Tom Nichols | Conservatives should adopt the “Hamilton Rule” in the 2016 general election

Tom Nichols, The Federalist:

In its place, Ben raised the possibility of a “Hamilton Rule,” named after Alexander Hamilton. Although both were Federalists, Hamilton despised John Adams and his coterie among his own party to the point where he was willing to lose the election of 1800. “If we must have an enemy at the head of government,” Hamilton said in exasperation, “let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.

In other words: Better to lose to a true enemy whose policies you can fight and repudiate, rather than to a false friend whose schemes will drag you down with him. This is a painful choice, but it also embraces realism while protecting the possibility of recovery in the future. The need to live to fight another day is why conservatives should adopt a Hamilton Rule if, God forbid, the choice comes down to Hillary and Trump.

[…]

Trump, of course, will dissemble and whine about all these eventual failures. His fans will excuse him, as they do now, but they have short attention spans and will vanish in later midterm elections and future presidential contests. His white nationalist supporters, clinging to him like lice in the fur of an angry chimp, will shake their fists along with him for a time, until they too eventually slink away. By 2020, his core constituency will be a tiny sliver of what’s left of the white working class, pathetically standing at the gates of empty factories they thought Trump would re-open.

More to the point, after four years of thrashing around in the Oval Office like the ignorant boor he is, voters will no longer be able distinguish between the words “Trump,” “Republican,” “conservative,” and “buffoon.” He will obliterate Republicans further down the ticket in 2016 and 2020, smear conservatism as nothing more than his own brand of narcissism, and destroy decades of hard work, including Ronald Reagan’s legacy.

Conservatives can recover from four, or even eight, years of Hillary Clinton. We might even flourish: remember, President Obama’s cult of personality—to which Trump’s mindless fan base bears more than a little resemblance—sacrificed more than 900 Democratic seats and a passel of governorships on its altar over the past seven years. President Obama won two elections and the Democratic Party lost hundreds. If Trump’s victory means this kind of “winning,” conservatives should want no part of it.

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