There are many candidates running for president. Anyone make an argument for why one is better than the rest, and Americans will have that chance starting February 1 when Iowa caucuses. But almost all of the candidates who have a shot at winning pass the very basic test of being competent enough to govern. Almost all of them know about the policies, try to understand how to fix the country’s problems, and care to even a minimal degree about being respectable, discussing the issues, and working with all Americans. All but one.
This week the esteemed conservative magazine National Review put out its “Against Trump” issue, and we have heard from the usual suspects at Fox News and in the establishment that we need to “get in line.” “How dare they trash the frontrunner!”
How dare we indeed? Donald Trump has never trashed anyone, after all!
But telling the truth isn’t the same as being a vulgar hot mess who randomly attacks people for no reason or for speaking truth to power. The fact is, Trump is an extraordinarily unqualified, classless, and authoritarian wannabe who could do great damage to the country if elected. As I am an opinion journalist, who writes columns, it is my job to point that out. There is no contradiction between taking a stand and being an opinion journalist—indeed, having and expressing an opinion is what opinion journalists are supposed to do. The best of them took on arrogant and corrupt leaders. George Orwell took up his pen against imperialism, pacifism, and fascism (not to mention his gun in Spain); Hunter S. Thompson took on Nixon in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72; Chinese intellectuals were persecuted for writing about the mania, violence, and starvation under the Mao’s campaigns and Cultural Revolution; and of course William F. Buckley spent a career making the intellectual argument for conservatism, supporting the spread of individual freedom around the world via anti-Communist foreign policy and at home, including critiquing the narcissism of Trump.
Here we have a candidate who threatens to sue newspapers for reporting on his bankruptcies, who said