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Tucker Carlson is right: Voting for Trump is bigger than Trump vs. Biden
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Tucker Carlson is right: Voting for Trump is bigger than Trump vs. Biden

You’re not required to like it. For better or worse, Trump is the only candidate who can break the administrative state and give back the country Americans want.

On the latest episode of Roseanne Barr’s podcast, Tucker Carlson finally admitted what many of us have long suspected: He’s voting for Donald Trump in 2024.

“I became an active Trump supporter when they raided Mar-a-Lago. That can’t stand,” Carlson told the comedian. “I agree with Trump on a lot, but even if I disagreed with Trump on a lot, I’d still be a Trump supporter … because you cannot allow the president of the United States to use the Justice Department to knock the front-runner out of the race.”

For Carlson, the issue is “bigger than Trump, it’s bigger than Biden.”

“It’s a question of 'Do you want to live in a free country with a functioning justice system?' I’m voting for Trump, and if they convict him, I will send the max donations, and I’ll lead protests,” he said.

Carlson is correct. The 2024 presidential election is a referendum on what type of country Americans want.

If we can truly no longer stomach the idea of our supposed moral and intellectual “superiors” helping decide our destiny, then maybe it’s time we try a new form of government.

Do we want an America in which anyone can become president or an America in which only those passing muster with a self-appointed panel of elites qualify for the job? Do we want an America that respects the sovereignty of its citizens or an America that “protects” them from themselves? Do we want an America that recognizes and resists true authoritarianism or an America that turns on its own people rather than disturb its self-aggrandizing, simplistic fantasy of “our democracy”?

How I got here

If any liberals happen to be reading this, I was once like you. I voted for Barack Obama twice. In 2016, I preferred Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. I despised how she and the Democratic National Committee treated him, but I gave Clinton my vote anyway. Better her than the existential threat of Donald Trump, I reasoned.

Trump’s surprise victory, I’m embarrassed to say now, shook me to the core. At that point, I had a choice: Allow my fear and anger to metastasize and gorge on the endless stream of anti-Trump hysteria, or try to figure out why some people greeted the prospect of a President Trump with cool indifference or even joy.

I chose the latter, somewhat selfishly. The truth is, I’ve never really cared that much for politics. (I must admit now that I voted for Obama mainly because he was younger, cooler, and better with words than John McCain — and wasn’t it time we put a black guy in the White House anyway?) I figured if Trump’s supporters were even a little bit correct, I could safely go back to ignoring the news and focus on my nonexistent screenwriting career.

I eased into it by starting with dissenters on the left. I might scoff at "Chapo Trap House" now, but the podcast's irreverent humor about Trump — and clear-eyed assessment of how the Democrats helped make him — was a godsend. Wacky, new age-y progressive firebrand Caitlin Johnstone convinced me that as bad as Trump seemed to be, he was just another run-of-the-mill Republican, whereas Clinton’s interventionist foreign policy represented the genuine existential threat. I was satisfied that Trump was no big deal.

But my curiosity — and my rising resentment toward sanctimonious Trump-haters and the intelligence-insulting lies they spewed — got the better of me.

I started reading and listening to all the people I had automatically dismissed as cranks and grifters. In a few cases, my initial assessment was correct. But even they had good points to make if I approached without ego. Many of the others had arguments I’d never even considered. My progression from cautious, “sophisticated” Trump minimizer to full-throated MAGA patriot was slow but definitive … and irreversible.

And yet, even today, I avoid talking about it too much. It’s not so much fear of cancellation (I’ve never needed politics to alienate myself from would-be employers) as it is unwillingness to offend or disturb. I feel a little sorry for those who can’t see what I see.

Times change, people change

But now it’s time to speak up. There are many others who can make a more eloquent case for Trump than I can.

Much of what Victor Davis Hanson wrote in his 2019 book, “The Case for Trump,” still holds true. Hanson remains a dedicated explicator of the damage Trump’s opponents have done and continue to do to our country. Helen Andrews has been adept at exposing the cynicism and self-interest motivating much anti-Trumpism, as has my Align colleague Helen Roy. And let’s not forget the always delightful Peachy Keenan. The literature is rich.

But if you just want the short version, consider all the reasons we’ve heard to vote against Trump. For the most part, they’re rooted in emotion and wholly subjective interpretation. The visceral revulsion Trump inspires in the average right-thinking liberal comes first; only later does this revulsion get shaped into the semblance of an argument.

Trump’s brash personality and refusal to abide by the increasingly restrictive norms of “polite” speech have long been used as evidence that he is “unfit” to lead. The media’s seething humiliation over his 2016 win birthed the utterly spurious, never-ending Russian collusion story. And now our most powerful elites’ desperate desire that Trump should just go away has forever found expression in his various indictments.

What do you want, citizen?

The most urgent and compelling argument for or against Trump has to do with how you answer the following questions.

Is it of grave national importance that Trump allegedly paid off a pornographic actress lest she damage his presidential campaign? Was that any worse than anything any number of sleazy politicians, including Bill Clinton, have done?

Are the accusations that Trump carelessly handled classified documents any more severe than those leveled at Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?

Does a poorly organized, badly policed protest amount to an “insurrection”? If so, is there even a shred of evidence that Donald Trump helped plan it? Does Trump’s arguably less-than-gracious refusal to concede the 2020 election amount to trying to “overturn” it, especially in light of the many well-documented irregularities in collecting and counting votes?

If you can’t answer these questions with a confident “yes,” you might be a Trump supporter. At the very least, you trust your fellow citizens to answer these questions for themselves at the ballot box and expect the same trust to be extended to you concerning your candidate.

Those who disagree might as well admit that they would prefer their supposed moral and intellectual “inferiors” to stay out of it altogether. Perhaps one day they’ll get their wish. Until then, the most prudent course for America is to vote for Trump.

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Matt Himes

Matt Himes

Managing Editor, Align

Matt Himes is the managing editor for Align.
@matthimes →