I have to first admit I was dead wrong on one issue. I expected Hillary to win, although I did make it clear I expected it to be very close. Trump’s win was decisive (a blessing for all of us that it wasn’t close) and it is time to say the words: President Trump.
I have always opposed the “Not My President” vitriol. I opposed it when liberals did it to President Bush, and I oppose it now as conservatives continue to do it to President Obama. It’s childish and shows a disrespect for our flawed, yet extraordinary, system.
I also made clear that whether Trump or Clinton won, the wrong lessons were likely to be taken from it, and I can see that that is already happening. An electoral victory does not validate bad ideas, and I would have been making this case regardless of the outcome last night.
I will continue to reject what I see to be the greatest flaws of Trump’s platform, which have ordinarily been core tenets of the left:
- Racial identity politics (the idea that race determines ideology)
- Trade protectionism
- Contempt for the media
- Personal vindictiveness
- Moral relativism (embrace of social decline/de-emphasizing faith/constantly changing positions)
- Statism (expansive role of government to fix problems)
- Authoritarianism (view of self as savior, lack of humility)
There are several points of his platform which, if I am to assume his sincerity, are positive:
- Immigration (I disagree with his rhetoric, but the position he has evolved to is reasonable, minus refugee fear-mongering and the ridiculous and debt-increasing wall).
- Anti-establishment disruption
- Stated commitment to originalist justices
- Term limits
So I am going to proceed giving President Trump (to be) the benefit of the doubt, but to help me deal with my concerns I’m going to evaluate him by a simple scorecard:
Things that will confirm my opposition to Trump:
- Any attempt to infringe upon first amendment media protections
- Any attempt to take revenge on any political opponent (Hillary Clinton included).
- Failure to appoint a justice from his agreed list.
- Any “complete bans” or “moratoriums” on refugee assistance or religious tests.
- Creation of any new federal government agency
- Increase in the size/scope of any federal agency
Successes that will require me to acknowledge Trump:
- Enactment of term limits provisions
- Incorporation of ideas from/accepting counsel from limited government conservatives including Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie etc.
- Reduction or elimination of any federal department.
- Reverse the trajectory of the national debt* (currently 19.7T) (*If he accomplished this, I may even suggest I was TOTALLY wrong about him)
- Immigration reform which gets the system under control, but makes it easier for workers to enter legally and contribute to the economy.
- Repeal of Obamacare and replacement with MARKET solution, NOT Trumpcare
- Establishment of a pattern of humility
I may add to this from time to time, but I will not subtract from it. I will refer to this scorecard from time to time as President Trump takes office and starts ‘doing stuff’.
I am hopeful. I had already decided I was not going to despair with a President Clinton or Trump. The best we can hope for is that the election of undesirable leaders inspires the people to take back the power we have given to those leaders and return some of it to our Governors, Mayors, County Commissioners and School Superintendents, and retain the rest for ourselves as individuals.
I will not hope for Trump to fail. I will never bow down or adore him but I will treat him fairly, acknowledging success where appropriate and criticizing only reasonably. My faith is in God to use men as servants, not to appoint them as rulers, and I thank Him for the free will that he gave to individuals.
May we continue to seek liberty.