THE LEFT's kinder, gentler approach to Donald John Trump is brilliant. Ms. Clinton, President Obama -- all spoke well of him yesterday. Today's he's having coffee with the president of the United States, who smiles, gazes raptly into his eyes, gently touches his arm, and treats him with respect.
Many on the left are still working through their grief. See, for example, today's sneering editorial . . .
. . . by our own Houston Chronicle.
But the real heavies -- those responsible for leading progressivism's long march through the institutions -- understand how to play this odd man who will be our next president.
First, Mr. Trump agrees with the far left on many issues. Trade, for example. Isolationism. So-called stimulus spending. This is no real surprise for a politician who, until last year, was a Democrat.
Second, Mr. Trump is no conservative. He has no clear political or ideological principles to guide him when the choice comes down to what Chuck Shumer wants against what Paul Ryan wants. He will be guided by something other than principled understanding of the issues.
Third, his greatest asset, as he sees it, is that he is a good negotiator. But a negotiator, by definition, is willing to trade away some things to get others. Negotiation, itself, is amoral. If Mr. Trump's goal is to win fights in Congress, who's to say he won't have a better chance on many issues if he allies himself with Democrats rather than with Republicans?
Fourth, he is bound to have major conflicts with conservatives in the House and Senate. They know more than he does about virtually every issue, and they actually believe some ideas are better than others. He knows little and traffics not in ideas.
His strongest primary opponent, at the end, was conservative champion Ted Cruz. Mr. Trump knows Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is no friend of his. And Ted Cruz's ideas, who cares? He's a loser. When the fights come, Mr. Trump is far less likely to try to try to bring conservatives to his side than to dump them in favor of those friendly, friendly leftists who have treated him so well.
Fifth, Mr. Trump is so self-centered that he can be swayed by the relative niceness of other players in the game. Why does Mr. Trump say such nice things about Vladimir Putin? Because Vladimir Putin says nice things about him. This method is morally and intellectually unserious, but there it is.
Sixth, the left and Mr. Trump have this in common: They favor a strong president, governing by executive decree, unbound by checks or balances. In the short run, Mr. Trump may do things the left opposes. But so long as he uses his pen and telephone to claim what Congress refuses to give him, he is equally an enemy of constitutional governance. His lawlessness will ratify Mr. Obama's, setting the stage for the next leftist president to do even more mischief.
Seventh (and finally), by making nice, the left hopes to deprive Mr. Trump of his best weapon -- plain talk. The label "Crooked Hillary" is political roadkill now. But what if he spent the next four years serially calling out the left's corruption, lies, and ruinous policies? This would be devastating to progressivism.
They couldn't shut him up by calling him names. They are now trying to shut him up another way. They are offering this: We'll say good things about you if you say good things about us (or at least stop saying bad things). It is an offer he would be better to reject.
So the left's play at November 8 + 2 is to cozy up to Mr. Trump. To wish him well. To treat him with respect.
They hate the guy, of course, just as they hate those of us who voted for him -- the basket of deplorables, the bitter clingers, the crypto-Nazis. But progressives understand the game. While they could not beat him at the ballot box, they can still beat Republicans in Congress. All they need to do is persuade one man with a big mouth and a strong character that they are better friends and more reliable allies than those nasty conservatives. They are betting that when the faux outsider emerges from his cocoon, he will be another beautiful Washington insider.
The seduction will have succeeded when we hear from progressives that Mr. Trump "has grown in office."
Hunker down, people. What's coming won't be pretty or, in many cases, good for America.
That Ms. Clinton will not be our next president is reason for celebration; that Mr. Trump will be our next president is, in a word, horrifying.