Mr. Trump and Physicking the Body Politic

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I saw something today which reminded me of Dr. Stephen Maturin in the Patrick O’Brian novels. He dosed and physicked the sailors and officers with black draught and blue pill… which have, how to say, laxative effects.   He made his concoctions truly disgusting in order to convince the men that they were really getting the powerful treatment they needed.  Here is a passage from the first book, Master and Commander, which touches on his prescriptions:

[Stephen] left the cabin with what seemed to [Captain] Jack [Aubrey] an inhuman want of concern and went directly below, where he mixed a draught and a powder from the large stock that he (like all other naval surgeons) kept perpetually at hand. Under the thrust of the gregale, coming in gusts off Delamara Point, the Sophie’s lee-lurch slopped out too much by half.

‘It is too much by half,’ he observed, balancing like a seasoned mariner and pouring the surplus into a twentydrachm phial. ‘But never mind. It will just do for young Babbington.’ He corked it, set it on a—rail-locked rack, counted its fellows with their labelled necks and returned to the cabin. He knew very well that Jack would act on the ancient seafaring belief that more is better and dose himself into Kingdom Come if not closely watched, and he stood there reflecting upon the passage of authority from one to the other in relationships of this kind (or rather of potential authority, for they had never entered into any actual collision) as Jack gasped and retched over his nauseous dose. Ever since Stephen Maturin had grown rich with their first prize he had constantly laid in great quantities of asafetida, castoreum and other substances, to make his medicines more revolting in taste, smell and texture than any others in the fleet; and he found it answered—his hardy patients knew with their entire beings that they were being physicked.

On another tack, I have been watching the Republican race these with the same enthusiasm I have had when viewing an autopsy.  It is fascinating and revolting.

While I haven’t made a decision about any candidate yet, I can affirm the same decision I made last election cycle: I would vote for the corpse of Millard Fillmore before I would not vote, to keep any of the running Dems out of the White House.

In the fascinating matter of Donald Trump, however, I note with interest the observations of Fr. Sirico of Acton Institute.  HERE  He uses an interesting analogy.  My emphases and comments.

Donald Trump and Catholic Social Teaching

I was recently asked by Time Magazine for my general opinion on Donald Trump, his relation to Catholic ideas and White Evangelicals and any other thoughts I might have. I was briefly quoted in Time. But I thought I would include here the parts of my remarks that were not used in the article as well.

Trump’s moral positions on life and sexual morality stray widely from Catholic moral and social teaching in many respects. I would also think that conservative Catholics would have problems with him especially on abortion.

He certainly did not endear himself to Catholics when he said the pope needed to be scared into action against ISIS especially the way he said it.  [See more on that HERE]

I cannot address the issue of Catholic-Republican organizing because I am not a Republican or for that matter, a member of any political party.

The more pertinent question regarding Trump and the experience of Catholics is that of populism and here Catholics have been on all sides of the question, in Argentina (Peron), and Italy (both Berlusconi and Mussolini) – so I suspect that today this would be the same.

Frankly, I cannot figure out the alleged white-evangelical attraction to Trump. To my ear, he simply is not one of them. He is obviously unfamiliar with the Bible and he does not speak in any evangelical dialect with which I am conversant. I would think that in the end, religious conservatives who haven’t aligned themselves with Trump will find themselves allied behind the alternative Republican option. [Read: When the excitement ends, they will leave him and support someone else.]

On the whole Trump thing I can offer this somewhat provocative thought, though it is hardly a distinctly Catholic idea:

For some time our body politic has been blocked and seems not to move anywhere. This blockage[Are you getting the point yet?] is made up of both a lack of philosophical understanding of the authentic roots of human freedom and a lack of courage to defend those roots. Now comes Donald Trump, who says some things that are refreshing and bold, who obviously does not speak from talking points but in the end, are neither substantial nor nourishing of a civil order. In this circumstance, the best one could hope for is that Trump will act like a strong physic one has to abide from time to time just to get things moving again. But that is not something one wants as a whole diet.

Physic for the Body Politic.    Perhaps that’s what’s needed.

And, of course, the moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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45 Responses to Mr. Trump and Physicking the Body Politic

  1. Orlando says:

    The Republican field is blessed with strong principled conservatives who are right on the transformational issues of our times , the wonton destruction of human life (infanticide) sacrificed at the Satanic alter of narcissism , egoism and convenience; and a diabolical ideology reminiscent of Nazism intent on the destruction of Western values and the enslavment of its people. Then we have Donald Trump , a showman and egomaniac with no moral compass content to say whatever he chose to get elected. On the question of abortion , he’s made it clear that in this case murder is a choice. Regarding world affairs , besides one liners he has no plan.

