The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewAndrew Napolitano Archive
What if Trump and Clinton Have the Same Core Beliefs?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

What if the most remarkable aspect of this presidential election is not how much the two principal candidates disagree with each other but how much they actually agree?

What if they are both statists? What if they both believe that the government’s first duty is to take care of itself? What if they both believe in the primacy of the state over the individual? What if, in clashes between the state and individuals, they both would use the power of the state to trample the rights of individuals?

What if the first priority of both is not to decrease the size and scope of government but to expand it? What if they both believe that the federal government may lawfully and constitutionally right any wrong, tax any behavior and regulate any event? What if they both want to add a few thousand new employees to the federal payroll, give them badges and guns and black shirts, and engage them as federal police to insulate the federal government further from the people and the states?

What if, when James Madison wrote the Constitution, he took great pains to reserve powers to the people and the states that were not delegated away to the feds? What if both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump couldn’t care less about that?

What if both of them reject the Madisonian principle that the federal government is limited in scope to the 16 unique and discrete powers given to it by the Constitution? What if they even reject the corollary to that principle, which is that the balance of governmental powers — those not delegated by the Constitution to the feds — resides in the states? What if they both reject the Madisonian principle that in areas of governmental power retained by the states, the states should be free from federal interference?

What if this principle of a limited federal government depends upon the principle of natural rights — areas of human behavior and choice stemming from our humanity and immune from government interference? What if the Declaration of Independence and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution define our natural rights as inalienable? What if both Trump and Clinton reject that? What if she believes in killing innocents by drone and he believes in torturing innocents at Gitmo?

What if both Clinton and Trump accept the principle that the federal government can address any problem for which there is a national political consensus? What if this idea — championed by Woodrow Wilson, who hated the values of Madison — is the opposite of what the Framers wrote and intended?

What if this Wilsonian principle has unleashed the federal government to regulate nearly all aspects of personal behavior and to enhance immeasurably the powers of an unelected, unseen and unaccountable federal bureaucracy, which never seems to shrink or change?


What if both Trump and Clinton embrace the idea that federal power, rather than being limited by the Constitution, is limited only by what the feds can’t get away with politically? What if this concept was expressly rejected by the Framers but both Trump and Clinton don’t care? What if neither of them believes that a limited federal government must reside and remain within the confines of the Constitution?

What if Trump wants the police to be able to stop anyone they wish based on just a hunch that the person is armed or possessing contraband? What if the Fourth Amendment — which requires the police to have individual articulable suspicion, not just hunches and not judgments based on race, in order to stop a person — was expressly written to prohibit just what Trump wants? What if Trump doesn’t care because he prefers votes to constitutional fidelity?

What if Clinton wants free higher education for all in America who go to community colleges, all of which are government-owned? What if the Constitution does not delegate regulatory or spending authority over education to the feds? What if there is no such thing as “free” college? What if someone somewhere will need to pay for it?

What if all federal revenue is already committed to wealth transfers (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare), interest payments on the federal government’s debt (now north of $400 billion annually) and the Pentagon (which spends crazily so its budget won’t be reduced in the future)? What if the Clinton “free” college deal would mean the feds would need to tax more or borrow more or both?

What if more taxation means less money for the productive aspects of society? What if more borrowing produces a decrease in the value of what you already own? What if a dollar spent by the feds produces far less wealth — jobs, income, productivity — than a dollar invested in the private sector? What if Clinton doesn’t care because she prefers votes to economic productivity?

What if both Trump and Clinton believe they can use the federal government to bribe the poor with handouts, the middle class with tax breaks, the rich with bailouts and write-offs, and the states with block grants? What if Trump himself has benefited enormously from federal write-offs available only to the very rich?

What if neither talks about personal liberty in a free society? What if they both talk about the government’s duty to keep us safe? What if neither talks about the government’s first duty, which is to keep us free? What if neither believes that the government works for us? What if they both really believe that we work for the government?

What if Mark Twain was right when he said that the reason we get to vote is it doesn’t make much difference?

