Trump or #NeverTrump? Haley Barbour and Charles Murray Disagree

 

On the podcast today, Rob and I interviewed two genuinely brilliant men. Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, has dedicated the better part of his life to the Republican Party. He helped transform the South into a central component — perhaps the central component — of the GOP base, then served in the Reagan administration (where he and I became fast friends), and then as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Charles Murray has written half a dozen books, including two of the most important works the conservative movement has ever produced. His 1984 masterpiece, Losing Ground, detailed the case that the expansion of welfare did more harm than good to the very people it was intended to help; twenty-eight years later, Coming Apart chronicled in heartbreaking detail the growing gulf between a prosperous new class and those beset by wage stagnation and dissolving families.

Although Haley and Charles joined us at different points in the podcast, Rob and I asked each man the same question: If Donald Trump were to capture the Republican nomination, should we vote for him or support an independent candidate instead? Rather than paraphrase, I’ll let each explain, in his own words, how he answers the most important question conservatives may face this year.

Here’s Barbour:

And here’s Murray:

Two patriots, two fine, deeply-informed minds—and two utterly opposed answers.

Over to you, Ricochet.

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  1. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Salvatore Padula: Tuck- I will not under any circumstance support a man who will destroy what I hold dear.

    And Hillary will preserve it?

    • #31
  2. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Salvatore Padula:The point is that if we’re going to lose, and I think Trump is just as much a loss as Hillary, I don’t want to contribute to it.

    Yeah, I agree if you think it’s a toss-up, you might as well sit out.  I don’t think Trump’s as bad as Hillary would be.

    • #32
  3. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    BrentB67: There is an awful lot of primary voting between here and Cleveland.

    Yes, and I’d be happy to see Cruz wind up ahead, or even tied.  But that’s not the betting outcome.

    • #33
  4. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    EThompson:

    David Sussman:

    Just like your Wilson/Gingrich responses their divide is a microcosm of us.

    BTW I saw and briefly met Gov. Wilson a couple weeks back at Reagan Library. He certainly didn’t hide his utter disdain for the current admin. Wonder if will change his mind about this election if and when Trump officially becomes the nominee.

    Those were certainly the good old days! I respectfully wonder if Wilson has any clue how his country and particularly his state has digressed from sense and sensibility and what it may take to get both back on an even keel. Any feedback from him during your brief interlude? (I always loved the guy.)

    We was refreshingly direct, made no bones, his words convey our sentiments… both the Obama admin along with CA liberal policies have only caused pain both economically and culturally. I would guess he was a Rubio guy.

    • #34
  5. dukenaltum Inactive
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    With a Clinton victory you lose an election and maybe the Supreme Court but with Trump you lose your soul, your movement and your party for a hollow “Republican” political victory of an uncontrollable and corrupt demagogue.

    Too high a price for one’s honor.

    • #35
  6. TGWShark Inactive
    TGWShark
    @TGWShark

    It’s ABAD choice, i.e., Anyone But A Democrat. We’re probably facing 8 years of progressive Democrat destruction either way, but I will not support Hillary with a direct or protest vote.

    • #36
  7. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Haley Barbor is comfortable with racism I suppose, I am not.

    Hillary Clinton is more conservative than Donald Trump.  She just is. Hillary Clinton is more honest than Donald Trump.  She just is.

    Country, over Party.

    I will never vote for a man as absolutely corrupt as Donald Trump.

    Hillary’s corruption pales in comparison, and that is saying so very much.  It is unbelievable that we should find someone more corrupt than the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation, but we have.

    There is really not an excuse for voting Trump.  I completely dismiss anyone who does that as any kind of Republican let alone anything conservative or anything else.  Trump is a disaster as a human being.

    Trump makes Hillary look like an angel.  Trump makes Hillary look like a truth teller.  Trump makes Bill look faithful, and champion for women’s rights.  It is so unbelievable that this could be our choices.  Unbelievable!!!

    • #37
  8. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    dukenaltum:With a Clinton victory you lose an election and maybe the Supreme Court but with Trump you lose your soul, your movement and your party for a hollow “Republican” political victory of an uncontrollable and corrupt demagogue.

    Too high a price for one’s honor.

    That is so true, so completely true.

    • #38
  9. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    A life-long Republican says we should vote for Republican nominee regardless of who it is.

    Color me surprised.

    • #39
  10. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Sash: Hillary’s corruption pales in comparison, and that is saying so very much.

    You have to be joking, right?  How many folks have lost their lives because of Trump’s “corruption”?

    • #40
  11. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    BrentB67:Trump may finish the job, but the destruction of what you hold dear has been going on for some time.

    I confess I find the end of days fatalism associated with Trump amusing. The Republicans have killed off Constitutionally limited government and now think the world is going to end because Trump mean end up in charge of the machine they’ve built in DC.

    Seems a little late for the concern.

    That is because you seem to think this is about Washington DC.  This is about America.   You have no idea what I hold dear.  Our government is always somewhat corrupt, but this, this is something completely new.  This is knowingly voting for a man who is lying with every breath hoping he will destroy our Constitution forever.  Turning over our freedom to one who hates our freedom with every breath.