  2. ncstevem says:

    Definitely not a Trump supporter.

    I think the reason for his level of support is his stated position on immigration – i.e. deportations, building a wall between the US and Mexico and halting immigration from Muslim countries plus the fact that much of the voting public is sick of the political class for both parties (but mostly the Republicans). It’s become pretty obvious that the Republicans do the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce and other money interests regardless what their base voters want. Amnesty is a good example of that.

  3. Vincent says:

    Over here in England, we tend to view US politics with some disdain (a bizarre thing to do with the most powerful country in the world). From our enlightened position we compare Labour with the Democrats, and the Republicans with the Conservatives, little realising that the two sides bear no comparison whatsoever. Of course, Obama is the greatest thing ever to have happened to the world in this narrative. But what we really don’t get is Donald Trump. To think that anyone would vote for him is abhorrent to the British mind. And yet, we do actually get it, on the quiet. The truth is that in the UK politicians vie to occupy the ‘centre’ because they are unelectable otherwise. UKIP therefore shock the political establishment by being electable (in some way) when Labour and the Liberal Democrats aren’t. I suspect Trump is much the same. He says things that are unpalatable to the liberal establishment, and yet the people respond to that. Which means that the people are wrong and need better ‘leadership’. The thing about Trump is that he’s like Jeremy Corbyn: Would you trust him with Nuclear Launch Codes?

  4. Polycarpio says:

    This discussion presumes (or posits, in any event) a salutary effect to the Trump phenomenon. My concern is that Trump’s campaign is just a self-indulgent adventure that has hit a populist nerve, that Mr. Trump has little vision beyond lobbing some bombs based on his perception of what his public wants from him, basically to be the bad boy, with the hope that he can land himself in the nomination fight, and then fake it from there on into the general election with a more moderate variation of the same media game. I seriously doubt Trump is a Republican, and I also doubt he believes the extreme things he has said. I am afraid this is just a game, and that in the end, it will be an embarrassment that he got this far, and will reveal weaknesses in the system that will not do it good to have them revealed. That is my concern with regard to Mr. Trump.

  5. kbf says:

    It’s all a bit reminiscent of Ross Perot – the appeal is that he isn’t a machine politician who is prepared to go off piste in his comments, but in the end he just fills the pre-election void with something interesting to talk about.

    What bemused me is that Trump owns a golf resort in Scotland, and after his comments about wanting to impose a moritorium on Muslims entering the US until the borders were secure the tiwitterati took to social media and used an online petition to pressure the UK Government into banning him rom the UK. I had to laugh – it looked like a mad dash to the MT Pool to sign out the keys to the Outrage Bus.

    The fatal flaw in the plan was that the liberals on social media in the UK had convinced themselves that a single American would even care what “Johnny Foreigner” would think and change their mind on Trump as a result. I’d venture the average ‘Merican views the rest of the world as a theme park, a car park, or a handy bombing range (except maybe a rump of Catholics that acknowledge that there is this place called “Rome” that by some error ended up in Europeland Land rather than Utah, but the President can’t fix the economy so he probably can’t fix that either) so is probably more amused than offended that we can’t vote in a US Presidential Election anyway (neither can you guys, technically, but that’s besides the point) so no harm, no foul as you guys would say.

    It all makes for good entertainment though, wouldn’t you say?

  6. JonPatrick says:

    Funny. After a long hiatus I had started reading “Nutmeg of Consolation” again and had just come to the part where ashore at the dreadful Botany Bay Captain Aubrey had attended one of those dinners and needed to be “physicked” afterwards.

    As is often true when you try to vote with a Catholic conscience one has the usual dilemma since almost all of the candidates that have a chance of being elected are squishy at best on the moral issues (abortion, SSM, etc.) Cruz may be the only one who is truly pro life but then I don’t give him as much of a chance as Trump or Rubio as he will have a hard time moving toward the center after the nomination is over, could be another Barry Goldwater.

  7. Andrew D says:

    Has anyone in the debates or media interviews directly asked Trump if he supports legalized abortion? That’s a deal breaker for me if he says yes or if he gives a non-answer (which means yes). Personally, I think it doesn’t matter who becomes the next president. The Obama regime has accelerated the path of America’s destruction and I don’t see any way it can be reversed. Our electorate is too stupid, too lazy and too selfish to care anymore about what’s going on around them. All we can do as faithful Catholics is pray for God’s Mercy and realize that Heaven is our true home and this is the Valley of Tears we must pass through.

