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September 19th 2016 print

Peter Smith

Those Conservative Inexplicables

I don’t get it. The disdain for Trump by a small, but significant, minority of conservatives cannot be policy-based. Yes, it's true that his positions do not meet the conservative ideal, but there is not the shadow of a doubt they are much closer to that standard than are Hillary Clinton’s

trump non“Namby-pamby, panty-waisted, weak-kneed,” was the way evangelical preacher Pastor Robert Jeffress didn’t mince words on the Sean Hannity (Fox News) show in describing the never-Trump conservative coterie. Clearly he didn’t take his lead in his choice of words from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Equally clear, he was talking about conservative men. After all, most women, whatever their politics, are in a literal sense panty-waisted.

It set me wondering about the temperament of conservative men who have decided that they can never support Donald Trump. Some seem so nauseatingly precious when I see them on TV. They whine about not being able to bring themselves to support such a vile creature as Trump. And then they dissemble feebly when challenged that they are effectively supporting Hillary Clinton, her left-wing policies, and her left-wing appointments to the US Supreme Court.

For example, I saw Glenn Beck being interviewed. There are candidates to vote for other than Trump or Clinton he mumbled. Really, Gary Johnson or Jill Stein or one of a host of other minor wannabes who’ve put themselves on some state ballots? None of them has any chance and Beck knows that. He spouts about being a constitutional conservative, yet he is willing to risk the Supreme Court being stacked for generations to come with judges who will not give a fig about the US Constitution.

Another never-Trump person is Bret Stephens. He is a conservative columnist (or so he claims) for The Wall Street Journal. Take this recent piece of his, rerun in The Australian on September 14. His piece comprises his answers to a series of Dorothy Dix questions asked of him by a mysterious third party posing as a semi-apologist for Trump. How irritating is that? Never mind, I said to myself, feel the content not the annoyance. It didn’t help.

“How can you call yourself a conservative columnist when you’re rooting for Hillary Clinton?”, the mysterious third party asks. Stephens answers thus: “Because Donald Trump is anti-conservative, un-American, immoral and dangerous.” There are fifteen other questions like this, all with answers beating Trump about the head. I can only advise those who have not read Stephens’ piece to make no effort to do so.

I don’t get it. The disdain for Trump by a small, but significant, minority of conservatives, like Beck and Stephens, cannot be policy-based. Trump’s policies, while admittedly not conforming to a conservative ideal, are much closer to it than are Clinton’s. He also intends appointing solid Supreme Court judges (originalists and literalists) who will uphold the Constitution. He has put out a list of potential appointees, all of whom passed muster among the most ardent conservatives. The choice is between these kinds of judges or flunkies.

It is inexplicable to me why any conservative would prefer Clinton to Trump. That is why I have decided to name them “the inexplicables” and contrast them with the “irredeemable basket of deplorables” who Mrs Clinton believes constitute half of Trump’s supporters. Ah, but as self-identifying deplorable, and irredeemably so to boot, I am not content to leave the mystery unresolved. Is it possible to explain the inexplicable?

As I hinted above, I think that it may come down to temperament; in particular to the tension in all us between our feminine and masculine sides. Women for obvious reasons tend to be more feminine than masculine and men more masculine than feminine. However, different men and women have a varying preponderance of masculine and feminine leanings. Temperamental biases cut across men and women. Margaret Thatcher I guess leant towards having a masculine temperament, while Jimmy Carter appears to have a feminine kind of leaning.

Those with a feminine temperamental bias tend to be passive, co-operative and socialise with others as an end in itself. Those with a masculine bias tend to be aggressive, competitive and socialise with others to achieve practical goals. We all have both temperaments within us. It is a question of which side predominates. (By the way, for those wanting to look it up, see an article by Stets and Burke in Encyclopaedia of Sociology, Macmillan, 2000.)

A clue to the temperamental bias of the never-Trumps is that Trump does very well with men but is far behind Clinton in attracting the support of women, particularly young college-educated women. Say that I am leaping to conclusions if you like, but it strikes me that the occasional bouts of coarseness on Trump’s part puts off conservative men with a predominantly feminine temperament just as it does some young college-educated women.

Never mind the policies, he can be so, so rude and what about that awful hairstyle?