    We can recover from Clinton and liberalism, we can never recover from selling our souls, selling our freedoms.

    • #41
  12. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    BrentB67:

    Salvatore Padula:Tuck- I will not under any circumstance support a man who will destroy what I hold dear.

    Trump may finish the job, but the destruction of what you hold dear has been going on for some time.

    I confess I find the end of days fatalism associated with Trump amusing. The Republicans have killed off Constitutionally limited government and now think the world is going to end because Trump mean end up in charge of the machine they’ve built in DC.

    Seems a little late for the concern.

    And lets completely ignore that much of what we consider “America” has been dead for years. Real property rights, 4th amendment, federalism, division of powers, etc. All getting shivved in vital organs from the Civil War to the present day. Let’s also ignore the fact that our salt of the Earth Americans have willingly surrendered on most of this stuff, and even embraced the knife to the Constitutional guts (I’m looking at you, “Greatest Generation”). The Constitution-killing FDR was elected four times, after all. As I said elsewhere today, much of “our” America has been gone for some time now.

    • #42
  13. John Wilson Member
    John Wilson
    @

    #NeverTrump

    The conservative movement can’t be associated with Trump or his policies or the uglier sides of his movement. Conservatism and the GOP will never win long term until it can distance itself from that populist, nationalist, protectionist, racist brand of politics.

    • #43
  14. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Douglas:

    … much of what we consider “America” has been dead for years….

    Then let’s call the experiment a failure and end it.

    • #44
  15. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Sash:

    We can recover from Clinton and liberalism, we can never recover from selling our souls, selling our freedoms.

    You mean like we did in 1932? “Sure, I’ll give up a bunch of freedoms in return for a government check, Mr Roosevelt! Thank you, Mr Roosevelt!”

    Don’t kid yourself. Not only have we been selling our freedoms for many years now, at times we even give them away. Trump had nothing to do with that.

    • #45
  16. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Sash:

    BrentB67:Trump may finish the job, but the destruction of what you hold dear has been going on for some time.

    I confess I find the end of days fatalism associated with Trump amusing. The Republicans have killed off Constitutionally limited government and now think the world is going to end because Trump mean end up in charge of the machine they’ve built in DC.

    Seems a little late for the concern.

    That is because you seem to think this is about Washington DC. This is about America. You have no idea what I hold dear. Our government is always somewhat corrupt, but this, this is something completely new. This is knowingly voting for a man who is lying with every breath hoping he will destroy our Constitution forever. Turning over our freedom to one who hates our freedom with every breath.

    We can recover from Clinton and liberalism, we can never recover from selling our souls, selling our freedoms.

    We have neglected conservatism, the Constitution, raised the debt ceiling endlessly and now we are worried about the country because Trump could be the nominee?

    I agree 4 years of him in the oval office will be a negative for the nation, but considering the care we have taken, especially this century, it seems out of place to fear the damage to the country all of a sudden.

    Perhaps if we cared for her better there never would’ve been an opportunity for Trump.

    • #46
  17. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    A-Squared:

    Douglas:

    … much of what we consider “America” has been dead for years….

    Then let’s call the experiment a failure and end it.

    I think we are within a couple years if not months of that occurring.

    • #47
  18. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    BrentB67:

    A-Squared:

    Douglas:

    … much of what we consider “America” has been dead for years….

    Then let’s call the experiment a failure and end it.

    I think we are within a couple years if not months of that occurring.

    I wish I could disagree.

    • #48
  19. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    BrentB67:

    A-Squared:

    Douglas:

    … much of what we consider ,ica” has been dead for years….

    Then let’s call the experiment a failure and end it.

    I think we are within a couple years if not months of that occurring.

    Brent,

    I’m going to say the same thing you said to me last week when I felt capitulation. You’re also one of the most optimistic guys on here. America has withstood far stronger threats than a Donald Trump.

    • #49
  20. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    David Sussman:

    BrentB67:

    A-Squared:

    Douglas:

    … much of what we consider ,ica” has been dead for years….

    Then let’s call the experiment a failure and end it.

    I think we are within a couple years if not months of that occurring.

    Brent,

    I’m going to say the same thing you said to me last week when I fell I’m going to say the same thing you said to me last week when I felt capitulation. You’re also one of the most optimistic guys on here. America has withstood far stronger threats than a Donald Trump.

    Thanks David. I don’t think Donald Trump is a singular threat to the end of the republic. We don’t end the experiment at the hand of one guy, even Trump. That gives him too much credit.

    I am an economist and student of the markets. Our present political discourse combined with all of the poor choices we’ve made over the decades leads me to this conclusion.

    Trump is just another log on the fire.

    • #50
  21. Redneck Desi Inactive
    Redneck Desi
    @RedneckDesi

    I don’t think I can pull the lever for the guy who makes sexual jokes about our nominee in our last election.

    • #51
  22. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Aside from all the laws she’s broken, Benghazi alone proves Hillary is far worse than Trump has ever been.  Lives don’t matter so long as she protects her political career and obsession with gaining power.