  8. taffymycat says:

    what is discouraging is that most people no longer judge a candidate by his past record, his achievements, the fruits of his life and philosophy, but on what the MEDIA perceive the candidate to be. voters now include some of the least informed of our culture, least educated in terms of constitution/history, …it is discouraging to hear my neighbor say they voted for obama because he and michelle seem like really nice people and are an attractive couple…i wanted to put cyanide on my toothbrush–after putting some on my neighbor’s! my dad was a history teacher so we were taught well on that but i remember even in catholic school a rigorous study of american history and constitution, the branches of govt, electoral college, the checks and balances….its all greek to most today and it doesnt bode well for this country. that people are so easily swayed by media, can give a pass on benghazi on abandoning a victory in iraq fought w american blood, to open gitmo so jihadis can kill again…all this massaged into their numb skulls by the media, not to mention the more arcane and sinister scandals of economic malfeasance on the part of the Fed, the legislators..i just give up on this country as far as my hopes—but i acknowledge
    Our Lord is in charge – He will bring greater good from this deplorable mess.

  9. Gerard Plourde says:

    One would hope that sufficient wisdom resides among Republican Primary voters to reject the false choice that Donald Trump represents. If not, he may end up being the party’s nominee.

    As to his allure to Evangelicals, it must be remembered that their tradition is based on Sola Scriptura and Sole Fide. Therefore, to assume that Evangelicals will hold a consistent position on anything beyond belief in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Trinity is a vain one. (One should note that there is no guarantee that Evnagelicals will even hold these Truths forever if the history of mainstream Protestantism is any guide.)

    Protestant rejection of Apostolic Authority ensures that at the end of the day they do not possess a single authoritative to guide them with authentic, consistent teaching. Their rejection of the Pope and a single teaching Authority cuts them adrift in a world where anyone’s interpretation of Scripture is as good and valid as anyone else’s. This is a position that can easily lead one astray. We need only look at the temptation of Our Lord at the beginning of His ministry to see confirmed that Satan can attempt to use Scripture to his own purposes.

    Finally, they reject the truth that “[F]aith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Jas. 2:17. If one’s actions have no ultimate bearing on whether one is accorded salvation, then there is no compelling need to strive to do good and to weigh the consequences of one’s every act. Large swaths of the Evangelical community firmly believe that they are guaranteed Heaven because they have confessed that Jesus is their personal Savior. In the theology they have been taught and which they accept, nothing more is needed. It is this core diconnect, born of Sola Scriptura and Sole FIde, that allows them to accept and follow Donald Trump.

  10. Maltese says:

    In a recent head-to-head poll among all voters (Dems and Repubs), Rubio would beat Clinton; but Trump would lose against Clinton. A shame that Repubs couldn’t have put more of their store-house behind Rubio.

  11. SanSan says:

    This article confirms my very first reaction to Trump and the frenzy around him. I really did think we needed someone to “get things moving”…….then we need to move him out of the way. Trump has served his purpose. Now, if everyone would reel themselves back in and LOOK at Santorum, you would see someone very strong, with experience and a stellar moral background. Wadaya say?

  12. Markus says:

    “neither substantial nor nourishing of a civil order” ???

    As our current political leadership (both parties) are exhibiting this now?

    It appears that this statement could be heard in the Senate chambers of the Roman Empire circa 50BC. Coming from a member of the clergy, it seems to make sense, from that perspective, as the RCC political structure appears to be based upon the Roman Empire model. This model is in force, in the RCC, still today and politics is its forte.

    The credibility of such a statement/judgement may not carry the weight of the past, however. Again, as history teaches it may vary within the population. Evidence of this may be found in recent statements by the Pontiff and actions of the NCCB.

    Inaction by clergy leadership, regarding public statements and actions of so called “catholic” politicians, on all levels, can also be construed as being confusing to the US Catholic laity.

    As the Church in the US has apparently, to many, relinquished is role in charities, as evidenced by support of Healthcare legislation which ‘takes over” the role of charitable heath care by religious institutions (yet retains special tax status) the average Catholic citizen may question motivation. The request for Catholic charitable giving, by the laity, has not decreased or remained the same, but has actually increased as evidenced by ACA recent parish assessments.

    The subsequent protest of certain provisions within the legislation, by the NCCB, may appear to be quite naïve to many of the laity.

    Personally, I have to agree with Pope Francis on this subject. I would rather have a political leader that lives the spirit of the law than quotes it accurately. Accuracy coached by some speech writer.

  13. The Egyptian says:

    Physic for the Body Politic. Perhaps that’s what’s needed.

    yes definitely a purgative for the body politic is called for.
    We up here in farm country used to call it an enema, quite useful for dislodging built up s… sorry crap ;>)

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sarah Hoyt (nee Almeida) had an interesting post the other day, saying that Trump reminded her of the Portuguese “rightist” president of her youth, Eanes. He ran as from the right and said all the true stuff that the rightist parties would not say; but he governed as the worst of the left with radical left policies that went unreported by the all-left press. This ran Portugal further into the ground. In the end, everybody figured that the right’s ideas stunk, and they went back to voting for overt leftists for the next generation.

