A Post Election Day Note to Conservatives

Dear Conservatives:  As you wallow around in your election-day schadenfreude, I offer you this note of caution:  Except perhaps on immigration and a few miscellaneous issues like climate, Trump is not a Conservative.  He has no apparent respect for the Constitution, or free speech, or any number of individual freedoms.  He is a serial abuser of eminent domain and has lived off of crony rents for decades.  We often compare government unfavorably to private individuals when it comes to budgeting, observing that most of us can only spend as much as we bring in, unlike a profligate Federal government -- but Trump can't control spending in his own private sphere and has run up huge amounts of debt he has had to disavow in various quests for self-aggrandizement.  Do you really think he won't do the same thing with public funds?

I said this morning I would give up political prognostication, but I am fairly sure in less than 6 months we are going to see prominent Conservatives coming out publicly with buyer's remorse.


  1. August Hurtel:

    Conservatives know that. There's a few still in my feed reader, and it's been wailing and gnashing of teeth ever since this rich kid came along and stole their party. This is alt-right. Nrx, even libertarian schadenfreude. The conservatives seem to be as unhappy as the Democrats. Perhaps they sense that the grand collaboration they had is coming to an end.

  2. Ray:

    Yes -- you sell us far too short on that. The nomination process was overtaken by populists -- many of whom were not close to being traditional "Conservative" Republicans and some flat out Democrats or Independents disavowed (or confused) by their own party. I myself once leaned #NeverTrump, but in the end the pragmatic approach that we're more likely to have outcomes I'll be happier with with Trump in office alongside a Paul Ryan led Congress vs. Hillary won out over throwing away my vote on a third party candidate.

    We're not stupid. We're optimistic, but wary...

  3. J_W_W:

    Heller stands, Citizens United will stand, if Kelo stands, I suppose I can live with that.

    Hillary promised to completely wipe out the first two there.

    I am fully ok with the Republican congress bickering with and holding the Republican president to acceptable standards.

  4. Erik:

    I've read your blog for a while, but this post urged me to sign up and comment.
    Politically, I lie on the border of conservative and libertarian. I used to be fully conservative, but over my life I've been moving more and more to the libertarian side of things for various reasons.

    This election, both choices were horrible. I don't expect anything spectacular from Trump. That said, at the end of the day, Trump is, in my view, liable to take the correct view on subjects occasionally, even if it's only by accident. (Assuming he is telling the truth, this especially goes for his proposed Supreme Court nominees.) Hillary Clinton would have always been wrong, on purpose. If I'm going to lose part of the time no matter what, might as well take the option where occasionally get the view I agree with.
    Even given this, I was still tempted to vote for Johnson. But then Hillary got away scot-free with the mishandling of classified information. I served in the military for 20 years, and held a Top Secret clearance for 18 of those years. If I, or anyone I had worked with, had mishandled things like that, it would have been courts martial and prison. Maybe Washington won't hold her responsible (like they would me), but I'm not going to sanction it as well by effectively giving her a vote in what seemed to be a possible swing state. (Georgia wasn't, but polls before the election made it seem it could be.)

    But you are right -- I don't expect amazing things from Trump, Or even necessarily good ones. The best I could settle for here was less bad ones.

  5. kidmugsy:

    What difference at this point does it make?

    I have no great hopes for him, just a conviction that Hellary would be so much worse.

  6. Joe:

    As a conservative - my main hope when obama was elected, that the electorate would finally recognize how bad progressive is and would not elect another progressive for at least another generation
    As a conservative, my main few is that trump will so damage both the conservative ideals ( and the libertarian ideals) that a conservative or libertarian will not get elected for another generation.

    I did vote for trump in spite of all the negatives, lack of seriousness, lack of knowledge, elderly, bad tempermant, a democrat in sheeps clothing etc. because the alternative was far worse.

    Hillary with 30+ years of quasi government service, not a single positive foreign policy accomplishment, not a single domestic idea that will improve the long term economy, a willingness to import larger dependent class, solely to improve the progressive voting bloc, her attempt to nationalize health care via Hillary care, her 40+ years of corruption, (the foundation is the cummulation of a long history of corruption), her total disregard for national security with the email fiasco., Her assualt on the first amendment (trump may also attack 1A), her attack on 2A, etc.

    in summary, electing trump is like playing russian roulette with 3 bullets in the chamber, Electing hillary is like playing russian roulette with 6 bullets in the chamber. neither is a good choice,

  7. SamWah:

    We KNOW the media will be on him like a pack of rats. Or hyenas. Whereas with Hillary, they'd have been caterpillars sleeping in cocoons. Or the subterranean cycle of the 17-uear cicadas.

