Rest in Peace, Herman Cain

Yesterday, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and 2012 Republican presidential primary candidate Herman Cain passed away after a long struggle against The Virus.  Cain was 74.

Breitbart calls Cain a “Conservative firebrand,” which was apparent to anyone following the crowded 2011-2012 Republican presidential primaries.  Like 2016, that was a crowded primary field, with tons of conservative darlings and Establishment types alike jumping into the field.  Back in those days, everybody thought Barack Obama was going to be the next Jimmy Carter—an ineffectual, overly-progressive one-termer.  The economy stunk, Obama seemed out of his depth, and conservatives were united and motivated to get out and vote.

Herman Cain quickly set himself apart from the rest of the crowd, though—he wasn’t a career politician, but a successful businessman (according to John Derbyshire, Cain is also somewhat a mathematical genius).  He put out his bold “9-9-9 Plan“—flat, nine percent national sales, income, and corporate tax rates.  Cain’s reasoning:  “If ten percent is good enough for God, nine percent is good enough for the federal government.”  Yes, it was a bit far-fetched, but it was catchy, and in an era of high corporate and income taxes—both of which undermined American business competitiveness domestically and abroad—it resonated with voters.  The implicit reference to the biblical tithe also let voters know Cain was a devoted Christian, which was a welcome change from the open hostility of the Obama administration to religious liberty.

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Lazy Sunday XXXI: Trump, Part II

This week’s Lazy Sunday picks up from last week’s edition, “Lazy Sunday XXX: Trump, Part I.”  Our perpetually embattled POTUS/GEOTUS continues to fight back against the screeching Leftists:

  • Trump Up in Polls” – This piece from July looks at Trump’s rising approval ratings.  It also analyzes those numbers, and looks at MSNBC gasbag Joe Scarborough’s prediction that “bigotry and racism” would cost Trump reelection in 2020.  At the time, I wrote that “bigotry and racism” would not be much of a factor:  the epithet of “racism” has been hurled so much lately, it’s become like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”—it’s meaningless.
  • Happy Monday: President Trump’s Approval Rating at 52” – Remember the government shutdown?  That seems like an eternity ago (I wish it were still going on).  Even in the midst of that, Trump’s approval ratings crested to their highest since Inauguration 2017.  President Trump has returned to the 52% (and 53%, I believe) mark since the impeachment witch hunt has begun.
  • Babes for Trump” – This little post always seems to do well, and was seeing a steady trickle of traffic recently (consistently enough that I made it a TBT feature).  Whenever I post it to The Portly Politico‘s Facebook page, one of my Trumpian former students always likes it.  Easy, big fella!  Regardless, the post is about President Trump’s support among Republican women.  My only real fear for 2020 is that, should Fauxcahontas get the nomination, box wine aunties and suburban moms will vote for her because she’s a woman, and because Trump is a “meanie.”  Get over yourselves!
  • Breaking:  Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize” – Remember when we were supposed to be embroiled in nuclear war with North Korea?  Notice how that hasn’t happened?  A Scandinavian politician called for President Trump’s nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize.  That might have been a tad rich, but it would have been far more deserved than President Barack Obama’s receipt of the award—simply because he was a black guy who got elected President!  He won the award before he even had a chance to wreck our foreign policy.

Well, that’s it for this Sunday.  Enjoy your Columbus Day tomorrow!

–TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Mueller Probe Complete, Trump Vindicated

Remember when the Mueller probe ended, then Robert Mueller gave bumbling, incoherent testimony to Congress?  For two years the Democrats engaged in major psychological projection, accusing President Trump of malfeasance akin to what Secretary Hillary Clinton actually committed.  The Deep State scrambled to overthrow the duly elected President of the United States.

After a brief reprieve—even Democrats have to take time off from playing Marxists to splash about at Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months—the progressives are at it again with a ginned up impeachment inquiry.  Trump talked to the new Ukrainian president and mentioned Joe Biden’s son.  GASP!  POTUS is colluding with scary Eastern Europeans to get dirt on a political opponent!

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Clinton Body Count Rising?

The “suicide” of infamous pedophile and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has shattered whatever illusion remained that Deep State isn’t entirely in control of our politics and culture.  What’s remarkable is that it seems that a large number of Americans don’t buy the suicide-by-hanging story, and there are serious reasons to doubt it.

