• Max Stearns

My Reflections on Trump's Republican Nomination: One Year Later

One year ago today, after watching Trump accept the Republican nomination, I posted an analysis on FB. I reproduce that post below, with two comments: first, it demonstrates that there's nothing about Trump's conduct that wasn't predictable, and second, his subsequent conduct proves that Trump was never interested in surrounding himself with people who compensate for his personal deficits. I am not surprised, despite all that has happened since, that Trump remains incapable of thinking beyond himself; he is his own, and only, personal benchmark for all that matters, and thus he holds one singular value: loyalty, or fairness to, Donald Trump.

This post was something of a turning point for me. It played a role in my willingness to post more regularly and directly on partisan issues, something I had avoided for a long while. And based on the response to it, I began to take more seriously the idea of setting up my own blog, although doing so took until the spring of this year, and my goal, then as now, was not to limit its scope to politics. As always, your comments are most welcome.

Here is the post in full (originally dated July 22, 2016):

I have just watched the entire Trump acceptance speech on video from here in Aberdeen, Scotland. I could deconstruct point by point, his demagoguery. I won't. I write to make three important points.

First: His speech demonstrates a person who fails to understand: (1) federalism; (2) separation of powers; (3) separation of church and state; (4) inferential reasoning; (5) foundational economic reasoning; (6) the difference between zero (or negative) sum negotiation in isolated transactions versus the role of governmental policies in facilitating the production of societal wealth; (7) the difference between articulating a goal and setting forth a credible basis and plan for accomplishing it; (8) basic American history and values; and (9) the difference between criminal and civil law. His speech would be a failed exam essay in virtually any credible academic department of political science, economics, or law.

Second: None of this approaches the offensiveness of his discourse, in this speech and throughout his campaign, toward admittedly unlawful immigrants, the overwhelming majority of whom are simply trying to improve their lives and those of their families, and toward the overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad who wrongly yet routinely have been associated by implication with terroristic acts that are as, if not more, horrific to them as they are to the rest of us. Trump's rhetoric has unleashed a dangerous environment that threatens the well being of such communities. Trump's seemingly admirable statement of support to members of the LGBTQ community and his stated concern for unemployed or underemployed African American and Hispanic workers, simply cannot be a cover for any of this.

Third, and perhaps most importantly: I have liberal and conservative friends on FB, and I have a true affection for you all. This one is for former Sanders supporters on the left, and former "other" supporters on the right. If you call yourselves never-Trump, that must mean that: never Trump! A protest vote for a third party candidate who cannot defeat Trump is not "never Trump." It is instead acquiescing a possible Trump victory. Yes, I'm going to come out and just say it: Never Trump has to mean voting for Hillary Clinton, the only candidate who can defeat Donald Trump. This is true whether or not you like her personally and whether or not you agree with many of her policies. This election has gone so far beyond the standard concerns reflected in conventional partisan right-left disagreements. This is existential. It goes to what America is and represents at home and abroad. (And by the way, this is why I disagree with those FB friends who in my view mistakenly criticized Jewish leaders who successfully encouraged Rabbi Lookstein not to give the blessing at the RNC. This is one of those times when "exit" sends a more powerful and moral signal than "voice," especially since however thoughtful this undoubtedly esteemed rabbi is, his voice had no prospect of giving a benign nudge that would set straight an institution already gone so far astray.).

Yes, this is the strongest political statement I have ever made or am likely to make on FB. After watching 4 days of RNC video clips, I feel morally compelled.

#RNCAcceptanceSpeech #RabbiLookstein #NeverTrump #BernieSanders #HillaryClinton


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