The 2020 Presidential Election

Over on the “legacy” social media, I noticed that @tbbayly and @EricRasmusen were having an interesting discussion about whether the revolution we are seeing currently in the USA is more like the French Revolution or the Bolshevik Revolution. Their discussion made me think of the following article that I had recently seen and read:

My immediate response to the article was fear and sadness. I was evacuated out of Zaire (now the DR Congo) when I was nine, so I knew certain places in the world were just “like that.” But America?

Two thoughts since my initial reaction:

  1. We reap what we sow, and that goes for the USA just like it goes for the DR Congo or anywhere else.
  2. God is in His heaven, and He continues to build His church. My prayer is that I will get to be a part of it.

May God have mercy on us.

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Do you find the pieces of evidence he cites and the framing he gives convincing? I felt Jonah Goldberg’s response to this piece was much more reasonable.

The Folly of Prediction (his discussion of Anton’s piece begins about half way through the column.)

We must recognize the constant investigations of President Trump and relentless attacks he’s suffered at the mouths of the Fourth Estate since prior to the election, in addition to the saber-rattling by top military men recently retired, have constituted an obstruction of the rule of law (in the form of the electoral college) for the past four years. The Democrats have been trying to undo the free and fair election which put the man in the White House and the plebians know it and are very angry about it.

Add in the Soros-funded arson and riots in white-bread cities like Minneapolis and Portland which have the Democrats breathless in their excitement. Then stir in the small businessmen losing their livelihood through government Covid regulations, and a man would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to see the approaching thunderheads. We already have riots in the streets. Where will it end?

Either way the election goes is only going to raise the tension. It’s the haves against the less-haves with Latinos in play and African Americans exploiting the whole mess for more handouts which rot their souls. As I’ve said for many years, “no union with abortionists,” but would I lead a revolution? No.

Meanwhile, the big men of our little ghetto are having hissy-fits over face masks. Clearly their hissy-fits come out of the state of our union delineated above, but it’s hard to get anyone to say “no” to the government about anything that really matters. Still the anger is intense, so men thump their chests over elastic bands and fabric.

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I would argue two things can be true at the same time:

  • The Democrats have indeed been corrupt and unfair in their investigations.
  • Trump’s open corruption merits investigation.

The detail the article glosses over is Trump’s constant public undermining of the election. I freely admit that it could be seen as a “chicken and egg” problem, which came first, Trump’s rhetoric attacking the election or Democrat’s rhetoric of sedition. However, ignoring completely Trump’s comments regarding a third term and insisting prior to any results that the election will be stolen from him, needs at least some response.

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There’s an old saying that it’s hard to hold a minority position with equanimity. Many things President Trump says are, at the least, embarrassing, but so were the things Elisabeth Elliot said. You get tired of the mocking and slander and hatred and vicious attacks. Didn’t make what Betty said right or kind, nor does it make what the President says right or kind, but I find it eminently understandable.

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That would be a reasonable position if we didn’t have many decades of Trump’s behavior and statements on record, long before he became President and subjected to these attacks.

He is the same vulgar, profane man he has always been. I have little doubt a man like yourself who has to endure all sorts of attacks and vitriol in the course of leadership perhaps has more patience with this than someone like me who has never had the limelight of high profile leadership. For that reason, I understand your empathy. I believe you are in error here though.

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It is “President Trump,” please. Respect and all that…

BTW, you should know that I despised Donald Trump for decades before voting for him. When I preached Psalm 73, I used him as the illustration of the evil man. He’s changed somewhat for the better, I think largely under the influence of Vice President and Second Lady Pence. I see hints of the fear of God and humility now I never saw before. But I make no apology for voting for him—none at all. See him as God raising up Samson. Love,

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I have many concerns about President Trump, but the most disturbing development I have seen is the degree to which Christians I know have started to identify with President Trump and excuse his sins. I know a number of Christians (some in my family) who were initially opposed to Trump and favored other candidates in the Republican primary. After Trump received the nomination they expressed trepidation about voting for him, but “held their noses” and cast their vote. In the years since, due to the embittered and dichotomous nature of the culture war, they have identified more and more strongly with President Trump, slowly adopting his nicknames for competing politicians, starting to think of him as some sort of savior (Q-Anon type over tones), and excusing his every misdeed past and current. I think this is a dangerous development and that these Christians moral judgement is being compromised.

For myself, I have a pretty hard and fast rule that I don’t vote for people who appear in pornographic movies.

Edited to add: I should make it clear that I think there are many Christians who have voted for Trump for good and valid reasons. And I admit recent events have caused me to reevaluate my somewhat tongue-in-cheek hard and fast rule. My post could have been read as saying that all Christians voting for Trump are compromising morally; I don’t believe that is the case, but it is a potential outcome.

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I was not intending the use of President Trump’s last name, without his title, as disrespectful. I the same is done for Bush, Clinton, Reagan, and Obama, by their own party and also opposition, without intent to disrespect.

I too am grateful for many things President Trump has done, most recently the part he has played in the Israeli-UAE Peace treaty. I think you have to squint rather hard and tilt your head just right to see signs of any growing humility, but obviously we disagree on that point.

