Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mature Anger

We can be angry without sinning (Ephesians 4:26). The anger needs to be kept under control and be rightly directed.

One of the many problems with the current movement in support of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate is that it seems to be motivated largely by immature anger. I've given some examples in previous threads. What I want to focus on here is how misdirected the anger is.

For years now, I've been posting polling data and other evidence demonstrating the corruption of the American people. A lot of political conservatives don't realize how corrupt the American people are, ignore it, or are dishonest about it. But what happens if they get Trump as the Republican nominee? Then what? Then they have to try to get American voters in general, not just Republican primary voters, to choose him over the Democratic alternative. That's unlikely to happen, for reasons I've discussed in many previous threads. Most Americans are liberal or moderate on political issues. They're less conservative than the likes of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Jeb Bush. So, what's the reasoning behind focusing so much anger on people like Boehner and Bush and so little anger on the American people, who are so much worse and who frequently choose leaders like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, and Nancy Pelosi? The American people aren't illiterate peasants living in mud huts in a medieval monarchy. They're highly responsible for the state of their nation. So, why is the anger of conservatives being so disproportionately directed at individuals like Boehner and Bush? And why do individuals like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker get punished along with the likes of Boehner and Bush?

I hope the current Trump movement, largely fueled by immature anger, is just a very temporary phase, like the ridiculous support we saw for people like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in the 2012 cycle. But even if that's the case, it's a waste of time and other resources, it takes attention away from candidates who deserve more attention than Trump, and it may lead to some good candidates dropping out (much as Tim Pawlenty did in 2011), among other problems. In this case, it could motivate a third-party run by Trump that would have disastrous results. Immature anger has consequences, and they're not good, even if the anger feels good for a moment.


  1. Think of a cycling team. Your lead cyclist doesn't jump out front early. He hangs back, drafting off of other cyclists until it matters.

    When our candidate does emerge in the coming months, he will look more polished, more reasonable, more credible, more Presidential.

    If they are smart, even now the GOP is holding some kind of PR torpedo they can deploy against the early upstarts. But more likely those upstarts will simply destroy themselves.

    In the meantime, make some popcorn and enjoy the show as Trump says outrageous things just to make the MSM howl.

    1. Glade Diviney,

      I agree that there are some advantages to Trump's candidacy, such as his making other candidates look "more polished, more reasonable, more credible, more Presidential". But I think the disadvantages of Trump's candidacy are weightier. Tim Pawlenty probably would have done better than Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election (he wouldn't have been as susceptible to the Democrats' class warfare efforts, he would have motivated the Republican base more, etc.). But Pawlenty dropped out early while candidates who shouldn't have been getting support were getting it instead of him. The same could happen this time. What if some of the support that a far better candidate could have gotten if Trump weren't running is diverted to Trump instead? What if that persists for a few months or longer, eventually leading to that candidate's withdrawal from the race? Then there's all of the damage Trump is doing to the Republican brand and all of the attention he's taking from other candidates. And the longer he's in the race, the more irrationally committed to him some of his supporters are likely to become. I've already heard some of his supporters making comments to the effect that they either won't vote or will vote for a third party candidate if Trump isn't the nominee. That may only get worse over time, the longer Trump is in the race.

    2. If a Republican can't even survive the early campaign stages then they are certainly not ready to face the Dems. Sorry Pawlenty.

      As for wasted support, Trump is largely self financed. That won't be enough in the long run, and it's hard to imagine serious donors are going to back a flash in the pan.

      Irrationally committed supporters could be a problem. But as we all know, Trump's conservatism is only skin-deep. If they can't learn to see that, or don't care, it's unlikely they would have been useful to the party in any case.

    3. Glade Diviney,

      The fact that Pawlenty didn't survive the early stages of the campaign doesn't prove that he wouldn't have been a better candidate than Romney. Surviving the primary process depends on a series of factors, some of which are out of the candidate's control. When voters are apathetic, undiscerning, or wasteful of their money and other resources, for example, they're responsible for what results. Even if Pawlenty made some bad choices, such as leaving the race prematurely, the voters made some bad choices as well. If they hadn't made those bad choices, we could have had, and I think we probably would have had, a better candidate than Romney for the general election.

      You refer to whether people unreasonably committed to Trump would be "useful to the party". In a presidential campaign, you're going to get many millions of supporters who are irrational to a large extent. They're inordinately concerned about the candidate's communication skills, sense of humor, physical appearance, race, financial status, etc. You take whatever votes you can get.

