Politico Wants to Know if Trump’s Academic Supporters Regret Their Choice. I Don’t.

No, I don't

By William M Briggs Published on November 29, 2017

During the campaign for the Presidency, the group Scholars and Writers for America backed Donald Trump by issuing a public Statement of Unity. I was one of the signers. (At the time I signed I was with Cornell University; now I am not.)

The statement said things like this:

With Mrs. Clinton, we’d expect to see [as with Mr. Obama] an even greater slide towards an all-powerful presidency, and the judges she would appoint could be expected to bless the attendant threat to political liberty …

Crony capitalism, the silent killer of the American economy, would increasingly burden entrepreneurs with wasteful regulations that serve to transfer wealth from dispersed lower and middle-class Americans to the rich and well-connected.

Under Trump, we anticipated not a return to the sunny uplands of a truly liberal culture, but an arresting of the downward acceleration we had been experiencing and would have experienced with greater force had Mrs. Clinton wrapped her shaky fingers around the throat of Washington.

I believe every signer knew this was a choice of the lesser of two evils, with one evil being mostly benign and the other aggressively malignant.

Inquiring Minds

Politico Magazine wondered if the signers of the statement still thought the same way. They emailed us asking:

As President Trump’s first year in office comes to a close, Politico Magazine is reaching out to the Scholars and Writers for America who signed the statement of unity in support of Trump during his candidacy. As a group, you represented a small slice of academia that publicly endorsed the ideas Trump campaigned for, and we would love to gather your thoughts on how well he has represented those ideas in his time in office so far …

Your answers to these two questions will attributed to you by name.

1. Do you still stand by your statement of support for Donald Trump? If so, why? If not, when and why did you change your mind?

2. What has been President Trump’s greatest achievement so far in office? His greatest failure?

Unchanged Mind

Here is what I am saying to Politico.

Darn tootin’ I stand behind, and even hold up, the Statement of Unity. Because the election was a choice, we always have to keep in mind the counterfactual: What would it be like if Hillary had won?

There is no prediction in that Statement that need be reconsidered. We predicted Trump would “appoint judges in the mold of Justice Scalia,” and so far he has.

If Hillary had won, she would have had to choose the most pitiable candidate belonging to one of our culture’s favorite victim groups. You can almost hear the slogan: “We haven’t had a Buddhist gender-dysphoric immigrant on the bench yet!” Of course, we can wonder if such a candidate would have had enough funds to donate to the Clinton Foundation to propel his (her? its?) nomination.

The media prior to Trump had accumulated far too much unaccountable power — which it abused with gleeful abandon.

Home Runs

I’m split between what I think has been his greatest victory. Here are my choices.

One, Mr. Trump showed us what the media really is. They have exposed themselves, and are still exposing themselves, to be mendacious propagandizing lying shifty biased gibbering hyper-sensitive unstable floggers of fake news. That includes Politico. (Did any of your reporters weep after the election, or participate in any of the cry-ins since?)

The media prior to Trump had accumulated far too much unaccountable power — which it abused with gleeful abandon. That Mr. Trump can access the public directly, for example through Twitter, has done a great service in bringing out into the open the media’s heretofore unacknowledged agenda.

Two, Mr. Trump has made excellent appointments. Two of note are Scott Pruitt at the EPA, and Ajit Pai at FCC. After Pruitt was announced, socialist activists everywhere had to breathe into paper bags to stifle their panic attacks.

And Pai is putting the kibosh on the Orwellian-named “net neutrality,” which would have allowed Silicon Valley cronies to stifle their competition.

If Hillary had won, every (remaining) liberty would have been examined for potential removal. For our own good, of course.

Nobody bats a thousand.

Trump’s “greatest” failure is a drastic over-statement. I would rather he had not loosed any munitions in the Middle East. America cannot, or at least should not, be the world’s policeman.

There have been other errors, which are only expected, but none have reached beyond intra-office rivalries and gaffes like putting ketchup on his well-done steak. I recall reading an article by some nervous youth entitled (something like) “Acks-shua-lly, How Donald Trump Eats His Steak Matters.” (Was that in Politico?)

Your Turn

Politico also asked the following five questions, which you yourself might to have a go at answering. Here they are, with my answers in parentheses:

Your original “statement of unity” praised Trump’s potential in five issue areas. On a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best), how well do you think Trump has performed as president on each count?

  1. Upholding constitutional governance (4)
  2. Fighting corruption in government (5)
  3. Stimulating the economy (5)
  4. Defending religious liberty (4)
  5. Promoting charter and parochial schools (3)
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