On one hand we have a lecherous man who has sexualized his own daughter on nationally syndicated radio, bragged about sexual assault, and discussed visiting the changing rooms at his beauty pageants while the women there were undressed, and then there are the errors and foibles of Elizabeth Eliot. To make a comparison between them beggars belief. Perhaps there are details of Elliott’s statements I’m unaware of, but the comparison seems utterly unreasonable to me.

I’m a newcomer to this online community, and did not intend to cross swords with someone I have quickly grown to respect in your writings. I simply don’t find the framing you give this issue (“He is responding to unfair treatment so while it is wrong, it is understandable”) to be at all convincing or faithful to the facts as we know it.

President Trump, for as long as he has been in public life, has hurled insults and invectives at anyone who crosses him. It doesn’t matter if it is Jim Acosta, dishonest and grandstanding “journalist”, or Jeff Sessions, doggedly loyal former attorney general who was an early supporter of the President and continues to support President Trump (in spite of the attempts the President has made to destroy Session’s career out of spite). If they go against the President in any way, they are attacked, often using foul language and schoolyard taunts.

None of this was meant to say that those who voted for President Trump, in the hopes that he would prove better than Clinton, need to apologize for their vote. We all come to our conclusion on voting in different ways. And God is good and sovereign. For that we can be grateful.

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Equanimity in facing hostility, and inappropriate responses, was the comparison. Not their sexual lives or greed or profanity or lying or…

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You are correct that my statement missed the point of your comparison. However, the comparison is still ill conceived. President Trump has never shown any restraint in responding to criticism, no matter how measured. Even reasonable decisions with which he disagreed earned his loyalists withering fire, as Sessions learned.

Speaking as if President Trump’s rhetoric is in any way comparable to Elliot’s mistakes is just not looking at the facts honestly.

When he was Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger is supposed to have described one Third-World leader he’d had to deal with, as “a [scoundrel], but he’s our =[scoundrel]”.

It seems to me that something like that is at work here with the Evangelical support for President Trump. It is not unfair to say that in 2016, the Evangelicals who voted for him were more accurately voting against Hillary. Now, it seems that at least his support amongst Evangelicals is about fear of the groups which privately and publicly support a Biden victory - BLM, Antifa, pro-abortionists and so on. E.g. this from Michael Brown, a Charismatic leader who’s done some (good) hard yards on the gay/pro-abortion agendas:

Four years ago if people thought about what the future would be like if Hillary Clinton won, what we’re seeing today is probably what they would have described. The fear of this future is what drove them to vote for Trump.

What President Trump has done is demonstrate over and over again that he is willing to have enemies, and dismiss the railing of the leftists. If this is how bad it got with Trump as president, then imagine what it would be like with Biden or a regular Republican.

If people were willing to vote for him in 2016 for fear of what the alternative was, I’m pretty sure they’re willing to vote for him today, too, for the same reason.

Why do they identify so much more closely with him today than they did four years ago? Because they are suffering the same attacks that he is. And he’s standing with them and leading them. He might be a drunk back at the camp and a host of other bad things, but if he stands and leads on the battlefield, the ones he’s standing with will identify with him and excuse him and justify him and love him.

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He might be a drunk back at the camp and a host of other bad things, but if he stands and leads on the battlefield, the ones he’s standing with will identify with him and excuse him and justify him and love him.
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Spot on.

I’ve recently been reminded that the anti-Christ brings peace to the earth. No, no, no, I am not calling President Trump the anti-Christ for his peace deals, I’m reminding myself that even political leaders who do things I’m grateful for are never to be uncritically supported.

It still matters that he may be a drunk back at the camp, even while we rejoice in his battlefield stand.

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I despised President Trump through most of the 2016 campaign, but decided at the last minute to vote for him. When it became clear he was going to win on election night, I ordered a MAGA hat.

Since then, I have had to reevaluate Donald Trump and my judgments of the Christian’s who supported him, including those who enthusiastically supported him from the beginning. In the Reformed ghetto, we tend to not be the sorts who would find Donald Trump appealing. We are highly educated. We tend toward libertarianism rather than protectionism. We’re engineers who geek out over details but miss the big picture of what power is and how to wield it.

I have strongly disagreed with some of President Trump’s actions and policies and dumb tweets, but he has accomplished far more than I expected. He has proven to be the Samson we needed, not the David we thought we deserved. My love for him and for his people, his constituency, has grown and grown. In many ways, Trump has been far more effective than his conventional Republican alternatives. His culture war tactics are worth learning from and emulating. His populist message is the future for the Right.

For a while, I was not sure if I was going to vote for him a second time, but I’m very sure i will now. If I can vote for him three times, I will.

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I grew up reading about Donald Trump in the gossip pages in my local newspaper. He was in there from my earliest memory of reading it, probably 5th grade or so. He famously had his own TV show. That is to say, Donald Trump has been a fixture in this country for 30+ years. Pastor (Tim) Bayly is the only person I have ever heard who had a disparaging word for the man before 2015. Oh, I’m sure all the glitterati snickered behind his back, but as long as he had money and fame and pretty women in his orbit, no one would say a bad word about him publicly.

