You would though.
Given the right set of circumstances, you would vote for an erratic, dangerous, anti-democratic nitwit, assuming that she or he represented the majority of your political priorities.
So let’s build a liberal Donald Trump.
First off, it wouldn’t be Donald Trump, because an old white male would have difficulty channeling the younger, less-white, less-male Democratic base. However, this person could have all of Trump’s other qualities: narcissism, inexperience, troubling attitudes toward women, bluntness, and the ability to entertain large crowds by saying nothing.
Look: Kanye West would be liberal Donald Trump.
And what would be the characteristics of a Kanye candidacy? In order to appeal to a liberal base in a Trumpian fashion, we would see appealing far-left positions framed with a naive understanding of policy and diplomacy.
On the Kanye platform:
- Monetary reparations for Black, Native, and Asian Americans
- A promise to end to “all war”, including suspension of drone strike program
- Federal legalization of marijuana and psychedelics
- Expansion of women’s rights, including equal pay, parental leave, and greater access to reproductive health care (unfortunately including an off-color joke about being the cause of many abortions himself)
- Amnesty to undocumented immigrants and uncapping the number of work visas granted per year
- Commitment to move U.S. energy sources to “future shit”: solar, wind, etc. by 2030
- Free Tidal accounts for all citizens (taxpayer subsidized)
Sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it? The fact that he is a musician and entrepreneur with no political experience no longer strikes you as a deal-breaker. His inability to discuss these issues with any clarity or nuance on the campaign trail becomes easier to overlook.
But are you willing to overlook his more disturbing habits? Let’s also imagine:
- An open war with police unions, including public musing over whether he will “shut down” the NYPD and prosecute officers for biased policing
- Insults toward any opposition, including families of fallen officers
- A full-throated defense of celebrity rapists
- Behind-the-scenes recordings of him making demeaning comments about women and bragging about sexual exploits with questionable consent
- A pledge to outlaw paparazzi and jail media outlets critical of his albums
- 3AM Twitter ranting on biased journalism
- A disgusting insistence that he will finally sleep with Taylor Swift as president
- First Lady Kim Kardashian
You’re on the fence now. When 2024 rolls around, you don’t vote for Kanye in the Democratic primary, but he wins the nomination on a wave of (now-greying) millennial support. And who does the Republican party nominate?
Bionic Dick Cheney.
It has to be him. It has to be him because Dick Cheney makes liberals shudder the way Hillary makes conservatives furious. Their records aren’t equivalent, but they both represent the worst of the opposition party, and they have for decades.
We now have a 2016-style election between a dangerous asshole who you mostly agree with as long as he keeps his mouth shut (which is rare), and a literal zombie that hates everything you stand for.
You could, of course, make a protest vote. But you balk at people who do that. After all, there really is no such thing as a protest vote: Either Kanye West or Dick Cheney is going to be the next President of the United States.
And you aren’t going to vote for Dick Cheney. No way. No way.
You are going to vote for liberal Donald Trump.