While Epstein came off of suicide watch at the end of July, he was still under heavy surveillance while in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correction Center.  Allegedly, inmates there are under CCTV surveillance constantly, even as they shower, and are confined to their cells for 23-hours a day.

An anonymous former inmate of the MCC suggests the paper-quality sheets are too fragile to hang a 200-pound man, and that the ceilings are too low for a tall man like Epstein to hang himself, anyway.

The far likelier explanation is that Epstein was murdered.

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TBT: Third Party Opportunity?

Last night’s first round of Democratic presidential primary debates was what I expected—a contest between largely identical candidates competing to see who could promise each other more free goodies.  Cory Booker came off as a bit light in the loafers, with a bulging lazy eye and a peeved reaction to Robert Francis O’Rourke’s cringe-inducing Spanish (per the rumors that Senator Booker is a closeted homosexual, I thought the look on his face was a mix of annoyance and arousal, but who can say).  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts just came across as an angry scold.  When will Democrats learn that running a nagging woman is not going to win them elections?

Only Tulsi Gabbard, the mega-babe from Hawaii, seemed interesting, but she barely received any screen time.  Then there were cookie-cutter dudes like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Governor John Inslee who just looked the same, not to mention that guy from Ohio.  In fact, the forgettable dude from Ohio got one of the biggest applauses with a quintessentially Trumpian promise to restore manufacturing (never mind that The Donald has already accomplished that).

Tonight we’ll get more of the same, though hopefully entrepreneur and math nerd Andrew Yang will spice things up with Asiatic wonkery.  Otherwise, the only thing to see will be how many racial gaffes Vice President Joe Biden makes (I would love it if he made reference to Yang’s “Asiatic wonkery”).

So far, it all looks like good news for Trump.  Of course, a weak, generic Democratic field might attract some doomed third-party hopefuls.  That’s why for this week’s #TBT, I thought I’d look back to a lengthy piece from 2016 about the structural disadvantages of third party candidates, “Third Party Opportunity?

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Ted Cruz on Ben Shapiro

It was a glorious weekend at Casa de Portly, deep in the heart of Dixie.  It was the kind of weekend that saw a lot of non-blog- and non-work-related productivity; in other words, I loafed a great deal, then did domestic chores around the house.

In case you missed it, on Saturday I released my Summer Reading List 2019.  If you want to read the whole list—and it’s quite good—you have to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page at the $1 level or higher.  There will be new, subscriber-exclusive content there every Saturday, so your subscription will continually increase in value.

Anyway, all that loafing and cleaning meant that I was unplugged from politics.  I did, however, manage to catch the Ben Shapiro Show “Sunday Special” with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

I was a big fan of Cruz in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, and I voted for him here in South Carolina.  Cruz intuited the populist mood of the electorate the way that President Trump did, and combined it with policy innovation and constitutionalism.

There’s a reason Cruz hung in there as long as he did against Trump:  he’s a canny political operator, but he also knew how to pitch a conservative message that was appealing to many voters.  I sincerely believe that had he clinched the nomination, he would have won the 2016 election (and, perhaps, by an even wider Electoral College margin than did Trump).

Cruz catches a lot of flack because he’s a little dopey and looks odd—a whole meme emerged in 2015-2016 claiming that Cruz was the Zodiac Killer—but he’s been an influential voice in the Senate.  He possesses a supple, clever mind, and has urged Republicans to make some bold, innovative reforms to the Senate (he vocally champions and has proposed a constitutional amendment for congressional term limits).

The hour-long interview with Ben Shapiro—which opens with a question about his alleged identity as the Zodiac Killer—shows how affable and relaxed Cruz really is.  I’ve never seen him appear more relaxed and genuine (and I never took him for a phony—I’ve seen him speak live at least once at a campaign rally in Florence, and spoke very briefly to him afterwards) than in this interview.

Granted, it’s friendly territory—Shapiro was a big supporter of Cruz in the primaries—but Cruz spelled out some important ideas, as well as his projections for 2020.  If you don’t have a full hour, fast forward to about the forty-minute mark for his discussion of Trump’s reelection prospects.

To summarize them briefly:  Cruz thinks it all comes out to turnout, and that Democrats will “crawl over broken glass” to vote against Trump.  He even points out that his own race against Democrat Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke was as close as it was because Beto ran against Trump more than he did against Cruz.  He also thinks Joe Biden is going to flame out, and one of the more radical, progressive Dems will clinch the nomination, making the prospect of a truly socialistic administration terrifyingly possible.

