Church Historian: ‘Trump is a Political Exorcist’
The Vatican recently reported a worldwide shortage of exorcists, the priests especially trained to emulate Jesus and the apostles in banishing spirits of evil. Recently, I had the chance to interview an historian who thinks that American political culture needs an exorcist — and might have found one. H. W. Crocker III is a popular historian best known for his book Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, A 2,000-Year History. He is also the vice president and executive editor of Regnery Publishing.
Unlike most historians, Crocker has real world experience in politics. He was a foreign policy advisor on the George H. W. Bush campaign for president in 1988 and a speechwriter for California Governor Pete Wilson during his first term (1991-94) and on his come-from-behind reelection victory over Kathleen Brown (Jerry Brown’s sister) that also saw Republicans winning a majority in the California Assembly and several statewide offices. His latest book is The Yanks Are Coming! A Military History of the United States in World War I. Here are some snippets from our conversation.
Has there ever been another presidential election like this?
Well, the obvious comparison is with 1912, except that in this case the Bull Moose candidate, Trump, got the Republican nomination. The establishment Republicans (or the Bush/Kasich wing) are on the outside looking in.
How important is this year’s presidential election?
If Trump loses, I might move to Iceland.
You’re supporting Trump?
With no qualms?
None. Trump did what any smart Republican needed to do, which was build a new coalition with blue collar conservatives. Republicans can’t win nationally unless they redraw the electoral map — he does that. He’s the only one who could do that. After Romney’s defeat in 2012, I commissioned Rick Santorum to write a book called Blue Collar Conservatives, which showed what needed to be done. Trump apparently read that book and put it into play.
What about people who say Trump is too flawed to be president?
I say they are fundamentally unserious about politics — more concerned with manners than political reality. You’re not just electing a man, you’re electing an administration. And the reality is that every day of a Hillary administration will further the grinding under heel of the Constitution, with leftist bureaucrats fundamentally transforming America. Every day, by every conservative — or Christian — measure, things will get worse.
Can a Christian be a liberal in today’s sense of the word?
No. Liberalism is the Devil’s politics, and you can quote me on that. It makes the bad good and the good bad. The first Whig was the Devil, as Dr. Johnson said, and he was right.
And where does Trump fit in that picture?
Trump is a political exorcist, casting out demons from our body politic — and by demons I mean things like political correctness.
Isn’t that putting things a little strongly — to call political correctness demonic?
Political correctness is all about lies — lies like there’s no difference between men and women, or that killing an unborn child is morally neutral. The Devil is the “father of lies,” according to the Bible, and today there’s no shortage of lies that we’re supposed to believe.
And what does Trump do about that?
Let me put it this way: Republicans usually let Democrats, the enforcers of political correctness, set the agenda; they even grant them the moral high ground — and then they play defense or try to moderate Democrat proposals. Trump sets his own agenda — and does it the reverse of the normal Republican way. He plants his flag on the right and then walks it back as necessary, moving the center to the right. That’s an enormous advantage to have — and we haven’t had a president who could do that since Ronald Reagan.
Okay, if Americans do elect Trump. What comes after that?
Something less flamboyant: Eisenhower; Mike Pence — if he holds the Trump coalition together and restores the Nervous Nellie Republicans.
What about Christians — Catholics in particular, who have been leaning to Hillary, as some polls suggest?
Catholic voters need to prove they’re as pro-life as Trump. If they vote for Hillary, they’re not.
I’ve asked whether a Trump defeat could lead to increased persecution of Christians in this country. What do you think?
If Trump loses, that’s inevitable. The rule of law is already in jeopardy. The First Amendment is already in tatters. Hillary Clinton’s judges and bureaucrats would put the Constitution through a paper shredder. Hillary, in my opinion, will be a disaster on foreign policy. She already has been. She will be a disaster on the economy. But the people she really wants to crush are social conservatives; they’re the “deplorables.”
Then I take it that, given what’s at stake in November, you think it’s a time for prayer and fasting.
You better believe it — at least the prayer part. On the fasting, we’ll have plenty of that in our future if the people elect Hillary.