    So yes, she is a wee bit suspicious of Trump.

  15. Augustine says:

    Gone are the days of Vidal and Buckley, when the thirst for power was varnished with training. Now it’s raw, naked power for its own sake. And the culprit, may, the perpetrator of this lethal circus can be found in the mirror.

    As Fr Dwight put it: “Donald Trump is a perfect portrait of America today. He’s a shallow, egocentric, lustful, greedy, warmongering creep.”

    [That sounds like a “No” vote.]

  16. taffymycat says:

    i will gladly vote trump over obama any day or clinton any day…those 2 nudniks have zero competence or track record of any worthy accomplisnments and have shown zero love for country or belief in its core values.

  17. Sonshine135 says:

    I must admit that this is the first time in many moons where I could be considered an undecided voter, and I must also admit that I find Trump’s “silent majority” appealing. I consider myself lucky in this case for being able to hide behind a screen name. Before anyone gets to high up on their horse though, I have seen some of the most vile remarks coming from Catholics about Trump supporters. Keep your comments on point. Just because someone likes a particular candidate that you don’t, please don’t assume that they are brainless, stupid, or brainwashed. For me, the appeal of Trump is strictly that he is a physick. Whether or not that is enough for me to pull the lever for him remains to be seen. For the Rubio supporters, you may like his very Catholic positions, but remember, he also voted for amnesty for illegal aliens- thus depriving legal citizens of jobs.

    There seems to be a lot of drive for “conservative purity” in the news, but perhaps not in the electorate. Where it leads, who knows? I’ll just finish by saying that primaries are a lot like Synods- sausage making.

  18. Bosco says:

    I should refrain from comment here, not because I lack a reasoned opinion, but rather that I have never ‘backed’ the ultimate winner in the Presidential sweepstakes, Republican and otherwise. Aside for my whole-hearted support for Ronald Reagan, I have variously backed (some by way of write-in votes) Jeane Kirkpatrick, Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal as I thought they largely represented my ‘Catholic’ view of the world.

    To my mind Donald Trump is terrifying in his histrionics, bombast, and snake-oil populism. That he is a ‘populist’ at all is gravely worrying as he reflects the mindless depths to which much of the US populace seem to have descended. He proposes ends and never means.

    The shameless, unending, and uncritical softball coverage Trump is afforded by much of the media (FOX News in particular with a few exceptions) is extraordinary and deprives the other candidates of the oxygen necessary to compete in political discourse.

    For those of you who may have seen the 1983 film “The Dead Zone”, I believe there is an uncanny similarity between Trump and the egomaniacal presidential candidate, Senator Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen).

    Just sayin’.

  19. FL_Catholic says:

    Its interesting and dismaying to hear so many traditional Catholics come out against Trump. Myself and my whole family all support him, especially over the other RINO choices. He’s very pro-2nd Amendment, he wants to cut down on the tax insanity in this country, and fix immigration and block the muslim barbarian hoard from descending upon our shores any further. Sounds like a winner to us.

    And honestly, anyone who can get kudos from the greatest politician on the Planet (Putin) is good in my book. Not to mention he drives the lefties and centrists crazy, which is always a plus.

  20. pj_houston says:

    Cruz is going to be our best choice, it’s unfortunate that The Donald may prevent that from happening. Rubio is just another establishment Republican, we can’t afford more of the same. The rest are unelectable, but watch out for Jeb, the RINOs have not given up on him yet. He could still make a surge if Trump goes down in flames during the primaries.

  21. mburn16 says:

    If you want to understand why Trump is leading, you need only sit down and prepare a list of political issues on which the Conservative agenda has enjoyed some substantial, sustained level of success. It will be a very short list. The problem is that Repulicans, including Conservative Catholics, have spent decades seeking out good and faithful men with a lasting history of Conservatism….with almost nothing to show for it.

    Enter Trump, and enough people believe he might actually be able to DO something, that he may well be the next President.

  22. MGL says:

    The Trump phenomenon both is and isn’t about Donald Trump the man.

    It is about Trump for a sizeable number of middle-Americans who believe (with justification) that they’ve been systematically dispossessed by an elite that harvests their votes at election time but that otherwise despises and disregards them. This is much the same group that continues to regard Sarah Palin with affection despite the sneers of their betters in the media and the academy. Americans are a distinct people with very distinct tastes, and personalities like Trump and Palin strike a particular chord with ordinary Americans that utterly baffles the sophisticated class, both domestic and foreign. These people are well-described in Michael Brendan Dougherty’s excellent article in The Week about the Trump candidacy. For them, the mainstream’s loathing of Trump is a feature, not a bug, and the more the media breathlessly tries to gin up “the scandal that will finally sink Trump”, the more they like him.

