Sunday, January 24, 2016

Do I Trust Trump?

Legion of Logic made an entirely fair comment about Trump's candidacy:
I enjoy how Trump makes progressives have meltdowns, but beyond that I can't find any reason to trust him. The only track record of his that I have found is that Trump will do and say what he needs to in order to get what he wants, and that isn't exactly comforting.
So when I say that I support Trump, does that mean I trust him? That I think he's someone who will follow through with all of his promises? When he rolls out his policy statements, do I think he's showing me - top to bottom - what he really thinks about every issue?

I'd regard those as fair questions, for which I have a straightforward reply: "No."

Also, "What, do you think I'm that stupid?"

I keep emphasizing that I am gambling on Trump. He is a choice with risks and potential payoffs - I consider, on balance, these risks and payoffs to be the best with a Trump presidency. I don't have to believe Trump is completely or even mostly sincere for him to be worth a bet. He just has to be the best choice of all my reasonable alternatives, and he is.

To understand why, first you have to look at the alternatives.

'This is a person who is saying what they need to in order to get what they want' describes every candidate in play right now. People like to point at Cruz as the guy with the conservative bona fides, but A) Cruz got elected in one of the most right-wing areas of the country. Being an outspoken conservative maps heavily to 'saying what he needs to in order to get what he wants.' and B) Cruz has already tried to pull off tricks that I regard as confidence shaking, and which I've pointed at before.

When Cruz has an 11th-hour conversion on TPP, coincidentally right as they have enough votes and his vote is no longer needed, what - I'm supposed to believe the sincerity of his condemnation? When Cruz's history on illegal immigration is 'The reason we have so much is that there's not enough LEGAL immigration! Let's massively increase that, especially H1B visas!', should I believe him?

This doesn't mean Cruz is a candidate that I could never support. I'm pointing out that he is a candidate with risks of his own, and a track record that suggests that yes, he says what he needs in order to win. Fine - that's just the way it is. The same obtains, generally to worse degrees, with every candidate running who has a prayer.

However, let's say you back me to the wall and ask me about trust. Which candidate can I trust the most, overall gambles aside?

Once again, fair question, with an easy answer: Trump.

See, there's one thing that Trump has over each and every one of the other candidates when it comes to trust. One thing that actually makes it so, if I'm supposed to go with the most trustworthy candidate, Trump becomes the natural pick.

When Trump initially pointed out that illegal immigrants are not all sweet and beneficial people, and in fact we get a whole lot of criminals, drug dealers, and problematic people who are basically going to be a net drag on our resources (even if there are some good people as well), Trump suffered. He was criticized from every quarter, including his own party. There were demands for him to step down. Business contracts he had were cancelled, and he was risking becoming a pariah in the business world - he was not just losing business, but people were trying hard to hurt his businesses.

He did not back down. He said, explicitly, that he said nothing wrong, and that he'd deal with those business threats on his own terms.

Credit where it's due: Trump's reaction is not common. In fact, it was anomalous in the extreme. To stand up and refuse to apologize - to explicitly stand by your comments and angrily yell that you've said nothing that was untrue - is near unheard of. Even individuals who refuse to back down are inevitably, and quickly, chastened to the point of going into near-hiding. To not just stick it out but go on the offensive immediately, and to do so with grace besides? It simply doesn't happen.

With that in mind: name the candidate who I could have a hope to stand and fight, ferociously, if the media and the business world turned on them in a sustained, frenzied attack.

Now, add to this the fact that every issue I care about - every issue I'd like to advance on or hold ground on - is an issue that is likely to trigger such a reaction.

Ask me to vote for the candidate I can trust the most, and I'm left with Trump again.


malcolmthecynic said...


And, of course - which is the point that drives me the most - is that I'm at the point where I think that Trump is pretty much the only guy who is even SAYING the right things about immigration and the refugees, which in my book are easily the two most important issues.

And all of the long articles I see "Refuting" him generally boil down to "Yeah, just accept that we're screwed, it won't work".

Which, uh...No?

So that's why I support Trump - like you, basically by default.

Crude said...

And all of the long articles I see "Refuting" him generally boil down to "Yeah, just accept that we're screwed, it won't work".

Of course, those are the same people who insisted that what Trump said was political suicide, and he'd crash and burn in the polls immediately.

Certainly by the end of July.
Okay, October he may hang on, but he's out in December.
Definitely before Iowa and New Hampshire.

I should trust these idiots' predictive capabilities why again? They were also probably talking about how Hillary was inevitable... in 2008.

Legion of Logic said...

Fair enough. Thank you for the thoughtful response. I'd become a spokesman for Trump before I'd ever vote for Hillary Clinton, but I suppose you're right that if you view it as a potential gamble, then it's easier to support him.

And again, I really appreciate that Trump is part of the movement combating political correctness and powering through the cries of "BIGOT!!!" without apologizing. All Christians and conservatives need to do that.

malcolmthecynic said...

When every other candidate, when asked what they'll do about illegal immigration, says something that amounts to either "Nothing" or "Something that will also involve making up the difference with tons of legal immigrants", you know why I'm supporting Trump.

When every other candidate, when asked about the refugees, either says "Let em' in!", "Let em' in more slowly" (the "moderate" option), or "You're all bigots", you know why I'm supporting Trump. People ask for actual solutions, he gives them, and somehow I'm supposed to act like he's the villain because he's the only one who gave a straight fucking answer to a straight fucking question.

I'm not being given any options here.

Crude said...


Not a problem, disagreement is no concern of mine here.


I'm not being given any options here.

Pretty much. And the thing is, for years, the GOP has done what Ace of Spades calls failure theatre. They say 'We're against illegal immigration!', they hold what amounts to a courtesy vote, they lose, then go 'WHOOPS! We tried. Oh well, tough luck, win some lose some. Okay, that's that.'

It actually goes beyond that for me. Trump is demonstrating that even if everyone in the media despises you, it doesn't mean that you don't speak for many people. While the GOP, and conservatives in general, wring their hands and obsess over tone and being inoffensive and not being seen as a bigot, Trump acts as if speaking frankly about what he believes is his birthright.

Let me have some of that, please.

Craig said...

Well, I'm more of a conservative than you are, and would prefer on balance to gamble on Cruz -- but you make strong points. As a gamble, this one doesn't look so bad.

I admit my first reaction to the Trump candidacy was to take it as a not-very-amusing joke, but I went from that to viewing it as a tremendous service in widening the Overton Window, and by now I find myself able to face the prospect of a Trump nomination / election with equanimity.