Earlier this month an unidentified Trump supporter posted on Claremont.org what may very well be the first intellectual defense of Donald Trump’s espoused ideology (at least to the extent it can be discerned given Mr. Trump’s tendency to frequently contradict himself). The piece in question, entitled The Flight 93 Election, gained notoriety when talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made a great to do over it in his September 7th radio address. Limbaugh, who generally steers clear of intelligentsia conversations and writings, referred to the piece as a “home run” with “every paragraph.”
Articulating and justifying Trumpism would be akin to laying out the intellectual framework for Will Ferrell’s impersonations of Harry Caray or the ramblings of Sarah Palin. I applaud the author for taking on no small feat. While the piece does begin with the now overly-familiar argument—“We know exactly what we’re getting with Hillary, at least with Trump there’s a chance he’ll behave”—it quickly engages in a rather lengthy, scathing diatribe of the failure of the Republican party or conservatism to win big at the ballot box and hold to suicidal tendencies, offering Trump as the last best hope for saving the Republic.
The reader should be forewarned this isn’t your typical argument written for the general public as the author assumes his audience has a working knowledge of contemporary conservative thinkers as well as the writings of Burke and other foundational thinkers.
While the post is worth reading and persuasive, I do not believe it accomplishes the impossible task of advocating Trumpism as a friend to the conservative movement or providing an air-tight case for voting Trump. The title of the piece comes from the harrowing flight that crashed on September 11 when the passengers realized their hijackers were intent on crashing the plane into some building and decided to rush the cockpit in a courageous attempt at survival. The author has portrayed our current political climate in the same light, advocating immigration woes call for a do or die approach to the 2016 elections. While I agree with many of the author’s finer points, he takes liberty with the assumption that conservatism has something in common with Trump’s foreign and free trade policies and some of the finer points of his immigration policies. I also reject his rather apocalyptic description of where we stand.
Since I don’t anticipate as many people digesting the complexities of our anonymous author’s work, I won’t take the time to offer a full rebuttal now. For those interested, Robert Tracinski has written an adequate rebuttal in his piece entitled This Isn’t the Flight 93 Election, It’s The MH370 Election (MH370 was the Malaysian plane that mysteriously vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 2014). In all the incoherent, insufferable rants that pass for political thought in this abnormally divisive election year, it’s refreshing to encounter one that’s actually worth stopping to consider.