Trump-Hatred

I have spent a fair bit of time wondering what motivates the extreme Trump-hatred that I see daily in the press and among some of my nearest and dearest. Sure, many of the same people strongly disliked George W. Bush, or thought him an idiot, so in that sense the personalization of opposition to Trump seems almost normal; but there’s more to Trump-hatred than the now-customary anti-Republican disdain among the elites. Trump’s detractors hate him. Many have even convinced themselves, and seek to convince us, that he’s some sort of Nazi – a warmonger, a bigot and an authoritarian. Let’s look at Trump’s record as regards each of these alleged character flaws.

Ironically, the same people who, at first, were certain that Trump would prove to be a warmonger have nothing but contempt for his now-evident unwillingness to shed American blood in Iran – where he declined to strike back when they shot down one of our drones – or Syria – where he pulled out in a decision reminiscent of the one made regarding Iraq by the media-sainted Obama. Throughout Trump’s presidency, he has backed away from the recently customary use of America’s military might, and instead relied on economic leverage via tariffs as a means of attaining his policy goals. Thus far, he is inarguably our most peaceably-inclined president in a generation.  

A second demonstrably false leg of the Trump-as-Nazi stool on which Trump-haters so often sit is that he a flaming bigot.

Some people see racial bigotry in Trump’s determination to build a wall along the Mexican border. They ignore that a very large segment of America’s citizens sees open immigration as more of an economic threat than a benefit and demands that our laws be respected, rather than ignored as they were in the Bush II and Obama Administrations. To me, the inference of a racist motive in such an economically and legally fraught matter says much more about the people making the inference than it does about those demanding that our laws be enforced.

Claims that Trump is a white nationalist and an LGBTQ-hater also reflect poorly on those making them. Unemployment among African-Americans is at its lowest-ever point, while polls show Trump to be more popular in that demographic than any Republican in our lifetimes. As to other bigotries: Trump’s daughter and grandchildren are Jewish, and he’s a huge supporter of Israel, on the one hand, and he was a supporter of gay marriage long before Obama, Biden or either Clinton, on the other.     

As best I can tell, the sole actual ‘evidence’ proffered for the oft-repeated claim that Trump is a racist are intentionally misleading-quotations of his Charlottesville speech (egregiously omitting his comments that unreservedly condemned white nationalists, thus making it clear that when he had said – moments earlier – that there were good people on both sides he was referring to the disagreement about whether Confederate statues should be taken down) and the equally misleading characterization of enhanced vetting of visa applicants from terrorism-ridden lands as a ‘Muslim ban’. Somehow, those who so characterize this latter action avoid mentioning that it never applied to visitors from the world’s most populous Muslim nations, and thus was clearly anti-terrorist rather than anti-Muslim.

In summary, there is no evidence that Trump is a bigot, and much that he isn’t one.

So if Trump isn’t a warmonger or a bigot, exactly what makes him a proto-Nazi? The last refuge of Trump-haters, the third leg of the stool if you will, is the claim that he tramples on our laws. But which laws has he trampled?

Obama-appointed, lower-level federal judges have spiked various of Trump’s executive actions (e.g., the tendentiously-mislabeled ‘Muslim ban’) only to be almost uniformly over-ruled by more senior members of their guild. More important even than that Trump’s interpretations of the laws have generally been proven correct, though, as regards the Trump-as-Hitler trope, is the fact that he has obeyed lower-court injunctions until or unless they were overturned. Sorry, haters, he just doesn’t make a very credible authoritarian.   

More substantively as to the appearance of Trump’s possibly having trampled laws, for two years he stood accused – and virtually convicted in the press – of having traitorously conspired with the Russians to subvert our election process. Ironically, a strong case can be made (and maybe will be) that it was members of the Obama Administration who actually tried to do just that through the patently improper use of the Democrat-funded, anonymously-Russian-sourced Steele dossier to justify improper spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, and the Mueller investigation, to hobble the new Administration and besmirch Trump’s name in the runup to the 2018 Congressional elections. Meanwhile, as to Trump himself, years of investigation found exactly no collusion with the Russians – which in a just world should have left his accusers looking foolish at best, and criminally liable at worst.

And now we have the so-called impeachment process – a show trial intended to besmirch Trump’s reputation yet again, based on the hearsay ‘evidence’ of an anonymous partisan Democrat. The Democrats running the House of Representatives know that the charge is silly – it has already been proven that there was no quid pro quo – and that even if they dragoon their members into a party-line vote to impeach, there is exactly zero chance that Trump will be convicted in the Senate.

My guess is that in the end the House will not vote for impeachment; marginal-constituency Democrats will instead vote ‘no’, faux-sorrowfully demanding censure for Trump’s (non-)crime instead. The whole show is an embarrassing abuse of process – anything to change the subject away from the obvious benefits of the stronger economy now flowing to what have customarily been Democrat constituencies.

So, again, if there’s no remotely persuasive evidence that Trump is a warmonger, a bigot or a law-trampling authoritarian – and, indeed, much evidence of the exact opposite, why do they hate him so?

Don’t tell me it’s because he sometimes lies. You and I both know that either of us could cite howlers by every major American political figure in our lifetimes. Goes with the territory, I’m afraid.

I have come up with two non-mutually-exclusive explanations.

To highly partisan Democrats, Trump is the devil because he is largely succeeding at implementing policies they abhor. He has cut back regulations, igniting economic growth (and the stock market) in ways that Obama did not; he is appointing judges who actually read the Constitution and see it as the fundamental compact between the (sovereign) people and their employees, the government; he is rebuilding the military but conspicuously not using it as often as his predecessors; he has cut taxes, to some extent limiting Democrats’ ability to increase spending on favored constituencies; he has totally reset the table on our relationship with China; and he spends a lot of time puncturing the Democrats’ pretenses of moral superiority. Worst of all from the perspective of partisan Democrats, it looks to me – and to many others – that he is likely to be re-elected, thus keeping them from the power they crave.

I can understand why partisan Democrats would hate him for all that. But here’s the thing: most people, even in the decidedly progressive environs I inhabit, don’t think of themselves as being particularly partisan.

The better explanation, in my view, regarding most of the people I know and love who hate Trump is that they do so for cultural reasons. They see him as low-class, a dishonest braggart and somebody who, for all his money and power is beneath them and certainly beneath the dignity of the presidency. They can’t stand looking at him and thinking, ‘how could he be there’?

And it’s true that, like Andrew Jackson, Trump speaks in cadences and with an unfiltered directness to which we are unaccustomed. And he has, and uses, sharp elbows. But once people – and later, History – look past his mannerisms to the substance of what he has actually done, and does henceforth, he will be judged more fairly. And for my money he will be judged as having accomplished a lot.

A final point: now that it’s perfectly clear to all but the most blindly partisan Democrats that they will not succeed in driving Trump from office before next year’s election (at the earliest), it’s just as evident that the real point of the Democrats’ impeachment theater and the constant derogations of Trump’s character in the media are to maintain the half-involved public’s vague impression that Trump is culturally anathema, and thereby improve the chance that the Democrats will prevail next year. They know they can’t beat him on substance.

This is not a responsible exercise of authority on the part of Democrats in Congress, and it’s a squandering of credibility by our progressive media elites, but judging from the reactions of most people I know, it’s quite effective.

M.H. Johnston   

One comment to Trump-Hatred

  • Frode Jensen  says:

    Please add me to your (e)mailing list. Thanks.

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