The Quest For A Positive Argument For A Donald Trump Presidency Continues: The Pathetic Professor Kesler


I am not a “Never Trump” advocate. I can conceive of a Presidential race that would force me to vote for Donald Trump, over, say, a Gorn, frightful Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, “Simple Jack” or Darth Vader. None of those, fortunately, are likely to be running in 2016, however, so the issue is moot. I have stated that there is no rational reason to vote for a candidate as undeniably unfit as Trump when the alternative is a candidate as undeniably as unfit as Hillary Clinton. Unlike Trump, Clinton does have positive features in her resume. As a Senator and former Secretary of State, she presumably has a passing comprehension of how the government works, and she comprehends the importance  of  public decorum and civility for a national leader, meaning that she knows that boasting about her penis or doing this…


…is not remotely Presidential. Hillary’s positive features are, we all know, buried beneath the avalanche of her dishonesty, venality, incompetence and corruption,  but still, she has something. +1 beats – 1,606…even zero beats – 1,606.

Months ago, I challenged Trump supporters, Trump fans, Trump defenders and even Trump “oh come on, nobody is that bad”-ers to present a single, substantive, positive feature of Donald Trump that could justify voting for him as President. I have searched for and read alleged posts by professional pundits and others; I have listened to (until overcome with depression and nausea) Trump’s uniformly idiotic surrogates, and I have invited submissions. The results? Zilch. Nada. Bupkis.

“Hillary is evil!” is not a positive argument for Trump. Other submissions— “He’ll destroy the Republican Party, those collaborating traitors!”“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!,” “He says what he thinks!,” “I hate political correctness!,” “He’ll stick it to the elites!” and the ever-popular incoherent grunt—are similarly non-responsive. I don’t think it is too much to ask, and the lack of any entry remotely meeting the modest requirements (the best so far is, “At least the news media might do their job with someone like him as President”) makes me more certain by the day that 1) I am correct to reject him and 2) that Gorn may not be so bad.

Clearly I am not the only one engaging in this quest. The Washington Post obviously searched under every rock to come up with an academic who would put his name on an op-ed last week titled “Why ‘Never Trump’ conservatives are wrong about Trump.”

He is Charles R. Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, and the editor of the Claremont Review of Books. My heart soared like a hawk when I saw the column:  Claremont McKenna is an excellent institution, and finally someone who does not communicate in howls, hocks and memes had written down a substantive argument to vote for Donald Trump!

But no.

Here, alas,  are his “substantive” points:

1. Trump probably won’t be a fascist dictator: “I don’t see many similarities between “Mein Kampf” and “The Art of the Deal.” Where is that hallmark of fascism, the fanatical political party organization, with its secret or higher wisdom? Where is the glorification of the nation, the collectivity?”

Verdict: Disqualified. “He won’t be Hitler” isn’t a positive qualification.

2. He’s a Jacksonian: “He trusts the American people, not the special interests or the governing elite.”

Verdict: Ridiculous. Trump’s business has been built on catering to the governing elite, and he is a special interest himself! He “trusts the American people?” He has stated his love for ignorant people, as most con men would. He obviously doesn’t trust the American people, as he has derided their choices of Presidential leadership for the past 16 years. And to call Donald Trump a Jacksonian is the equivalent of calling Forrest Gump a Jeffersonian. Andrew Jackson was a lawyer, a military leader, a persuasive writer, a man of unusual courage, and public figure of remarkable integrity. He fought to make government more accessible to average Americans at a time when the national government really was run by a small class of elites—every President had been either a Virginia squire or a Harvard lawyer.  Jackson did not, however, advocate mob rule, and did not tolerate fools. He had also acquired the political skills and experience to execute many of the democratic reforms he sought. Trump shares neither his skills, focus, or intellect. “He’s a Jacksonian” is a disingenuous effort to enhance Trump by linking him to a leader infinitely superior.

3. “Unlike Clinton, he does not propose to amend the First Amendment, he defends the Second Amendment vigorously and he promises ‘to bring the executive branch back inside the Constitution’.”

