Why Peter Wehner will not have to not vote for Trump

Why Peter Wehner will not have to not vote for Trump

The New York Times, 1/14/16

Recently, the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times  have run a spate of pieces from prominent Republicans and conservatives who fear the Trump candidacy will destroy or disfigure the Republican Party. The one today, “Why I Will Never Vote for Trump,” is perhaps the most fearful.

Peter Wehner writes:

Mr. Trump is precisely the kind of man our system of government was designed to avoid, the type of leader our founders feared — a demagogic figure who does not view himself as part of our constitutional system but rather as an alternative to it.

Fortunately, based upon numbers, I do not think Wehner will have to not vote for Trump.

According to yahoo answers, there are approximately 55 million registered Republican. According to a recent New York Times  poll, 36% of primary election Republican voters back Trump. Of those, 56% have made up their minds to definitely vote for him.

That means Trump has approximately 11 million true blue supporters. While that figure does not include Democrats, independents or the otherwise unaffiliated, it is a pretty small number. Needless to say, Trumps gets quite a lot of mileage from a relatively small group of true bluers.

But when Wehner writes about demagogic figures who see themselves as an alternative to our constitutional system, that gives me pause.

Trump’s movement has been compared to similar nativist, populist right wing movements in Europe. And, while historical parallels are always limited, it is not hard to look back to another nativist, populist right wing phenomenon — the electoral rise of the National Socialist party in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

In 1928, the Party achieved just 12 seats (2.6% of the vote) in the Reichstag. After the July 1932 election, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag. On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor. The constitutional Weimar Republic effectively came to an end.

Again, historical parallels are limited  — but can give us pause.

[Note: I still subscribe to the print Times. Few better pleasures than dusting snow off its plastic bag on a winter morning daybreak. With coffee.]

UPDATE: A year later


The New York Times, 1/22/17


Trump denounces Sanctuary Cities. Where will that leave Rochester?

Trump the fool backs the gold standard

“The Agony of the GOP” The Cow Palace, July 1964

A Trumprenuer on the road at Trumpmania

Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

G.O.P. Fears What’s Next If Trump Can’t Be Stopped — New York Times, February 25th, 2016

“I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin” — Max Boot, 2016; “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936 “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936

On seeing my first Trump supporters outside the Bug Jar

Remember, the Italians voted for Mussolini. And what Europeans are saying about Trump

If Donald Trump becomes a footnote in political history, he will become William Randolph Hearst. And maybe Bernie Sanders is William Jennings Bryan

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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