So Much for Peak Trump

English: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in...
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Donald Trump declared his presidential candidacy, quite a few people, including me, thought “never in a million years will he be the Republican nominee, let alone president.”

As his poll numbers rose, we thought “he’s got a hard ceiling; not a chance he’ll carry the race.” And “not even GOP primary voters could be THAT stupid.”

But it looks like I was wrong, and all those other people were too. With the Iowa caucus and then New Hampshire  just around the corner, Trump’s running as hot as ever. Not even his cowering, sputtering fear of Megyn Kelly, so disabling that he announced his intention to skip this week’s Fox News debate rather than face her, seems likely to dent his position as the Republican front-runner.

Heck, he might even win in November, proving once and for all that Mencken was right (“democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard”).

Are there any consolations to be found in the possibility of a Trump presidency? Yes, I think there are.

When you get right down to it, he’s not any more especially authoritarian, xenophobic or narcissistic than the other “major party” presidential candidates. He’s just less filtered in how he presents himself.

The idea of his finger on the nuclear button bothers me, but not any more than the idea of Ted Cruz’s, Chris Christie’s or Hillary Clinton’s.

It might not be as bad as it sounds. Especially since the alternatives aren’t exactly attractive on their own merits.

Maybe a Donald Trump presidency would be right up in our faces enough, more so than the reigns of those other prospects, to get it through Americans’ heads: “Let’s never do THAT again.” I doubt it, but hey, it could happen.

More likely, it would just mark the final death knell of the Republican Party. Which, I admit, would make putting up with four years of Trump more than worth it, especially if it produced a whole new political alignment — Democrats alone on the right instead of splitting that side of the political spectrum with the Republicans, the Libertarians finally giving America a “major party” on the left (no, that was not a typo).

Scoff if you like, but don’t step on my dreams. As long as we’re considering the surrealistic nightmare of a prospective Trump presidency, I’m entitled to them.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


  • An article as worthy as any written by Scott Adams.

    • You sure do love you some Scott Adams, don’t you, Thane?

      But thanks — I could do a lot worse than that comparison!

  • Terry Hulsey

    A Trump presidency would be a train wreck. He holds not one policy position that can’t be contradicted by a previously held position. His anacoluthonic incoherence is no more than the noise of an animal intent on devouring anyone who disagrees with him.
    Yet it’s for those reasons that one might welcome his presidency: As you say, he represents what we currently have, minus the “filters.” Since this leviathan can’t be reformed, the sooner we shove its staggering, maggot-rotted carcass into the ditch, the better.

    The cabaret is open for business! What a show! Bring in the dancing bears!

  • JdL

    I agree. In particular, Hideous Hillary scares me WAY more than Daffy Donald does.

    • Of all the candidates, I probably LIKE Clinton the least.

      But then again, she has one of the same strengths as Trump — she’s so openly and un-secretly disdainful of the idea that laws for mere mortals could possibly apply to her that her presidency would at least be revealing vis a vis the nature of the system.

      The ones that scare me more are the ones who manage to disguise themselves as decent human beings.

    • Terry Hulsey

      Oh, but Hillary is in the cabaret, too!
      Ein bisschen Verständnis, bitte!

  • Just Another Guy

    “Let’s never do that again” didn’t work with Obama. But then again, the press acting as the P.R. Department of Big Government instead of the investigative watchdog it was expected to be….

    With Trump, though, I don’t see that happening again. He’s played them, masterfully. He’s a Republican. And of course, he is an “old white guy”.

    On the other hand, if Trump gets a handle on borders, economy and terrorism…

    • The problem with that other hand is that Trump seems to have no understanding whatsoever of borders, economy or terrorism.

      • Just Another Guy

        And you make this claim without any validation…just your opinion?

        OK, then….

        • Well, yes, my opinion. Whose opinion should I be espousing if not my own?

          • Just Another Guy

            Glad you are willing to admit you are just expressing an unfounded, emotional opinion.

            Good for you.

          • No, I was expressing a well-founded opinion based on the facts versus Trump’s public statements. I do admit that I have no way of knowing whether he’s really an idiot blowhard or just plays one on TV, but it’s one or the other.

          • Just Another Guy

            GIven what I’ve been told by people who have worked for Trump in Atlantic City, it is just one on TV, since that’s what plays.

            They tell me he is a decent guy, but definitely one who likes to get things done his way.

          • I like to get things done my way. The only question is whether the incentive offered is money, manners or other inducements.

  • Pingback: Rational Review News Digest, 01/27/16 - OR: Six occupiers arrested, one person killed in confrontation with police - Thomas L. Knapp -

  • Michael Scheuer lays out a case why Donald Trump has the best foreign policy of all the D and R candidates. I don’t necessarily agree but it does make a good case.