That said, Cruz is optimistic.  Discussing his own narrow victory over Beto in 2018, he points out Beto’s massive fundraising and staffing advantages (Cruz had eighteen paid staffers on his campaign; Beto had 805!), but explains that a barn-burning bus tour of the State of Texas pulled out conservative and middle-class voters in a big way for his reelection.

That points to one of Trump’s strengths:  the relentless pace with which he campaigns.  Trump held three and even four rallies a day in key battleground States in the final days of the 2016 election, which likely made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Great White Whale of Republican presidential elections since the 1980s, Pennsylvania.  If Trump can get his pro-growth, pro-American message out there as effectively in 2020 as he did in 2016 and can excite voters who want to protect their nation and their prosperity, he could cruise to reelection.

Cruz’s optimism, tempered by practical challenges ahead for Republicans, really came through in the video.  Really, the entire interview reminded me why I liked Ted Cruz so much the first time.  I’d love to see him remain a major presence throughout the next five years, and to see him run for the presidency again in 2024 (him, or Nikki Haley).

Regardless, I encourage you to listen to this interview.  Take Cruz’s warning to heart:  don’t get complacent, because the Democrats aren’t.

TBT: Six Long Years

I’m still indulging in the unrealistic decadence of Spring Break’s unlimited freedom.  After a long Wednesday painting, I decided to go with an unorthodox pick for this week’s TBT.  Indeed, I’ve mined out the best of the old TPP blog; pretty soon I’ll be reposting pieces from this iteration of it, what I call “TPP 3.0.”  The benefit of daily posts is that I have a good bit of windbaggery to pull from.

Today’s TBT hearkens back to the dawn of the TPP 2.0 era, when I relaunched the blog after a six- (in reality, a seven-) year hiatus.  I was down on Fripp Island, a place that always seems to get the literary juices flowing.  There’s something about sitting at a dark, wooden desk in a study at the beach that channels some Pat Conroy-esque inspirado.

Anyway, it was there that I decided to do thrice-weekly posts for the duration of the summer.  The posts then were much longer than the average posts now.  These days, I average around 600 words on a post.  In those days, I was churning out 1200-1500 words three times a week.  There’s a reason I started the TBT weekly feature:  I wrote some quality content back in those days.

The post you’re about to read, “Six Long Years,” was a quick set of reflections on the very eventful years that passed from 2010-2016.  The world changed rapidly during the Obama Administration; we often forget how quickly and how much.  I can still remember, vividly, when many States—including deep blue ones!—voted against legalizing same-sex marriage.  Now, even suggesting what was the norm less than ten years ago would be grounds for deplatforming, doxxing, and SJW Twitter (and real) mobs otherwise destroying your life.

Now, even 2016 seems like an eternity ago.  Trump’s election that November was a “through-the-looking-glass” moment.  Who knows what the next six years might hold?

There’s no way to know.  Regardless, here is 2016’s “Six Long Years“:

A lot can happen in six years.

When I last posted on this blog, I announce that Nikki Haley had been elected Governor of South Carolina.

That was November of 2010.  Think about what was going on at that time:

– Democrats still controlled the Senate, but had just lost the House to the rising T.E.A. Party insurgency.

– The Affordable Care Act had been passed, but would not go into effect until 2013 (2014, as it turned out, due to the executive fiat of the Department of Health and Human Services).

– The Great Recession was, from a technically economic standpoint, over, but the much-vaunted Obama recovery was still frustratingly anemic at best, and virtually invisible to many Americans.

– President Barack Obama hadn’t completely divided the country along race, class, and gender lines, and his disastrous foreign policy hadn’t completely crippled American power and prestige abroad.

What a difference six years make.  Here are some highlights:

– Nikki Haley not only began her first gubernatorial term in 2011; she handily won reelection in 2014 in a landslide victory against her 2010 opponent, Vincent Sheheen.  The relatively unknown upstart from Bamberg made good on her promise to grow the State economically.  She guided the state through the horrible Charleston Nine massacre in 2015; adroitly handled the resultant push to remove the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse grounds; and entered VP buzz for the carnival-like 2015-2016 presidential election season.

