Why I’m Not Worried about Trump (Or Clinton or Sanders, etc…)

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It looks like the Republican Primary is wrapping up, and it’s highly likely that Trump will be nominated to run for president as the republican nominee. There could be an upset, but I think it’s highly unlikely, and given Trump’s ability to turn Cruz victories into defeats, I feel safe saying Trump is it.

The Democratic Primary has been in Clinton’s favor for a very long time. It’s extremely unlikely that Sanders will get the nomination.

Lots of people are asking me, “What do you think will happen if Trump gets elected?” Or Clinton, or Sanders, or Cruz.

The answer: Not a whole lot!

The Founding Fathers were absolutely political geniuses, unparalleled in any time before or since as far as we know. They built a system that would work even when most of the controls were removed or ignored.

The president only has a small amount of power. Sure, people, including voters, think the president can do a lot of things, but the truth is, the president does very little. Even Obama, who I would argue tried to extend the power of the presidency way beyond anything previously imagined, has been relatively harmless. Trump will likewise be harmless. Same goes for Sanders and Clinton.

The real power in the federal government is found in the House of Representatives. They control the budget. They control spending. If they don’t agree to it, it doesn’t happen. Of course, our house has tried to pretend they have no power, but it’s a deception fabricated by people who don’t want people to pay attention to them.

The Senate also wields tremendous power, and has been a thorn in the president’s side. While the house worries about re-election, 2/3rds of the senate knows that elections are too far in the future to matter. Better still if senators were appointed by the state legislatures as originally written in the constitution. (Repeal the 17th!) While the senate has the will to fight the president, they really don’t have very much power to do so. If the senate really wanted to flex their muscles, they would do it by providing cover for the house so that they can do the right thing despite the will of the people.

That’s right — despite the will of the people. I am no democrat. I do not believe that mob rule is best rule. I believe that uninformed, low-attention voters do not deserve the final say in every matter. We should give our leaders a chance to figure out a good resolution first that satisfied the people and whatever other interests are at play. In cases where they cannot persuade the people that their interests are being represented, then the people should revolt (hopefully through the ballot box, and not with ammo boxes.) Thus, in severe cases, the people do have final say, but it takes a lot to get to that point, and wise rulers can avoid it.

Our American government has existed and will continue to exist as long as we realize that we’re not a democracy. We’re not a plutocracy. We’re not an aristocracy. We’re not an autocracy. We’re not an oligarchy. We are all of those things combined. Each of these forms of government have something valuable to contribute, and the net result, if properly combined, can be a republic. This word is very special, coming from res publica, meaning “public affair”. Government should be something that everyone is invited to participate in, not just uneducated, under-informed people. The Founding Fathers wanted to create a republic where no one style of government could dominate the rest. They did a really good job.

I should list, I suppose, what I do consider as real threats to our future, both America’s and the world.

  1. A Worsening moral atmosphere. The more people that don’t dedicate themselves to doing what’s right for rightness’ sake, and don’t sacrifice their lives for the good of the people around them voluntarily, the worse we will be. Selfishness simply cannot sustain any society. The tragedy of the commons says that if you intend other people to yield so that you can exploit the common resource, you are going to be very disappointed. How many of us today are living in a way that we hope others do not behave like we do? This has got to end.
  2. A lackadaisical approach to politics and government. America can sustain ignorance and silliness, but only for so long. We need serious thinking when it comes to government and politics, and we need these voices to drown out the unreasonable or even evil voices out there. As it is, we’re seeing more and more people who should be involved disengage because of outright hostility. We should make government a “safe space” for those who disagree.
  3. A penchant to violence. America needs to be militarily superior to all others because we are abnormally disposed to peace and trade. The moment we become the belligerents, I’ll be looking for some other group of people that should wield the mighty sword. “Speak softly and carry a big stick” should be our motto. America’s right to rule the rest of the world is purely a product of our generosity and desire for equality of rights with all people.

I should probably make a case to explain point #3 more clearly to my European and Asian and African friends, but let me put it this way. Suppose that it was a requirement we must choose one person to rule the entire world. What kind of person would you choose? At the very minimum, he must be militarily competent, able to lead armies to victory, otherwise, the world would devolve into chaos and violence. But also importantly, he must be a peacemaker, someone who genuinely wants to forgive and forget and get along peacefully with everyone else. America has held that title since WWII because we have shown ourselves, as a society, worthy of wearing it. I worry that we have forgotten both of these important concepts, and so we are watching the world fall apart back into the old ways of divide and conquer.

I don’t think Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz can save us. None of them have the power to change any of the three points I outlined above. They do, however, have the ability to make things worse. But my trust is not in one person, but that hundreds of millions of Americans will make the right choice when the rubber hits the road regarding those three things, and I don’t think it matters who calls themselves president when it’s time to act.

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