My husband first thought of this thank you back in February, when the Republican nomination field was still wide open, Donald Trump was exceeding expectations, and we had to endure a debate every other week. He wanted a candidate to use their introduction or conclusion to thank Trump for running.
But for Trump’s candidacy, important issues that have been swept under the rug for decades would remain hidden.
Furthermore, he’s given voice to the public’s frustration over this hiding. After that, the bold candidate could highlight a few issues Trump has pulled out for public airing.
Early on, Trump’s call to build a wall captured how immigration does not impact the powerful the way it does the people.
Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal and our own Laura Perrins noted this well. Politicians propose rules based upon abstract ideas, but it is the common citizen who actually engages with immigrants and does the work of assimilation – if, of course, those rules based on abstract ideas allow them to assimilate the new arrivals.
More recently, Trump stumbled into another revelation. Last week, a moderator questioned him into musing that we should prosecute women seeking abortions. Trump, unschooled in all of the precise talking points required by the American pro-life movement’s strategy, exposed a long standing logic problem in the pro-life movement.
While pro-choicers must confront their essential pretence that a foetus has no humanity, pro-lifers have to deal with the murder logic. Simultaneously calling abortion murder, which the pro-life movement does, while limiting punishment only to the provider presents a huge legal logic problem. That logic problem gets compounded by the credibility problem of passing a law one does not intend to enforce. In the case of abortion law, these problems also leave the movement open to unprepared utterings like Trump’s (or National Review‘s Kevin Williamson, who advocated for not just punishment but capital punishment) and plays directly into the fears of pro-choice women.
More simply, it is terrible strategy for a movement seeking to limit abortion. Even after exposing the horrors of the US abortion industry, we cannot get European standard limits and our whistleblowers get indicted while the providers get off.
Trump’s musing has prompted a long overdue discussion about the ineffectiveness of the US pro-life movement.
We should thank him for dragging these issues into the public discourse.
But he’s not the leader we need after the rebellion. Even the storybooks know that the smoother get-the-job-done leaders in strife are often ineffective leaders in peace.
Think Liberty Valence or Frodo. The rougher ones are even less suitable to post-rebellion leadership.
We are already seeing Trump’s hopes fade into the distance. He didn’t simply lose in Wisconsin. He got trounced. The polls and demographics that have given Trump pluralities in fractured fields for so long failed him on Tuesday. Sen. Ted Cruz handily won not only the state as a whole, but every demographic subset. And while one could easily explain Cruz’s dominating win in Utah two weeks ago as a result of the state’s Mormon demographic, there is no softening explanation for Trump’s loss in Wisconsin. Cruz again won the late deciders, and he has dominated the delegate selection, which is the actual vote Americans use to choose candidates. (We are not and have never been a direct federal democracy.)
Trump has done his country a service, exposing unpleasant things we’d rather avoid and focusing the election on issues of concern to the people.
That he did this as a less than polished politician, that is so very American. As a sovereign people we occasionally like to remind our political classes that we are in charge.
If we want to elect a B-actor or a World Wrestling Federation champ or a shirt salesman to high office, we will.
That this general election will not be another choice between big government or big government-lite, we can give Donald Trump some thanks for that.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)