    And why not? That’s mass democracy for you, where even the stupidest and least competent get to have a say in who runs the country. There are millions of far stupider people out there than the average middle-American Trump supporter, and they get to pull the lever on Election Day, so why shouldn’t these hard-working and law-abiding people be treated with respect rather than condescended to with endless hand-wringing “Why do those awful rubes like Trump?” think-pieces?

    At isn’t about Trump-the-man for a growing number of people who perceive (again correctly) that the Republican Party has become wholly captured by liberals and plutocrats. (Yes, they do understand the irony, since Trump himself is both these things.) Each election, the Republican Party makes a great show of “this is our chance to save America for conservative principles” but once they’re elected to office they find suddenly discover that, gosh darn it, it’s just not possible to do anything.

    “Give us a House majority, then we’ll fix things!” OK, done.
    “Give us a Senate majority, then we’ll fix things!” Done.
    “Give us the presidency, then we’ll…” etc.

    To those who think that merely electing the right elite-sanctioned candidate will finally turn things around (this time for sure!), tell me: What has the GOP actually conserved over the past several decades? Has abortion been outlawed? Has the morally hazardous welfare state been dismantled? Has the Department of Education ceased its efforts to indoctrinate your children into leftism and sexual perversion (but I repeat myself)? Has popular culture ceased to celebrate depravity? Are you freer to speak your mind? Does the government increasingly leave you to your own business? Have we entered a new era of racial harmony?

    This second group doesn’t seriously believe a Trump presidency would address any of these things, and they often harbor no love for the man himself. But there’s absolutely no reason to believe that the Republicans would address them either. Vote for Rubio or Bush or Christie or Fiorina and prepare yourself for several more years of hearing complicated procedural excuses about why X just can’t be done. Or vote for Trump in order to weaken or even better, destroy the Establishment’s grip on the party, and try to build from the rubble a party that actually takes account of its voters. Sanders is doing much the same thing to the Democrats.

  23. CradleRevert says:

    Unfortunately, the only of the Republican nominees that I can get somewhat excited about doesn’t stand a chance of winning the nomination. I could probably plug my nose and muster up a vote for Cruz or Rubio…but Trump? Ugh…I don’t know… Sure, between him and Hillary he’s the lesser evil, but just how bad does the lesser evil have to get before the absence of a vote speaks louder than a vote?

  24. Mary Jane says:

    Cruz fan here, although if it came down to a vote between Trump and Clinton I’d obviously vote for Trump.

  25. laurel says:

    Before one can ‘clean up the house’ and get it in right order, one needs to have a house. Read: country. We are in the new war….. we need a fighter who can mobilize the ‘troops.’.

    All of this sounds a lot like the recent National Review Online issue (NRO) ……Conservative ?? many of those bozos writing in the NRO endorsed Obama…. Conservative ??? Bush II gave us the Medical Prescription give-away $$$$$ How much smaller is government under the so-called conservative Republican presidents ??? How friendly were they to the one-world gang ???? Pro-Life??? Bush II approved use of stem cells with certain caveats. Let’s not even get into the Iraq war (which Trump was against)

    These ‘conservatives’ are globalists l The difference between them and the Dems is the Republican globalists want stuff friendly to the multinational corps they’re connect with…the Democrat globalists just want to control everyone’s life – and hopefully – get chaos (read: Frankfurt School)

  26. Andrew says:

    MGL and laurel:

    Well said.

  27. iepuras says:

    I am amused at the whole Trump phenomenon. When I hear criticism that he is a show-man, charlatan, flip flopper, etc, I ask, “So how does this make him different from the Republicans in Washington?” At least Trump is not PC and is highly entertaining, which is an improvement on the current crop of leaders in Washington. I don’t know who I will vote for in the primary. By the time my state has its primary, it may all be moot anyways. However, I will vote for Trump over Hillary or The Bern any day. With a President Trump, I might actually start watching the news again for the sheer entertainment value of it.

  28. Bosco says:

    Not many arguments here, either pro or con, setting forth any rationale for voting for any particular candidate based on what might persuade the potential voter that any one candidate so far mentioned is possessed of a solid ‘Catholic’ ethic and moral habit.

    That ‘Catholic’ ethic, more than “conservative” credentials (new found or hoary), is what trumps all issues in my book.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Trump is a sign of the lack of real leaderships, but Cruz is scary. His dad anointed him “king” and uses Messianic language with regard to him. Cruz and such who follow his dad believe that this country should be run by Mosaic Law, and by a righteous group who will take money from the unrighteous….and WHO is to decide who is righteous and not? They will, and this group of Christians are also very anti-Catholic.

