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ETTD. You’ve seen it here and undoubtedly encountered it elsewhere. Everything Trump Touches Dies.
The great thing about slogans is that they’re catchy, memorable, and spare you the heavy lifting of actually thinking critically about things. “Bush Lied, People Died” is a classic. “No Blood for Oil” is another, as are “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” Repeat them often enough and the ideas for which they’re lazy shorthand seem self-evidently true, and such simplicity is comforting in a disturbingly complicated and nuanced world.
“Everything Trump Touches Dies” obviously isn’t intended to be taken literally. There’s a darkly humorous idea out there that this might have been literally true of one of the candidates in 2016, but it wasn’t Trump. No, what it is intended to suggest is that everything Trump involves himself with becomes tainted, corrupted, diminished, broken — fails, in some way.
Trump has touched a lot of things (ahem), most of which don’t interest me much. He’s a serial entrepreneur, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he might not have been a particularly honest one. Risk-takers often have a string of failures behind them; self-promoting risk-takers who talk fast and paint rosy pictures often lose other people’s money.
Since becoming president, however, Trump has had what I think is a very positive influence on several things. He’s curbed regulations, removed us from silly climate pacts, improved relations with our closest allies, effectively responded to (rather than appeased) our adversaries, drawn attention to the looming challenge of China, strengthened our military, reduced our taxes, improved border security, made strides toward removing corruption from our federal law enforcement agencies, transformed the judiciary in a pro-Constitutional way, exposed the press as the biased and petty institution it appears to be, ended preposterous gender-identity diktats, and encouraged a pro-business climate in America with, I think, impressive results.
So, whatever Trump has figuratively-speaking killed, a lot of things I care about aren’t among them. Quite the contrary, he seems to be contributing to a lot of healing and renewal in places where I think we needed it.
Spouting this particular slogan strikes me as about as vacuous as all the other stupid and dishonest activist ditties. Anyone who thinks Trump is either an unalloyed success or an unalloyed failure is, I think, expressing a silly and indefensible view. We can debate whether the preponderance of Trump’s activities in any particular domain has led to positive or negative consequences. I think, when the domain is his role as President of the United States, we have more positive than negative. There are probably other domains in which I wouldn’t make that case, but his role as President is really the only one that I consider critical in my evaluation of the man and in deciding to vote for him (again) in 2020.Published in