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My Carefully Considered Views on the Upcoming Presidential Election

Donald Trump’s likely Supreme Court nominee (Pixabay)

The last time I voted for a Presidential candidate from one of the major parties was 1988 (George H. W. Bush). In succeeding elections I have never seriously considered voting for the Democratic nominee, but I have always given the Republican nominee a close look, and have tried also to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Those days are over.

The Republican capitulation to Trump — complete with rhetorical reversals, especially on the part of Marco Rubio, that rival or perhaps even exceed any Trumpian schizo-inversions — marks the end of that party as a coherent and non-laughable body. If I were thirty I could imagine its renewal in my lifetime. I haven’t been thirty for a loooong time. So long, GOP. It was sucky knowing you.

As for Trump himself: if anything is more ludicrous than the Republican Party it’s the idea that Trump can be relied upon to nominate a solid conservative to the Supreme Court. He is more likely to nominate his daughter. Or Corey Lewandowski. Or Bill Clinton. Or Incitatus.

There are no — zero — positions held by conservatives of any stripe, from the neo to the paleo to the social, that Trump could be counted on to implement or support. Nor do I even think that the leaders of the GOP believe he can be relied on. Each of them is merely feeding the crocodile in hopes that it will eat him last.

Charles Norris Cochrane’s long-ago comment on Julius Caesar provides a useful metaphor from elsewhere in the animal kingdom: “A force like this, however, does more than divide, it destroys. Hostile to all claims of independence except its own, it is wholly incompatible with that effective equality which is implied in the classical idea of the commonwealth. To admit it within the community is thus to nourish the lion, whose reply to the hares in the assembly of beasts was to ask: Where are your claws?”

Were Trump to read this, he’d think: Dude thinks I’m a lion. Damn straight.

We all know what Trump is: so complete a narcissist that the concepts of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, are alien to him. He knows only the lust for power and the rage of being thwarted in his lust. In a sane society the highest position to which he could aspire is apprentice dogcatcher, and then only if no other candidates presented themselves.

If you put a gun to my head and told me that I had to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, I would but whisper, “Goodbye cruel world.” But if my family somehow managed to convince me to stick around, in preference to Trump I would vote for Hillary. Or John Kerry, or Nancy Pelosi. In preference to Trump I would vote for the reanimated corpse of Adlai Stevenson, or for that matter that of Julius Caesar, who perhaps has learned a thing or two in his two thousand years of afterlife. The only living person that I would readily choose Trump in preference to is Charles Manson.

Those are my thoughts about the upcoming Presidential election.

about the author

Alan Jacobs is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the author most recently of The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography.

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