As regards the recent battle between the Entitled and the Deplorable, I’m thrilled that Hillary Clinton lost but mildly terrified that Donald Trump won.
Ms. Clinton would have established an administration dedicated to prosecuting war in the Middle East, beginning with Syria followed by who knows what other provinces of the ongoing Arab nightmare. She’d do so in the name of spreading the delights of democracy among peoples who only respect tyranny. She honors—or claims to—the standard liberal line: once shown the benefits of our fabulous American values, the savages will turn from their horrid ways. On the home front, she would have supported the further multiplication of gender identities and the rights of the sexually confused. It wouldn’t be only same-sex marriages but also multi-party ones inclusive of several of the recently discovered 50 plus genders now being touted as a truer picture of sexual diversity. This, of course, would provide a rewarding boondoggle for lawyers who would be called upon to extricate these troubled souls from their ill-judged entanglements once they belatedly discovered that they don’t enjoy such perverse arrangements after all. Meanwhile, Ms. Clinton would be preoccupied, as ever, with keeping her own husband’s lustful shenanigans out of public view. (Even at 70, the goat, it’s reported, is still rutting.) Furthermore, we’d find ourselves supporting Planned Parenthood’s reign of terror while suing, at taxpayers expense, religiously affiliated hospitals for not toeing the line on abortion rights.
As for Mr. Trump, the best that can be said is that this casino huckster turned beauty-pageant and game-show impresario is a blank slate when it comes to politics. As Aaron has suggested, clear-thinking conservatives will have to instill sensible policies into this empty titan before he’s traduced by the neoconservatives who are clamoring in the wings. Already, the war mongering John Bolton is at his ear counseling that we need to send troops to Syria. Unless the tycoon heeds wiser counsel, we could be in for more ruinous times.
I’d be more optimistic if Trump gave any inkling that he has the desire to inform himself about history and world events. But lack of curiosity seems to be a fixed feature of his seemingly narcissistic personality. Can you imagine him researching the history of the Middle East? U.S.-Mexican relations? Or reading policy papers on health care insurance?
While I’m enjoying the squeals of horror rising from the bien pensants at the New York Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker, what I’d like even more is to see Trump wet-blanket them with some show of measured, well-informed statesmanship. Until then, I’ll reserve judgment.
George McCartney, a professor of English at St. John's College, is film editor for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of Evelyn Waugh and the Modernist Tradition (Transaction).