Postmodern Conservative

Never Trump!

So “Never Trump” is now the official slogan, apparently, of the Rubio campaign. A maxim of common sense has morphed into a defiant battle cry, a test of character against long odds.

And there are many offering helpful guides about whether you should vote for Trump or Cruz according the polling data from your state. Examples: 1) Vote Cruz in Texas, he’ll probably win, but it’s not certain. Rubio has no chance. A Trump victory there would about seal his deal. 2) Vote Rubio in Virginia. Studies show he has a small but real chance of actually winning, and his very strong second will at least slow Trump down. Cruz has no chance.

But what about Georgia? Where Rubio and Cruz are running about even, well behind Trump.

Here are two spins I heard today from prominent businessmen at Panera. The first: Rubio has a broader appeal and could actually take both Trump and Hillary Clinton out. The other: Cruz is the safer bet, because he cares so much about the Constitution. 

Their point of agreement: Trump will say anything to pander to the lowest motives of the most uneducated voters. Two gentlemen!  

In general, I know there are Trump supporters around, but the general Panera consensus is that Rubio is the sensible choice.

I can’t help but notice, however, that our best experts, such as Sean Trende, are already starting to explain the various causes that contributed to Trump’s completely unexpected emergence as the presumptive nominee. We political scientists have found it really easy to explain stuff after it happens, in our end-of-History or end-of-campaign wisdom. We stink at predicting the future — meaning even next month. Which is one reason among many the National Science Foundation should not waste the taxpayers’ money on us. So I’m sticking with the thought that Trump will come up short in basically messy and unpredictable ways. Nobody predicted the fall of Communism, but a few had confidence it would happen somehow. I’m sticking with that kind of confidence when it comes to Trump, although I hope he collapses before Clinton can tear him up.

I’m not going to quote or even link to it, but you should google Senator Jeff Sessions’s statement endorsing Trump. Now I don’t agree with Sessions on immigration (or, for that matter, the Chamber of Commerce), but everyone agrees he’s quite a capable and principled senator. His endorsement of Trump can’t be attributed to opportunism, and on immigration alone it would have made more sense for him to go with Cruz. But Sessions thinks of Trump as the head of of an anti-oligarchic movement, one directed against the self-proclaimed ”Masters of the Universe.” And that Cruz is not.

Well, when Sessions says that, I have a little sympathy. Just as I have a little sympathy when Bernie Sanders says something similar (see Carl below). And when Sessions and Sanders agree on something (given their obvious and overwhelming differences), everyone should pay some attention.

Still, Trump is ridiculous in ways that Sanders and Session are not, and it should be an easy test of character and common sense to vote for pretty much any other alternative.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...


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