I suggest that a lot of inexplicables don’t like Trump’s hairstyle. Now call me a sexist but I think the feminine side of one’s temperament is more likely to take umbrage at a hairstyle. His occasional use of colourful expressions also seems to cause offence. Again, expletives in a crowded room might well upset the feminine set more than they would the hairy-chested.

I think Pastor Jeffress was righter than he thought. The never-Trumps are a bunch of panty-waisters. Fortunately, judging by the latest polls and the gathering strength of his campaign, there are sufficient numbers of deplorables of both genders, and fellow travellers, to vote Trump into power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [8]

  1. Richard H says:

    My attempt at explication: The narcissism of small differences meets common-or-garden snobbery. The result: Never Trump “conservatives”.

  2. Trump might be better than Hillary, but that it is not a great recommendation. Trump also might one day appoint Supreme Court Judges who in your words might be – “(originalists and literalists) who will uphold the Constitution ” – However I suspect Trump will only do so not because he actually believes in the US constitution and free markets but because it would probably be expedient for him to do so.
    If I was an American there is only one thing that would induce me to vote for Trump – i.e. the least harm rule – Trump will do less harm in the long term than Hillary. Trump will NOT be the philosophical revolutionary warrior that Margaret Thatcher was. I suspect that what drives Trump is that he feels that because he has paid so much graft and corruption money [mainly to Democrats] to be legally allowed to do what he did to earn his fortune that it is now his turn to be the recipient and not the payer.

  3. en passant says:

    The least harm rule should have Trump romp home like any drover’s dog:
    Hillarity’s record is one of:
    1. corruption = the sham Clinton Foundation
    2. treason = approving the sale of key strategic assets to Russia. See point 1.
    3. incompetent = Mediscare debacle
    4. immoral = stays with a man proven to be a serial sex pest
    5. amoral = Benghazi and the ‘what does it matter’death of four people who may have been saved
    6. serial liar = take your pick from any of the above or watch Gowdy or Chaffez inteerogate her in Congressional investigations.
    7. unhealthy = unfit for office on physical AND psychological grounds
    8. criminal = her ‘secret’ email server and corruption.
    9. policy positions = that will destroy an already declining USA
    10.dangerous = revenge appears to be a hobby, sort of like pulling wings off flies – except she does it to people.
    11. ….
    And you thought there were only seven deadly sins? Not when you are a Clinton, when the list goes on and on ….

    If American voters were rational Frankenstein’s evil dwarf, Igor would outvote her.

  4. Bran Dee says:

    Dear Den and Sel we acknowledge that with the appointment of High Court judges Trump might, as you say, do what would ‘probably be expedient for him’. But Hillary would also do the expedient appointment and democracy would be so much reduced by its result.In reality Donald is much better for the US and the world than Hillary.

  5. Ian MacDougall says:

    Peter:

    But whose finger would you prefer to have on the nuclear button?
    What’s Trump’s record like as an elected-to-office crisis manager?
    Zero. Because he has never held elected office. Not even at dog-catcher level.
    POTUS if he gets it will be his very first.

    • Jody says:

      Have to totally agree with this. For this election the US electors face “Hobson’s Choice”. If they had a leader to each political party (as we have) they might have a half decent chance of getting a real leader.

  6. Doubting Thomas says:

    We don’t know how Trump as President will behave. He might be good, he might be average, or he might be bad, depending on whom he selects as his cabinet and advisors. But he has done much more in his life than Obama had done when he was elected after a trivial career as an academic, community organiser, and a politician of negligible achievement. Trump has achieved much more in life than Hillary has ever done, except on Bill’s coattails. However, we have quite sufficient information for any but the most rabid Yellow Dog Democrat to predict with fair certainty that Hillary will be an utterly corrupt, incompetent disaster by any reasonable criteria. God help America in either case.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      DT:

      “God help America in either case.”
      Churchill famously said that representative government is the “least worst” system ever invented. I concur.
      Every time I vote (as a swinging voter) I look for the least worst candidate or party to support. So my voting career to date has been something of a political Cook’s tour.
      Obama the supposed closet Islamist sympathiser gave the go ahead to the highly risky US Navy project of killing bin Laden in his haven in Pakistan, without approval of the Pak government. The buck would have stopped at his desk if it had gone pear-shaped: as it easily could have.