Politics & Policy

Follow the Buckley Standard: Vote for Trump

Trump speaks at a rally in Ocala, Fla., October 12, 2016. (Reuters photo: Mike Segar)
Without question, in this race, he is the most right, viable candidate who could win.

Way back in ’67, William F. Buckley Jr. told interviewer Bill Barry how to pick among candidates in a Republican primary: “I’d be for the most right, viable candidate who could win.”

While the Buckley Standard usually applies in GOP primaries, it seems an appropriate yardstick for general elections, especially amid inexplicable claims that the Democrat and the Republican on the ballot are indistinguishable.

As Americans vote for president today, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump should face the Buckley Standard. Despite the complaints of the Never Trump crowd, Evan McMullin, and others, Trump easily emerges as the most right, viable candidate who can win.

Is Trump a perfect, seamlessly conservative Republican nominee? No. Perfection is plenty to expect. And by that measure, he falls short.

Trump clearly has parted with most conservatives on free trade — at least as embodied in the multilateral agreements that these days reduce tariffs and other barriers to international commerce. If Trump renegotiated these often elaborate, phonebook-sized deals and, instead, simply scrapped tariffs, subsidies, preferences, schedules, and exemptions among the U.S. and other nations, he could move America closer to true free trade. Regardless, his trade policy seems a work in progress.

Trump also lacks many conservatives’ interest in reforming Social Security and other wobbly entitlements. If elected, however, the mounting urgency of addressing this impending crisis surely would demand his attention before long.

However, on virtually every other issue, Trump is running hard (five states on Sunday, another five on Monday) on conservative answers to America’s problems. He also is, easily, “the most right” candidate, as compared with Hillary Clinton — the poster girl for creaky, wheezing democratic socialism.

Consider just a few issues close to conservative hearts:


Hillary Clinton said of Obamacare on January 17, “That is one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic party, and of our country.” She added: “We finally have a path to universal health care.”

What an accomplishment.

Average Obamacare premiums will climb by 25 percent for 2017. “Quality, affordable health care” is skyrocketing by 16 percent in Michigan, 20 percent in Colorado, 33 percent in Pennsylvania, 50 to 67 percent in Minnesota, and a stunning 116 percent in Arizona. When Obamacare was signed in 2010, health premiums and deductibles consumed 8.4 percent of U.S. median income, according to the Commonwealth Fund. That number stood at 10.1 percent in 2015.

The most right, viable Donald Trump has pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare in his first 100 days as president. Instead, he would free Americans to purchase whatever health-care plans they wished across state lines and would help fund them through tax-preferred health savings accounts, a conservative priority since 1992.


Hillary Clinton wants to raise taxes by $1.55 trillion. She would boost the top rate from 39.6 percent to 43.6, via a 4 percent “fair-share surcharge” for incomes above $5 million. She would preserve America’s uncompetitive 35 percent corporate tax, the developed world’s highest. She also would hike the “death tax” from 40 percent to 65 percent.

The most right, viable Donald Trump wants to cut taxes by $4.5 trillion. He would cut the top income-tax rate to 33 percent and narrow today’s seven brackets to three. His corporate tax would plunge to 15 percent, well below the OECD average of 24.1 percent. Trump would kill the death tax and guillotine that rate to 0 percent.


Hillary doesn’t speak of deregulation. She embraces Obama’s Clean Power Plan and embraces the entire “global warming” agenda, which gives bureaucrats a bright-green light to stick their fingers wherever they want (e.g., regulating the hardness of commercially made ice). The Left’s hostility to fossil fuels propels the Obama-Clinton War on Coal.

The most right, viable Donald Trump proposes a moratorium on new regulations, at least until the U.S. economy shakes its Obama-era drowsiness. Trump further promised last month, in his outstanding Gettysburg address, that imposing any new regulation would require scrapping two old ones. Trump rejects “global warmism” and wants to defund the billions in “climate justice” ransom payments that Obama and Clinton have lined up to fund the U.N. and Third World nations in a grand apology for U.S. preeminence. Trump would liberate America’s energy sector and stop Washington’s assault on miners in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Trump openly praises “beautiful clean coal.”


“We are going to start immediately on comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship,” Clinton promised last summer. She would fund sanctuary cities, welcome 65,000 lightly vetted Syrian refugees next year, and keep America’s southern “border” wide open to illegal aliens from Latin America, and also from nations awash in militant Islam. In 2014, ICE agents on the U.S.–Mexican “frontier” caught 66 Afghan illegals breaking into America, as well as 67 Yemenis, 132 Sudanese, 169 Somalians, and 223 Iranians. How many got through undetected? Who knows?

The most right, viable Donald Trump would deport illegal-alien criminals, defund sanctuary cities, suspend the Syrian-refugee program, subject immigrants to “extreme vetting,” and shield Americans by building a protective wall to stem the flow of those who violate our southern border. Anyone who wants to come to America would follow this simple step: Visit a U.S. embassy and apply for a visa.


Hillary Clinton regards abortion as just another lifestyle choice. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,” she announced on NBC’s Meet the Press last April. She also hopes to scrap the Hyde Amendment and unleash abortion on demand, without apology, and with abundant federal subsidies.

The most right, viable Donald Trump wants to convert the Hyde Amendment from a mere legislative rider into a proper statute in the U.S. Code. He also would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, so long as it performs abortions.

School Choice

Clinton is an indentured servant of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. She will follow their orders on school choice, namely, to hobble or strangle it. The bosses at the teachers’ unions hate competition.