  8. joe Kosanda:

    The MacDonald dissent by Stevens joined by Ginsburg, Bryer and the other liberal is a good example of the progressives on the courts willingness to ignore / make up stuff in the constitution. The issue in MacDonald was whether 2A was incorporated against the states. clause 1 of 14A says "ALL" laws shall apply against the states.

    Stevens dissent said the SC could pick and choose which of the bill of rights would be applied against the states - in direct conflict with the word "ALL"

  9. jdt:

    I just avoided a situation where Clinton appoints supreme court justices that would last for most of the remainder of my life. I'm pretty happy.

  10. steamboatlion:

    All the justices make stuff up, it's just different stuff based on the outcome they've already determined they want. We had conservative justices arguing in Raich? that the commerce clause allowed the feds to prosecute someone growing MJ for personal consumption which is neither commerce nor between the states in any plausible reading of the actual words, because but, but "drugs are bad!"

  11. J K Brown:

    Trump has a better chance of being conservative than any Republican president in the last 60 years, excepting Reagan. So Conservative voters are very used to non-Conservative presidents.


  12. Ray Wylie Hubbub:

    Trump will not have the media and the government bureaucracy behind him, so there's that.

  13. Matthew Slyfield:

    That's what happens when you let people pretend that reductions in the rate of growth in spending count as spending cuts.

  14. abe:

    Considering your main point is spending money: Obama didn't? Where did those Trillions go? Hillery; OK she probably would put it into the Clinton Crime Fund. But it would still cost us plenty. Thus I see NO difference if he does spend.

  15. Ray:

    I'm sure both sides do it, but there's definitely one side who comes at the issues from the perspective of "what does the Constitution say and what did the framers have in mind" vs. "what is popular opinion currently saying".

  16. Deplorable Curtis Rasmussen:

    Buyers remorse? I don't think so because the alternative was an order of magnitude worse. Trump has one thing going for him. He is not a career politician. I second JDT's observation.

    Clinton would have been a disaster, bought and paid for by the Saudis, corrupt as hell. She would made energy production in the USA very difficult to pay back the millions in quid pro quo bribes her family took.

    Let her handle classified documents again, an individual who thinks she's above the law? Anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to put down the crack pipe.

  17. ColoComment:

    To get a fuller picture, I wish charts like this would also designate the party(ies) that held Congress at the time. To paraphrase: The President proposes; the Congress disposes.

  18. J_W_W:

    Yep, the votes of all the Progressive judges are ALWAYS known in advance, but conservative judges sometimes think about their decisions.

  19. Old Salt:

    Judges. Play the long game.

  20. obloodyhell:

    Post Election Day note to Warren:

    Most of us who weren't always Trump fans (that is to say, those of us who have never qualified as LIVs even in college) will have no remorse. We know Trump SUCKS.

    What we also realize is that Hillary was almost certainly THE most corrupt individual ever to get that close to the Presidency. She beats out Nixon, Harding, and Hayes for that honor.

    No matter WHAT Trump does, it is highly improbable that Hillary would not have done FAR WORSE.

  21. obloodyhell:

    Dude, there is not a single actual CONSERVATIVE who would argue that that's anything but an abortion of a decision.

  22. obloodyhell:

    What, you mean that we will have sources of criticism of the President and their policies which don't come from Wikileaks and from Anonymous? And we won't even need to worry any more about Anthony's wiener saving us?

  23. chembot:

    I'm not sure if buyer's remorse is quite the right term for it. There are probably many folk like me who viewed the election as a fight between a luchador and the Godfather. I wasn't even sure I was going to vote this time around until election day. Many NeverTrumpers(TM) made much the same points about Trump but probably quelled the vomit in order to prevent the Clinton crime syndicate from returning to the white house for another 4 years.

    What a crap election this time around.

  24. David Zetland:

    (within 6 months...) Nope. Power corrupts... (even if a few come out against, the rest will stay w Trump)

  25. Ray Wylie Hubbub:

    That's right. Looking through this morning's paper, every story is framed from the perspective of "no right-thinking individual could support this man."

    Our "news" media cannot go bankrupt fast enough.

  26. ano333:

    That's the point, ya genius. Trump is no conservative, in that he is very close to Obama and Hillary on Federal power and spending.

  27. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    "in summary, electing trump is like playing russian roulette with 3 bullets in the chamber, Electing hillary is like playing russian roulette with 6 bullets in the chamber." Joe, One of the best summaries that I have ever seen.

  28. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    To be clear, I am not happy that Trump will be president, but I am ecstatic that Hillary will not be president. I am very confident that the systems, thinking Congressional people in both parties, the media, and the judiciary branch will prevent tragic moves by Trump. I had absolutely no confidence that such actors would stop Hillary from tragic moves.
    By the way . . . and I hope to post more on this latter: Who do I blame for Trump being president? Answer is quite clear to me: Obama. For almost 8 years, we have had lies, deceit and ludicrous statements from Obama. Such behavior -- in addition to horrible policies and utter disrespect for the spirit of the Constitution -- created the anger that led to the Trump nomination.