– The Democrats lost control of the Senate after an unexpected Republican surge in the 2014 midterm elections, which cemented the gains of 2010 and showed Americans’ growing dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act in particular and the Obama administration’s equivocating in general.  This victory came despite an unpopular government shut-down (led by the brilliant Senator Ted Cruz of Texas) in 2013 and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s drubbing in the 2012 presidential election.

– Racial wounds that had mostly scabbed over were ripped open once again–this time with the president dumping plenty of salt on them.  Alleged police misconduct in Ferguson, Missouri and beyond brought out protestors in droves… despite the fact that many of these unfortunate events were not racially motivated (although some, such as the death of Eric Garner in New York City, highlighted the perils of excessive force and regulations).  Baltimore caught fire, Ferguson was ablaze, and the big losers were small black business owners who saw their stores looted amid cries for racial and social justice.

– The American college campus, always a training school for Leftist ideologues, became a breeding ground for illiberal Progressives, those who loudly (and sometimes violently) suppressed freedom of speech if such speech was deemed unacceptable or “hateful” (the latter often taking a rather protean definition).  Dovetailing with the rise in identity politics (see the previous bullet point), campus multiculturalism took on a dangerously Balkanized flavor, one that denounced the First Amendment and, in the process, heterosexual white men in favor of a vague commitment to skin-deep “diversity” (unless you’re transgender, in which case you can be whatever you feel like at any given moment).

– Out of all this craziness came the largest, most talented field of Republican presidential hopefuls in the nation’s history.  With seventeen (!) candidates, Republicans were treated to a wealth of talent—but also a great deal of muckraking, mudslinging, and intense political maneuvering.  From this crowded field emerged an unlikely victor:  business mogul Donald J. Trump.  In one of the biggest twists in American political history, a non-ideological, brash, gutsy-but-not-very-detail-oriented, and always-controversial reality television star won the nomination of an increasingly conservative Republican Party.  Put another way, a thrice-married, formerly-pro-Clinton, formerly-pro-choice New Yorker beat out a born-again, pro-life Texan.

Needless to say, it’s been pretty crazy.

With everything that’s happened, I realized that it’s time to get back into this world of political commentary.  The unique character of the 2016 presidential election alone has me salivating (be on the lookout for my brief overview of the 2015-2016 presidential nomination process).  There are so many questions:  what will become of the Republican Party?  Can Trump win the election (for what it’s worth, I think he can)?  Will Hillary manage to hold off socialist Bernie Sanders?  How will Trump and Clinton go after each other?  Should conservatives support Trump, or back a third-party candidate (for reasons I’ll explain in a future post, I’ll say “yes, with some caveats” to the first part and “no” to the second)?  What would a viable third-party candidacy look like—if such a thing is possible?

There’s a lot to talk about.

So, strap in and brace yourself—it’s going to be one heck of a ride.

All the best,

The Portly Politico

Flight 93 Election Follow-Up

In September 2016, just two months prior to Donald Trump’s unlikely-but-historic election to the presidency, Michael Anton, writing under the pseudonym “Publius Decius Mus,” penned a groundbreaking essay, one that sounded like a thunderclap through the Right, and which doubtlessly swayed a number of independents.  The now-famous essay was “The Flight 93 Election,” and it spelled out the high stakes of the then-pending election.  If you haven’t read it, do so now.

(If my proposed History of Conservative Thought summer course makes, it will be one of the readings for the final week of class, which will cover the 2016 election and the various branches of conservative and Dissident Right thought surrounding the election.)

Anton has a new piece now, “What We Still Have to Lose” (thanks to photog at Orion’s Cold Fire for linking to this piece on his excellent blog), which serves as a follow-up of sorts to his original essay.  The piece serves as reminder of what is still at stake for the United States, and to promote, somewhat mildly, Anton’s new book, After the Flight 93 Election:  The Vote that Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose.

According to Anton, critics of the original essay argued that he had no positive view for America, and merely argued that electing Trump was a desperation play—gamble on the dark horse, because the known evil of Hillary Clinton is too great—to prevent further disaster.  Anton concedes that even he underestimated candidate Trump, and that President Trump has exceeded his expectations.

As such, Anton sets out in this essay (an excerpt from the book) that he does, indeed, possess a positive vision for how America and conservatism can advance.  This essay doesn’t get much into that vision, but it does highlight that there is still much to lose.

