Donald Trump

Trump vs. Clinton Is Terrible News for Fans of Free Speech and the First Amendment

Both candidates have abysmal records on First Amendment issues.


The impending presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is depressing for many reasons. One reason it that both candidates have abysmal records on free speech and they both seem fundamentally hostile to very idea of the First Amendment placing any constitutional limits on government power.

Consider Hillary Clinton. As my colleague Matt Welch has documented, Clinton's "long war on free speech" includes censorship crusades against rap music, video games, movies, and television. And we're not just talking about ratings systems and warning labels here. She's also supported federal laws that would penalize the makers and distributors of so-called offensive entertainment. Clinton is also in favor of empowering the federal government to spy on private communications through such tools as anti-encryption back doors on iPhones and other devices.

And then of course there is Hillary Clinton's well-known view that federal authorities should be able to prevent her political opponents from distributing a documentary film that's critical of her in the days before a federal election. That particular issue was litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court in a little case called Citizens United v. FEC. Among other things, Citizens United featured Clinton and her pro-censorship allies squaring off against the American Civil Liberties Union, which supported Citizens United and its First Amendment right to distribute a documentary film about a political candidate in the United States of America.

Now consider Donald Trump, who has effectively become the GOP nominee thanks to Ted Cruz dropping out of the race last night. Trump's hostility to constitutionally limited government is well known (Trump has even cheered Franklin Roosevelt's notorious internment of Japanese Americans). But Trump seems particularly antagonistic towards the First Amendment. For example, among other foul proposals, Trump has advocated the forced closing of mosques, a truly authoritarian measure that is plainly at odds with the First Amendment and its protections for religious liberty. Trump also wants the government to censor parts of the internet in order to eliminate speech that he thinks is dangerous (as does Hillary Clinton). What's more, Trump favors gutting libel law so that it will be easier for him to sue—and thus silence—any critics who dare to write unkind things about him. Just like the biggest left-wing advocates of political correctness on campus, Trump wants to trash the First Amendment in order to create a "safe space" for himself.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have a lot in common when it comes to free speech and the First Amendment, and none of it is good.

NEXT: By Picking Donald Trump As the GOP Nominee, Republicans May Have Handed the Presidency to Hillary Clinton

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  1. Fortunately I don’t see how Trump could possibly get his druthers on Free Speech.

    1. Famous last words.

      1. Some words should be the last words. Donald Trump, better than almost anyone else, would implement the fundamental task that has made itself quite clear over the past few years, of definitively ending the micro-aggressive “free-speech” excesses that have been undermining social cohesion and sapping the strength of our great nation. Indeed, that is what any competent president would do, and Hillary Clinton would do the same. Who would support the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated liberal judge in America’s leading criminal Troll and criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

        As if that were not enough, Clinton has made it very clear that those who engage in inappropriately triggering “parodies” are subject to arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. But the real, two-fold task facing any future president is to ensure that we (1) explicitly enact Poe’s Law and (2) re-criminalize all forms of libel everywhere in the country. That will be the true test of leadership and greatness, and we should all be joining together to ensure that the job gets done, rather than making silly objections.

    2. He doesn’t have to pass laws to get what he wants. He can shut down mosques with everything from FBI raids to IRS audits to environmental investigations. The DHS can shut down websites by claiming they traffic in extremism or child pr0n. And Obama has already proven very effective at controlling the narrative of his administration by limiting access and prosecuting leaks.

      It would just require Trump to be marginally subtler than a runaway dump truck full of Michael Bay movies barreling through a brick wall into a Miley Cyrus concert. To be fair, it’s not clear that he’s capable of that.

      1. And he’s not a Democrat or a DC insider, so many of the bureaucratic long timers might just play along and drag their feet.

  2. What is this, I can’t even…

    Mesa police said Hunter Osborn, 19, was dared by a teammate to expose his penis when the team photo was taken on the school bleachers. The photo was put into the Red Mountain High School yearbook and the team program.

