Conservatives can still wage the character battle, Elder says
In the wake of revelations about President Donald Trump’s alleged infidelities, is the character issue over as a point of difference for Republican candidates? Larry Elder, author and conservative talk show host, says character still matters in a post-Trump presidency.
Fellow talk show host Dan Proft, host of Chicago's Morning Answer program radio show, posed the question during an event to promote the release of Edler’s latest book, “Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives… Eight Hours.” Proft is a principal in Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
A video of the entire event has been posted on YouTube.
“Conservatives are wanting to say—myself included—character is destiny,” Proft said during the event’s question-and-answer segment. “Are we to the point now because of those policy successes you described where conservatives should frankly just resign themselves to the secular libertinism of American culture in 2018 and not worry about character?”
In his answer to that question, Elder outlined what he looks for in a superior candidate.
“No, I don’t think we have to make that bargain at all,” he answered. “I consider three things whenever I support a candidate. Character is No. 1, [then] competence and vision.”
Elder argued that Trump has displayed at least two of those criteria and may break even on the third.
He isn’t alone in holding that opinion, according to a story he told about his visit to National Religious Broadcasters, a nonprofit group of Christians in the media. At a Nashville meeting, Elder said he asked prominent minister Dr. David Jeremiah about whether Christians who support Trump were compromising their faith.
“He said God chooses people,” Elder recalled. “God chose a number of people who were very flawed. And he said Donald Trump is a flawed individual, an individual we could argue is trying to be better. He ran against an individual even more flawed.
“And he [Jeremiah] feels that Donald Trump is sincere and is going to try to improve as an individual. He does not believe that, contrary to President Bill Clinton, we’re going to wake up one morning and find [that] Donald Trump pleasured himself in the Oval Office with a cigar and an intern. That’s not going to happen. And I guess, Dan, I feel this way, too.”
Although character, vision and competence, as Elder proposed, could distinguish desirable candidates from less desirable ones, results and performance should also play a role.
“I remember watching two golfers on television,” he said. “And the host asked them, 'How can you tell if a golfer is a good golfer?' Both were experienced golfers. And one said, ‘I look to see if his feet are shoulder length apart, and if he’s right handed, [whether] his right arm is locked, if he puts his hip into the swing, if he keeps his eye on the ball’—a big, detailed description of what makes a good golfer. And the other one said, ‘I look to see where the ball lands.’”
In response, Proft asked, “Do you worry at all that that’s a cover story for the ends justifying the means?”
“No,” Elder answered. “Do I believe Donald Trump by calling him [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un] ‘rocket man,’ [knew] within a year or so he would sit down and set foot on South Korean soil? Probably not. But the ball ended up in the right place, and Donald Trump had the right idea.”