Last week, Enquiry staff writer Will Utzschneider chronicled a rather cogent progression of the American voter’s frustration with the nation’s political establishment, ultimately culminating in the Republican nomination of Donald Trump. Establishing how we got here necessarily begs the follow-up question, “Where are we going next?”
Given that the current disconnect between voters and politicians stems largely from a lack of trust, a logical outcome would presumably be the election of a trustworthy president. Disregarding logic, the nomination system has produced two candidates perceived largely as deceitful.
On the one hand, voters suspect Mrs. Clinton of corruption, worrying about the influence donors to the Clinton Foundation had over her while she held public office. Alternatively, voters see Mr. Trump as unruly and unreliable as he constantly doubles back on previous positions and spreads such blatant falsehoods from his national platform.
Trump has yet to hold public office, so he has, up to this point, lacked the opportunity to be involved with a governmental corruption scandal. This is not to say that, given the opportunity, he would not become corrupt; merely, he has not been afforded the chance.
Faced with such bleak prospects in the major party nominees, voters may be inclined to turn to the third party nominees, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The former seemed an attractive choice for young ideological conservatives, yet recent interviews have brought forth Johnson’s limited understanding of world politics. His ignorance is dangerous given the level of violence in the Middle East. Jill Stein suffers equally from a lack of a strong foreign policy platform, as well as low levels of support.
Left, then, with a basket of deplorable candidates, voters on the left and right continue to search for rational options from an irrational pool. More mainstream thinkers contend that while Clinton is not the perfect candidate, a Clinton presidency would be less devastating than a Trump presidency. This Machiavellian logic makes sense; accepting the lesser of two evils as good allows us to forego the truly greater evil.
Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News, does not subscribe to this thought pattern. Referred to by devotees simply as Milo, he seems to think we should accept that Donald Trump is evil and vote for him anyway. In an interview with Dave Rubin, host of The Rubin Report, Milo painted himself, and Trump by extension, as an “agent of chaos.” As such, he sees Trump as a radical sort of dissident, standing in the face of political tradition with the sole purpose of tearing apart the political establishment. Accordingly, a Trump presidency would bring about the decline of the Republican and Democratic parties, ushering in a major realignment based on preferences for “small” or “big” government.
It is admittedly easy and satisfying to dismiss Milo as an eccentric and hateful far-right radical, yet I would urge those familiar with his more sordid claims to consider for a moment the implications of what he is proposing. Trump’s demeanor alone would disqualify him for the presidency. As Mike Pence demonstrated in the vice presidential debate, however, members of the Trump campaign can balance the wild-talking, childish candidate. As such, Trump may be a viable option for voters on both sides of the aisle who, in the primaries, expressed discontent with the current political landscape.