Then we are left with Trump the person in my three-prong analysis (policy, personnel, person). I will divide this up into two categories: the principled, and the pragmatic. As a matter of principle, President Trump has one governing principle – the same one that has governed his every move since the beginning of his adult life: how does it feed his ego. His never-ending insecurities and thinner-than-wafer skin are not mere personality defects, they are the over-arching composition of his identity. I do not say this to troll him, to dunk on him, to play armchair shrink with him – I say it the way I would observe that a car just passed me by – it just is. And in this case, it is the reason I believe he is about to lose the election in a bad way (the pragmatic). I have grave concerns with one who spent three decades seeking to avoid business and marital commitments, but once that person was elected, perhaps I could grapple with the complexity of one’s lifetime moral deficiencies towards a potential greater end. But how can I do that if the very behavior and temperament I am talking about keep that person from staying in office long enough to do all the things I am told are so important for the betterment of the country? In other words, why is it the fault of those annoyed by boorish and crude and childish and stunningly unpresidential behavior and not the person who is, ummmm, President of the United States?
If there is one thing I hear more than anything else from those confused by my [fair and warranted] criticisms of President Trump, it is that the desperation of the times calls for “movement” people like me to press pause on my fetishes for norms and manners, and just accept that the Supreme Court, lawlessness in the cities, cancel culture, and other sorts of truly desperate situations trump all of the unpleasantries of the President and his tweets. And indeed, we are living in serious times. And the stakes in our culture are high right now. And Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Democratic Left have a vision for America right now that is self-evidently disastrous, and should be resisted and stopped at all costs.
And yet, I remain incredibly confused by the logic of this construction. “The times we are in are so severe that you must ignore A, B, and C behaviors from the President, but the times are not so severe that the President must refrain from behaviors A, B, and C.”