The most right, viable Donald Trump calls school choice the “new civil-rights issue of our time.” He proposes to redirect existing federal dollars to help parents send their kids to “public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home schools of their choice.” He also would kill Common Core.


A President Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood, would name a liberal Supreme Court nominee to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. She might nominate additional Supreme Court justices. She also would pick 15 cabinet secretaries, fill 105 federal judicial vacancies, and choose some 405 federal agency heads. In his first four years, Obama hired 143,000 new federal employees. Hillary most assuredly would select left-wing busybodies for these positions. They doubtless would share her icy disdain for the law.

The presence of solid, movement conservatives as Trump’s advisers bodes well for the likely center-right makeup of his administration.

The most right, viable Donald Trump already has identified 20 potential Supreme Court nominees whom conservatives widely applaud as constitutionalists. Trump has said he wants people on the high court “as close to Justice Scalia as we can get.”

The presence of solid, movement conservatives such as Steve Bannon, David Bossie, Kellyanne Conway, Rudolph W. Giuliani, David Malpass, Betsy McCaughey, Steve Moore, and others as Trump’s advisers bodes well for the likely center-right makeup of his administration.

Draining the Swamp

Hilary Clinton has been in public life since she helped the House Judiciary Committee investigate Richard Milhous Nixon during Watergate in 1974. She spent eight years as first lady, another eight in the Senate, and four more as secretary of state. This creature of Washington never created a single private-sector job, except perhaps at the toxically corrupt Clinton Foundation. Hillary is the matron of a royalist political family scheming to return to power. She considers herself entitled to the presidency. If Americans want a queen and her court, they can hand her an orb and scepter this evening.

In stunning contrast, the most right, viable Donald Trump is concluding his first political campaign — ever. He has spent his life in business. His $9.5 billion enterprise includes nine international properties, ten hotels, 17 golf courses, and 24 domestic properties. He employs some 22,450 people, the private-company database PrivCo estimates.

Trump has proposed term limits for members of Congress and a five-year ban on White House and congressional employees’ lobbying after leaving office. White House staffers would be banned for life from lobbying for foreign governments.

Running Mates

Clinton tapped Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) for vice president. “High-Tax Tim” tried to raise levies on Virginians while he was governor. As a senator, he has earned an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 0.00 percent. (As senator, Hillary Clinton rated 8.13 percent.)

The most right, viable Donald Trump is running with Governor Mike Pence (R., Ind.), a successful state executive who has cut taxes every year in office. He was a fiscal- and social-conservative leader in the U.S. House and scored a lifetime 99.0 percent ACU rating.

Trump’s Contract with the American Voter contains numerous additional proposals that conservatives and free-marketeers should love. Coupled with a Republican House and Senate, the Right actually could enact major policy reforms that advance individual freedom, personal responsibility, limited government, and free enterprise. Conservatives and Republicans should welcome a Trump presidency as an opportunity. This is our best chance to implement our beliefs since Ronald Reagan flew west, and before the “Republican” Bush family stomped on one rightist principle after another.

The Clintons’ scandals are like fractal images: The longer one stares at them, the deeper they go.

The alternative to Trump is the return of the big-government, high-tax, meddlesome, and purely corrupt Clinton Crime Family and everything they would do to cripple America even more severely. The Clintons’ scandals are like fractal images: The longer one stares at them, the deeper they go.

‐Relying on State Department records released last Friday, the New York Post’s Paul Sperry reported that Marina Santos, Hillary Clinton’s maid, routinely printed out for the then–secretary of state classified documents on such matters as U.S. policy on Africa and Iran. Santos, a Philippine immigrant with zero security clearance, even had access to a file that sometimes was sent to a computer in the secure diplomatic-communications room of Clinton’s Washington mansion: Obama’s Presidential Daily Brief, perhaps the most secret document in Washington.

‐“We at the Clinton Foundation spend 90 percent — 90 percent of all the money that is donated — on behalf of programs of people around the world and in our own country,” Hillary lied at the third presidential debate. A close inspection of pages 1 and 10 of the foundation’s 2014 IRS Form 990 shows $5,160,385 in charitable grants versus $91,281,145 in total functional expenses. This equals 5.65 percent — light years shy of Clinton’s “90 percent” fiction.

The equivalent figures for the Trump Foundation are $591,450 in grants vs. $596,700 in total expenses. This equals a far more generous 99.1 percent.

‐Chelsea Clinton was “using foundation resources for her wedding,” former Clinton Foundation official Doug Band complained, adding: “I hope that you will speak to her and end this.” Band’s January 2012 e-mail, revealed by Wikileaks, was addressed to John Podesta, now Hillary’s campaign chairman. No wonder she was so desperate to erase those 33,000 “personal” e-mails, including some that Hillary claimed were about her daughter’s nuptials. And never mind that these e-mails were destroyed after Congress subpoenaed them — and that such destruction is highly illegal. Possible crimes here could include destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice.

#related#Conservatives and Republicans should come home today and not let perfection be the enemy of the pretty damn good. Trump offers wild hair, bombast, and, too often, ill-chosen words. But he clearly is the most-right of the two contenders who could win tonight. And, with so many polls dead even and so many swing states tied, he is thoroughly viable.

The Republican nominee is the most right, viable candidate on today’s ballot, and he can win. That’s why I proudly will cast my ballot for the next president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online. William de Wolff, a recent graduate of New York University’s Master of Arts Program in International Relations, contributed research for this article.


Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


The Latest