What Would You Have Us Do?
The Journal of American Greatness is electorally agnostic. That is to say: some of us will vote for Trump and some won’t. Our informal policy amongst ourselves is: don’t ask, tell only if you want to. We are united instead by our support for Trumpism—or, at a minimum, for what Trumpism could become if thought through with wisdom and moderation.
Trump’s legion of enemies are posting one old quote after another to show that Trump is unreliable, not conservative, intemperate, and so on and on. We may stipulate all of it and still say … so what?
National Review’s Jay Nordlinger is especially active on this front. Over the weekend, he posted two zingers meant to be absolutely devastating to any potential support for Trump. He highlights Trump’s 1990 comments about China. There is much one could say in defense of Trump and/or to “put his remarks into context.” But even if one accepts the worst possible (for Trump) interpretation, one is still left with the following alternative. Which combination is preferable: an indefensible remark about China 26 years ago coupled with sensible remarks today, or an admirable comment (or even, in some cases, lack of any comment) 26 years ago coupled with foolish comments today?
The choice is even starker with respect to Nordlinger’s other zinger. Like many anti-Trump conservatives, Nordlinger enjoys pointing out comments from Trump that are inconsistent with his stated platform on immigration. These are, let us admit, troubling. That’s why this journal is more concerned with Trumpism—secure borders, economic nationalism, interests-based foreign policy—than with Trump himself. Some of us do fret that, if elected, Trump will for one reason or another not follow through.
Still, when one looks at the rest of the field, one sees a 100% probability of failing to secure the border, pursue economic nationalism, or enact a foreign policy based on strict considerations of American interests. With Trump, the risk is lower. How much lower? Why does that even matter? Anything lower than 100% is an improvement.