    Cruz, his dad, and his mentor are dominionists–these people want a Protestant dominion, not a Catholic theocracy, but a Protestant theocracy ignoring the fact that the Constitution is an Enlightenment document, not a Christian one. They also believe in the Seven Mountain Mandate…

    A candidate who wants to see themselves in Messianic terms is not to be trusted. They talk about The Church being in public affairs, well and good, but they do not mean the Catholic Church.

    Here is one sample of this dangerous idea of dominion.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNa5w9js48s

  30. Veritatis Splendor says:

    I am not concerned that Trump will win the nomination, because the main body of his supporters are among people who have not voted in a very long time, if ever. This is why the emotional-populist folks have never been pandered to before now, because they don’t vote. Further, Trump is giving almost no thought to any on the ground campaigning, especially get out the vote efforts, thus making it likely that many of his supporters will not know when, where, or how to vote, thus greatly reducing his influence. [As for myself, I am hoping for a Rubio-Sanders-Bloomburg ticket. Sanders, like Trump, is unelectable, and Bloomburg would further split the vote, so Rubio (or Cruz, either would do) would be able to win.] Whatever way it turns out, the next months will be highly amusing.

  31. Semper Gumby says:

    Interesting take on Trump by Fr. Z with “physicking,” and “blockage” by Fr. Sirico.

    That said, this “blockage” is only one symptom of a country in moral and cultural decline. The Democrat nominee, whoever it is, is likely to continue the advance of moral turpitude and abortion, erosion of the First and Second Amendments, and socialism. To counter this, if the Republican nominee is Trump, requires voting for a populist/demagogue who, among other things, continues to employ a national spokeswoman who just a few years ago tweeted pro-Malcolm X and anti-Catholic statements.

    Myself and many others I know at this time are unsure if we could vote for Trump, but I acknowledge Fr. Z’s point re Millard Fillmore.

    Jeremiah 29:7

  32. pannw says:

    Even though I was a Jindal supporter, and now lean towards Santorum (strongly though his chances seem so very slim) and also like Paul, I completely understand the surge in support of Trump, because most of them, as far as I can tell, support him because they are ANGRY. They are tired of supporting, voting, donating to, campaigning for…’Conservative’ candidates who promise them all sorts of wonderful things, from repealing Obamacare, to defunding PP, and then, when we give them both chambers of Congress they turn around, knife us in the back, and give Obama and the Dems more than they would have even asked for. Trump is a rebellious vote. I do fully understand it, and could almost be swept away with it myself, but for the prickle of hair standing up on the back of my neck. His vindictiveness, pettiness, and personal attack on anyone who criticizes him, or appears to stand in his way is so worrisome. He is every bit as petulant as ‘the Won’. And then there is his recent past record of support for far left policies, etc… With his rather tyrannical personality, I’m afraid people should be careful what they wish for. It sounds good when he’s promising to do what we want done, but keep in mind his recent past. I wish I could believe his conversion was real, but I just can’t make myself.

    If it is him vs Democrat, I will vote for him, but in all honesty, I, like Andrew D, don’t think anyone is going to make a difference at this point. I have long felt that we sealed our fate as a nation when we re-elected the most pro-abortion man I could imagine in my worst nightmares to the highest office of the land, and his inauguration was within days of the 40th anniversary of the evil decision Roe-V-Wade. And now we are upon the 100th anniversary of Fatima. The new administration begins in 2017. There’s that prickling on my neck again. If I had to predict, as hard as it is to really imagine, I would say Bernie Sanders will win, because “Russia will spread its errors.” It is quite apparent that is true. I think it is also apparent that a (the?) Chastisement (probably the Minor) is upon us. If we are allowed to say such things without fear of looking ‘medieval’ or ‘superstitious’.

  33. Iacobus M says:

    Fr.’s preference for the corpse of Millard Fillmore over any of the conceivable Democrat nominees tells you something about the state of the Democratic Party. After all, Fillmore, widely considered one of the worst presidents of all time, was the nominee of the anti-Catholic American Party (he finished third in a race won by James Buchanan, a president almost as bad as Fillmore himself had been) – but at least he didn’t support and promote the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies, or the dismantling of the institution of the family.

    [Ahhh, Dear Millard. He joined the No Nothings, and even so I would vote for him rather than stay home and let any of the Dems simply walk into the White House or any other office.]

