Stephens: Imagining the Trump presidency that wasn’t

Stephens: Imagining the Trump presidency that wasn't

The New York Times Where would we be now if we had a truly politically incorrect president? Donald Trump is supposed to be politically incorrect, but, for the most part, he isn’t. He’s mainly just a jerk. Jerkishness is often mistaken for political incorrectness, in the way that blind luck is easily mistaken for great skill. They’re fundamentally different. Political incorrectness is an expression of intellectual independence. Jerkishness is a personality defect. The former requires a sense of inner rectitude. The latter reveals an absence of inner boundaries. Politically incorrect people are prepared to deviate from their own party, ideology or personal interest for the sake of a moral principle. Jerks are always in it for themselves alone. Andrei Sakharov and Liu Xiaobo were politically incorrect: honest men in dishonest systems. Trump is a dishonest man in a country with an increasingly tenuous grip on the concept of honesty itself. With this in mind, let’s imagine an alternative history for a (politically incorrect) Trump presidency. January 2017: Shortly after his inauguration as president, Trump fulfills a campaign promise by releasing his full tax returns. In a statement, the president says he’s releasing them for two reasons. “First of all, if our dishonest media ever gets a hold of them, and they will, they’ll lie about what’s in them! And second, they show just what’s wrong with our tax code. As a real estate developer, I make no apologies for taking advantage of every loophole. As president, I will close […]

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