“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
What Trump voters want: the opposite of Obama.
That is the answer Benjamin Franklin is said to have told a woman who asked him what kind of government was being devised by the members of the Constitutional Convention. Another form of government has historically been more stable: dynastic power, in the form of monarchies and dictatorships.
The Founders understood Greek and Roman history and the history of then-modern Europe. Democracies evolve into autocracies. They are simpler, more orderly, and the public eventually demands it, choosing safety over democracy.
A college classmate, Larry DiCara, made this point in reflections on Donald Trump’s authoritarian orientation. Boston area readers will know Larry DiCara’s name. He was elected to the Boston City Council in his early 20s, took principled positions attempting to allow peaceful and orderly integration of Boston’s schools during the tumultuous period of student busing, and as an attorney and prominent civic leader he has been closely involved in the transformation of Boston’s politics, economy, and physical condition from a depressed regional backwater into a vibrant technology and financial hub. Boston used to be grimy; now it is upscale. Housing used to be cheap; now it is Manhattan-ish in prices because people with high incomes want to live there. Boston has always been cold in the winter; now it is cool and trendy all the time.
Tomorrow I will share his thoughts and concerns about Trump and offer some advice to Democrats. Spoiler alert: He thinks there may be a constitutional crisis. Dicara thinks there are indications Trump simply does not understand and appreciate constitutional government. If there will be a Nixon/Watergate event, who will be the Elliot Richardson-type Republicans? Which Republican Senators will do what Barry Goldwater did, and tell Nixon he needed to resign?
Today this blog will list a set of parallel values. Both lists are “good.” Both lists show generally admirable characteristics. Readers will observe two different world views. The list on the left essentially reflect the Trump view. The list on the right reflect an Obama view. Obama’s politics of globalism and his mild tone created backlash and response, a pull of the pendulum away from Obama and his style, and away from the virtues of the column on the right. Republican voters rejected Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and John Kasich whose tone seemed mild and agreeable and respectful. They wanted a candidate who was more angry, more authoritarian, more clear about who was right and who was wrong.
Here is the list:
Donald Trump was not alone in reflecting the values on the left column. Ted Cruz and Chris Christie also reflected them, but Trump was the better showman and more effective communicator. His rallies did a better job of reflecting power, agency, entitlement, getting things done, authority, compliance, profit-seeking, victory, and spoils. Trump said it clearly and unapologetically, without subordinate clauses or hesitations reflecting reservations or supposed balance. He was forthright. We should invade Iraq and take their oil. We should be cruel and torture Muslim suspects, we can win and win and win, we can do it on Day One, we can make America Great Again.
The lists are useful for helping readers get out of their bubbles. A Fox News or Huffington Post view of the world tends to see other values as good versus bad, our team versus the enemy team. These lists show the attitudes in the manner that each worldview sees itself, as positives. Trump voters don’t consider themselves suckers or evil; they see themselves as realistic in understanding that it is a tough world with real enemies and we need to protect ourselves from them and stick up for our side. Obama supporters don’t see themselves as soft-minded kumbaya hippies; they see themselves as realistically understanding that there cannot be prosperity and peace unless their is a fair and just world.
Democrats astonished that people actually voted for Trump might take a moment and re-read the list. Voters who respond to the left-side list felt Obama was weak and they described him as feckless. They considered him disloyal to America — or at least insufficiently loyal and dedicated to defending America’s interests. Trump voters did not want to elect a tyrant or dictator and they find the implication that they did to be ridiculous, unfair, and offensive. But they did want a can-do guy who is strong and who appeared to live in the real world of hard competition.
Time will tell whether in fact Trump will charge boldly into un-Constitutional territory. A politician can be authoritarian but stop short of tyranny. Andrew Jackson would be such an example, and Trump has a portrait of Jackson over his desk. Trump may simply be an oscillation of the pendulum. Or this might be the opening rounds of a major constitutional crisis. Trump speaking of “so-called judges” worries many people. Trump’s criticism of the news media is another. Trump’s assertion that “his facts” are more credible than the “fake news” presented by third parties is a third. Trump skeptics and opponents have reason to be concerned.
Republican push back on Trump. Ambition counters ambition.
Trump was elected because he won majorities in enough states to win. Trump has voter appeal, a fact Trump-opponents need to understand and integrate. If, in fact, Trump does un-Constitutional things he will find some resistance from among the people who voted for him. Trump voters were not intending to elect a tyrant.
They had in mind the strengths and virtues of the list on the left.
This article is from my daily blog: UpClose with Peter Sage www.peterwsage.blogspot.com Check it out.