A couple of pieces appeared in “The Atlantic” this morning that are interesting, particularly when taken in together. One looks at polling data and concludes Trump voters do not expect Trump to actually “fix everything.” The other tries to figure out why Evangelicals are hopeful for the Trump administration. As I read the pieces I could not help but reflect that they were written by people that just do not “get it.” Trump enjoys a core of strongly devoted followers, but they are not who won him this election; there simply are not enough of them. Trump won this election on the votes of people like my host here or myself – the so-called “reluctant” Trump voter.
I cannot speak for my host here, but I do know why as reluctant as I was to vote for Trump, I am hopeful. Of course, his appointments to date are a cause for great hope, but my hope springs from something deeper – it springs from what Trump does not care about. Trump has never expressed an ideology. He has policy stances and ideas on specific issues, but he is not, that I can tell, ideologically driven. Obama and his chosen successor Hillary were first and foremost ideologues and were not afraid to use the power of governmental force to drive the nation towards their ideology. From the court battles over the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare to the battle over bathrooms and gender, to the simple prevalence of politically correct speech enforcement, the administration soon to leave us was an oppressive presence in our lives. Obama did not simply want to change what we have to do to comply with regulation X; he wanted to change how we think and most Americans do not like that one whit.
Conservative and religious Americans have put up with abortion for decades now. It is an abhorrent, ugly practice, but we have tolerated it because we have been allowed to elect not to participate and to voice our opinions about the practice. We have been allowed to conduct the war of ideas and practice in accordance with our own ideas as our ideological opposition was allowed to do. When we win the war of ideas, the law may follow, but it should not precede that ideological victory. Obama broke that compromise in many areas and used the law as a means of fighting the ideological battle, and Hillary certainly looked to follow in that mold.
Trump in many ways embodies the compromise. The ultimate pragmatist, the ideological battles swirl around him without comment on his part. And thus we Americans are set free to fight them. There is a lot on which Trump and I will disagree, hence the voting reluctance, but at least I see no signs of him wanting to shut down my disagreement – nor contain the ideology that drives my disagreement. Continue Reading