I'll Give Donald Trump A Chance--On One Condition

  • Posted on: 20 January 2017
  • By: Noah Brand

Dear American right-wingers,

Donald Trump is the president. I won't pretend I'm happy about that, not by a long shot, but it is fact. And there are calls, as usual, to be fair, respect the office of the president, and give him a chance to prove he's not as bad as we think. The usual response from American lefties is "The Republicans greet the election of any Democrat with open hatred and intransigent opposition, so we don't owe this orange fascist a level of respect you clearly think only applies to you." Which is, of course, true, but never mind that. I'm willing to be the bigger man here. That's kind of the point, after all: being a more decent person than you is the basis of my political ideology.

So here's the deal. I will agree to totally give Trump a chance. I'll listen to and consider his policy proposals, let them play out without my personal opposition to see if they work, and give him the benefit of the doubt wherever doubt exists. If it turns out I'm wrong and he's not corrupt and incompetent, I will--cheerfully and with relief--admit it. "Boy," I'll say, "did I ever misread that situation! I was totally off-base, and thank goodness for that! The Trump administration has done much better than I'd expected!" I ask only one condition, to wit:

This is the last one you get.

My entire life, the American right wing, and the Republican party it has developed a complete stranglehold on, has been wildly wrong about everything. Fucking EVERYTHING.

We said Reaganomics would vastly increase wealth disparity. You said it would trickle down. You were wrong.

We said deregulating banks and financial instruments would harm the economy. You said it would help. You were wrong.

We said union-busting would hurt working people. You said it wouldn't. You were wrong.

We said comprehensive sex education produces better results. You said abstinence-only produces better results. You were wrong.

We said government-funded healthcare works better than private insurance at actually giving people healthcare. You said private companies are more efficient. You were wrong.

We said the Bush administration was corrupt and incompetent. You said their policies were sound. You were wrong. (SO wrong.)

We said the Iraq war was based on lies. You said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You were wrong.

We said invading Iraq would destabilize the region and give rise to a new generation of terrorists. You said that just wouldn't happen. You were wrong.

We said Obama was an American citizen with a squeaky-clean record who would win respect across America and around the world. You said he was a communist Muslim from Kenya, on your more polite days. You were wrong.

Those are just a few highlights, mind you. I had to trim this list down a lot just to keep it from being a week-by-week recounting of American political discourse over the past twenty years. The fact is, your ideology is batting zero. Across America, in our fifty laboratories of democracy, states where our ideology predominates consistently rank higher for almost all quality-of-life measures, and states where your ideology predominates are poorer, more ignorant, less healthy, more violent, and dependent on our states for economic survival. We have field-tested your ideology over and over, and it simply does not produce better results in the real world. Your ideas never, ever do what you claim they will. But because it would be rude to point that out, we just keep letting you hit reset, acting every time as though your ideas are new-birthed that morning, and nodding politely as you tell us, yet again, that you've got a really good feeling about this one.

So, if I agree to give Donald Trump a chance, and it turns out you're wrong this time too, then we're done. No more humoring you. No more acting like you have something to contribute just to be polite. No more acting as though your viewpoints are worthy of consideration. No more pretending that you are part of any serious adult conversation about society, policy, or pretty much anything. The Republican party will change its name to the Wrong About Everything party. Right-wing pundits will preface every sentence with, "As someone who's been completely wrong about every issue I've opined on, I think..." Right-wing politicians will either step down in disgrace or completely change their approach to policy, switching to a fact-based form of decision making. All references to your ideology, when taught in history classes as the Goofus to democracy's Gallant, will use the word "discredited", and wherever possible the word "shameful".

That's the deal. I think Trump's administration will be corrupt and incompetent and their policies will fail. You think he'll make America great again. If that's really the bet you want to put your last chip on, then go for it. But in exchange for my giving him a chance, you agree that this is your last chip. If you lose this time, you walk away from the table and never play again.