Trump’s behavior, Jefferson, Adams, and the Election of 1800

So Trump is probably the least well-behaved person in the serious kind of public life in modern American history. If Trump is inevitable, I want to be able to support him and his behavior is a major sticking point for me—at least as much as his being a policy lightweight.

Anyway, regardless of my feelings, I feel obligated to make the best case for him, and I have to admit that as far as I know, Jefferson and Adams were just as vile in the election of 1800. But the comparison doesn’t really hold because they were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They were among the best examples of a generation that was so great that 240 years later we should all support their continued rule over us in the form of the Constitution. The American Founding is as close as history has ever come to Plato’s near-impossible coincidence of kings and philosophers.

But in the case of Trump, there isn’t really anything redeeming about him. Supposedly, ‘he can win’. Well, I’m not into power qua power because I don’t believe that social analysis can be reduced to power because I’m not a Leftist. Also, it is not clear at all that he can win. His big plan is apparently to run down the middle for the general, which apparently isn’t deja vu for a lot of people; he has the highest negative favorability numbers of all the candidates, and some people are even counting on him winning NY! He’s not a D, but he says that he will make deals with the D’s—and he’ll have to even just to get his wall because they may take back the Senate, but will at least hold their ground.

I just don’t see anything redeeming about him that makes me want to accept his very poor behavior, whereas Jefferson and Adams are two giants in all of human history.

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