Roger Scruton, the world’s preeminent conservative philosopher, gave an analysis on BBC radio of what Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections means – for America and the world. Many conservatives would agree with him on most points of his analysis but would differ on his estimation of Trump’s political understanding and his ability to lead, which is low.
Some of us do not think his character so much worse than many people we meet in our daily lives. Trump’s fault is that he is more open and vulgar about it. To repeat the reply of many men and women to the charge of misogyny based on the ‘locker room talk’, Bill Clinton went one up on Trump by doing far more than verbally abusing women.
On the question of leadership and political understanding, there is no necessary logical connection between bad character and bad policy – something Scruton would readily admit. In fact, Trump has extensive experience in leadership and negotiation, all in the rough and tumble of business. Not a bad grounding.
Trump may not succeed as president of America, but nothing in his experience and character would seem to make him less fit than many who pursue a career in politics. Indeed, he would seem to have an advantage over most, for no other reason than that he understands his constituency and is not afraid to defend them.