I remained torn during the 2016 election. I had problems with Trump’s political inexperience and apparent ignorance on foreign issues and domestic policy, but I could not ignore Hillary Clinton’s blatant corruption, insufferable arrogance, and incompetence in office. I voted libertarian.
If the election was held today I would readily vote for Trump. He has proven himself better than I would have predicted, and Clinton has only deteriorated from her already low position. I still do not agree with Trump on several issues, particularly trade and the deficit.
I thought during the election that Trump was the safer bet because the media and the establishment of both parties would be diligent watchdogs on Trump, and fawning sycophants for Hillary. I also predicted that the left would discover the constitutional limits on executive power that they so willingly ignored under Obama.
I found a paradox that Obama was presidential, but I disagreed with most of his policies; Trump was unpresidential and I agreed with most of his accomplishments. I am also impressed with how much he has accomplished and the significance of his accomplishments in the face near open insurrection from the media clerisy.
Victor Davis Hanson articulated this better than I have in his excellent article in National Review, Elites Value Mellifluous Illegality over Crass Lawfulness. He challenges Obama’s ‘scandal free’ claim and cites the numerous examples of illegality and falsehoods of his administration.
Why was the Obama administration so corrupt?
Three reasons stand out. One, it was the first administration in modern history in which the media saw its role as a subordinate and accomplice rather than an auditor; the media thereby empowered corruption. Two, it exuded a moral zealousness in its promise to fundamentally transform the country and enact social justice; any means of doing so were justified by its exalted ends. Three, like the John F. Kennedy administration, Obama and his team adroitly calculated that in America’s celebrity culture, what’s hip and cool is often more highly prized than what’s competent and lawful, much less crude and effective.
No one would suggest that Donald Trump obeys the law because he has an inherent respect for the Constitution and the nation’s ethical bearings, although that perhaps could prove to be so. Rather, Trump has not broken the law the way that Obama routinely did quite simply because he cannot. The media is so hostile to his every act, the popular culture has so frequently written him off as crude, and his critics, both progressive and conservative, have become so hysterical over his person, that he lives in a singular 24/7 bubble that faults him for everything from his choice of dessert to the manner in which his daughter holds her child.
Call the Trump paradox “crass lawfulness.” What drives Trump’s critics nearly crazy is not any evidence that Trump has broken federal laws per se. Instead, their rub is that there are somehow no criminal statutes against a president boorishly acting “unpresidential” in his loud quest to supercharge the economy, while undoing the entire agenda of his predecessor, who was so dearly beloved by the media, universities, Hollywood, and identity-politics groups.