Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's NOT About Ideology

In occasional online "conversations" with Trump voters, I am frequently accused of being intolerant of people with an "ideology" different from mine. I infer from this that many Trump voters overestimate themselves as much as they overestimate Trump, since my opposition to Trump is far more pragmatic than it is ideological.

Candidate Trump was shockingly unqualified for the job of President of the United States. He had zero governmental experience. His statements made it clear he had little comprehension of the duties of the presidency or the limitations on the powers of that position. He was born rich and had a history of stiffing suppliers and employees, indicating no understanding of the lives or concerns of ordinary Americans. Many of his assertions were unambiguously racist and misogynistic. His years(!) of virulent Birtherism caused many to doubt his sanity.

These facts -- and they are plain and simple facts -- SHOULD disqualify any candidate, regardless of party or position.

I am not claiming that I support, or am even remotely comfortable with Trump's ideology, whatever that is. The fact is he's never clarified his core principles, or even whether he has any other than crude self-promotion. We can't evaluate his actions as an elected official or as a political activist, because he's never been either. His relationship with his own party is tense and complex, because they know he can't be counted on to toe the party line.  The few rhetorical specifics he's given us are markedly Racist, Nationalistic, and Protectionist, a hodgepodge that is difficult to classify. What ideology does Trump have? In what ideological perspective is it acceptable to elect a candidate so definitively unqualified for so powerful a position?

Having an ideology means you can articulate a few core principles and can explain how those principles lead you to the position you take for or against a particular piece of legislation, policy, or program. Merely having an Identity, calling yourself liberal or conservative or something else, is not an ideology if you leave it up to others to tell you how your Identity should vote. Following the herd is an instinct; ideology requires thought.

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