from Victor Davis Hanson in National Review, Never What?
Like it or not, most Americans do not always have the choice to vote for presidents largely on the basis of their personal comportment rather than on the issues the candidates embrace and the likelihood that they will keep campaign promises and seek to carry them out — and can win the election. Nor do non-elites see candidates in a vacuum, without regard to the alternative.
“Little rocket man” may or may not be a puerile presidential outburst, but not achieving annualized 3 percent GDP growth for a decade, or leaving the border wide open, or writing off the industrial heartland, or doing little to address minority unemployment — or for 20 years soberly and judiciously giving billions to the Kim dynasty as it sought its present arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles pointed at the West Coast — may be a far greater moral sin.If America had listened in 2016 to such Never Trump advocacy, we would now be in the eleventh year of a likely 16-year Obama-Clinton continuum, a tenure well on the way to completing the much-vaunted fundamental progressive transformation of the country — to the detriment of millions of Americans. Donald Trump for the time being has interrupted that arc of history. In 2020, he will likely be the Republican nominee. The Manichaean choice will be between his policies of 2017–20 and what is shaping up as a radical neosocialist agenda not seen in 90 years that will include, but not be limited to, an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic venom, veritable legal infanticide, reparations, the Green New Deal, the abolition of ICE, virtual open borders, a wealth tax, a 70–90 percent top income-tax bracket, Medicare for all, and who knows what else in the next two years.
Most voters, admirably or not, do not always believe that their president must be morally perfect to do good, but only that, in practical terms, he must at least appear better than the alternative. A prior generation wanted the mercurial General George S. Patton leading the Third Army in France, and thereby saving American lives — a rare military genius who made Trump’s personal life, speech, and behavior appear quite tame in comparison.
VDH describes the Dirty Harry school of Trump-splainers. Clint Eastwood played the rogue cop ostracized for his unconventional methods until only his methods worked.