    13_millard_fillmore

  34. Kerry says:

    When the Republicans handed the administration another year’s worth of funding and did not strip Murder Incorporated of its last farthing, I was sick at heart. And thought almost I’d heard another weight hit the scales pan, “…and found wanting”.
    God’s physic administered may be the next sound you hear.
    (With pannw I agree, October 2017 is not far off. In January I am planning my planting very assiduously.)

  35. Kathleen10 says:

    About 15 years ago, more or less, I remember reading that Donald Trump would not just give his kids loads of money, because he wanted them to learn responsibility by working for it. He was a responsible parent, when, as a busy billionaire, he could have had nannies raise his children and be less involved. But he wasn’t. He took it seriously. Take a look at his kids. By all appearances they are well adjusted and they live productive lives. They look like lovely kids. How often does this happen. Many children of celebrities or millionaires are a mess. It says something about Donald Trump. Is it enough? Of course not, and this has been a concern of mine, we know little about his ideas or plans.
    I suspect the American people are perceiving how serious our situation is, and they have lost faith that any politician can get it done with what they have against them. One of the most frustrating things during the presidency of George Bush (43), was to see how brutal the media was to him. He was a somewhat conservative Republican and they brutalized him.
    Many Americans rightly despise the media. They are sharks and they are virtually all Democrats who push leftist propaganda. The people see in Donald Trump someone who can’t be bought, and doesn’t seem to give a rats about the media, he uses them, he handles them, he isn’t afraid, no apologies, no pandering. Refreshing like a cool, mountain breeze. We also know money talks and money gives power, and he’s got plenty of it, so he can’t be coerced that way. Personally I suspect many in our government are bought, sold, and paid for, on both sides. I don’t think Trump can be bought.
    But we don’t know nearly enough about him. I read the other day that he is opposed to abortion except in the case of rape or incest, the usual out. We should have many questions, but debates are a lousy way to find out about candidates. EWTN had “Candidate Conversations”, a one on one conversation with candidates and that was far better. I don’t know they had Donald Trump on.
    Importantly right now, Donald Trump is tough on immigration and that’s what many Americans want. We don’t want to be England, Germany, France, Belgium, or any of the other European nations who have made a fatal mistake by letting in all those Muslims, but don’t seem to recognize it yet. America gets it, and we don’t want it.
    I am sad to say however, that it is true, the American populace at large may no longer be engaged enough, or smart enough, to make a wise selection. We are as polarized by political viewpoints as we could possibly be. If the Democrats win this one, we’re in big trouble, all of us.
    In my opinion, Sen. Ted Cruz would be our best pick as far as conservative principles, but Donald Trump may indeed be the physick our nation needs.

  36. Now is the time for all good Catholics to come to the aid of the country by making sure that at least one candidate can earn our votes instead of wailing on Election Day that we have to choose the lesser evil (which never works and only moves the discussion more towards evil). Now is the time. Not November. If we stood together, we could do it. But so far, unless maybe someone like Rick Santorum emerges, it looks like the write-in line for me.

  37. SKAY says:

    ” I would vote for him rather than stay home and let any of the Dems simply walk into the White House or any other office.]”

    I agree 100%!

  38. PA mom says:

    I have only recently begun to consider Trump, as I prefer someone who doesn’t start unnecessary verbal battles over virtual nothing.
    However, my husband, raised Democrat but voting Republican these past several years (Obama 1st term regrets…) is quite energized by Trump. He appreciates that Trump is willing to go to the wall (so far) against that which we perceive as dangerous. He is taking pieces out of Clinton in ways even more damaging than Fiorina and with a greater audience always listening. He is ruling over the media in ways no one else (but Obama) can dream of doing.
    Cruz creeps me out in some way I can’t explain.
    Greatly wish that Paul or Fiorina we’re doing better or that Rubio would adjust on immigration and have a bit stronger personality.

    I think part of what is driving the Trump phenom is a sense that the country is so far off track that it will not be corrected by a timid man.

  39. Maltese says:

    Although the house would turn democrat if Trump is elected, I would find it hysterically funny to watch the eurocrat liberals beside themselves if he’s elected.

  40. Bosco says:

    @Kathleen10,

    You said (in part):

    “The people see in Donald Trump someone who can’t be bought, and doesn’t seem to give a rats about the media, he uses them, he handles them, he isn’t afraid, no apologies, no pandering.”

    May I suggest that what the people ‘see’ in the grotesquely grimacing Donald Trump is more akin to their interpretation of an ink blot on paper, i.e. a Rorschach test, upon which the similarity with one’s own passions and opinions are projected while the blot of ink itself ultimately stands for nothing.

  41. Ann Malley says:

    @PA Mom

    “…I think part of what is driving the Trump phenom is a sense that the country is so far off track that it will not be corrected by a timid man.”

