Politics & Policy

The Corner


Hillary Clinton has been bearing down on us, like a semi driven by a meth-head, for 25 years. In 1991–2 she probably aspired only to be co-president; Bill told us we’d get two for one. But since at least 1999 when she began her first Senate campaign she has aimed for the presidency itself. Only it could salve her outraged pride and advance her goals.

Which are what? Big billboard social issues: abortion, gun control. Importing poor supporters from other countries and serving rich ones. Enriching herself, her husband and her daughter. Smiting her enemies. (She has them. So did Nixon. You have to learn how to fight — and not fight — them.) She was a competent senator at the pot-hole level, a bad one at the policy level, and a wretched secretary of state. Personally she is empty and ambitious; politically her liberalism is moderated only by corruption. We would never know from one month to the next whether she would be in the government, or a guest of the government.

To oppose her Republicans drew a full house. Donald Trump is un-conservative, ignorant, inexperienced, malignant, and unstable. He professes some good positions now (and some not-good ones: Putin 4ever). But he does not understand his good ones, because he has not thought about any of them for more than ten minutes. If he had, he would not know how to implement them. If he did, he would nevertheless be regularly distracted by grudges and rages. He is a man to whom constancy is so foreign that when he stays on message for a week friends and enemies alike consider it noteworthy. But a presidential term is 208 weeks.

He will build a wall. See above. He will save the Supreme Court. No, he’ll make a deal with Chuck Schumer; it’s easier, and he’s given Schumer money. Creative destruction. Mathematicians tell us that in a billion years a monkey with a typewriter will write Hamlet. Trump’s supporters tell us that in four years a bear with a hammer will fix Washington. I don’t see how. He will have good advisors. He listens to Ivanka, maybe Jared. Who else? He will speak for the white working class. How can a good cause be advanced by a man who is so bad, in just these ways?

Neither candidate is fit to be president. There is no possible good result of their contest. Our only hopes are federalism, and that Bismarck was right.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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