The Asymmetry of Burning Moral Capital

The (predictable) tendency of folks on the right, including supposed evangelical leaders, to defend Pres. Trump not only on policy grounds, but personally, has engendered a fair amount of conversation as of late.  Noah Rothman has argued that this sort of thing is unique to Trump or the presidency.  I’m less sure.

It’s much more difficult for the left to burn its moral capital because it is much less fixed, as evidenced by their debate over whether they’re finally woke enough to condemn Bill Clinton’s behavior toward women.  As different waves of feminism crash on the progressive shore, the tide of public opinion shifts, but never definitively.

OTOH, the right’s moral capital is ostensibly more firmly rooted in timeless values, largely Judeo-Christian values.  To be sure, the right may adapt as they apply those principles to modern situations, but the principles themselves are supposed to be largely fixed.

Accordingly, it seems to me that when the right burns its moral capital, the damage is potentially more severe and long-lasting.

Not all of Trump’s supporters are willing to go the Full Mulligan.  Dennis Prager merely argues that personal character pales in comparison to policy wins.  Erick Erickson gives what should be the fairly obvious response from a religious perspective, as well as the obvious rebuttal to the “binary choice” argument that has no traction with those not already converted.  But I’d go back a little to also recommend Jonathan V. Last‘s piece on failed Senate candidate Roy Moore, which reminds us that in the vast majority of cases, the only person affected by your vote will be you.

I suppose I should thank Prager, however, to the extent he reminds everyone how weak the arguments for defending Trump are outside policy.

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