    Osborn, who was 18 at the time the photo was taken, faces 69 counts of indecent exposure based on the students and staff who were present at the time the picture was taken. Mesa Police Department spokesman Steve Berry told The Arizona Republic Osborn faces one other count of furnishing harmful items to minors.

    Osborn was ordered to wear an ankle monitoring device, according to Fox 10 Phoenix. He’s due in court for a preliminary hearing on May 20.

    Why not charge him indecent exposure for every yearbook that was printed and distributed while you’re at it?

    1. What kind of dumb fuck pulls a stunt like that? He is either retarded and mentally unfit to be tried or the sort of dipshit useful only as an example showing others how not to behave.

      1. Does the penis make you uncomfortable Homple?

        1. Not me, I own and operate one, but don’t wave it around in venues in which normal people are all dressed and not expecting to see it.

      2. He is either retarded and mentally unfit to be tried or the sort of dipshit useful only as an example showing others how not to behave.

        So he’s a Trump voter?

        1. Judging by the support here, he might be a libertarian.

    2. I find it kinda interesting how he’s being charged with one count of indecent exposure for each of the other people in the photo who didn’t see him expose himself.

      1. And all of them share the same locker room.

      2. Somebody on the radio made the point that if that is the case you have a better shot of trying individuals for being naked in team showers.

    3. School staff didn’t even notice until after the yearbook had been distributed to 250 people.

      Heh. They *still* haven’t noticed that space between two kids that looks like a vajayjay.

  3. Also he selected Christie for his AG – the same guy who enacted cyber bullying legislation in NJ in 2010 that has already been used to stifle unpopular speech about Israel. Hillary is bad but Trump is worse – he is contemptuous of the First Amendment and is actively working to undermine it.

    1. Also he selected Christie for his AG

      While it wouldn’t surprise me, this has not actually happened.

    2. Hillary is bad but Trump is worse – he is contemptuous of the First Amendment and is actively working to undermine it.

      She has said she wants to overturn Citizens United which is all the more notable because in context it means she wants to silence criticism of herself.

      1. Trump will go hard after CU. Just you watch. (Fascinating to watch your defense of Trump even as you deny it.)

        1. Interesting opinion. Please point me to the statements from Trump that CU needs to be overturned. There are literally dozens of quotes from Hillary and Bernie about wanting to scrap the CU decision.

          With President Trump theres still a change political campaigns won’t become illegal, with Hillary or Bernie, its a certainty they will.

          1. FASCINATING to watch you guys defend Trump even as you deny it. Vehemently. Insistently.

            1. Equally interesting is you guys attacking Trump for positions which, as far as I can tell, he doesn’t hold.

              Even more bizarre, is that he is a one-man target-rich environment, and people still feel compelled to make shit up to attack him.

        2. Fascinating to watch your defense of Trump even as you deny it

          I’m sure the shit that happens in your head is fascinating but it has no bearing on reality.

    3. Trump hasn’t selected anyone as A.G.

  4. If there were ever a libertarian moment, this is obviously it

  5. Trump vs. Clinton Is Terrible News for Fans of Free Speech and the First Amendment
    Both candidates have abysmal records on First Amendment issues.

    Free speech is so overrated, anyway. If you let people have free speech, this place becomes like the Old West. Dying children will litter the streets! We need managed speech.

    By the way, the awful and irony-impaired mercantilist said yesterday that HillRod knows nothing about trade.

    1. If people could just say whatever they wanted, we’d basically be Somalia.

    2. Only crazy people think we should give free speech to crazy people.

  6. Both would make America a Safe Space, apparently what many up-and-comers youth feel is needed.

  7. I love how NYT v. Sullivan and the public figure doctrine, which is completely a judicial invention, barely 50 years old, and gives journalists a license to lie about public figures, is now some sacred concept that our first amendment rights depend upon. I don’t personally have a problem with NYT v. Sullivan, but I think there is a reasonable case to be made both ways. The pants shitting about Trump’s daring to question it by journalists is however quite entertaining.