    I cannot agree more, PA Mom. To insult Trump as not being a serious candidate, is to disassociate the phenomenon as unrelated to the critical nature of the rotting disease that threatens to kill our nation. We’re sick and scared.

    Those who have considered themselves to be the voices of reason and guidance up until now should, instead of attacking the medicine (even if it’s only in a trial stage offered over the border), try to understand the grave nature of the current situation – not shame the patient for seeking treatment. Even if that treatment seems to be a grotesque remedy. The usual remedies and those who promote them have proved to be an endless disappointment, even if the office are in a nice part of town.

    Needs must. God bless.

  42. Bosco says:

    @Ann Malley and Pa Mom,

    May I just offer for your consideration that a country ‘sick and scared’ and yearning for correction by a man who was not ‘timid’ eventually swooned to the demagogue who mounted the dais at Munich?

  43. MGL says:

    Bosco,

    But how is that different from any other candidate in the race? The whole purpose of political campaigning in a mass democracy is to persuade voters to project their own passions and opinions onto the candidate. President Obama wrote about this explicitly in The Audacity of Hope: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

    Many of the complaints about Trump seem to adopt the unspoken premise that the other major candidates in the race are honest men who, if elected, would certainly carry out the promises they’re currently making, while Trump is “scary”, “unprincipled”, “grotesque”, “an egomaniac”, and so on. But there’s no reason to believe this is true. As I and many others here have pointed out, for several election cycles now the Republicans have essentially campaigned on false premises, promising to uphold “conservative values”, then offering only token resistance to the Democrat agenda. We know the Republican establishment largely favors open immigration, we know that they have largely made their peace with abortion and sexual degeneracy, we know they’re looking for ways to accommodate Obamacare, we know they’re perfectly comfortable, by and large, with the enormous, corrupt welfare state, we know they have no particular interest in protecting religious freedom, and we know from hard experience that they care more about the opinions of the donor class they rub shoulders with than those of the hoi polloi. In short, we know that voting for them will not change Thing One about the overall leftist drift of the country. What do they call it again when you do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?

    Let me stress this again: Few people believe that Trump will take effective action against these ills, except perhaps immigration. The leftist agenda is too firmly entrenched–whether in the media, the schools, the bureaucracy, the political class, or the judiciary–to be demolished by any one man. But experience teaches us very clearly that the mainstream of the Republican Party is worse than useless; on several issues, they are clearly on the other side from their base. And there’s no way for ordinary people to reform them–apart, that is, from rejecting them outright. And that’s what they’re doing with Trump. They’re using him as much as he is using them.

  44. jm says:

    MGL nailed it.

    Trump is no more problematic than Pope Francis, IYAM. See the First Things item comparing the Pope to Coco Channel.

  45. The Cobbler says:

    Trump can’t be bought, sure, because he’s the sort of man usually doing the buying. Business moguls have vested interests of their own. It’s nice to hear him call out lobbying occassionally, but I can’t see any reason to think his own purposes are more trustworthy merely because they are his rather than any other wealthy man’s.

    Or, as G.K. Chesterton put it, people say the rich man can’t be bribed, but the truth is the rich man already has been bribed, it’s part of being rich. He goes on to talk about how, if it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven, then it isn’t especially Christian or un-Christian to condemn or support the wealthy, but it is certainly un-Christian to trust them. (Anybody got the source for the exact quote handy? He said it much more wittily, and my usual quick collection of common Chesterton quotes is sadly missing this particular gem.)

    I’ll also add that I get the appeal, it’s great to see someone be proactive with the media et cetera (media criticism doesn’t happen to him so much as he happens to it), even the fact that he’s a jerk is refreshing after all the smug donkeys smiling as they “lead” us. But at a certain point we’ve got to recognise that he’s either consistent in his positions, in which case, from what I’ve been told, he’s more Democrat/Liberal than Republican/Conservative, or he’s an opportunist who might have changed to ally with us today but could just as easily change elsewhere tomorrow. For instance, was he always pro-border-control, or did he change his tune on that when he discovered it attracts Republican voters? (I bring that one up specifically since there are people here saying they’d pass over other candidates on that issue alone.) And if he says anything about, say, the right to life, is that actually what he’s stood for at all, or just what he’s saying now that the pro-lifers are out asking questions of him? Now that we’ve seen how anyone willing to go poke the media in the eye instead of sitting back and whining to themselves about it can get a heck of a lot of attention even from their opponents, would a real Conservative candidate please stand up and take a shot at it? (And lest this comment be interpreted as just complaining about Trump: I mean that last question quite seriously; if Trump wins the nomination, let alone the election, it will be in part because better men didn’t figure out why he appealed to people, and that just doesn’t have to happen.)

    After medicine cleans the patient out, he needs nourishment to get back to health, no?