I was initially open-minded about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign because any unease about his inexperience with policy issues was balanced against the man’s dazzling success everywhere else.
I like a winner just as much as the next guy, but I mostly liked Trump’s emphatic promise to build a wall across our southern border. Because if we don’t stop illegal immigration – and all the liberal voters who come with it – our country will eventually transform into a mash-up between the socialist societies of Western Europe and the ganglands of Central America. It’ll be ballgame if that happens, folks.
Trump’s talk about better trade deals was also appealing. What’s been happening isn’t free trade. It isn’t even capitalism. It’s the fleecing of our nation’s wealth – and the jobs of individual Americans – by crony capitalists with no interest in preserving the free market.
These two skills – building things and negotiating deals – are what Trump does best. But as I began learning more about his liberal record I began to seriously worry: is Trump’s newfound conservatism genuine, or is he a “fugaise,” as they say in New York.
I then made a terrible mistake: I asked Trump’s supporters to explain his record. What they said surprised me.
“You’re a liar!”
“You’re an idiot!’
“You’re part of the establishment!”
That last bit stunned me, especially since I’m currently sitting three-feet from the “Pat Buchanan for President” sign I took as a souvenir after working as a campaign staffer on his 1996 primary run against Bob Dole. I’ve been fighting the party’s establishment since before I could buy a beer, so learning that I had become part of the opposition’s camp was dreadful.
I rechecked my political positions to be sure:
Individual freedom? First and foremost.
Limited government? Certainly, the smallest possible.
Pro-free market, pro-life, and pro-Second Amendment? Check, check, and check.
Supported the ouster of John Boehner and hope the same for Mitch McConnell? You bet.
My positions hadn’t changed, but according to some of Trump’s supporters I had somehow become infected with establishment sympathies. So I began searching earnestly for a cure to realign my political leanings and eventually found a physician named, of all things, Dr. Trumplove.
“We must cut out zee tongue!” Dr. Trumplove told me. “Zat is zee problem with you free zinkers!”
Hesitantly, but with a strong desire to rid myself of this awful establishment infection, I agreed.
With my tongue out, I could speak no ill of Trump and everything in my anti-establishment life returned to normal … for a little while. Then I read that Trump was a Democrat until just a few years ago, that he gave a fortune to the campaign committees of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and many other liberals, and that he said the economy does better under Democrats.
I felt a relapse coming on, so I returned to Dr. Trumplove for a second treatment. “We must remove zee eyes!” he told me. “Zat is zee problem with you free zinkers!”
Being now blind to Trump’s record, I moved along happy and content … until I heard Trump say that among the federal government’s top roles were health care, education, and housing. It sounded like the Republican frontrunner was outlining the foundation of the Democratic Party’s platform, so I went straight back to Dr. Trumplove for answers.
“Zat’s zit! Zee ears are definitely zee problem!” he said, before abruptly shouting “Seig heil!”
Then everything went silent.
At last, after I could speak no ill of Trump, I could see no ill of Trump, and I could hear no ill of Trump, everything became … almost perfect. Just one, nagging symptom persisted: thinking.
I simply couldn’t force myself to believe that the Republican nominee for president should be someone who has spent his entire life supporting liberals, who continues to voice his support for big government policies, and who incessantly attacks conservative leaders and institutions who’ve been fighting the establishment for decades.
So the good doctor finally removed my brain, and everything became clear. At long last, I can write with populist fervor and tribal obedience: Trump for President!
Now if only I could find a doctor to remove my broken heart and sickened soul.
(First published on AL.com)