbilly Elegy, there are serious issues that blue-collar white America is experiencing that do have ties to the increasing globalization encouraged by the federal government, issues that do deserve to be addressed.
Trump is wrong on maybe seventy-five different fronts. However, some of the problems he is talking about are real, and the next president and our nation itself will have to confront these problems and successfully solve them in order for America to continue her 240- year reign as the greatest country on Earth.