Verdict: Oh, really? Trump has proposed measures that breach the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion and assembly, and has argued that the news media needs to be more closely controlled. At least Clinton understands that you have to amend the Constitution; Trump would just defy it. What Trump defends or promises, meanwhile, depend on what gerbil is running circles in his head on a particular day. Nobody has any idea what President trump would do or support.

4. “[“Never Trump “critics  say] he is a buffoon, a clown, an overactive third-grader who has gone off his Ritalin, a tawdry egomaniac whose policies are no better than “barstool eruptions” and who by temperament and experience is unworthy of the presidency…His critics give these legitimate doubts an exaggerated spin.

Verdict: Baloney. I’m sorry, did I neglect to post this?  I thought I did…


You see, Professor, this is signature significance,  as was boasting about his penis, and claiming that a professional news anchor was critical because she was having her menstrual period, and repeatedly calling a shorter adversary “Little Marco,” and basing virtually all of his arguments on childish rationalizations like “Everybody does it,””They do it too!,” and “It’s not the worst thing!”, leading to fatuous and irresponsible statements like this from last week:

“We can’t do waterboarding but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages, they can do whatever they want to do. You know, you have to fight fire with fire.”


I think not.

5. “[I]f we were electing the first Sunday school teacher (a job for which Jimmy Carter would have been superbly qualified), their revulsion at Trump’s messy, vainglorious life might settle the matter. But we’re electing the chief executive.”

Verdict: Prof. Kesler is an Ethics Dunce. He is asserting that ethical values, character, the ability to tell right from wrong and personal integrity are not essential qualities of trustworthy leaders, which, in my view, means that he has no business teaching government to impressionable young minds; this is how we graduate political predators like Hillary and Bill Clinton. He is also wrong about Sunday school teachers, who do not need to be ethical to teach morality; they just need to be able to read and convey principles they don’t personally believe in.  Leaders have to do things, make choices, solve problems, and all of these tasks require a frirm grasp and commitment to ethics, or what we end up with is “the ends justify the means.” Civility, dignity, respect for the  office and a comprehension of a leader’s duty to be a cultural and societal role model are also important, none of which Professor Kesler appears to understand. President Carter was a poor leader in many respects, but in those areas he was exemplary. Here, read this, professor.

You’re welcome.

6. “Reasonable people can disagree, of course, but millions of Republican (and other) voters have already weighed Trump’s talents, virtues and vices against 16 other contenders and concluded that he is the best guardian of their interests in 2016.”

Verdict: The worst argument of all. To begin with, it is factually false. There were approximately 3 million more votes cast against Trump and for another GOP candidate in the primaries than were cast for Trump. By no interpretation one conclude that a majority of Republican voters “weighed Trump’s talents, virtues and vices against 16 other contenders and concluded that he is the best guardian of their interests in 2016,” even if we assumed that the typical primary voter did much substantive “weighing” whatsoever. Nor did anything close to a representative number of potential voters participate in the primaries, andmulti-candidate contests are notoriously misleading.  Moreover, the mere fact that a process chooses a candidate does not make that candidate presumptively respectable or trustworthy.

Reasonable people can and should disagree with unreasonable people who make reckless, indefensible choices that threaten to screw up the nation, the culture and the world.

Finally, Prof. Kesler argues…wait. He has no other arguments! What? How can this be? A professor from an esteemed school gets a chance to strut his stuff on the op-ed page of a major newspaper, and dazzle us with a carefully considered list of the virtues of Donald Trump unfairly ignored by unlettered meanies like me, and the best he can come up with is..

  • He’s probably not Hitler,
  • He sometimes talks a little like Andrew Jackson if you don’t listen too hard, are gullible enough to believe him and don’t really know a thing about Andy,
  • He doesn’t want to amend the Constitution, just to ignore it,
  • He’s not as big a buffoon as some people say,
  • You don’t need ethics to be President, and
  • A lot of people voted for him?????

Not dazzled.


Imagine getting your big chance to shine, and botching it this badly. However, I am grateful to the professor, because his abject failure convinces me more than ever that there are no good, positive arguments for voting for Donald Trump.

