What the Voters Understand


Filed Under Latest News on Mar 18 

Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority … Lord Acton’s pessimistic view on the nature of rulers seems to suggest that you have to be corrupt before you even gain the absolute power that proceeds to absolutely corrupt you. That of course is his most famous quote, and it immediately precedes the above sentence, in Lord Acton’s famous letter.

What a shock. Ruthless, ambitious people are … ruthless and ambitious. Even by nature before the spoils of power push aside any inner charity they might have had. So, in 2016, it appears that a majority of Americans like neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. And a majority of Americans know both Clinton and Trump as well as any public figure. Unprecedented situation screams the NY Times: voters dislike their candidates!

There is a further implication to Acton’s quote, as pointed out recently by Jonah Goldberg. Absolute power also corrupts those who are subject to such power. Think of the atrocities North Koreans do to each other in order to gain the favor, or avoid the horrifying wrath, of its crazed leadership.

And in America, think of how nasty voters are to each other – depending on who you are voting for.

So what? Because in America there are checks and balances. And voters have a pretty clear-eyed – yes you can say cynical – view of their choice of candidate; in the case of the two leaders. They want a job done, and don’t let their views on the honesty of either candidate get in the way.

Is this the breakdown of democracy as we know it? That seems a little exaggerated. But when you are an elite who sees its behind-the-scenes grip on power loosening, then you cry Armageddon to any mainstream or not-so-mainstream media outlet you can get to answer your calls. In the GOP’s case, that is.

Because there is no establishment as secure as the Democrat establishment, who know perfectly well that Hillary will be their nominee. And who await with delight the possibility of a bloody convention battle in Cleveland that will leave the Republican Party divided and weakened, and more likely to lose the general election. Regardless of who wins the GOP nomination.

How can any learned conservative intellectual honestly believe that Trump will lead America wildly astray? If the down-ballot effect plays out – or even if it doesn’t – Congress and the Courts will keep Trump in check. And Trump may be more than willing to soften his views and do some down-and-dirty-here’s-what-I’ll-give-ya legislation with Congress. Remember aging liberal Jimmy Carter fears Cruz way more than Trump.

Trump – should he be able to beat Hillary – will get the political education of his life. Not even his hair color will resist. It will turn white within a year or two. It’s called realizing what the job really entails.

So as the GOP – with convention plotters being justified by Ross Douthat – thinks of how they can deny Trump; maybe just a little less armageddon? America is far greater than the two leading candidates, and the voters understand that.