Copyright 2016 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton 
Hide 15 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Lasher says:

    It is beginning to become apparent that each candidate is trying to out-ass-kiss Israel with their fawning obeisance to that illegal, rogue state by guaranteeing them as much of American tax-payers’ money as possible. Good God! We are a nation foundering on the rocky shore of bankruptcy, with our national infrastructure rotting away, our gold reserves being stolen by those very same Zionist robbers to whom our crooked President just promised 38 billion dollars over the next ten years in addition to the trillions we have already given to them in various disguises, and our progeny condemned to a future in a third, or fourth, world existence for the remainder of their, and their progeny’s lives, just so the cowards in Congress can assure their futures and all the goodies they have voted to give themselves will continue to be there for them. When in hell are the idiots who allow this criminal co-conspiracy to continue, going to put a stop to it? If ever?

  2. S says:

    Someone has their finger on the pulse of what this election is really about. It just doesn’t happen to be this someone.

  3. A little too close to his last:
    What if, What if, What if, What if, What if, What if, What if, What if,…..article, for me.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  4. What if no one gives a damn about muh libertarianism anymore?

  5. Sharrukin says:

    Trump has been saying the same things for the last 30 years or so. There are interviews with Larry King and Oprah from 1988 with the same message as today.

    If he’s playing a game he’s been playing it for decades.

    Making a fetish out of the constitution is a waste of time because the flood of third worlders don’t care what it says. First secure the essential conditions which make the constitution possible. When you are in the middle of a flood, questioning the references of the guy willing to help you stack sandbags is idiocy.

  6. What if libertarians agree with Hillary that open borders is wonderful because the border patrol is an arm of the state and therefore akin to Hitler? What if libertarians have no answers to the pressing problems that concern Americans? What if most of us really don’t care that Trump once used eminent domain?

  7. woodNfish says:

    What if the candidate you were leaning toward voting for had a lot in his platform that you agreed with, but you didn’t agree with everything he proposed and the other candidate is a career liar, I mean politician, and outright crook – would you vote for the crook instead?

    Well Judge, would you?

    Trump may not be perfect, but he is our best alternative to HRC and the globalist traitors. If you want perfection, you will be waiting a long time. The leftists understand incrementalism – small steps toward the ultimate goal add up to big progress. That is how they got us to the precipice where we are. Now what are you going to do about it?

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  8. Napolitano, whom I previously respected and appreciated, apparently cannot comprehend the subtle and terribly unsubtle differences between HC and DT: DT loves America, and HC, along with all of her communistic ilk, despises America. She is the perfect specimen of a completely dissolute human being. Authenticjazzman, pro jazz performer, and “Mensa” member of forty-plus years.

  9. jtgw says: • Website

    I agree. It’s OK the first time, but that’s it.

  10. KenH says:

    Trump does appear to be a proponent of less big government rather than small government in the mold of a Ron Paul or a strict Constitutionalist, but I don’t see how this translates into both he and Hillary Jong Un having the same core beliefs.

    Trump believes in strong, protected borders and the concept of a nation state while Hilly believes in open borders and America as multiracial flop house and international job market. Trump believes in law and order while Hilly believes maintaining order equates to the oppression of blacks and Latinos. Trump is opposed to the overthrow of world leaders we don’t like (or rather that Israel doesn’t like), nation building and favors detente with Russia while Hills gloated about deposing and murdering Qaddafi and seemingly welcomes wider war in the Middle East and hostilities and war with Russia .

    Trump is somewhat weak on civil liberties but Hillary would be far worse. Trump, I believe, is just misguided on some issues while Hillary is ideologically opposed to the Constitution and will seek the final overthrow of that hallowed document and vest all power in the executive branch.

  11. Miro23 says:

    Good questions. The only way to get rid of the monster is to stop feeding it.

    If most revenue collection and spending could be returned to individual states with the associated political power and a solid consultative mechanism involving all state residents, then the feds would shrivel up and die.

    An association of states representatives could also make decisions over the defence budget which would shrink at lightning speed.

  12. JSmith says:

    What if Trump selected Clinton’s ex-CIA director and PNAC neocon James Woolsey as his “security advisor”? What if he selected hedge fund billionaire John Paulson as his “economic advisor”? What if Woolsey, Paulson and Clinton were all members of the Rockefeller/CFR, along with Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Henry Kissinger and George Soros? See member lists at cfr dot org.

  13. What if Mark Twain was right when he said that the reason we get to vote is it doesn’t make much difference?

    this is gold. people who think trump will be any different is in for a rude awakening.

  14. Hibernian says:

    Vote for one of the two crooks, it’s important.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Andrew Napolitano Comments via RSS
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.