I’m going to keep searching, however.

45 thoughts on “The Quest For A Positive Argument For A Donald Trump Presidency Continues: The Pathetic Professor Kesler

  1. I can’t get over this Gorn reference so here it goes…

    Let’s say that both Trump and Clinton are in a deserted place, forced to fight and can only use what’s on hand. Who would gain the upper hand in the fight and would either of them refuse to kill the other?

    • We could hope the Metrons would forget where the arena was after the two of them spend a few months looking for their echo chambers instead of tools to get their hands dirty.

  2. Ok let’s just say both of the candidates are totally unacceptable. The question in my mind becomes which one is most likely to do the most damage to our countries institutions, particularly the office of the presidency and the relationship between the three branches of the government. I believe that Hillary would. The USA has had some pretty bad presidents in the past: James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, and Warren Harding and somehow we have survived them all. I am not using this as an argument to vote for Trump, but he is a disease of the skin, not of the heart.

  3. “And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between
    America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel” Trump said.
    “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond
    between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally

    “My daughter Ivanka is about to have a beautiful, Jewish baby,”
    Trump concludes. “It could be happening right now – which would
    really be great, as far as I’m concerned”.

    “This has truly been an honor – thank you everybody, thank you very

  4. One thing Trump has going for him is that he is probably not a felon; at least a year of digging by the media has not revealed anything that could have been charged as such. Clinton, despite media burying, however, might still end up as one…

    Felons are not all bad though. Joe Ganin’s Bridgeport still has fireworks, whereas the Rhodes Scholar Luke Bronin’s Hartford ran out of money and cancelled them at the last minute before anyone could raise alternative funding.

    A felon can still has civic pride, charm, and decorum, traits Trump lacks considerably.

    • I think he probably is a felon; Trump university looks like a fraud to me. He’s almost certainly engaged in bribery: he works in construction and casinos, and there aren’t any more corrupt fields of business. Like Hillary, he hasn’t been caught.

      • That must be close to the record for most weasel words in one sentence.”probably is a felon”,’looks like a fraud to me”,”almost certainly engaged in bribery”

      • Funny this. I’m reading Carl Hiaasen’s Sick Puppy. Fiction? Sounds more like the writer knows the ins and outs.


        “ Now you have land use attorneys whose job it is to get around master plans and zoning restrictions, and they make good livings off finding loopholes or making loopholes so people can build something where they weren’t intended to build it. A good example is Key West. . . . They live off the Hemingway mystique, they trade on the Hemingway mystique, constantly. If Hemingway were alive, he’d take a flame-thrower to Duval Street, and that’s the truth. Fifty T-shirt shops? Give me a break.[1]

        In his review of Hiaasen’s later novel Skinny Dip, Michael Grunwald made several references to the characters of Sick Puppy:

        Carl Hiaasen is South Florida’s literary proctologist: he examines the region’s assholes. The rapacious villains of Hiaasen’s crime novels do not just commit murder, extortion, assault, fraud, and every conceivable variety of larceny; they also park in handicapped spaces, cheat on their trophy wives, tell racist jokes, flaunt their wealth in unusually obnoxious ways, and mangle the lyrics to good rock-and-roll songs. They do not just do bad things, like steal wheelchairs, shoot cops, and scam retirees; they are bad people, “maggots,” “vermin,” “cretins,” “sleazeballs,” “sewer scum,” “reprobates,” “whorehoppers.” They care more about their golf games than their families, and more about money than anything else on earth. They drive Range Rovers with “COJONES” on their vanity plates. They don’t listen and they don’t learn.[5]


        Pont taken?

  5. I have only one question: Who would you rather have as president? 1) A more skilled and competent but corrupt, greedy, and ethically bankrupt candidate, or 2) an obviously unqualified, ignorant, egomaniac, buffoon candidate.

    Seems to me that BAD people who are stupid are less capable of doing big damage because their stupidity acts as a natural “governor.” But BAD people who are smart, are truly dangerous.