To prove that point—and to defend against claims of “apocalypticism” in his analysis of the 2016 election—Anton points to the infamous Kavanaugh confirmation hearings:

What the Kavanaugh affair has made clearer to me than ever is that the Left will not stop until all opposition is totally destroyed. The harm they do to people, institutions, mores, and traditions is, in their view, not regrettable though unavoidable collateral damage; it is rather an essential element of the project. It’s a bit rich to be accused by nihilists of lacking a positive vision. But such is life in 2018. To stand up for truth, morality, the good, the West, America, constitutionalism, and decency is to summon the furies.

America cannot long go on like this. Something’s gotta give, and something will. What that “something” will be depends in no small part on the actions of men and women of good character, good judgment, and goodwill. Among the most heartening things I’ve seen in my lifetime was the way the president, the Republican establishment, and most of the conservative movement stood together in the face of what a few took to calling “the Flight 93 Confirmation.” In that instance, justice was done. Many more tests are coming. Victory will require not just spirit and spine but the right arguments that explicate the right principles.

I agree that “something’s gotta give.”  I generally despise using the verb “to feel” in writing—it’s weak and transient—but I certainly feel as though we’re on the verge of some cataclysmic paradigm shift.  The political and cultural atmosphere certainly seem different since the 2016 election, and the Left is showing its true colors—its penchant for violence, its destruction of the reputation of an innocent man, its dominance of Silicon Valley to deplatform rivals—as the levers of power slip away.

I’ll have to pick up Anton’s book to read more of his vision for America.  If it’s as bold as his “The Flight 93 Election” essay, it could wake up many more Americans to the continued perils we face from a bitter, Cultural Marxist Left.

 

TBT: Music is for Everyone

I’m playing another gig this weekend—this time in Wilmginton, North Carolina, at the Juggling Gypsy—so I thought it might be appropriate to pull out one of my favorite posts from 2016, one which triggered the so-called “Bitter Progressive” referenced therein.

The crux of this piece:  we should be able to appreciate and listen to the music we want regardless of either our own political affiliation or the affiliation or attributes of the artist.  In a better, vanished time, that was such an obvious point that the need to expound on it at length wasn’t necessary.  Unfortunately, we no longer live in such times.

The essay speaks fairly well for its self; as such, here is 2016’s Music is for Everyone“:

On the opening night of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made the grandest entrance in American political history (as far as I know):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/04b894b6-4d31-11e6-bf27-405106836f96

Pageantry.

Whether or not you love The Donald, hate his guts, or would rather watch reruns of The Celebrity Apprentice, surely we can all unite in acknowledging that his entrance was freaking amazing.  Heck, even The Washington Post thought it was cool.  I was watching alone in my not-so-portly bungalow and began hooping and hollering like a silver-backed gorilla.

Substantive?  No.  Reason to vote Trump-Pence this November?  Hardly.  An awesome display of pageantry?  Heck, yes.

The showman in me–I am, after all, an over-the-top indie musician with delusions of grandeur–had to share my elation with the world.  No thought can be left unsaid these days, so I took to Facebook.

Here’s [a transcript of] my Facebook post, and the exchange that is the subject of this piece….:

TPP:  Whether you love or hate Donald Trump, his entrance at the Republican National Convention just now was EXACTLY how I would have done it–striding in to the strains of a Queen song as a podium rises from the floor. Holy crap…

Bitter Progressive:  Trump opens a party convention that features a platform heavily biased against marriage equality and gay rights by strolling on stage to a song written and performed by a gay man who died of AIDS.

I’m not sure which is stronger, the 2016 GOP’s innate knack for unintentional self-parody (“The national seal should include an AR-15!”) or its total obliviousness to the concept of irony.

TPP:  Maybe a good song is just a good song.

BP:  The cool thing about music is that there’s ALWAYS something deeper.

TPP:  Listen to my EP and you’ll learn otherwise. 😀

(Note how I cleverly defuse the bitterness with self-deprecating humor that also doubles as shameless promotion for my debut solo EP, Contest Winner EP, available now on iTunesGoogle PlayAmazon, and elsewhere.)

For a post about a major political party’s convention and controversial nominee, it was probably the least possible political statement I could make… except that, in our present age, everything is politicized.

“Tolerance isn’t enough; bitter progressives demand total acceptance, even celebration, of whatever happens to be their cause-of-the-moment.”

