Friday, October 28, 2016

The Loser

The two major party conventions, the three presidential debates, and various scandals large and small—all these features of the 2016 presidential general election have come and gone. Now the campaign draws to a close. And one outcome seems increasingly likely: Donald J. Trump will lose.
We put it that way because Trump—after his impressive and even unprecedented outsider victory in the Republican primaries—has done more to lose the general election than his opponent, Hillary Clinton, has done to win it. It's also prudent to note that with two weeks left in an unpredictable political year, we could be surprised. But if history is any guide, a candidate who has never been ahead in the general election campaign and now trails by about six points (if not more) in the polls—and who has a 60 percent or so unfavorable rating—will not prevail on November 8. On that evening, Donald Trump will stand before us as a loser.
Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that. Winston Churchill taught his fellow citizens that we could only act so as to deserve victory. Leo Strauss remarked in a letter to National Review that "The argument which is concerned exclusively with calculations of success, and is based on blindness to the nobility of the effort, is vulgar." History is replete with undeserved losses and noble defeats.
Trump seems not to understand this elementary fact of the human condition. Perhaps for that reason, "loser" is one of his favorite epithets. And those of us who do not admire him will—let's be honest—enjoy bestowing this sobriquet on him. But of course we should remember, "let us judge not that we be not judged."
What we can and should judge are the intimations from Trump that he intends to be a sore loser, a very sore loser, a big league sore loser. That's no surprise. On the other hand, maybe it's all a head fake. Trump may be setting the bar low in order to get untoward credit for anything resembling a normal concession speech on the evening of November 8.
In either case, the republic will survive. It will do so with less damage if Republicans, especially those who are Trump supporters, repudiate ahead of time his lame excuses for losing, his invented claims of a rigged result, his willingness to break long-established norms of appropriate public behavior. There is one civic task Republicans can perform for our country in the final two weeks of this campaign: trying to ensure that Trump the loser stands alone, that his complaints fall on deaf ears, that his rabble-rousing fails to rouse the usual rabble.
Read the rest from Bill Kristol HERE.

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