Alan Keyes
Trump and the triumph of the sham
No true friend of liberty can support either Clinton or Trump
By Alan Keyes
May 10, 2016

When, after consulting with his good buddy Bill Clinton, Donald Trump decided to enter the GOP primary process, some people had a hard time taking it seriously. This included people I have worked with for years. They couldn't understand why I took it seriously and proceeded to devote many columns and articles to exposing Trump's effort as a political con game. However, never for a moment have I thought that it's mainly about Donald Trump.

It's about the elitist faction's determination to induce people still loyal to the aim, principles, and provisions of the U.S. Constitution (which is to say, authentic American conservatives) to continue their participation in the sham partisan political process that faction now uses as cover for its ongoing (and now nearly complete) destruction of America's rightful liberty.

On Wednesday, I received an email pushing the sale of Trump bumper stickers and other paraphernalia. It had the subject line "Time to play the Trump Card" and featured a sticker that read "Donald Trumps the Rest." But the salient question, which I raised early on, has to do with who is holding the Trump card. I raised this question in an article last year, "Is Donald the elitist faction's Trump?":

"Given his background, it's advisable to assume Donald Trump is being used by the enemies of rightful liberty to lead otherwise sincerely conservative people down a blind canyon into the withering fire of their elitist foes."

Donald Trump is not now and has never been a conservative with respect to the preservation of the republican form of government the Constitution establishes and aims to guarantee in the United States. He has never been a conservative in terms of preserving the indispensable moral understanding that justifies government of, by, and for the people. He has never been a conservative in terms of the preservation of the sovereignty of the American people; the moral character they must sustain to govern themselves; or the understanding of God-endowed unalienable right that distinguishes their liberty from licentious, self-destructive freedom.

Two slogans have thus far been associated with what I call the Trump Mirage. One highlights an empty concept of America's "greatness"; the other, which promises to put "America first," seeks to substitute narrowly jingoistic nationalism for authentic American patriotism. From the beginning, that patriotism reflected the Founding generation's sense of the exceptional calling of the American people, which is, as Hamilton said in Federalist No. 1, "by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force."

Two things stand out in this exceptional vocation. The emphasis on "reflection and choice" points to reasonable deliberation in the exercise of freedom. It therefore explicitly rejects the notion that irresistible passion and material force must be the basis for human government. These days, the left-wing socialists of the Democratic Party see human will as the plaything of material forces, no different than planets, stars, or nuclear particles. The right-wing socialists of the Republican Party mask that same reliance on material forces with their emphasis on "tradition" (following Edmund Burke), or the impetus of individual or racial ambition (like Ayn Rand or Adolf Hitler). But both sides quietly rely on the personification of "History" without regard for truly deliberate choice. For deliberate choice requires a standpoint outside the incessant interplay of forces, a stillness at the eye of the relentless storm of change and time that draws on a capacity for permanence and self-informed determination which holds that storm in abeyance.

This transcendent capacity for self-determination is an attribute of God, and the one most relevant to human affairs. The assumption that we reflect the permanence of God withdraws our minds from the abyss that would otherwise engross our self-perception. So, in thinking about our own activities, we necessarily appeal to God, however much some motive of pride or resentment leads us to deny it. Unlike the self-absorbed elitists of our day, America's Founders were content to make that appeal: to accept God's forgiveness as the basis for their understanding of the rules that properly govern human affairs. For unless those rules are taken for granted, there is, in prospect, no form for human existence to preserve.

The assumption of God is thus the first truth evident in reason itself. The "laws of nature and of Nature's God," which follow from that first truth, give rise to the attributes especially common to all humanity. By respecting those laws, we are able to rediscover in ourselves His will for our Creation. In this respect, our natural existence depends on God's forgiveness – not in the spiritual sense of the remission of sins, but in the natural sense of God freely giving beforehand all that is required for us to exist, as we are meant to be.

Donald Trump's assertion that he has never asked God for forgiveness was for me the first absolute confirmation, out of his own mouth, that he rejected the understanding of right that informs the foundation of the United States. The acknowledgment of our need for God's forgiveness is what leads us to accept His will as the basis for our nature. It leads us to accept the truth that information provided by His will is the source and basis for our self-knowledge. This capacity for self-knowledge, in light of the forgiveness by which God permits the existence of our nature, is the basis for self-determined action. It therefore distinguishes human liberty from the freedom of the stone that falls from a height, or water as it runs downhill.

The exceptional thing about the American people is that their identity self-consciously takes its root in the identity for humankind intended by our Creator, God. Once that root is cut off, we must lose our distinctive character as a people.

But at present, both the so-called major parties in the United States are committed to severing it. If there was any doubt of this up to now, the GOP's nomination of Donald Trump will prove it to be true. In this respect, It will make no difference whether he wins, or throws the election to his good friend Hillary Clinton. No true friend of America's liberty, or indeed of our existence as the exceptional nation we have been and are meant to be, can in good conscience be party to the election of either of them.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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