In these past few days I’ve argued that Donald Trump is an increasingly impressive political performer, whose lack of substantive knowledge on public issues is increasingly obvious. He keeps saying “we’re going to win again” and “it’s going to be great” because that’s all he knows to say about anything involving what a president does. Three installments to this effect are here, here, and here.
For the other side, a sample of reader mail defending Trump. First, from a reader in Europe, a “shake things up” / “intensify the contradictions” argument:
I think I would vote for Trump.
- what American politics needs is radical change. Hillary won't bring that. Bernie is too weak to deliver.
- he would probably really split the Republican Party. Maybe leading to a multi-party system?
- said that Bush lied the country and the world to war.
- does not unquestioningly take the Israeli side.
- he is not a fascist, racist, white supremacist. Wall or no wall.
I wrote back saying: thanks for laying this out, but I disagree for many reasons, among them that Trump does not know anything about either domestic or international policy, choices, problems, goals. The European replied:
I understand. But I believe it is irrelevant. The position of president was never meant to be as powerful as it is today. The country should be rueld by a functioning Senate and Congress.
What America needs is direct democracy where people can vote on issues directly, like in Switzerland. There is no place for riots and violence in such a system, because it gets settled with a vote. If the majority agrees, then the rest has to shut it. Even if the decision is very controversial and might limit some people's rights. It happens all the time in Switzerland. But decisions also get reversed in subsequent votes. And with some issues, like repealing mandatory military service, they vote on it every 10-15 years. Always with the same outcome.
The point is that people actually have a direct voice and what the majority decides actually happens. I think in today's America most of the "elite" and the politically left-leaning there is a lack of trust in the people and their ability to make sane decisions.
The result is Trump.
Again, Hilary will not change this. Trump is just so disruptive that it might lead to some actual change.
For the record, I find this unpersuasive, the kind of thought-experiment that might seem “interesting” from Europe but not if you’re in the middle of it here. Still, offered for the record.