But suddenly he cane down the escalator in 2015, announces an anti-illegal-immigration platform, and all of a sudden all these bien pensants who have been in various places in his orbit for decades call him Literally Hitler.

My conclusion is that they have no issue with him at all. It’s his voters they take issue with. Trump is an avatar for the white working class, and for anyone who doesn’t loathe the white working class so much that they’ll pretend not to be white or not to be working-class to avoid them. That’s what these people—Republicans and Democrats—hate about the man.

What open corruption? Donald Trump will be the first man to leave the White House poorer than he went in since probably Truman. There is a high probability that the Democrats will hound him and his children to their deaths over things like tax and paperwork violations that people in Washington take for granted.

Barack Obama entered the White House as a man of entirely ordinary means. He now owns—what—three mansions? Hunter Biden is a man of no substance whatsoever. Yet he has served on the boards of multinational companies. Nobody in institutional Washington even bothers to defend this practice! It’s just taken for granted!

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Since we do not have access to Trump’s tax returns (which he promised to release years ago), and his company is private and as a result has fewer disclosures to make, simply asserting without context that President Donald Trump will leave office poorer than he went in is actually painting a deceptive picture of reality… Further, his real estate holdings have been declining in value for years before he assumed office, which has nothing to do with any corruption on his part or lack thereof. President Trump has said in interviews that his wealth fluctuates based on his mood, and Wikipedia states that President Trump’s personal worth “is not publicly known”. So that disposes of the idea that somehow the drop in personal wealth is due to philanthropy.

  • Commuting the sentence of Roger Stone. One of the crimes he was convicted of was “witness tampering”, when he threatened to kill a witness’s dog to keep him from testifying in the Mueller probe. The same Roger Stone who claimed to have no contact with Wikileaks, but thanks to the release of further documents, we know that was a lie. In retrospect, it was perhaps a mistake to hire for your campaign a man who has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.
  • The Trump campaign hired a laundry list of tricksters, from Paul Manafort, to Steve Bannon, to Michael Cohen, and at a certain point you have to ask yourself if this is just incidental.
  • Then there’s Michael Flyn, war hero and intelligence operative extraordinaire, who has sunk to taking money from foreign governments in exchange for influence, while he was on Trump’s campaign. Flynn pled guilty to the lesser charge of lying to the FBI, and in exchange the DOJ dropped the charges for being an “unregistered foreign agent”. Before that, Trump was floating the idea of giving Flynn a full pardon. (And yes, I’m aware of all the FBI’s dirty tricks in this case. I’m not defending that. It doesn’t change the fact that Flynn has numerous corrupt connections, with his work for Turkey and the payments RT made to him.)
  • Not only has Trump (famously) refused to release his tax returns, Trump also broke his word regarding his promise to place his business assets in a blind trust. Instead, his two sons continue to operate his business during his tenure. But no worries, we have Trump’s word that he is not using his office to enrich himself.
  • Trump promised during the campaign he had no business deals with Russia. Incredibly, he signed documents pursuing building a tower in Russia on the day of one of his Presidential debates.
  • I still struggle to wrap my mind around the fact that Trump called a foreign leader and asked him to “look into” his chief political rival. There is no way in the world that any right thinking person would argue that was acceptable. If Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, and a couple years later we catch her on the phone with the Russia saying “I’d like you to look into Donald Trump’s real estate deals… they sound horrible to me”, we would be in the grip of sudden moral clarity. There would be no questions about “open corruption”, and like magic we would suddenly cease making relativistic arguments about “well, everyone does it!” No sir.
    (Requisite disclaimer: I realize that the whole Ukraine situation is a Russian nesting doll of corruption. This is why moral clarity is so important. Involving himself in the investigation was wrong. It was wrong when Obama did it, and it’s wrong when Trump does it. Let’s quit the blatant hypocrisy. These sorts of double standards are morally dangerous.)

I am not questioning the reality that DC is full of corruption, and every loophole is utilized. I realize that this is often done “legally”, in a way that totally neglects the spirit of the law. And watching that happen often enough can infect us with a sort of nihilism that says “who cares whether they stepped over the line? Everyone is doing it, and do you really think any of those guys are clean?”. I realize this is what empowers a man like President Trump, and I understand why it’s tempting to just “burn it all down”.

But that doesn’t mean that ignoring facts, and engaging in blatantly motivated reasoning, and adopting the inverse of your enemy’s double standards, is justified. And we on the right will pay a high price for embracing moral corruption.

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Actually I believe Jimmy Carter left the office nearly broke. People he trusted with his finances didn’t do so hot. Hard to do in the economy he was destroying. There is certainly a difference between Trumps financial losses from his political fall out than other Presidents losses from the economy or poor trustee management.

Not quite what we have today since President Trump has filled the judiciary with the opposite of what Sec. Clinton would have filled it with. This will be the most significant legacy of the present administration, I believe, and with the death last night of Justice Ginsburg, only growing in its significance (if they have the courage to work on getting the president’s nominee in prior to the election).

Agreed, but one man asked me a few months ago, “We won the election, so how come it feels like we lost?”

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