7-23-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sowell on Trump

What would be wrong with a President Donald Trump? Where to begin? Thomas Sowell, correctly identifying that prospect (HT: Scott Holleran) as an "unmitigated disaster" for the GOP and America, observes among many other things:

The political damage of Donald Trump to the Republican party is completely overshadowed by the damage he can do to the country and to the world, with his unending reckless and irresponsible statements. Just this week, Trump blithely remarked that South Korea should be left to its own defenses.

Whatever the merits or demerits of that as a policy, announcing it to the whole world in advance risks encouraging North Korea to invade South Korea -- as it did back in 1950, after careless words by a high American official left the impression that South Korea was not included in the American defense perimeter against the Communists in the Pacific.

The old World War II phrase -- "loose lips sink ships" -- applies on land as well as on the water. And no one has looser lips than Donald Trump, who repeatedly spouts whatever half-baked idea pops into his head. A man in his 60s has life-long habits that are not likely to change. Age brings habits, even if it does not bring maturity.
Sowell speculates that the best possible outcome of the election is a race that has to be decided by the House of Representatives. In the sense that the "winner" would lack a clear mandate and on the off-chance neither Trump nor Clinton might end up in office, there is merit to that conclusion.

Weekend Reading

"The real question is why they have so much misdirected confidence in a policy, led by Obama himself, that delivers them and all of Western civilization into the hands of barbarians." -- Michael Hurd, in "Phony Terror War Means West Really Loses" at Newsmax

"[N]ot having a clear idea of what to do with your life ... can result in not knowing what to do with your days." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Art of Examining -- and Living -- Your Priorities" at The Delaware Wave

"One of the most evil things you can do to a poor person is take away his freedom to improve his fate." -- Alex Epstein, in "How Opposition to Fossil Fuels Hurts the Poor Most of All" at Forbes

Pinboard Turns Seven!

The proprietor of my bookmarking service notes that his business has turned seven:
Ever feel like just wiping your servers and running off to Mexico?

Heh, don't worry, that's just the whiskey talking. Pinboard is seven years old today!
Humor aside, I have found Pinboard, which has been billed as "bookmarking for introverts" to be invaluable not just for my writing, but for basically anything I do that quickly checking a web-based reference might help. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially past or present users of del.icio.us.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

My reasons for opposing Trump are somewhat different from yours. First, personality cults are a terrible way to choose a president. The uncivilized behavior of many of his supporters alone would be good enough reason to oppose him. Second, he seems far more vindictive than the average politician is, even than Hillary. For example, he has already threatened to spend his own money to end the careers of Cruz and Kasich for no other reason than that they have not endorsed him. He also appears to be in the pocket of Vladimir Putin.

Nevertheless, Trump is more a cause than effect. It is what his election would say about the USA and the character of her people, which concerns me most. It would represent a very bad milestone for the US on the way to a dictatorship, regardless of how well or how poorly he eventually performs. (I think he is likely to hand off the actual day-to-day operations to his vice, actually and it is also true that the ‘Trump as a signpost argument’ reverses cause and effect and therefore is merely an observation not a reason to vote against someone)

‘In the sense that the "winner" would lack a clear mandate and on the off-chance neither Trump nor Clinton might end up in office, there is merit to that conclusion.’

I am not sure it matters since a president has the same powers with or without a mandate and they do not seem to care about that once they get into power. I should point out; however, that your point contradicts an earlier comment you made against sequestering votes to a third party. At this point the only the other person who has a chance to get any Electoral College votes would be Gary Johnson. For example, if he and Weld took their home states, they might just keep Trump and Hillary below the required 270. Then it goes to the House of Representatives in which each state delegation gets one vote. http://lwv.org/content/who-will-elect-president-electoral-college-system (and the Senate for the vice president)

This means that if the House Republicans voted as a block, they could choose the next president. I suspect that the vast majority would prefer Johnson who after all is essentially a Republican, using the Libertarian party for ballet access. OTOH, they might feel obligated to choose Trump since he would have more Electoral College votes. All this is pure speculation of course.

Gus Van Horn said...


Oh, I have both noticed and include your reasons for opposing Trump with my own.

And yes, the behavior of many of his supporters concerns me.