    • #52
  23. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Salvatore Padula: But bifurcation is exactly what Trump has achieved. The absolute best case scenario for the GOP should Trump be the nominee is that it will be electorally successful, but not conservative. I agree that conservatism cannot be killed by one person. It will be killed by the many people who share Barbour’s view that party is more important than principle.

    Without Trump, the nominee would be Jeb Bush, who would have, if elected, continued Obama’s immigration policies which are intended to import Democrat voters, and Common Core, which is intended to teach kids to be good clients of the state. But Bush wouldn’t have been elected. Even Republicans couldn’t stomach another Bush.

    The Main Enemy of the GOPe isn’t the Democrats. It’s people for whom sovereignty, borders and culture are important; those retrograde morons – who these days are mostly Republicans – are really just speedbumps on the road to the elimination of all of that. Bush, or Rubio, or Fiorina, or Kasich are all pretty much on board with the pivotal elements of the GOPe/UniParty agenda which is not conservative.

    Cruz, not so much… but if not for Trump, Cruz might be leading the pack but not by enough to hit 1237. Even people who like his ideas don’t like him much. With no first ballot winner, the Party grownups would pick… Jeb. And thereby President Clinton II.

    The GOP was moribund. Trump is what political creative destruction looks like.

    • #53
  24. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Ontheleftcoast:

    The GOP was moribund. Trump is what political creative destruction looks like.

    Yep. The party’s over (in the GOP’s case, maybe literally), and the bill has come due. Donald Trump is the invoice.

    • #54
  25. Samizdat Inactive
    Samizdat
    @Samizdat

    The long-term survival of a respectable conservative opposition is more important than what happens in the next 4 years. If Hillary becomes president she’ll be a very weak one, thwarted at every turn and bogged down by scandals. By 2020 the failures of the Obama-Clinton era will be ever more clear to the voters.

    • #55
  26. Tyler Boliver Inactive
    Tyler Boliver
    @Marlowe

    In the words of Winston Churchill:

    Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

    Voting for a nationalist who would destroy the conservative movement, is not honorable or in good sense. #NeverTrump. Never, Never, Never, Never!

    “I am as patriotic as anyone from sea to shining sea, but there isn’t a molecule of nationalism in me.” William F. Buckley.

    • #56
  27. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Douglas: Yep. The party’s over (in the GOP’s case, maybe literally), and the bill has come due. Donald Trump is the invoice.

    I was just talking to a colleague of mine. A friend of hers in Berkeley – a sixtyish lifelong liberal Democrat – just told her he’s for Trump. This is not “Trump in the primary to get Hillary elected.” This is come November he’s voting for Trump.

    I know, I know. An anecdote ≠ data. But I was in California when Reagan was governor, and in Berkeley in the 1960s. I’ve been watching this stuff for a long time. Something new and different is happening.

    • #57
  28. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    For me this is brutal.

    I’ve always considered myself willing to vote for the lesser of two evils. But I’ve always considered that on a scale: Democrat-lite vs. Socialist. Grey vs. Black, Pink vs. Red.

    I think Trump would be less bad than Clinton, because I think we are currently better situated to survive a corrupt unprincipled Republican trying to abuse executive power than we are a corrupt unprincipled Democrat trying to do the same. I’d said for months that’s why I thought I would vote for Trump. And the chance at the Supreme Court.

    But I am finding, now, that I believe Trump’s candidacy represents a kind of evil I cannot vote for.

    It’s not about preserving the conservative movement so much — after a Clinton presidency I am not sure what will be left anyway. It’s that, first, given some of his rhetoric and complete ignorance on foreign policy I am no longer absolutely certain that he would be better than Clinton. And, second, that a vote for him would be a vote to legitimize something evil, to give a corrupted, twisted movement greater influence in our society.

    As a matter of personal honor — even at the cost of my own future — I don’t think I can do it. And I live in a swing state.

    • #58
  29. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Left Coast- The nominee was never going to be Jeb. What Trump has done is deprive the Republican Party of its best opportunity in a generation to have a real debate between alternative visions of conservatism: Cruz v. Rubio.

    • #59
  30. Heehaw Inactive
    Heehaw
    @Heehaw

    I do not understand this argument that it makes sense to hold your nose and vote for trump because anything would be better than Hillary Clinton. That’s not argument at all, it’s emotion. Trump’s record reflects that, on policy, he would more or less be as much of a third term of Obama as Clinton. Do you vote against Hilary just because of the name or because of the policies she stands for? Trump to me seems like he’s just like Clinton or Obama with just as much if not more ego, but maybe less ideological underpinning. At least when the leftist progressives fail we can point to their flawed ideology. When Trump fails there’ll be nothing to point to but the R he’s put in front of his name for political expediency.

    Hailey’s comment about the age of smoke filled rooms being past totally misses the point. The question wasn’t about picking a nominee for everyone else, it was about who you vote for. In the end, you should vote for the person who most closely represents for you values. “He’s not a Clinton” or “He’s not a Democrat” is not a value position. Trump’s values don’t match mine and if he’s the nominee I will renounce my party membership as the party clearly no longer reflects my values in the slightest.

    • #60
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