Why Nominating Donald J. Trump Would Be a Catastrophe
The subject of my last post was why I believe nominating Ted Cruz is a mistake. In a nutshell, Cruz has a more limited upside than others when it comes to getting enough votes in a general election. I don't doubt the sincerity of his conservatism, and think he would be a solid President, but my gut tells me that he loses to the massive Democrat General Election Voting Machine. It sometimes amazes me how quickly some people forget that in 2012 Barack Obama was deeply unpopular. For months the polls showed Obama winning against Romney only by including 12-15% more Democrats than Republicans in their voting turnout models. Many believed, including me, that such a turnout model was ludicrous.
It wasn't. In midst of terrible economic conditions, horrible approval ratings, widespread disillusionment on their own side, the Democrats simply produced the votes. It was almost as if they waved a magic wand and 65 million+ votes materialized. * If you're banking on anything less this November, you're being very foolish.
* Some of it was "magic," undoubtedly, in the form of fraudulent/paid for votes, but probably not enough to sway the election on its own.
Now, the time has come to explain why I believe nominating Donald J. Trump is not just a mistake in calculation, but an utter catastrophe.
Many have sounded this alarm already. I cannot improve on National Review's editorial, "Against Trump." It is a tour de force of reason, facts, and prose. I've seen lots of gnashing of teeth against them for issuing such a dogmatic salvo, but not a single argument for why they are wrong. That's because they aren't wrong. Their case is irrefutable. They have the measure of the man.
Additionally, if you'd like a little more background before you read my thoughts below, you really need to read Matt Labash's essay on Trump over at the Weekly Standard. It tells you all you really need to know. Much of it forms the basis of why I can claim without hesitation: Donald Trump is a man without a compass of any kind. Not moral, not ideological, and not political. No, that isn't quite right. He does have a compass, but its needle doesn't point to anything resembling true north; it points at himself. If you think Barack Obama is the Narcissist-in-Chief, if you tire of the words "I," "me," and "my" coming from the lips of a U.S. President, you haven't seen anything yet. Just take a gander at how Donald Trump thinks and talks about himself, his riches, his business deals, his sexual prowess with a great multitude of women, his long list of enemies, and more. This is not a good man, by any moral measure.
I don't think enough people are willing to say that. In fact, almost nobody is willing to say that. But I am a Christian theologian, one dedicated to "public" theology. So let me say this theological truth publicly: Donald Trump is not an upright man. If character and integrity matters to you, and it should, then Trump should be nowhere near your list of possible candidates.
If you doubt me on this, if you think I'm way out on a limb, if you think that sort of judgment is beyond the pale, I simply challenge you to pick up a Bible and read the book of Proverbs from cover to cover. It won't take you that long. You will find hundreds of wise aphorisms taking the form of "The wise man does X... the fool does X." You will find very few of those formulations, if any, wherein Donald Trump sits on the wisdom side of the equation. This man is, in the biblical sense of the word, a fool.
Let me get this out of the way. We need not actually fear a Trump presidency. It won't happen. The Democrat General Election Voting Machine will destroy Donald Trump. It will not even be close. And this is not just because I believe he has as much chance of reproducing Mitt Romney's 60+ million votes (and still fall short!) as I do of making contact on a fastball from Clayton Kershaw. It is because, after over a year of grotesque "in-kind" campaign contributions from the mainstream media in the form of 24/7 wall-to-wall Trump coverage (with the intent of getting this guy nominated), watch what happens next.
Do you think a narcissist, wheeling-and-dealing businessman like Donald Trump has a few skeletons in his closet? No. He's got warehouses. Do you think a blowhard like Donald Trump may have said a few unsavory things that could be used against him in campaign ads? Um, you think? By the time Election Day 2016 arrives, this will be nothing more than a coronation of the Democrat candidate. You can count on that.
Catastrophe Number One: Nominate Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will be your next President.
Catastrophe Number Two: Evangelical Christians have often been too enamored with politics, to be sure. There have been a lot excesses, a lot of putting our hope and trust in Princes. Nevertheless, in our insistence upon character and integrity we have been a preservative moral salt and effective moral leaven to our political process. We force politicians to pay real tribute to the great moral issues of the day: human dignity, the right to life, freedom of conscience. Collectively seeking to make Donald Trump the GOP nominee, we will become (as Jesus himself puts it) morally worthless. "To be trampled upon by men." If we get what we want, a strong-armed leader who promises near godlike powers to "get things done," we just might find ourselves and our freedoms literally "trampled upon."
It is a pathetic sight. Donald Trump, mightily trying to speak "Christianese" at Liberty University with hilarious, forehead-smacking results, succeeds in bringing the likes of Jerry Falwell, Jr., Sarah Palin, and many others into his fold.
Christians in America are a very cheap date for Donald. But it'll be very costly for us in the end.