    1. To be fair, 50 years is twice as old as the “true conservatism” the neotenous creeps at NRO are so butthurt about.

      1. Williamson did more to get Trump the nomination than any other single journalist. He really does deserve to hold the David Frum chair for self defeating jackassery at National Review.

        1. It turns out that right-leaning people don’t think rootless cosmopolitanism is a core value. Who knew?

        2. “Williamson did more to get Trump the nomination than any other single journalist.”

          How do you figure?

          1. Don’t you know, Williamson wants to bulldoze the homes of poor white people and murder them! Mind, he didn’t actually say any of that, but he meant it in his heart of hearts, and John saw.

            1. Williamson wanted people to move! Moving is hard! Economic realities are mean!

          2. How do you figure?

            Because Williamson has sane views about trade and thinks Trump is a jackass and had the nerve to say so, which made the Trumpkins mad. It’s an idiotic argument: You have a negative opinion of a candidate, therefore I am compelled to disagree because… FYTW.

            1. thinks Trump is a jackass and had the nerve to say so

              So Brave

          3. How do you figure?

            He agreed with Hillary that coal mining towns should die, and the white coal miners should move.

            Thus feeding Trump’s narratives about elites and their disconnection/disregard for the common man.

  8. What’s more, Trump favors gutting libel law so that it will be easier for him to sue

    Oh, please. If memory serves, what Trump proposed was a fairly minor tweak to the burden of proof that the plaintiff would have to carry in suing a public figure.

    Trump has advocated the forced closing of mosques,

    I think this is the statement at issue:

    “Well I don’t know,” Trump said. “I mean, I haven’t heard about the closing of the mosque. It depends, if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don’t know. You’re going to have to certainly look at it.”…..?tid=ss_tw

    Sounds to me like he’s saying that mosques that support terrorism should be shut down (I know, its hard to be sure exactly what he means). That actually sounds quite reasonable to me, in principle. Of course, he also praised NYC’s surveillance of mosques, so its a slope that is pre-greased, but c’mon. Do we really need to misrepresent Trump to attack him?

    1. I also think that we should detain witches – but only the ones who are engaged in sorcery. Or do you think sorcery should be legal?

      1. I don’t think it makes any difference if the organization that supports terrorism has a call to prayer or not. Or do you think religious-sponsored terrorism should be legal?

  9. Libertarian Moment!!!

    Oh wait, by Libertarian Moment you didn’t really mean the moment the libertarians are rounded up and sent to camps?

  10. The impending presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is depressing for many reasons.

    You hush your mouth!

    No, seriously, that’s the law now. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Except we all know that silence speaks volumes so not saying something nice is right out as well.

  11. Years ago many former Democrats left the Party because it had gone too far left. Now that the real Marxist heart of the Party has been exposed by Sanders, and the Party has officially gone over the edge, more are leaving. A friend who just switched Parties explained it this way: Democrats have gone so far to the extreme left that they are running open Marxists for US president! In my lifetime, commie thugs with Sanders ideology vowed to bury us and the US Govt trained us to kill them and sent us overseas to do just that. While Reagan and GHWB were waging a brilliant war to defeat the evil Soviet Union, Sanders took his bride there on their honeymoon! If you thought Howard Dean was crazy – and he is – then Bernie Sanders belongs in a padded cell….along with much of the rest of the Democrat Party! Instead of promising a chicken in every pot….Sanders promise is a crazy comrade in every closet! And Hillary Clinton is so corrupt she makes John Edwards look ethical!

  12. Only in the LSM where everyone is as stupid as the editorial staff of unReason would anyone write this nonsense about Trump. Trump is not a politician, has never held public office, written or sponsored a law. Therefore he has never done anything to infringe free speech. unReason continues to play first fiddle for the looney bin.

  13. Intriguing supposition. Kindly direct me toward the announcements from Trump that CU should be toppled. There are actually many quotes from Hillary and Bernie about needing to scrap the CU choice. With President Trump there still a change political crusades won’t get to be illicit, with Hillary or Bernie, its an assurance they will.

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