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.


  • BrianH1972

    There are a lot of assumptions made that I indeed question.

    “Great men are almost always bad men”.

    I prefer what General Eisenhower said… “The qualities of a great man are vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character.”

    Donald Trump lacks vision. Trump rocketed to great adulation by beginning his campaign proposing an impractical, yet equally popular, solution to the serious problem of illegal immigration. His claims of rounding up 12 million people would be more disturbing if people believed for a minute that he could actually do it. We seem comforted by the fact that as you said, “Congress and the Courts will keep Trump in check.” The same can be said too of his proposal to ban Muslims I guess. An equally horrific prospect and constitutional violation comforted by the impracticality of its implementation I guess.

    Trump lacks integrity. He lacks honesty and he lacks moral principles. This is why he can hold completely different views from one day to the next about issues that most of us have made moral judgements about prior to entering our sixth decade of life. Trump is not a principled person. His explanation on now being in favor of “life” is his most absurd. He claims to have changed his position on abortion when friends of his contemplated an abortion and chose to have the baby who grew up to be a “great person”. First, who does he know that shared that personal choice with him? Secondly, had the kid grown up to be a “bad person” would Trump still favor infanticide?

    Trump lacks courage. Nothing screams courage like getting into Twitter wars with “overrated” pundits and critical news anchors. His willingness to ban media outlets who fail to kiss his ring or his…. “where-ever”…, should give us insight as to how he will govern. Campaigns are insightful. Long campaigns tell show us how a candidate will govern and react. We don’t study resumes or the intricacies of business dealings. We can’t gain insight to a candidate by reading a self promoting book or watching a reality show. We do however get a sense of a candidate by observing their campaign. Can anyone be surprised by Obama’s leadership style? We all saw the self aggrandizing nature of his 2008 campaign.

    Trump lacks understanding. He lacks it because he simply is uninterested in acquiring it. His success has been empowered by his ability to know little and say little about complex issues for which he is applying for a job to fix.

    Trump lacks articulation. One needs understanding to speak articulately. Trump is the 2016 version of “Tiger Blood” and “winning” that was once made so popular by Charlie Sheen. The same phenomenon occurred with Sheen by the way. He too sold out stadiums to cheering crowds and sycophants, cheering on the public meltdown while watching a grown man destroy his life. Sheen, like Trump, was the train wreck for which America could not get enough of.

    Trump lacks profundity. The above examples will rest my case.

    John Adams said “The people have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge– I mean of the character and conduct of their rulers.”

    Character matters. I have bitten the political bullet and have cast my vote for men and women who were not my top choice. But, I have never cast a vote that I was ever ashamed of. In the end all I have is my one man one vote. I have always been an advocate of one holding their nose and casting a vote for the Republican candidate even if they were not one’s ideologically pure choice. I did so because I understood that losing elections will not progress my political agenda. But, for the first time in my political life I can say with certainty that If not given a choice as a third party candidate or preferably a Republican not named Trump, I will withhold my vote.

    • guru

      You’ve got your old kookie blinders on, Brian!
      The Trump hate is strong in you.
      The most powerful and critical duty of a president is the appointment of Supreme Court justices.
      You will have a choice of Trump’s choices (excellent by any conservative’s standards) or Hillary’s (perish the thought).
      And you are saying that you will not support Trump’s.
      You might want to rethink your logic.

      • guru

        I’m enjoying looking through all of the old “Political Derby” arguments that we all had four years ago.
        Here’s a gem from you:
        “Mitt Romney will make a great general election candidate and I think the naysayers who have been looking for their ABR will soon understand what a strong candidate they have in Mitt and I think they will be proud of the choice made by the GOP.”

        And you agreed with Jacosta on this wise chestnut:
        “I’ve heard a couple of posters say that if Romney receives the nomination, they will not vote in the general election. Basically, they are giving their vote to Obama by doing that. Romney is soooooo bad that he’s worse than Obama at that point? That’s emotion-based decision making, not common sense, logic or reason.”
        I suggest that you replace the 2012 candidate names with the 2016 names, and heed Jacosta’s advice again!