A quick aside:  I’m going to ignore the “unintentional self-parody” and the GOP’s “total obliviousness to the concept of irony,” except to ask the following:  how exactly is a political party supposed to acknowledge irony?  Do kill-joy progressives want Donald Trump to say, “Okay, okay, that was awesome, and I’m up here to introduce my wife, but first let me acknowledge that ‘We Are the Champions’ was written by a gay man, so let’s take a moment to check our privilege and reconsider our platform’s plank on same-sex marriage”?  I suspect that, even if he did, there’d be a slew of “too little, too late” articles on HuffPo the next day.

(And let me quickly take a moment to acknowledge the irony of writing a post lamenting excessive politicization on a blog that basically has “politics” in the name.)

***

So, let’s unpack the first paragraph of Bitter Progressive’s first post.  He complains that Trump entered to a Queen song, because the Republican Party platform supports traditional marriage, and Freddie Mercury was gay.  While BP intends this statement to be a slam at the GOP–and as a way of virtue-signalling his own support for gay rights–he essentially reduces a talented musician to one dimension, one personal trait.
I wish homosexual Americans all the best, but I, too, question the wisdom of same-sex marriage.  Does this mean I can’t listen to and appreciate Queen, simply because Freddie Mercury happened to be gay?  By this logic, I shouldn’t associate with gay people at all, nor should the roughly half of Americans who vote Republican.
Aren’t we supposed to reach out to people–regardless of their sexual orientation–and treat them with respect, even if we disagree?  How does demanding an effective ban on music by gay artists for half the population help bridge that gap (and what are Log Cabin Republicans to do)?  How does it increase understanding and tolerance?
“None of [Freddie Mercury’s] other qualities matter… until and unless they can be used as a convenient bludgeon to force conformity to the unforeseen priorities of a future age.”
It doesn’t, and that’s not the point.  Tolerance isn’t enough; bitter progressives demand total acceptance, even celebration, of whatever happens to be their cause-of-the-moment.
The logic of BP’s post also dehumanizes Freddie Mercury (and, by extension, all gay men).  No more is he a phenomenal, groundbreaking singer and songwriter.  Instead, he’s defined almost entirely based on who he likes to sleep with, and in turn, our anachronistic opinions about whether or not Mercury can formalize that sexual relationship in a legal forum is supposed to dictate whether or not we are allowed to enjoy his music.  None of his other qualities matter–being a man, having an awesome mustache, possessing an amazing voice–until and unless they can be used as a convenient bludgeon to force conformity to the unforeseen priorities of a future age.
Another pop culture example:  I disagree vehemently with pretty much everything Lady Gaga has ever said or done.  Her live concerts are like modern-day Dianic rituals to some pagan fertility goddess.  She prioritizes sexual libertinism over all else.  But, damn if I don’t like “Bad Romance”–and even “Born This Way,” an (inaccurate) anthem for the gay rights movement.  Should I not listen to her music because I disagree with her political and social views (there are other, better, aesthetic reasons to do so)?  If BP had his way, I suppose not.
A more useful, valid critique of Trump’s epic entrance would point out the danger to a free republic of falling for grand pageantry… as a substitute for responsible self-government.
A more useful, valid critique of Trump’s epic entrance would point out the danger to a free republic of falling for grand pageantry–“bread and circuses,” as one of my colleagues put it–as a substitute for responsible self-government.  I’ll admit that I loved every second of Trump’s approach, but I’m not making an important voting decision based on a fifteen second stroll.  However, some people will love it too much, and make a decision based solely on pageantry.
That’s a legitimate concern.  Freddie Mercury’s sex life forty years ago–which magically makes “We Are the Champions,” an incredibly politics-neutral song off-limits–isn’t.
***
Music should be for everyone to enjoy (songwriters should, of course, retain the rights to their works, but that’s not the issue here).  If we want to build a productive civil society–one with disagreements, but common respect–we shouldn’t criticize one group for enjoying a song because of an incidental personal characteristic of the songwriter.  Some of my best fans are liberals and progressives.  Should I be offended that they listen to “Hipster Girl Next Door” even if it describes their lifestyle-liberalism to a tee (surely some of them fail to recognize the irony)?  Should they shun me from their slam poetry readings and drum circles because I don’t think the government should pay for urine-soaked “art”?

Of course not.  Let’s grow up and just let a good song be a good song.  Maybe we’ll learn something while singing together.