Four Years is Better Than Twenty - 5/26/16
The major argument of those Republicans and conservatives who had held their noses and decided to support Donald Trump to be the next President is that while we can't be sure that Trump will do everything we want, we can be certain that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders won't do anything we want and that the possibility of getting something is better than the certainty of getting nothing. And I will admit that I would be a lot more comfortable in my NeverTrump position if the Democrats were about to nominate Jim Webb rather than Bernie and/or Hillary.
And they have a point. If we can believe him-a BIG if in my opinion-Trump may build a wall along the US Mexican border, appoint Scalia-like new justices to the Supreme Court and increase the defense budget, all policies that I would applaud. However, he has also said that he would do things that I feel no true conservative would agree with, by creating new trade barriers against other nations, reducing the presence of American military forces around the world and using the IRS to target his political opponents as the Obama administration has done. Of course, Trump's supporters will claim that he will not really do these bad things, that his statements are only political rhetoric designed to win him votes. But if that is the case, how can we be sure his statements that he will enact policies of which the Right would approve are not equally dishonest?
The problem is that Donald Trump has proven in the past that he is completely unpredictable, both in his statements and his actions, and he is highly unlikely to change once he is in office. At least with the Democrat presidential candidates we would know what we are getting and could plan accordingly. With Trump as President, all we could count on is that his actions would be completely random, based on however he felt about things at a particular moment in time.
When I think of Donald Trump, the name that keeps coming up in my mind is that of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. Unlike Donald Trump, Hoover was a successful business who inherited none of the wealth he acquired from his father, and also unlike Trump, was a renowned humanitarian. Although never elected to office, Hoover served as Calvin Coolidge's Secretary of Commerce in the late 1920s and was virtually drafted as the GOP Presidential candidate in 1928. (President Coolidge referred to him, in a not entirely complimentary way, as "Wonder Boy.") If anyone seemed qualified to be a successful President, it was Hoover.
However, shortly after Hoover took office, the Great Depression began. Since it began only eight months after he took office, it is not possible to blame President Hoover for having caused the economic downturn and although he followed virtually the same policies as FDR did to try to alleviate its effects (though not to the same extent) when Roosevelt succeeded Hoover in the White House (i.e. increased spending on public works, income tax increases on the wealthy, higher protective tariffs) they improved the situation no more than the New Deal did four years later. Since the Depression began on Hoover's watch, he and the party that elected him received the blame for it and for the next 20 years no Republican was elected President and the GOP didn't maintain control of both houses of Congress for more than two years at a time until the Newt Gingrich Congress remained in control in 1996.
I am afraid that if Donald Trump becomes President in 2017, he will be such a disaster that he will blacken the Republican brand for the foreseeable future in the eyes of the American electorate as Hoover did in the 1930s. And the voters will be right to do so as it will have been the GOP and its primary voters that put such a man in office.
As I've said before, I may be wrong about Trump, but I honestly don't believe I am, and as a result I can't cast my vote for him and will urge others not to do so. And if this results in a President Hillary, four years is a long time and she will undoubtedly do considerable damage to our republic in that time, but as Edmund Burke once said, "There is a lot of ruin in a nation" and it is better to have four unfortunate years under the Clintons again,followed hopefully by an GOP President we can respect again,than have a disastrous Trump administration followed by a generation of Democrat victories.