The Question to Ask Yourself About Trump

Filed in National by on January 30, 2018

Here’s the ugly little question at the heart of the Trump era: How much would you object to his behavior if he were pursuing a liberal agenda?

Obviously that’s not a real-world scenario, because the racism is baked in. But what if you subtracted that but kept the sexual predation, the crudeness, the taste for revenge — while he increased taxes on the rich, spent on infrastructure, and meant by “America First” cutting back on imperialism and shrank the military. In short, if he pursued your agenda, or most of it, how much of the rest would you be willing to put up with?

Once you admit to yourself you’d put up with quite a bit, it’s easier to understand why Republicans won’t abandon him. I’m not saying it’s admirable, but it’s understandable.

About the Author ()

Who wants to know?

Comments (16)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mike Dinsmore says:

    Is it over yet? We’ve been binge watching season two of “Treme.” Great music. Miss John Goodman, though. Yeah, I could live with Donny Dollhands if he was a progressive liberal. But the late night hosts would run out of material pretty fast.

  2. puck says:

    I didn’t care about Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky affair, so there’s one point of analogy.

  3. Dave says:

    My opinion is that Trump is also incompetent, ignorant, and lacks the necessary je ne sais quoi and gravitas to represent our nation on the world stage. He has the power and authority to make unilateral decisions that directly effect the entire world, while possessing none of the critical thinking skills necessary to make those decisions in an intelligent manner. Consequently, his political gender is irrelevant to me.

  4. At least Bill Clinton felt our pain. Or pretended to.

    I can’t imagine someone devoid of empathy being a liberal or progressive. But then, I might not be the most imaginative person around.

  5. bamboozer says:

    This is the lesson of Berlusconi ignored, the focus should not be on the clownish and outrageous personae but on the endless policy failures, incompetence and dangerous statements that Trump so loves. The Italians flushed Berlusconi using his policies and actions against him, we can do the same with Trump.

  6. mouse says:

    Interesting question.

  7. mouse says:

    It’s difficult for me to imagine a liberal being a crude pig and lacking the requisite dignity for office getting elected. I guess if they had a true liberal agenda and could get it passed, I would probably reluctantly support them.

  8. Alby says:

    @Dave: The point of asking the question wasn’t to see if people could find some way to weasel out of answering it. This isn’t a test.

  9. Ben says:

    Isnt that what Bernie was supposed to be? The target was people like the Trump family and not brown children, but there was still populist anger being generated and directed.

    I dunno. So much of his ass holishness is based on him being a sexual predator and racist, that it is difficult to imagine what a liberal Trump would look like… Maybe Alan Grayson.. or Bernie before coffee.. Maybe if Keith Olberman huffed some spray paint and lost a couple dozen IQ points..?
    Point is I cant say what I might have said in 2015 but NOW?… yes, I would now excuse dickish, vindictive behavior (assuming they weren’t a rapist and/or racist) Conservatives must taste vengeance. Republicans have to face consequences and someone needs to beat the fuck out of the right wing media.

  10. mouse says:

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” MLK I think

  11. Alby says:

    “So much of his ass holishness is based on him being a sexual predator and racist”

    Absolutely true. But before his presidential run, I didn’t know much about his racism, which in truth is not much different from plenty of captains of industry his age whom I’ve met. Neither did his sexual predation stand out as unusual — not every guy in his position is like that, but plenty are.

    I didn’t need any of that to register that he was a liar, a cheat and a braggart. And an incompetent businessman. And an attention whore. And smug about it all.

    Clinton had some of that — a liar, a failure at actually building anything and nevertheless smug about his abilities, which mainly consisted of an ability to survive his own inability to run anything — but he quickly sold out the liberal agenda, so it wasn’t as if liberals got anything for selling out on those fronts.

    Olbermann is a good point of reference. So imagine a more sanctimonious, hypocritically dickish Clinton pursuing actual liberal policies. It’s a fair comparison because I never liked Clinton and I never liked Trump (granted, the list of people in politics I do like fits on the tiniest size Post-It note).

    I admit with some shame that I would not oppose the person as strongly as I do Trump. The fact is that while I never liked Clinton, I held my nose just because the alternative was the Republicans. I’m not going to pretend I’m some moral avatar. I would be just as reluctant to abandon the guy as a majority of Americans were about throwing Clinton to the wolves.

    The biggest difference I have noticed between Democrats in the ’90s and Republicans in the ’10s is that a good number of Democrats knew what they were doing and felt scummy for defending Clinton. Republicans, otoh, quickly convinced themselves they aren’t just doing the right thing, they are doing it for the right reasons.

  12. Ben says:

    I guess I have no problem with someone being a dick. LBJ kind of fits this bill. Conservative policies are inherently evil, so I would argue that a kinds, charming republican pushing white nationalist policies and redistributing wealth up would be even worse. At least with 45, most of the country can hate him on a personal level as well.

  13. nathan arizona says:

    I’m not too concerned with what’s in a president’s heart. I’d just want him to do most of the things I want him to do. That might be impossible if the heart is too black, but I think it’s likely a person with the usual sort of moral flaws could overcome them enough to do his job. I imagine there was plenty of leftover racism in LBJ’s heart, but he basically did the right thing on civil rights. I’m also not too worried if a president does things for political reasons as long as it coincides with my interests. But I would not want to see a president violate the standards of “liberal democracy” and the traditional rule of law (not all of it) to accomplish what I want. I imagine some here probably don’t think liberal democracy is worth saving. But I think Trump’s undermining of that is the greatest is of the many threats coming from the whole Trump debacle. Many other threats are tied for a close second place.

  14. Dave says:

    “The point of asking the question wasn’t to see if people could find some way to weasel out of answering it.”

    I wasn’t trying to weasel out of answering, but I guess I could have put it plainer. If the person is everything I hate, but is doing all the things I love, I would still be unable to put up with them.

    There are better people out there would not cause me to cringe and suffer daily embarrassment at being a member of the nation that would elect such an individual.

    P.S. I have a predisposition for “agenda” items that are key presidential responsibilities: the conduct of foreign policy and Commander In Chief. Because his retained qualities are antithetical (especially revenge and racism) to the execution of those key responsibilities, he simply is unqualified and unable to effectively fulfill them.

  15. Dana Garrett says:

    I’ll bite. I’d oppose a very liberal president who was a known serial sexual predator of women. I’d hate being put in that position, but in the end I’d oppose him because it’s extremely important that women not be treated in such ways. It’s a bottom line for me.

  16. jason330 says:

    “In short, if he pursued your agenda, or most of it, how much of the rest would you be willing to put up with?”

    It depends on whether or not he was pursuing that agenda within the constraints of the constitution, and accepted traditions and norms of behavior.

    The trick at the heart of this question explains why Republicans win elections. To reveal the trick, rephrase the question. “What is more important to you, your party or your country?”

    Republicans unblinkingly answer, Party. That makes them formidable in spite of their shitty unpopular policies.