Never Play Chaos Roulette

Today Bruce Bartlett, a well respected and (normally) very serious economist who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations but has recently supported President Obama, made the case for why he wants Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination for president. He believes that if Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, he would lose the general election by a landslide (his preferred outcome) and permanently silence his supporters (who he vehemently disagrees with).

Rooting for the craziest person to win the opposing party’s nomination as a strategy to achieve your preferred electoral outcome has sadly become somewhat commonplace - luring in even the most sober and serious among us like Bruce Bartlett. Statistically speaking, those who advocate for this type of political strategy stand on solid ground. It’s very unlikely that a candidate as polarizing as Donald Trump could win a general election, and therefore pushing for him to win the Republican nomination is a fairly good way to achieve a general election victory for his Democratic opponent. However, I still find this strain of thought highly irresponsible and the whole idea of electoral gamesmanship dangerous.

Next year the country will be faced with a choice between a Democrat and a Republican when it comes time to electing a new president. Given his past actions and toxic rhetoric, it’s highly likely that if the Republicans nominate Donald Trump he will lose. However, even if on paper someone like Donald Trump should lose a general election, just being one of two main choices gives him at least a fighting chance to win. How the economy performs, developing security threats, and unexpected events can all significantly impact an election. Imagine a domestic tech sector cooldown and a bursting real estate bubble in China throw us into another global recession. Throw in another Ebola outbreak, an unpredictable uprising in the Middle East, a tragic border incident, or even just some stumbles by his opponent. All of a sudden the conditions are so favorable for a Republican to win that we could soon be stuck with President Trump.

This would be a disaster. Donald Trump is erratic, extremely divisive, ignorant, and advocates for many very unwise policies. He would not be good for the country, and in fact is very likely to cause many large scale disasters if actually elected. The Presidency carries enormous power and responsibilities - something that we can’t risk falling into the wrong hands. Donald Trump is chaos incarnate, and even the smallest chance that he could seize such enormous power is very alarming. Realizing this danger and still hoping that Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, and is thus in a position to be elected President, is extremely irresponsible. Regardless of partisan affinity, it is the right thing to hope that both parties nominate a candidate most likely to do right by the country. Donald Trump is not such a person. Serious people like Bruce Bartlett shouldn’t be advocating for his candidacy on the bet that he will implode. The stakes are too high to gamble with the future of our country.