My professional anti-Trump endorsement
October 17, 2016 1 Comment
So, I gave a talk on the election to a great group of engaged NC State “Scholars” today. I framed it around the idea of the “Trump Tax” (as nicely explained in Vox) in that Trump is a uniquely poor presidential candidate falling way below where we would expect a generic Republican to.
I was pretty critical of Trump’s quality as a candidate in all the usual ways, but never anything particularly harsh. But something towards the end got me onto the topic of the “rigged election.” And I’ve written plenty here so that you know what I think of the matter. So, I took the opportunity to speak not just as liberal Steve Greene, but Professor of American Politics Steven Greene. I said that, as a Political Scientist, I would never have advocated voting against any previous Republican nominee in my lifetime. And, yes, there’s plenty to disagree about with regards to health care, abortion, immigration, etc. But some things are far more important– like the respect for bedrock democratic values such as the rule of law and peaceful transitions of power. Donald Trump is clearly a threat to these foundations of American democracy, as someone who is a scholar studying our democracy– and loves our democracy, warts and all– we truly have a responsibility to see to it that Trump is not president.
I had some great conversations afterwards with some thoughtful young Republicans who appreciated my words and were upset and sad their party had nominated Trump. I encouraged them to work to make it a better party. And then there was the guy who said, “how can you say that about Trump but not bring up the threat to democratic values from Hillary Clinton and Benghazi?” I really just wanted to say “seriously??!!” I tried to be nice about it, but I have very much come to the conclusion that when somebody starts with “Benghazi!” they have done you the favor of instantly letting you know they are just not somebody intellectually serious about politics.