Clinton supporters, can we make a deal?
A writer I follow has asked Trump supporters to go down a list of “hypotheticals” and ask if Trump doing any of those things would make them “reconsider” their support for Donald Trump. I’m going to use that as the basis for this article, since it so neatly encapsulates the fear-mongering of the left since Donald Trump’s win.
- Crackdowns on educators
- Censoring of political speech
- Jailing of opposition leaders and/or reporters
- Systematic efforts to bankrupt institutions or news outlets
- Registries for minority or religious groups
- Restrictions on the Internet and social media
- Assaults on peaceful protestors and a blind eye toward prosecuting those responsible
- Defying court rulings
- Assassinations or detainment of dissidents
- Postponement of elections
- Internment camps
- Nuclear war
- Failure to recruit Bruce Willis to avert asteroid threatening Earth
Just take a moment, work with me, and think, “If, hypothetically, Trump were to do X, Y and Z from this list (or something else), then I would have to reconsider things.” Even if you think there’s less than zero chance of it happening. Even if it feels like an exercise in writing young adult dystopian fiction (which you should totally try by the way).
This is an amazing collection of apocalyptic fears. It is the kind of bullshit political fear-mongering that happens every four years, this time taken up to 11. It’s meant to sound reasonable while being completely insulting.
The line about postponing elections is something that the fringe on both sides tries to scare people with every two to four years from those fringe nut jobs whose self-image is predicated on the President being evil. Trump is not going to postpone elections any more than Obama was going to postpone elections, and Obama wasn’t any more likely than Bush to postpone elections, nor was Bush any more likely than Clinton to postpone elections, and so on for as long as I’ve been paying attention.
The rest of it1 is fear-mongering that the left doesn’t believe. We can know they don’t believe it because Donald Trump himself has given them the weapons to stop him from doing those things, if they really want to stop him. If the left is worried about Donald Trump going too far, all they need to do is offer to support any Supreme Court nominees on his promised pre-election list of conservative judges.
The real line in the sand will come before any of those fears of a potential Trump tyrannies happen: will Trump stick to his promise to nominate Supreme Court justices who will vote against an imperial presidency? Or will he try to deviate from his campaign promises and vote for justices who will support executive overreach?
That’s where the left can prove they really believe their fear-mongering is possible. Do they believe what they’re saying enough to support conservative justices who will keep their fears from ever happening? Will Democrats promise to support anyone from that list, and not filibuster them?2
Or is this just general fear-mongering and insult?
Yes, the left is going to disagree with conservative judges. But the judges on that list are true conservative choices who will follow the constitution. The left’s problem with such judges in the past is not that they allow the executive to do too much, but that they allow the executive to do too little. Every one of the judges on that list will hold the President accountable to the constitution regardless of the President’s party.
So if the left is truly worried that this list is something that might actually happen, they will offer to support any judge on Trump’s pre-election list of judges.3 Of course, my guess is that they don’t believe that anything on that list is in any way possible. They’re just trying to spread fear and try to hang on to an unraveling constituency.
This kind of bullshit question is something the left has been able to get away with for several decades now, because they’ve congregated in education and the media. Say something completely unreasonable, but use the form of reasonable discourse in an attempt to hide it.
“I don’t beat my wife, and you know it.”
“Yes, but work with me here. If, hypothetically, you did beat your wife, when did you stop? Answer the question!”
The media, which isn’t very bright to begin with, prefers the form of reasonable discourse over actual reasonable discourse, and will try to treat anyone who points out how completely unreasonable the thrust of the statement is, as refusing to answer the question.
“Just answer the question. When did you stop beating your wife?”
This tactic is even worse in this case because some of the things on that list were explicitly proposed or in fact, actually done by Donald Trump’s opponent. The Citizens United ruling was literally about censoring a film that criticized Hillary Clinton, for example. She wanted to overturn that ruling and go back to censoring political speech. Opposition to Citizens United was a major part of her campaign.
They’re trying to question the judgement of voters, based on fears about one candidate’s possibly supporting political censorship, when that candidate’s opponent explicitly supported it. That’s crazy.
It wasn’t Donald Trump who joked about droning Julian Assange, nor was it Donald Trump’s team who erased documents two weeks after learning that those documents were under indictment.
Those were things that actually happened. You can choose to believe that those emails were deleted after the subpoena for reasons other than hiding crimes, but they were still deleted after a subpoena.
This list is like a known wifebeater asking their opponent when they stopped beating their wife. And when it’s pointed out that the questioner actually is a wifebeater, well, “Litigating what Hillary Clinton did or didn’t want to do seems a little beside the point at this stage, no?”
Well, no. That is the entirety of this question whenever it’s proposed: how could you be so wrong as to elect someone who might go on to do these horrible things? Who was going to be president, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Giant douche or turd sandwich? Turd sandwich or giant douche? Someone who you are afraid will do what’s on that list of bad things, or someone who actually promised to do what’s on that list?
So, I’d ask you to consider the same question:
Just take a moment, work with me, and think, “If, hypothetically, Clinton were discovered to have wanted to do X, Y and Z from this list (or something else), then I would have to reconsider things.” Even if you think that the candidate herself was lying and there's less than zero chance of it having happened. Pretend that the media lied to you.
If you were being reasonable, this is the question you’d be asking yourself. You have all these fears of Trump, and yet the only alternative was someone who actually embodied some of those fears.
Further, to the extent that the President can make up laws through executive orders, it is because the left has supported legislating by executive order over the last eight years.
What has changed now?
That is the question the left should be writing about, instead of crying wolf about an apocalyptic Trump presidency.
That you instead keep trying to address the specks in a Trump presidency rather than Clinton’s own planks is, in fact, “why you lost the election in the first place!!”
With both exclamation points.
In response to Election 2016: Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.
Except for the very important question about our space defense preparedness. The sad nature of such fear-mongering as this, is that it obscures the important questions of our time.↑
By doing so, they also get to keep the Supreme Court filibuster, after getting rid of it themselves to bypass Republicans.↑
They might, of course, offer to support Ted Cruz as well, just to get him out of the Senate and get a judge who doesn’t like Trump on the Court.↑