I confess

I could support any of the remaining GOP presidential contenders, but I am opposed to the nomination of Donald Trump. I think he is deepening the rancor within the Republican Party and contributing to its defeat if not destruction. I fear that his testament will be President Hillary Clinton, a Democratic Congress and a leftist Supreme Court for the foreseeable future. I take it that my opposition to Trump requires some kind of a confession.

I confess that I attended Dartmouth College. I am therefore an Ivy League elitist out of touch with the truths of Trump. However, I respectfully ask you to consider that I was admitted to one of the last all-men’s classes at Dartmouth. I would never have been admitted under coeducation. So that may slightly mitigate the offense.

I confess that I became a dedicated conservative as a graduate student in English at Yale in 1973-74. It was another Ivy League thing, I admit. Having spent more time in the library reading back issues of National Review than studying Middlemarch, however, I left after a year. I found the English Department just too weird. So that too may slightly mitigate the offense.

I confess that I attended law school. That’s a black mark, I concede. Even worse, I’m grateful for my legal education. I thought it helped me begin to understand the way the world works. I attended law school, but plead that it was at a public university. So please take that into account.

I confess that I think my legal education gave me some understanding of the constitutional protections the Supreme Court has accorded speech in the “bills” of the modern era. You know, those “bills” that afford a wide ambit to the constitutional protection of defamatory speech affecting public figures.

I confess to believing Donald Trump erred a couple of times over in saying he would reform libel laws when he is elected president so that he can sue newspapers for libel. He’s not going to be elected president and he’s not going to reverse New York Times v. Sullivan, decided 9-0 by the Supreme Court in 1964. I admit to suspecting he has been counseled over the years regarding the law and knows he is wrong but doesn’t care.

I confess to having thought that the Supreme Court’s “bills” even let public figures defame each other without worrying about defamation lawsuits. Even worse, I even suspect that Trump has liberally availed himself of the legal protection he decries.

I confess that I believe in affording the maximum legal protection to political speech. I admit that my legal eduction even led me to believe the Supreme Court has erred in finding campaign finance laws inhibiting political speech to be constitutional. On the other hand, I support current law allowing Trump to self-fund his campaign on First Amendment principles. So I have that going for me.

I confess that I must think I’m entitled to share my views with Trump supporters even if they think my disagreement with them marks me out as someone who thinks he’s superior. If I’m really being self-critical, I would go so far as to say I think that even well-meaning voters are prone to error.

I confess that I attended the Minnesota caucuses for the first time in 1976 on a cold winter evening to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan against Gerald Ford. I admit that I have voted for every Republican presidential candidate since Ford in 1976. I admit that I must be some kind of a Republican Party shill.

I would confess that I’m a member of the establishment if I understood what it meant.

Strike that. I confess to being a member of the establishment even if I don’t understand what it means. I oppose Donald Trump, and that’s enough. That I am a member of the establishment is probably the best that can be said of me.

I confess that I harbor guilty thoughts. I think that Donald Trump is an embarrassment to his faithful supporters. I think that many of them even know it, but cut him slack because they believe his heart is in the right place on the issues they care about.

I confess that I doubt Trump’s heart is in the right place on the issues his supporters care about.

I confess that I think Trump is quite a cynical man.

I confess that I think Trump doesn’t know very much about the issues he purports to care about.

I confess that I fear Trump will lose hugely to Hillary Clinton. I think he will lose so hugely that his loss will usher in a Democratic Senate and possibly even a Democratic House. I fear Trump’s loss will make us long for the days of the congressional RINOs who opposed Obamacare.

I confess that I will miss Senator Johnson.

I confess I will miss Senator Kirk.

I confess that I will miss Senator Portman.

I confess that I will miss Senator Toomey.

I confess that I think Senator Sessions will miss them too, as ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on immigration.

I confess that there are reasonable grounds for disagreement and that I may be mistaken. So perhaps I am making progress.

I respectfully ask for permission to end my confession here at this point. I need to save some material for the self-criticism at our next struggle session.

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