    4. Surviving a *presidency* depends on factors outside of the presidents control. I maintain that if a candidate can't manage an early primary he has no business behind the Big Desk, no matter how much we like him or agree with him.

      We have the voters and candidates we have, not the ones we want. The question is what to do with them. Amongst conservatives I see too many looking for a white knight, when all we can reasonably hope for is someone who will appoint a justice or two who bother to read the constitution, and will sign maybe half of the common sense bills that reach his desk. Wouldn't that be nice?

    5. Glade Diviney wrote:

      "Surviving a *presidency* depends on factors outside of the presidents control. I maintain that if a candidate can't manage an early primary he has no business behind the Big Desk, no matter how much we like him or agree with him."

      Your first sentence above doesn't refute anything I said, so what's the significance of it?

      When you have voters choosing candidates, you can't assume that anything that goes wrong must be the candidates' fault. There are multiple parties involved.

      Let's say that a highly successful governor of a state runs for the presidency. A popular actor who's highly ignorant of the issues, has never held office, etc. runs against him. The actor wins, because the voters have false priorities. How does that prove that the governor "has no business behind the Big Desk"? Think of the many Biblical figures who were rejected for no good reason in various contexts, including political ones.

      You write:

      "Amongst conservatives I see too many looking for a white knight, when all we can reasonably hope for is someone who will appoint a justice or two who bother to read the constitution, and will sign maybe half of the common sense bills that reach his desk. Wouldn't that be nice?"

      Yes, that would be a big improvement over the current situation. I agree that we shouldn't be looking for a white knight, and I agree that we should have modest expectations about what our candidate will accomplish if elected.

  2. Unfortunately, some conservatives seem to think there's an ideologically pure conservative majority in the country, if only a third-party could tap into that. But is there any evidence for that?

    It's also disturbing when so many people take Trump's current claims at face value, as if he's a populist. Why are they so gullible? Just look at his opulent lifestyle. He's not fighting for the little guy. He's a One Percenter.

  3. Boehner, McConnell and Jeb are not conservative by any stretch of the imagination. They are being bought out by wealthy donors (such as the US CoC) to support illegal immigration. They've sold out their own country.

    The GOP establishment is trying to arrange the field so as to guarantee Jeb's victory, even though he lacks majority support:


    The only wild card that they didn't reckon with, that throws a monkey wrench into the works is the Trump card.

    Supporting Trump isn't some irrational spasm of anger. It's the only strategy to escape this Uniparty system we've fallen into (both Hillary and Jeb's donors are the same, btw). We've been sold out and betrayed multiple times by the GOPe. Even if we lose, the rational thing is to go elsewhere, although, yes, there is some anger involved, as there would be if a woman rationally fled the abusive spouse.

    1. Robert Fisher,

      Your argument is ridiculous, and so is the article you linked. The idea that every candidate other than Trump has been "bought" is tremendously unlikely on its face, and the article you linked provides nothing close to the evidence that would be needed to substantiate the claim. If you're going to accept that kind of absurd reasoning in political contexts, how do you answer people who take that sort of approach toward, say, the Bible or Christian origins?

      Do you have any concern about slandering people like Ben Carson and Ted Cruz by suggesting that they're "for sale" on such a flimsy basis? What do you think behavior like yours does to the reputation of Christians?

      If Republican leaders had as much influence as you're suggesting, why wouldn't they buy off somebody more popular than Bush, so that they wouldn't need to go through the complicated process the article you linked speculates about? If Trump's money suggests that he couldn't be bought off, then why didn't Romney's money suggest the same about him? And it's not as if the Bushes are poor.

      Then there's your spectacularly implausible claim that "Boehner, McConnell and Jeb are not conservative by any stretch of the imagination", followed by the fantastically inaccurate assertion that we have a "Uniparty system". See my post here about the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama. The same principles apply to this 2016 cycle. Go to the web sites and other sources I cited in the post I just linked. See what those sources say and document about Boehner, McConnell, Bush, etc.

    2. Robert,

      Let's assume for the sake of argument that Boehner, McConnell, and Jeb are in the pocket of wealthy donors.

      I don't know why you focus on Jeb. At this stage of the race, he isn't even the probable nominee.

      Your solution is to elect the wealthy donors instead of the politicians they (allegedly) bought off. Elect a corrupt fat cat like Trump instead of politicians on the take. But even if we grant your premise, how is electing donors who (allegedly) rig the system to advance their destructive agenda an improvement over electing their paid surrogates?

      On illegal immigration, Trump is apparently talking out of both sides of his mouth: