[My name is Lawrence Black. The founder and principal content creator for Order from Chaos is my younger brother. He has graciously offered me the opportunity to pen the occasional opinion piece for his blog. We are both Objectivists, but we do not always hold the same opinions on every subject. Thus, this Disclaimer: The opinions presented in this essay are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Order from Chaos, it’s employees or affiliates. Any errors, of omission or commission, are mine alone]
My brother and I, as residents of Vermont, realize that our votes will count for nothing in this presidential race. The once reliably Conservative state we grew up in has been transformed into a deep blue Progressive vision. Even if Hillary is somehow indicted, Bernie is an absolute lock. Given this, we are free to vote our consciences. However, there are states where the issue is still undecided, as well as some previously “blue” states that Trump could possibly put into play. In light of that, I am forced to play “Devil’s Advocate”: The case for Trump is one I never imagined myself making. Yet, here I am.
Hillary Clinton is adamantly anti-gun and an individual’s right to keep and bear arms and has stated several times that “sensible gun control policies” such as those enacted in the UK and Australia are “worth looking at” (both of these country’s policies amounted to “turn ’em in”). Obama has been pushing for more gun control for years and has also expressed admiration for the UK and Australian “gun control” model. Hillary would simply be an extension of Obama (3rd term?)
Hillary is already calling for higher taxes to help pay for needed infrastructure improvements (didn’t we already spend over $900B in stimulus funds for “infrastructure” and “shovel-ready jobs”? Oh, yeah, Obama told us “[laughing] The ‘shovel-ready jobs’ weren’t as shovel ready as we thought.” Another Obama-style slush fund for her cronies.
Hillary has also promised to continue the Obama administration’s “War on Coal” Click & Tweet! , saying, “We’re going to be putting a lot of coal miners out of business” (don’t worry, she promises to create federal “programs” to help you out), expanding on Obama’s promise prior to the 2008 election that, under his plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” and that “if someone wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can, but the penalties we’re going to impose will bankrupt them”. Ten’s of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity lost.
Then there’s the issue of the Clinton Foundation and its overseas contributors, many of whom have interests in direct opposition to those of America. These countries donated, collectively, 100’s of millions of dollars to the Foundation while Hillary was Secretary of State, in addition to 10’s of millions paid directly to Bill Clinton for speeches (once Hillary officially left her post in government, she received similar speaking fees). What were these governments buying? Hillary is hardly in demand as an eloquent speaker with a velvet voice(!) and these regimes are not the kind to listen with any respect to the words of a mere woman.
The Clinton emails scandal? Despite evidence of gross negligence and perhaps outright criminal tampering with top secret government documents, most people just don’t care. Sadly, they have come to see such evidence of incompetence, if not corruption, as par for the course in politics. I still think it’s important enough to take into account, though. There’s solid evidence that she lied, or was intentionally evasive and obstructive, several times in testimony before congress, as well as to individual Americans…….All of this is old hat. By now, anyone who has been paying any attention at all knows all this. Those supporting Hillary either don’t care or see some advantage for themselves in a Hillary Clinton administration.
Trump. Billionaire real estate developer. Crony Capitalist. Political neophyte. Trump is the ultimate political wildcard. He’s one of the few people to be on both sides of more issues than Hillary. He has said he wants to “Make America Great Again”. It’s a slogan that resonates all the more powerfully after nearly 8 years of “You didn’t build that”, a seemingly never-ending Presidential apology tour, and a stalled economy.
Trump is brash. Some say refreshingly so. His shoot-from-the-lip style appeals to those tired of overly polished and politically poll-tested sound bites. As does his refusal to apologize simply because someone claims to be offended by his non-PC remarks. While the establishment political class, of both parties, has often been sent running for their smelling salts as a result of Trump’s rhetoric, his numbers have grown and blue collar, working class Americans are lifting their heads and paying real attention to politics (there’s a reason why Donald Trump received more primary votes than any other Republican candidate in history). Many for the first time. From “Mexico isn’t sending their best people here. We’re getting rapists, drug dealers and violent criminals sent here.” “Build a wall.” “We need to stop allowing Muslims into the country temporarily until we have a handle on what’s going on.” “America is getting screwed in trade deals and negotiations with foreign countries”, Trump has been saying what many, many people have been saying, privately and to their friends, for years. Maybe decades. Finally, someone is validating what they see and feel.
Donald Trump is no friend of the Constitution. Click & Tweet! He is ambiguous, at best, about the 2nd Amendment, and has stated his intention to “open up the libel laws” to prosecute those who criticize him (unfairly, in his opinion), a direct assault on the 1st Amendment. The 5th Amendment and the takings clause? He has openly stated his admiration for eminent domain, saying it’s the only way to get things done.
Neither of these candidates inspires optimism and a feeling that they are focused on upholding the founding ideals of America. So, why Trump? Click & Tweet! What makes Hillary so dramatically worse that I would vote for someone who shares virtually none of my values? It’s precisely because of those values that I would, reluctantly, vote Trump.
The Long Game
As an Objectivist, I have to vote my rational self-interest, as best I can discern it given present information and reasonable projections based on experience. And, while neither of these candidates is likely to advance that value, only one is singularly positioned to circumscribe, or even prevent, my ability to pursue my self-interest: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It boils down to the United States Federal Court system and the federal bureaucracy. Click & Tweet! Given the outsized influence on American law and culture the courts have assumed for themselves, the power of judicial appointment is a potentially devastating weapon to be used against a free society.
Hillary is an acolyte of Saul Alinsky, whose “Rules for Radicals” has been the handbook of choice for rabble-rousers and revolutionaries (they now call themselves “Social Justice Warriors”) for decades. She has also proudly called herself a modern day Progressive, in the mold of the Progressives of the early 20th century.
Another Progressive, FDR, tried to expand and pack the Supreme Court in order to get his agenda through without having to deal with Congress’s objections. Thankfully, his blatant attempt at hijacking the government wasn’t successful. Forestalling Hillary’s Progressive agenda would be considerably more difficult. The number of federal appellate courts and executive level departments has increased greatly since FDR’s time. As has the number of federal circuit judgeships open to an executive appointment.
Take just the example of the recent passing of Antonin Scalia. The open seat on the Supreme Court is of critical importance. Several recent Court decisions have been 5-4, in favor of the Conservative/Constitutionalist argument. Notable among these are Citizens United (upholding 1st Amendment protections for political speech) and Heller v. DC (upholding the 2nd Amendment as a guarantee of the citizens’ individual right to bear arms). Imagine the ramifications of alternate decisions giving the government the power to regulate political speech prior to an election (when the electorate is most in need of information about the political candidates) and giving that same government the power to arbitrarily violate a Constitutionally protected right that “shall not be infringed” (the recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, upholding the nearly prohibitive restrictions imposed by some countries on those seeking to obtain a permit to carry concealed is a great example.)
At the moment, the Court is reduced to 8 sitting Justices, meaning that most controversial matters will be likely to result in 4-4 decisions, which will leave standing the ruling of the lower court(s). Since there are often conflicting rulings by lower courts (that’s why they were put before the Supreme Court in the first place, for resolution), you end up with a patchwork of rulings that make it very difficult for businesses and citizens to conduct their day-to-day affairs. People on both sides of the aisle agree that it’s important for the seat to be filled, they just disagree on who should fill it, and what judicial philosophy that Justice should uphold: Original Intent or Living Constitution?
It is very likely that, in addition to the Scalia vacancy, at least 2 (maybe 3) others will come up during the next President’s term(s). As a newly appointed Justice can serve as many as 3 decades or longer, these vacancies have the potential to either reaffirm the traditional Constitutional interpretation of the citizen as sovereign, ceding limited powers to the federal government; or to expand the size, scope and power of the federal government into virtually every aspect of a citizens’ life.
Many pundits are saying that, should Hillary Clinton win the White House, it is likely that the Democrats will also regain control of the Senate, and possibly retake the House, as well. Just taking the Senate would be enough to guarantee Hillary the ability to fill any open Appellate Court bench with some of the most radical Progressive judges she can find with only a simple majority vote (remember, Sen. Harry Reid used his majority vote in the Senate to remove the filibuster for Executive appointments, excepting only the Supreme Court). Even without a supermajority (60+) in the Senate, she will also be likely to get at least strongly “left-leaning” Justices confirmed to SCOTUS. So that’s 2,3 maybe 4 Supreme Court Justices appointed by President Hillary Clinton during her term. Care to imagine how that would affect individual and business rights? When you leverage that by the literally dozens of Appellate Courts she could stack, and the career government administrators she can put into place (remember Obama and his illicit “recess appointments” of union backers to the NLRB? Their rulings are still in effect), the future looks bleak, indeed.
Some say that such concerns are unfounded. After all, they argue, she’d face united opposition by the Republicans. Really” Where? In 2010, the Tea Party worked tirelessly to give Republicans control of the House of Representatives, giving them a numerical advantage they hadn’t seen since the Civil War, and increasing their numbers in the Senate, based on a promise of repealing Obamacare (the upset winner of Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, Republican Scott Brown, was touted as the blocking vote in the Senate that would prevent the passage of Obamacare) and rebuffing the liberal agenda of Barack Obama.
What did they get?
“Well, we can’t really do anything to stop him. We only control one-half of Congress. But, if you get us control of the Senate, THEN we can really go after his illegal Executive Orders and bring the government back under control.” In the mid-term elections of 2014, they did just that.
What did they get?
“We’re doing all we can. Even if we get legislation passed, Obama will only veto it. And we don’t have the votes to override.”
Worse than that, they got “RINOs” who actively worked with the President to pass parts of his Progressive agenda. The modern day Republican party has done little to oppose the Democrat/Progressive agenda Click & Tweet! , other than to offer public lip service to the folks back home and “show” votes that accomplished nothing. THESE are the people who are going to stand in Hillary’s way and prevent “The Nation’s First Woman President” from implementing an even more radical vision of the Obama agenda? (hollow laugh)
The punditry say that the Republicans will stand strong (this time) if Hillary tries to take any extra-Constitutional actions on things like gun control and immigration and that Court challenges to her actions will stop her agenda in its tracks. It’s hard to imagine this happening, given the track record of the Obama administration with a 5-4 Conservative-leaning Supreme Court. His administration has blatantly ignored, even violated, court orders on a range of issues from immigration, to FOIA requests, to IRS targeting of opposition grassroots political groups, to subpoenas issued to administration officials, and his administration has faced few, if any, real consequences. The precedents he has set concerning the expansion of executive authority will be exploited by successive Presidents of both parties. He has largely succeeded in transforming America from a country under the Rule of Law to a country under the Rule of Men.
While there’s no doubt that a President Trump would also attempt to exploit these precedents, it is much more likely that he WOULD be prevented from implementing the more obviously disastrous of his proposed policies (35-45% tariffs on imports?) by, of all things, “bi-partisanship”. Donald Trump is thoroughly establishment. He has nothing in common with traditional Conservative political ideology. He is all about the Art of the Deal. Establishment Republicans used to deal making will believe they can “work with” a President Trump. The opposition will come from the “odd bedfellows” of politics. In this case, the traditional conservative Republican base and rank and file Democrats who will oppose Trump just because he’s a Republican (or just because he’s “Trump”). If the punditry is correct, that Trump on the ballot results in down-ballot defeats for Republicans, giving Democrats the Senate, gridlock will almost certainly continue.
I realize that a nominal Republican, particularly one seen as being the face of Capitalism, occupying the Oval Office during what I believe to be another imminent recession, may do damage to the ideals of Laissez-faire. However, it is just as likely that great economic instability during a Hillary Presidency could make it even easier for her to implement extreme Progressive policies because “we have to do SOMETHING”.
I believe that America as we have known it can survive 4 years of a Trump Presidency Click & Tweet! (I can’t imagine him even running for a second term, after running into the political reality that a President isn’t the same as a CEO). After 4 or 8 years under Hillary Clinton and her various political appointees and judges, the Republic will be irretrievably lost. Click & Tweet! And the world’s last remnant of Enlightenment thought and personal freedom and liberty will fade away.
It is for that reason alone that I could force myself to vote Trump.