    Just saying…

    • I don’t comprehend people just saying this; you’re not the only one. How can someone argue that in leading a nation, stupidity and incompetence is preferable to anything? Especially in foreign affairs, incompetence is deadly. Hillary is not out to destroy the country. It’s a crazy position, and irresponsible. Absolutely, competent is peeferable to stupid and unstable, even barely competent, as in Hillary’s case.

      • Hillary would never be stupid enough to start a trade war with China; Trump would. Hillary would never be stupid enough to impose a religious test for entry; Trump would. Hillary would never be stupid enough to order the military, as a matter of policy, to kill the family members of terrorists; Trump would.

        These are all policies that would be immensely damaging to our nation’s standing in the world, and they are the results of stupidity. I share Jack’s bewilderment at the idea that stupid and evil is less dangerous than competent and evil.

      • Well, what in the hell did Hillary do that was so great when she was Senator of head of the State Department? Was it her trip to Egypt that got Mubarak thrown in jail and paved the way for somebody far worse to become President? Perhaps, it was her stand up performance regarding Bengazi which got four Americans killed. Her foreign policy experience I can do without!

      • The founding fathers probably never envisioned the unfortunate choice we seem to face today… sorta competent but corrupt vs. incompetent buffoonery. But I am sure that they envisioned that there might be less than perfect leaders of the executive branch who become too drunk from power and tempted to become autocratic or worse.

        As I understand it, our system of government was designed with three independent branches, executive, legislative and judicial, and that those branches are intentionally limited and separated in powers to ensure that nobody gets too crazy, abusive, or irresponsible. The system is intentionally designed to be inefficient. The system is designed so that there is tension and even conflict between the three branches. Hopefully, the checks and balances will keep everything within survivable bounds.

        History shows that we have had any number of these less than perfect presidents in the past and that we have survived them. We will probably survive this too. I recall that some have opined that Richard Nixon was a very good and skilled president… except for Watergate. We even survived that… although we will never be quite the same.

        My only point in the original post is that clever and evil people are always more dangerous than stupid and evil people. Maybe we can quibble over which candidate is more inherently “evil” as opposed to being merely dishonest, unethical, greedy, narcissistic, incompetent or just plain stupid.

        • 1. Neither is evil. Corrupt, dishonest and venal isn’t evil. That word is cheating, and warps the discussion.
          2. The Founders did not envision a total jackass becoming President. In this context, “less than perfect’ qualifies a equivocation. Trump (and Hillary) are so far from perfect they couldn’t see it with the Hubble.
          3. There should be no argument: stupid and incompetent is always more dangerous, in any setting.

  6. Reading the comments has been interesting, and the only one that appears to need correction: it’s Trump who wants to stick to the Constitution; Hillary wants to change it, and has been proposing continuations of Obama’s policies that are more extreme — which is fine if you like what has gone on during the Obama administration.
    In the last few years, I have developed a lot of respect for the Constitution — Nowadays, you can’t even put a bunch of MBAs in a room to come up with a long-range plan for business let alone long-lasting rules for a country. I would like to stick to the Constitution and see laws enforced.
    One of the deciding factors for me was that all the politicians that I hate (democrats and republicans), support Hillary. And two of the politicians I know are honest (we don’t have many), Sen Jeff Sessions and Michelle Bachmann, are not only pro-Trump, but they are also on his team of advisors — which is good IF he follows their advice.
    I started off thinking the Trump campaign was a joke, but after reading deliberate misreporting on his activities by the mainstream media (which is mostly pro-globalist), it really looks like they’re attacking a threat; someone that scares them — and, yeah, they may hate him, too. But he definitely scares them. His news conference where he told off the reporters (especially one guy from ABC) for deliberately misreporting was very entertaining, and very welcome — I am not a fan of political correctness. I think honesty and frankness is something that’s needed now. And I have been getting more accurate news about the US from the UK than from here.
    And, I would rather take chances on someone NOT in politics, who claims (and I am using that word deliberately) he wants to do things I’d like to see, rather than vote for H, who I know is only out for herself — and, no, her years in “politics” have given her no insight. She did nothing but fundraise for her campaign when she was a senator. She never voted for anything. She has never done anything I’ve liked. And — after being compelled to follow these two in the news — I have grown to think she is completely corrupt.
    I realize that I’m in the minority here, but I thought I’d add my opinion.

