One of the correct criticisms of President Trump is that he has broken norms that should guide all presidents, and I largely agree with that criticism. His personal behavior is often childish and boorish. His habit of twittering is a constant detraction from the dignity of the office he holds. He engages in public insult slinging with individuals, most recently the husband of his political advisor Kellyanne Conway, that make him seem small and petty. Trump and the truth are rarely on speaking terms. The list could go on at some length.
However, when it comes to governing, Trump has done so largely as a mainstream conservative. His pro-life record is second to none. As a steward of the economy he has performed magnificently. His record of filling the federal courts with able constitutional conservative jurists is unsurpassed, probably his longest lasting legacy. In foreign policy he has kept the peace and avoided new military commitments.
Thus, in regard to Trump his norm breaking is largely one of tone and personal behavior.
How about the Democrats who wish to replace him? Most of them now endorse the following:
- The Green New Deal that would cost in the next ten years over an estimated hundred trillion dollars.
- The abolition of ICE and, in effect, the abolition of our borders, inviting the entire globe to resettle in the US.
- Reparations for slavery.
- Abortion on demand through all nine months, and immediate infanticide for late term infants who survive an attempted abortion.
- Abolition of the electoral college.
- Packing the Supreme Court with new Justices.
- Confiscation by the government of semi-automatic rifles.
- Some form of universal basic income, i.e. money for existing.
- Medicare for all.
- “Free” college for all, starting with “free” community college.
One could debate the wisdom, or lack thereof, of each of these policies, but taken together it is clear that Trump’s Democrat challengers do not give a fig about the norms that have long held sway when it comes to policy in this country. If I must choose, and I must, I prefer Trump’s personal breaking of norms, rather than the policy breaking of norms of his would-be replacements. (This is not to say that many of the Democrat challengers do not also have questionable, at the least, personal behavior, but that is a subject for future posts.)