I recently had a conversation with a conservative friend, and he was genuinely surprised when I said that I “trusted” Hillary Clinton more than I did Donald Trump. In retrospect, I think I was wrong to tell him so, but perhaps not in the way that he might think. In a certain sense, I do trust Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton. Here’s why.
When people talk about trusting politicians, it is usually used in the context of, “Will they do what they say?” Let’s use this metric, shall we?
Donald Trump is a simpleton, but he’s governed–or, rather, attempted to govern–more or less in the manner he campaigned on. He campaigned as a hard right candidate, and he’s led as a hard right president. Unlike many (misguided) journalists who believed that he’d make some “pivot” away from hard right policies, he never did.
On the other hand, I doubt that Hillary Clinton would have governed as a progressive president in the way she campaigned. Her supporters would likely attribute this to her willingness to compromise in order to “get stuff done,” while her detractors would say that this is an example of her spinelessness. Regardless of why, I trust Hillary Clinton to govern as a progressive much less than I trust Donald Trump to govern as a hard right president.
I’d still vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, of course. She’d push for policies that closer align to my values. I’m a strategic voter, and that’s what’s most important for me. I do trust that Trump was being honest when he made racist statements, endorsed limiting civil rights, and praised authoritarian values–and that’s what’s scary about him.