    • Trump has no idea what the Constitution says….and I was quite clear in the post about how his interpretation of the First Amendment shows that he doesn’t understand it. He also supports that gun ban for those on the non-fly list—a clear 5th Amendment breach.

      • At this point, I’ll take a president who has no idea what the Constitution says, over someone who knows exactly what they don’t want it to say.

  7. Electing Trump President would be a first. Trump would be the first male to be elected President who defeated the first female who ever had a serious chance of being elected President.
    [Cue the shit-storm of accusations of “misogyny.”]

  8. I can’t imagine Professor Kesler is actually in favor of Trump defeating HRC.

    This is clearly a piece written for hire. What political science professor in a U.S. college or university is a Republican? Sure, Claremont-McKenna has a great reputation, but so does Yale. I think his piece is essentially the equivalent of a false flag or a dog whistle (if I’m using either of those terms correctly). His heart’s not in it. It’s just an intellectual exercise which he’s been paid for and has the side benefit of (not incorrectly) damning the presumptive Republican nominee with faux faint praise. Professor Kesler has doubtless made a few bucks and puffed up his C.V., but he’s embarrassed his calling and his employer and fellow faculty members.

    • Too easy.

      As things now stand, we are either going to get the evil that’s Hillary or the evil that’s Trump.
      Well, that’s sloppy, because neither of them are evil. That demonizing.

      Why do I believe Trump is a viable option? First, he’s not Hillary Clinton.
      Disqualified. That not a positive reason to vote for Trump. I could say teh same of a horeshoe crab.

      Second, the Democrats and Establishment Republicans despise Trump….
      Also disqualified. That’s just cognitive dissonance games, voting for that which your adversaries dislike. It’s Gerige Costanza logic “….They would serve as a check on any outrageous policies he might propose.” Who says? Both establishment Demas and GOP types go where the power is.

      Third, Hillary would extend the policies of President Obama.

      Nobody has any idea what Hillary will do, because she is a liar and a chameleon, or what Trump will do, because he doesn’t know.

      Fourth, Hillary would extend the eight-year judicial nomination process begun by Obama and extend it another four years, maybe eight. She would most likely nominate two new justices from the shaky conservative side of the Supreme Court.

      Trump has been shown to be incapable of appointing competent people, and there’s no reason to assume 1) he would appoint competent judges 2) Hillary would appoint incompetent judges 3) elections have consequences, and one fair consequence of a party nominating an unfit candidate is that it loses the ability to appoint judges. 4) This is scaremongering. SCOTUS does change anything quickly, and the consequences of Hillary’s appointments are minor compared to the vast harm an impulsive, ignorant, unstable POTUS can and will cause. Democrat appointees almost always vote liberal, while Republican nominees can’t always be trusted (e.g., Roberts and Kennedy).

      Fifth, Bill Clinton will return to the White House. Hillary accuses conservatives of engaging in a “war on women.” Bill Clinton is the perpetrator of that war.
      Desperate. 1st: Bill Clinton is an old man, and still less of a misogynist than Trump. Second, he’s a plus. Any influence he has over Clinton is positive. He’s a moderate. Most of all, voting for President according to the other candidate’s first lady is nuts

      Sixth, like Obama, Hillary is an Islamist apologist. Huma Abedin is a Muslim insider who is “the co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a person likely to have significant influence in a Hillary Clinton White House. Huma Abedin has had murky associations in the past with the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which not only is a radical Islamist group in its own right but, as Breitbart has reported, was ‘located in the offices of Saudi Arabia’s Muslim World League.’”
      Disqualified for mentioning Brietbart. Seriously, this is a bigoted statement, flat out. The problem is radical Isalm, not Muslims. (Why would you read someone like this?)

      Seventh, a warning from Murray N. Rothbard originally published in 1994, etc.
      #8 is essentially #1!


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