Updated: Jun 5, 2020
The Democratic Party has, indisputably, grown more liberal/socialist over the few years. Surveys have shown that 75% of Democratic voters would vote for a socialist. Today, a fair number of Democratic Party leaders are acknowledged socialists, support socialist policies, or try to put a different spin on things by claiming to be “Democratic” Socialists.
That, of course, is a contradiction in terms. Being a Democratic Socialist makes as much sense as saying you support free slavery or non-lethal capital punishment. Socialism, by definition, reduces freedom. That’s the point, and many Democrats are now openly comfortable with it.
The term “Democratic Socialism” is intentionally misleading. It engenders visions of smiling children, walks on the beach, and joyful events rather than torture chambers, starvation, and gulags. They mislabel their beliefs because you would never support them if they told the truth.
The Republican Parry, for its part, has also grown more liberal. There is not a Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan in sight. There are some impressive conservatives, such as Ted Cruz, or maybe Marco Rubio, or a handful of others. But they are mostly conservative by comparison. And if conservatism or constitutionalism is your "thing," you've got nowhere else to turn.
Voters can whine until the world looks level but ours is a binary system. You will have exactly two options this November who have any chance of being elected president. Biden is a traditional liberal who is presented as a mainstream choice only because the others are so far off the rails. A neighbor was asked which Democratic candidate he supported? He replied, “I’m leaning toward the one not in a straitjacket.”
Every Democratic candidate, including Biden, called for higher taxes, more regulation, abortion through all nine months, and a complete restructuring of our energy sector, including abandonment of fossil fuels. Biden and Sanders have each, separately, also called to have energy company executives imprisoned. No problem that they have not committed crimes. Just lock them up and be done with it. Does that sound like a moderate? No, not to me, either. Biden is a moderate only in the same sense that a bank robber seems like a “solid citizen” when standing next to Jason Voorhees, Ted Bundy, and Mohamed Atta.
Trump has governed largely as a conservative. In today’s climate, that’s an achievement. He cut taxes, reduced regulations, appointed a ton of constitutionalist judges, including two to the Supreme Court, dramatically increased economic growth, renegotiated major trade deals, rebuilt the military, and reduced unemployment to historic lows.
There are times when Trump is too anxious to embrace government as the "solution," but, again, you can't win them all. A conservative who at one point wondered how Trump would govern has to be pleasantly surprised at this point. He has not done anything to reduce the deficit, but Biden has endorsed trillions of dollars in annual new spending. So there doesn't appear to be a candidate who makes reducing the deficit a priority. If spending is the concern, think of the Democrats as the crazy uncle with a chainsaw that you keep chained up in the attic. Republicans are the neighbor who yells at everyone as they walk by his house. Neither are a walk in the park, but one is less dangerous than the other.
I was not a fan of John McCain. We can go through the reasons another time, but the point is this: given the choice between a flawed, phony conservative, McCain, and Obama, it was not a difficult choice. I voted for McCain and, given the same situation, would do so again. You can call it the lesser of two evils. I prefer to think of it as the least sucky option.
Trump is a conservative in most important ways, but in no sense is he a traditionally philosophical conservative. Ten years ago, he did not even call himself a Republican. And, as is well-known, as a businessman who wanted access to, and favors from, public officials, he contributed money to some of the people who today are his political opponents.
If you look at his actions in office, you either like what Trump has done, or you aren’t conservative. Among party regulars, Trump enjoys immense support. Yet, there are a few people on the national stage who claim to be conservatives – or used to be – that hate Trump.
I’ve had several spirited discussions with a friend who claims to be conservative but hates Trump. When asked why, he slips into generalities, goes on about Trump being a phony, etc. When I point out that Trump’s policies are the ones he has supported for decades, he goes on some more about Trump being an embarrassment. Well, o k. If playing nice in the sandbox is what matters to you the most, go for it. Vote for Martha Stewart.
What generates that kind of hatred? Would it be nice to have better choices on all sides? Sure. Of course. But aren’t policies and actions more important than tweets and pissy feuds with journalists?
Some of the anti-Trumpers long for the days of quiet, calm, gentlemanly discussions… the kinds of battles people fight when they’re more concerned about not offending someone than about winning. They love Jeb, Kasich, and McCain, and they are led by people like Steve Schmidt who has managed the same number of winning presidential campaigns as my cocker spaniel, Buddy. Fortunately, they are in the minority among conservatives, and one hopes calmer minds will continue to prevail.
Sure, being nice is, well, nice. If I can go all day without irritating someone or offending them, sure, that’s just swell. But I don’t judge the value of my accomplishments by asking first whether I offended someone. Nor do people have any right or reasonable expectation to not be offended. If you are more concerned about being liked than about doing what is right, you have a problem.
There is one choice, and one only, if you favor capitalism, defending the Constitution, growing the economy, and exerting leadership on the world stage. His name is Trump.