  29. Joe:

    The error in Raich stems from the subsequent courts frequent incorrect holding of Wickard including Scalia's opinion in Raich. Every case using Wickard as precedent has missinterpreted the holding of Wickard in infer that the commerce clause extends to the personal consumption and personal use. See O'Connors dissent in Raich part B

    "When Filburn planted the wheat at issue in Wickard, the statute exempted plantings less than 200 bushels (about six tons), and when he harvested his wheat it exempted plantings less than six acres. Id., at 130, n. 30. Wickard, then, did not extend Commerce Clause authority to something as modest as the home cook’s herb garden. This is not to say that Congress may never regulate small quantities of commodities possessed or produced for personal use, or to deny that it sometimes needs to enact a zero tolerance regime for such commodities. It is merely to say that Wickard did not hold or imply that small-scale production of commodities is always economic, and automatically within Congress’ reach."

    FWIW - I lean toward the conclusion that Wickard was decided correctly, but it is the missinterpretation of Wickard that is wrong.

  30. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    Warren, you typically have great insight and astute observations, but there are times that you fail, and I think that this post is one of those times. You said, "Trump can't control spending in his own private sphere and has run up huge amounts of debt he has had to disavow in various quests for self-aggrandizement. Do you really think he won't do the same thing with public funds?" First, that statement shows a tremendous lack of understanding of Trump's bankruptcy proceedings. Those bankruptcies were via Chapter 13 in which debt was no summarily discharged, but rather debt was restructured into different terms such as longer paybacks, lower interests, or conversion to equity; debt was not just "disavowed." Furthermore, these bankruptcies were not personal, but rather they were for risky Limited Liability Companies of which Trump was a partner. Hopefully, when creditors extends credit to a risky LLC such as a casino, they know the risks involved.
    In addition, I am confident, that he will not do the same thing with public funds. Even if he was so disposed, there are checks in the system will effectively limit him. Undoubtedly, he will not view the presidency as a mandate for imperial moves as Obama does.

  31. Joe:

    "What we also realize is that Hillary was almost certainly THE most corrupt individual ever to get that close to the Presidency. She beats out Nixon, Harding, and Hayes for that honor."

    Just a few added points - Watergate/Nixon & Harding/Teapot dome - niether Nixon or Harding were involved at the outset and then only became involved with the cover up (watergate was a pretty insignificant petty breakin),

    In the case of Hillary, She was directly involved in the bribery and the corruption and very much personally benefited.

  32. Armando:

    Aaaand here you go again!! seriously what is happening to you? I think you are going to be wrong (again). I thought you would stop taking things for granted this time... but anyway, see you in six months if you decided to explain why you where not right in your assumptions (again)

  33. David in Michigan:

    "He has no apparent respect for the Constitution, or free speech, or any number of individual freedoms." I keep hearing things like this. What does this even mean ("respect the...."). He has not been in a governmental position ever. And this being the case, how can you conclude anything. Perhaps you are confusing things 'said' with things 'done'. They are really not the same. Enlighten me......

  34. abe:

    Thus NO difference, Genius.

  35. johnmoore:

    I hope and think you are wrong. Trump is very likely to staff his administration with conservatives, because that's where the people are. This can temper his worst impulses.

    Even if all he does is keep the Supreme Court in the hands of constitutionalists, as he has promised, it will likely be a net win.

  36. Maximum Liberty:

    Ummm ... all the consistent constitutional conservatives I personally know left the Republican party when Trump became the nominee. They all voted for people who couldn't win. If our state had been close between Clinton and Trump, maybe they would have voted for whichever we randomly decided on the day was less god-awful.

    Now, I'm engaged in wishful thinking that maybe there will be a silver lining somewhere. Maybe Ryan and McConnell keep him in line. Or he appoints Cruz to the Supreme Court. Or something that makes this anything less than the death of the conservative movement.

    And, if you are a libertarian or (like me) conservatarian within the Republican party, remember that your own group is too small to have influence compared to the careerists and reflexive party-supporters. We need principled conservatives within the party as allies to keep the party from being Democrat-lite.

  37. markm:

    Given the actual facts (a generously large personal exemption, which Wickard exceeded not to feed his family but to fatten beef cattle for sale) Wickard was rightly decided on the facts - but only if you allow Congress to create it's own "facts" and ignore abundant evidence that the laws such as the one Wickard violated actually hindered interstate commerce. Or if you accept that "regulate" means not only "improve the operation of", but also "hinder". That seems to me to be a significant change from the meaning in 1787.

    But in Raich, Scalia completed the transformation of "regulation" from it's original meaning to include "attempted destruction".

  38. Variant:

    6+ month update. Still thanking my lucky stars it's Trump and not Hillary.