Parents, if they have the nerve, should ask their children the following questions and then pose these same questions to themselves.

Is sexual assault OK?

Is defaming women OK?

Is serial lying OK?

Is terrorizing judges, prosecutors and political enemies OK?

Is boasting about wealth and fame OK?


Is belittling rivals OK?

Is cheating on taxes OK?

Is stealing top-secret government documents OK?

Think of these queries as a Rorschach test for probable Trumpies. Most likely, if the answer to any of these eight questions is “yes,” parental censure is sure to follow. But perhaps the more important question is one not asked: “Why would you want to date a scoundrel?” My guess is that her answer would be, “Because I like him.”

Full disclosure: I can say authoritatively that if either of my daughters wanted to date Trump, I’d not permit it, or at least strongly discourage the idea (unlike Trump, I understand there are limits to one’s powers). And not because Trump is a Republican, but instead he is a person lacking moral character, or as the remarkable Zadie Smith referred to a butcher pretending to be a titled lord in her new novel, “The Fraud,” Trump is “a man with no centre who might be nudged in any direction.”

But who cares? The GOP certainly does not. After all, about 65% of all Republicans who voted last week in the Iowa caucus told a CNN pollster that they will vote for Trump regardless of his alleged misdeeds. Democrats, reasonably, see incipient fascism in the GOP’s mindless worship of the former president.


I grew up in flyover America, not far from Iowa, the great Midwest where citizens’ default position in any argument or debate is to seek common ground first but, if not able, to sugar coat the differences separating the two sides. Nice talk, often Christian in tone, and then sweet barbs. “Nice talk” might refer to a recent video on Truth Social, Trump’s social media platform, where the narrator says, “God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker’ – so God gave us Trump.” Although it requires we suspend disbelief, Trump has pictured himself in a Superman costume fighting Marxists and defending the forgotten. Such fantasies are likely to attract many folks in the Midwestern and Southern bible belts, as well as explain why evangelicals give Trump a pass on his blasphemy and eagerly await his promises of carrying out retribution against his enemies.

If the Iowa GOP caucus is a fair representation of Midwestern political culture, then the Iowa GOP lives in the Trump bubble: About two-thirds of all GOP Iowans without a four-year college degree supported Trump, half of all evangelicals followed suit, and two-thirds said Biden “did not legitimately win” the presidency in 2020. Probably the same two-thirds said Trump would be “fit” to serve as president even if he is convicted of any one of the 91 alleged crimes filed in four different indictments.

How can anyone give a pass to a scofflaw who would not pass muster in their view as a potential friend of their daughter?

Trump offers excitement; his opponent in the presidential contest does not. Trump relies heavily on orange facial makeup to appear younger; Biden usually looks the ghoul at a Halloween party. Trump loves stage theatrics; Biden enjoys sharing policy plans with Americans and departs stage left as quickly as he can after giving a speech. Trump caused an insurrection and watched it unfold on TV for more than 3 hours; Biden says that Trump threatens the soul of our democracy. Trump does not understand governing; Biden does, even if he seems not to understand that every solution to a problem causes a new problem to emerge. Trump is a scoundrel, and Biden is a decent, honorable person.

As a parent, I trust my two daughters to choose substance over form, honesty over chicanery, Biden over Trump.

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