Feelings Trump facts? Four arguments against the Donald

Donald Trump is leading the pack for the GOP presidential nomination, and many attribute his popularity to the raw anger out there in America. I’ve never been one for unconstructive anger. So let’s say you are angry, and you don’t just want to emote, but want our country to be doing better again. What’s the way forward? Here are four reasons why it’s not Trump.

1. High unfavorable numbers

One recent poll reportedly puts Trump’s overall unfavorability at 59%, higher than even Hillary Clinton. What does it take to be even more unpopular than America’s robotic grandma, the secretive, defensive, and definitively Nixonian Mrs. Clinton?

2. Peforms worse than other GOP candidates in matchups

A recent swing state poll by Quinippiac showed not just that Hillary Clinton does worse than Joe Biden in head-to-head matchups, but that Trump consistently underperforms in those matchups compared to Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. In Florida, Rubio and Bush comfortably beat Clinton and Biden in respective contests, while Trump eeks 2 percent past Clinton and falls to Biden by 3. In Ohio, Rubio and Bush best Clinton, but Trump trails her by 5, and goes down to Biden by 10. And in Pennsylvania, Rubio and Bush each beat the Dems while Trump loses to them. The pattern from this poll is clear: Rubio performs best overall, followed by Bush. Right now Trump doesn’t have what it takes to beat likely Democrat opponents. And given his stratospheric unfavorables, that is unlikely to change.

Tom Simpson / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

3. The stay-at-home conservative voter is a myth

There has been a “stupid myth” floating around since 2012 that three or four million conservatives stayed home rather than vote for patrician, RINO-squish Mitt Romney. Commentator Laura Ingraham has warned that conservative anger needs a chance to play itself out this cycle. According to common wisdom, Trump is the prime shot at that.

Before we buy this premise, let’s go back and check the numbers. According to Michael Medved, Romney gained more than a million votes over McCain. When I crunched Wikipedia’s numbers, Romney’s gain was 985,177. And this gain happened amidst a decline of three million total voters between 2008 and 2012.

If historical observations by Kim Strassel and Ed Morrissey are reliable, then the myth of disaffected conservative voters arose before all the votes had even been counted! As Churchill has been quoted, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to gets its pants on.” The snarling, anti-establishment Right is not as powerful or predictably peeved as typically touted.

4. Birthright citizenship trilemma: jobs, the rule of law, or unreasonable

Mr. Trump released policy statement last week that includes ending so-called birthright citizenship. This is an innovation in the debate on immigration, but it is a non-sequitur. Stopping illegal immigration has been, for conservatives at least, about a couple of more foundational principles: jobs for Americans and the rule of law. While I respect the drive to immigration reform that’s based on a concern for the rule of law, and the need to enforce laws, I don’t buy that ending birthright citizenship significantly increases job opportunity for American citizens. It is an arcane pursuit and any change to the job market will be indirect. So all of the energy for ending birthright citizenship must either come from a pure concern for the rule of law, or something more nefarious. Of course, many in the media and on the Left will gladly attribute xenophobia as the motivation. But if we give Trump the benefit of the doubt, his desire to end birthright citizenship must be about restoring some obvious mistake in interpreting the Constitution. He must be a candidate who champions the rule of law.

The problem for Trump is that he has bragged about paying off politicians and he trades off of the force of his personal charisma. He does not inspire confidence that he will uphold the rule of law. Someone who supports both Trump and ending birthright citizenship owes an explanation as to their priorities: jobs or the rule of law? If the rule of law, then why Trump and not a more principled conservative? If jobs, then why so fervent about the arcane task of ending birthright citizenship? The third alternative is that the supporter is not a reasonable conservative, but a xenophobe or just an unreasonable voter. The latter, sadly for America today, almost seems par for the course.

So, whether you are a Trump fan or suffer daily combat with a friend or relative who is one, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. There are a lot of great candidates out there this cycle. Let’s be sure to elect one of them.


About Lewis W
I earned an M.A. in Christian apologetics at Biola University, and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

2 Responses to Feelings Trump facts? Four arguments against the Donald

  1. Dr Grady says:

    I’ll start by saying I do not at all support Trump, and I don’t want him anywhere near the White House. In my view, he’s spent his entire career doing whatever it takes to amass wealth and power, and I don’t believe he can just turn that selfish ambition off to run for president out of some sense of civil service to the country. There are many, many things that I find troubling about him and the prospect of him running the country.

    All that being said, I can’t help appreciating the guy for some of the things he says. When so many politicians carefully craft their statements in a futile attempt to avoid the ire of the media, Trump cuts through all the BS and brings up issues in ways we’ve not heard them discussed in years, if ever. I appreciate that the issue of birthright citizenship is finally being questioned. It has been an assumed rule of law for decades, but I’ve yet to see any legal basis for it. So yes, I agree with you completely that it’s largely unreasonable to support Trump over other candidates if our primary motivation is the rule of law. However, I am starting to see more and more that emotions are a major factor in politics right now, especially when so many Republicans have felt as though the Republican party has not represented them in a long, long time. It’s hard not to give Trump credit for speaking the things that need to be said and moving the conversation to the right, even if his past indicates he’d likely be a dangerously self-absorbed leader, much like our current President.

    So yes, I think many of his supporters are unreasonable in that their support is lacking in logical arguments, but that raw emotion of finally feeling heard is a major force that cannot be ignored. It’s a force that Democrats have been tapping into for a long time despite logic or the actual results of their policies.

    • Thanks, Dr. Grady. I agree that Trump actually has a lot in common with Obama, particularly that he’d rely on the force of his personality and popularity rather than build a broad coalition. I’d rather have a Reagan, someone who says un-PC things and that you could get your Democrat neighbor to vote for. Trump might get some working class men, but his standing with women is atrocious, despite Planned Parenthood’s recent praise.

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