Well over 90% of conservatives and Republicans voted for Donald Trump. Many of them would have much preferred one of the other candidates in the primaries, but Mr. Trump was certainly their candidate in the general election. “For these pragmatists, there are both pleasant and occasionally worrisome ironies,” continues Victor Davis Hanson in NRO.
In Donald Trump’s first 100 days, he has been conservative in terms of policy “to a degree unlike any other Republican president or presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan,” Mr. Hanson reminds readers.
- Mitt Romney would not have yanked the U.S. out of the jerry-rigged Paris climate accord.
- John McCain would not have appointed a Neal Gorsuch or proposed to radically recalibrate the tax code.
- The two Bushes would not have felt politically secure enough to shut down the border to illegal immigration or have pressed to finished the border wall.
Trump often offends through his reckless tweets or by saying out loud what prior presidents would never have voiced.
For the realist Trump supporters, Trump’s tweets or outbursts are often regrettable and occasionally bothersome, but not so much because they demonstrate an unprecedented level of presidential indecency. (Cynical realists with knowledge of history accept what FDR or JFK was capable of, and thus what they said in private conversations, and occasionally out loud.) Trump’s sin, then, is that he more often says out loud what prior presidents kept to their inner circle.
Pragmatists worry about Trump’s bull-in-the-china-shop approach. On one hand, they cringe at his excesses. On the other, it’s hard for them not to enjoy the sanctimonious meltdown of progressives over Mr. Trump.
… but their worry over Trump’s overkill is mostly from the fear that no mortal 70-year-old male, without a traditionally loyal support staff, but with unhealthy sleep and diet habits, and under the stress of historic vituperation, could see through such an ambitious conservative agenda.
It may not be that Trump earns hatred for unnecessary provocation and vitriol, but instead that he or any other Republican would have earned such venom anyway; thus his own searing tactics and narcissistic belief in his own destiny are predicated on the assumption that his unhinged enemies will vaporize first. And he may be right. James Comey has underestimated Donald Trump every bit as much as Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama did. In the end, the pragmatists apparently believe conservatives will hang together or hang separately.
Yes, we are in chaos, Mr. Hanson writes.
Never have so many bright people proved so dense. Never have polls and politics proved so unreliable or partisan. Never have unintended consequences so replaced predictable results.”
But is this chaos worse than what prompted Donald Trump’s political ascendancy?
(T)he pandemonium is purgative of the worse that prompted it — and it is unpleasant mostly because it has so long been overdue.
Read more here.
Read Parts I through III:
- Ironies Great and Small—Trump vs. Progressives
- Ironies Great and Small—Trump vs. Never Trump
- Ironies Great and Small—Trump vs. Always Trump