Thoughts on Kasparov, Trump and the Election
by Thomas Katsampes

July 24, 2016

I've read this but this is the media portrayal of Trump's speech — "dark and frightenining." It makes little difference to me that the author is Garry Kasparov. He obviously plays great chess but that doesn't mean we are going to agree on politics.

The first problem with GM Kasparov's comparisons to Mussolini, Wallace and so on is because well, first, Trump is telling the truth and they were not. Regardless of what you make think about what Trump has said in the past, in this speech — and that's what the former world champion critiques here — his claims were largely true. There was one statistic he cited about police deaths in 2015 that might not have been accurate according to some critics, but otherwise even the NY Times had to concede that Trump was mostly correct in his assessment of the state of the country and his assessment of the damage that Hillary has done both at home and abroad.

The second problem with these hyperventilating comparisons is that the American people have an election in November in which we can decide whether to accept Donald Trump or to reject him. You hope we reject him; I hope we accept him. But at least we have the choice. I am not sure for example to what extent Italians in the 1930s had a "choice" regarding Mussolini or Germans in 1933 had a "choice" concerning Hitler. If there were elections they were likely shams. But November is a real election.

The third problem with the comparisons is that it's guilt by association. Even if Trump appears to be similar to Mussolini (some on the Left have compared Trump to Hitler), he isn't Mussolini and in America we have checks and balances on government that prevent a Mussolini or a Hitler from ever coming to power. The Congress still has to fund Trump's proposals. We are talking about federal spending after all — even Donald Trump can't fund them himself. Ultimately Trump will be held accountable by Congress and perhaps the Courts, though maybe not in a way that you would like. But he will be held accountable.

But who holds Justice Kennedy and the left-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court accountable for the same-sex marriage decision? — a decision that as you acknowledge redefined a human institution which has stood since the dawn of recorded history? Who holds Chief Justice Roberts — and I like the Chief Justice — accountable for twice failing to overturn Obamacare, the first time after giving us a thesis on why it should be overturned? Who holds the officials and judges in Washington State and elsewhere accountable for politically going after bakers and flower makers because they won't cater same-sex weddings? Who who the Courts accountable every time they rule against religious liberty or against the second amendment or other of our Bill of Rights? Who holds courts accountable for the numerous times they have upheld the humanitarian disaster that is Roe v. Wade, the decision which since 1973 has resulted in 50 million unborn babies being murdered in my lifetime (and yes, abortion is murder: it is the deliberate taking of the life of an innocent).

You see, I fear activist left-wing judges such as those at the 9th circuit court of appeals and the leftists like Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court far more than I do a Donald Trump presidency. Not because I support Trump, but because court decisions are by their very nature inaccessible: they are cloaked in legal language that few understand and even fewer bother to read. Their authors are largely unelected to lengthy or even life terms and they are insulated from the people: we the people have no way of removing a judge or justice even after decades of poor decision-making, except perhaps for high crimes and misdemeanors (such as bribery and other corruption). Unfortunately legal decision-making, regardless of how poorly reasoned, is not a high crime nor misdemeanor.

Ultimately the question is whether Trump's speech was "dark and frightening" or do we simply live in dark and frightening times described by Mr. Trump? Every day it seems there is a terrorist attack in some major city. Yesterday Orlando, today Nice and Munich, tomorrow the Twin Cities? Do you know how many Somali immigrants we've let into this state? Do you know that a number of those have been arrested for being ISIS sympathizers or even going overseas to fight for ISIS against the United States? The middle east is in complete chaos right now largely brought on by Hillary's feckless foreign policy. Here at home, people are calling for the assassination of police officers: "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon." Murder rates in many of the major cities are spiking. Rather than go on with the list I would just point you to Trump's well-documented speech.

So no, in the end the problem is not that Trump is somehow "dark and frightening." I see a man who built a great business, who earnestly loves America (one cannot deny the passion in his speech), and who sat on the political sidelines for decades. Trump was asked in the late 1990s, "when will you run for president?" He answered to the effect, "I'll never run for president, unless things get really bad." Well, they are bad. And that's why he's running. You may not agree with his prescriptions, but that doesn't make him dark and frightening. He's just the canary in the mine telling us we had better wake up — because the world in which we live is a dark and frightening one.

Kasparov's comparisons with Reagan aren't really apt. In 1980 cops were not being targeted for assassination. Islamic terrorists were not waging attacks on US soil nearly every week or month. Yes we did have to deal with the Soviet Union but in the end even the Soviet Union was reasonable: the Russians, ultimately, did love life — they wanted their dachas, vodka and women just as much as we wanted our fast food, consumer toys, and big cars. Both sides valued life. That's why I'm convinced that the Russians never would have pushed the nuclear button. Mutual annihilation was not in either sides' interest.

Having said that, yes, the world was a rather dark place in 1979. 444 American hostages were kidnapped by the country whose leaders have not substantially changed and with whom Barack Obama just signed a nuclear deal giving them $150 billion and a pathway to a nuclear bomb. US influence and power was at its nadir since world war II. The economy was a shambles, gas prices were through the roof. Yes, Islamic terror was sporadic and it was largely done for political reasons, e.g. the Israeli-Palestinian problem. And yes, Reagan was optimistic. He had two catch phrases if you remember — "it's morning in America," and, coincidentally, "let's make America great again" (see here).

What makes today worse than 1979 is that society is breaking down. Calling for the assassination of police officers is not merely protesting grievances — it is creating anarchy and social breakdown. It is reminiscent of the 1960s. We see the same left-wing marxism/leninism in Black Lives Matter that we saw back in the 1960s with groups like the black panthers, weather underground bombing police cars (remember Kathleen Soliah?), and so on. Islamic terrorists today, unlike some of their predecessors, now love death more than they love life. There is no way to negotiate with ISIS like we negotiated with the Russians at Rekjavik in 1987. Hezbollah and Hamas aren't going to sign peace treaties. Unlike the Egyptians and the Israelis, you won't see Al Qaeda showing up at camp David to shake the President's hand. Islamic terrorists, unlike the Russians, want the annihilation of their adversaries, while acting in the name of islam and islam's god — with many in the muslim world tacitly watching.

So yes, Kasparov's point about Reagan's optimism is noted. Donald Trump, in his own way, is optimistic. The fact that he believes that these problems can still be fixed, that it is not too late, America can be great again, and he is trying to do something about it, is itself a testament to Trump's optimism. But he's also a realist and he understands the damage the Left has done to this country, and the dangers from abroad that we confront.

No doubt the Democrats will try to take advantage of the media's characterization of Trump as "dark and frightening." Hillary will probably try to give a speech that "look things aren't really that bad, we have to believe in the power of positive thinking," or some such flap doodle. It will be interesting to see how well that goes over with the American people. I wonder what happens if there is another major attack like Nice next week during or immediately after the Democrat convention. How will Democrats respond? What are their answers?

Time will tell.