One of the many reasons my fellow conservatives will regret until the day they pass away the presidential nomination of Donald Trump is the intellectual contortions into which they are now required to force themselves. This is now happening on a nearly daily basis, but there may be no worse example than what happened today with regard to comments Trump made about “2nd Amendment people” possibly stopping Hillary Clinton from appointing judges (specifically Antonin Scalia’s replacement to the Supreme Court).
A firestorm immediately erupted as it appeared, especially to liberals, that Trump was referring to, and perhaps even calling for, a possible assassination of Clinton or the judges in question. The Trump campaign and his supporters quickly claimed that this was a totally innocent remark intended to mean that post-election political pressure could be brought to bear in order to stop Hillary’s judicial nominations from coming to fruition.
While I don’t believe Trump intended to seriously suggest that violence was a possible way of stopping her, it is the height of absurdity for conservatives to suggest that he wasn’t, at least jokingly, referring to the use of guns. And, by the way, if he somehow wasn’t intending that to be the message, then there is officially no reason to vote for Trump, which is certainly liberating for this “Never Trump” conservative (I’ll explain shortly).
While interpreting “Trumpspeak” can often be a real challenge, even for those with advanced degrees in the very in exact science, this situation isn’t really even a close call. Trump very clearly warned his crowd that once Hillary “gets to pick” (in other words, she’s elected) then there’s “nothing you can do” to stop her from packing the courts with liberal judges. He then paused and said that with “Second Amendment people, maybe there is,” before offering an “I don’t know” (with his head down) to transition out of what he clearly knew to be an awkward aside.
To me, this was a classic Trump attempt at off-the-cuff humor. It fits perfectly with his style in every way. It was based in bravado and was completely inappropriate, especially for a presidential contender, but was obviously without criminal intent. The reason I “know” this is that there is just no other way to logically interpret the statement without destroying the entire basis for conservatives to vote for him in the first place.
This is because he was very clearly referring to what happens AFTER Hillary gets elected (something even he seems to be realizing is very likely to occur). The entire point here is that you must vote for him because once she wins there is “nothing you can do,” unless you want to rely on some of those “2nd Amendment people” to get really crazy, but “I don’t know,” this is just something a lot people are saying.
It is simply silly to pretend that 2nd Amendment is not directly related to guns. Had the judicial issue been “Citizens United” (which it easily could have been) I doubt very seriously that Trump ever would have thought to say, “you know, those 1st Amendment people can really be counted on to impact events very quickly and dramatically,” so maybe they could do something about this if I lose.
Trump could not possibly have been benignly referencing some sort of last ditch negative ad blitz against Democratic senators after the election (when they are invulnerable). This would be totally unrealistic, completely out of sync with Trump’s mindset (he spent part of last week ripping key GOP senators up for reelection, oblivious to their impact on potential judicial nominations) and destroy his last/best pitch for conservatives to finally unite around him.
This last point is key. If it really is possible to stop Hillary from nominating her chosen judges (it isn’t) AFTER she is elected, then what exactly is the point of conservatives selling out all of their alleged principles for a guy who isn’t remotely qualified to be president? After seeing a lot of “conservative” support online for the very dubious notion that this concept is what Trump REALLY meant “2nd Amendment people” could be relied on to do, I suddenly felt personally quite relieved. Who knew that somehow electing Trump wasn’t the only way we could keep Hillary from getting her judges confirmed?! So we can just rely on a post-election ad campaign funded by the NRA?
Whew! Thank goodness! That’s a load off my mind.
Of course this is all yet another pathetic rationalization on the part of conservatives who have been forced to make far too many of them already to make up for the catastrophic decision to allow Trump to be nominated. Regardless, it is still good to know that I no longer have to feel any guilt about not supporting the Republican presidential nominee.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.