Sunday, March 6, 2016


Consider the following:

·        The Department of Justice refuses to seek statutory minimum sentences in criminal drug cases though it is required to by law.

·        The Little Sisters of the Poor are forced by the government to pay for abortions.

·        Hundreds of self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities,” which refuse to enforce federal immigration laws, are ignored by Obama, the DOJ and ICE, and face no repercussions.

·        Members of the New Black Panther Party, in uniform and brandishing nightsticks, intimidate white voters on Election Day in 2008.  The DOJ, though it knows the individuals and has photos of the crime, refuses to prosecute.

·        Secretly, and without warrants, the Administration gathers phone records of staff at the Associated Press.

·        The Obama Administration, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, arranges for thousands of guns to be sold to Mexican drug criminals, resulting in the violent deaths of hundreds of innocent Mexican nationals and at least one US border agent, then refuses to comply with Congressional subpoenas seeking information about the project.  The US prosecutes no one for the illegal gun sales or the subsequent murders.

·        Christian and conservative groups applying for 501(c) (4) status are harassed for years by IRS agents, who then resist Congressional scrutiny of their actions.  No one is prosecuted.

·        After Obamacare is passed, hundreds of executive “waivers” (with no basis in the statute), are issued to unions, friends of the Administration and Democratic campaign contributors so that the most burdensome provisions fall only on groups Obama does not like or which have no insider status with his Administration.

·        Amnesty is unilaterally granted, by executive order, to large numbers of illegal immigrants, ignoring current law.

·        “Operation Choke Point” is set in motion, where various government agencies, without any statutory authority, force banks to choke off access to financial services for businesses the Administration disapproves of, like those who sell ammunition or make payday loans.

·        Following a military coup in Egypt, the Administration continues to provide aid to the Egyptian government even though it is prohibited from doing so.

·        Four Americans overseas are intentionally killed in counterterrorism operations without any judicial process.

·        The Administration unilaterally changes long-established bankruptcy law by giving unsecured creditors superior status to secured creditors in the Chrysler bankruptcy.

·        Following the receipt of large campaign contributions for Obama from executives at Solyndra, the Administration awards $535 million in federal grants to the company, which then goes under.

·        Obama, by edict and without any statutory authority to do so, delays the employer mandate under Obamacare.

·        A sitting U.S. Senator (Menendez) of the President’s own party, who expresses disapproval of Obama’s “legacy” deal with Iran, is immediately indicted by the DOJ on complicated corruption charges that will occupy the Senator’s time and attention for years.

·        The Administration takes TARP money (which legally can be used only to rescue financial institutions), and uses it to bail out GM, then appoints a “czar” to run GM for months without any authority to do so.

If you are among the millions who read this blog regularly, you know I am not a Trump fan.  Though I concede he possesses a peculiar genius that has put him atop the Republican field, he remains a crude, dishonest person who is not only ignorant of things a President needs to know (e.g., history, economics, the Constitution), but also does not care that he is ignorant.  (He also is reputed to be a worse golf cheat than even Bill Clinton, though this was previously believed to be scientifically impossible.)  Finally, his policy positions, to the extent one can figure out what they are, are those of an Eastern blue-state liberal Republican, and I won’t vote for Eastern blue-state liberal Republicans anymore.  Mitt Romney was my last.

But while I don’t like Trump very much, the support for him is easy to understand, and the dismissal of Trump’s supporters as yahoos is insulting.  It’s an attempt to belittle Trump himself, I suppose, but it’s not merely unkind, it is foolish. While it is true there are white supremacists and xenophobes among his voters, the vast majority of them are rational, sensible people who support him for rational, sensible reasons.  Most know exactly the sort of person he is, and they may like him about as much as I do, but they are choosing to vote for him because they are frightened by what has happened in America over the last eight years.  Trump is an inevitable response to the (partial) list of Obama’s illegal acts that began this article, and to the unfortunate conclusion that law in America is coming to be used merely as a tool to enforce leftist social policies, and not as a bulwark of freedom and equal protection for individuals. As the rule of law frays and begins to break down, the rise of a candidate like Trump becomes a certainty.

The phenomenon happens everywhere, and is easier to see in places where the process is much further along, where civil society has completely failed.  In a place like Libya or Iraq or Syria, for example, when all semblance of law and government devolves into looting and score-settling and civil war, what happens?  What happens with the decent folks in quiet villages when everything and everybody is suddenly at the mercy of roaming armies and criminals and soldiers of fortune?  What happens to the people who have been raising families and growing crops and running cafes and pouring concrete, and who now find themselves helpless against the armed and violent forces all around them?

They look for tough guys to protect them.

People in such a place will get together and form a militia, consisting of farmers and shop-keepers and young guys who don’t have anything better to do, and they will set up a checkpoint at the edge of town in order to keep the bad guys out.  The message to outsiders is far from complicated:  “You can’t steal these chickens.  You can’t rape these women.  You can’t kidnap these children.” Where there is fear, decent people turn to the “strongman.”  In Libya, that may mean some local, friendly guys with automatic weapons.  In America right now, it means voting for Trump.  The motivation is exactly the same. 

And there is no one else on the Republican side who fits the role.  The party has held the House and Senate throughout most of the Obama Administration, and despite campaign vows to fight back against Obama’s autocratic rule, his spending and his disdain for the law, virtually nothing has been done.  Historically, the House has often reined in a President of the other party by refusing to appropriate funds for his initiatives (it’s how the Democrats shut down the Vietnam War, for example), but this Congress refuses to exercise its traditional “power of the purse.”  The Republicans in charge of Congress will not even stop the government from funding the dismemberment of babies. The people voting for Trump are not only frightened by the current government, they are disgusted with the standard-brand Republican Party (McConnell, McCain, Ryan, Boehner, et al.), that has betrayed them.

Voting for Trump is a perfectly rational response to both the current government and the current Republican Party.  While I do not agree that Trump is the solution to the problem, and I don’t believe he will do what he says he will, I understand the impulse to embrace him.  The options for those who want to save and rebuild the American republic are very limited.