In the past couple of weeks, two superb essays came out castigating conservatives who are going to do anything but vote for Donald Trump, whether that means voting for Hillary, Johnson (a closet Democrat who’s been Hillary’s echo chamber), or what’s his name the Mormon. For me, the bottom line is that Hillary will absolutely most certainly totally be a president who cements Obama’s legacy, whether it’s executive overreach, hard-Left legislation from the Supreme Court, an open border ensuring permanent Leftist domination at the polls, crony capitalism, or America’s dhimmitude before Islam.
It’s doubtful that Trump could ever be as bad as Hillary — and she will most certainly be so bad that America might never recover — and a damn good chance that he’ll be better or even much better (as he showed with his recent speeches about African-Americans and immigration). The moral position for any conservatives is to vote for Trump.
But that’s me talking, and you don’t have to believe me. I therefore strongly suggest that you read the following two articles. The first is from Clay Shirky, who doesn’t take sides but simply educates us to the fact that in America there’s no such thing as a protest vote:
People who believe in protest votes do so because they confuse sending a message with receiving one. You can send any message you like: “I think Jill Stein should be President” or “I think David Duke should be President” or “I think Park Eunsol should be President.”
Similarly, you can send any message you like by not voting. You can say you are sitting out the election because both parties are neo-liberal or because an election without Lyndon LaRouche is a sham or because 9/11 was an inside job. The story you tell yourself about your political commitments are yours to construct.
But it doesn’t matter what message you think you are sending, because no one will receive it. No one is listening. The system is set up so that every choice other than ‘R’ or ‘D’ boils down to “I defer to the judgement of my fellow citizens.” It’s easy to argue that our system shouldn’t work like that. It’s impossible to argue it doesn’t work like that.
Read the whole thing and then forgetting about hoarding your precious vote to send a message. Vote for the candidate who probably won’t irreparably damage America.
The other article you should read is Michael Walsh’s The Moral Cowardice of the NeverTrumpumpkins. Walsh takes as his starting point what I also use as my starting point — the fact that Trump is an imperfect candidate (although if you read Ann Coulter’s latest column, you’ll realize that a lot of the attacks on Trump are sheer calumnies that prove, upon examination, to have no basis in fact). No matter how imperfect he is, though — no matter he offends the classy, the intellectual, the thoughtful, the ideologically committed — he’s our guy and he’s better than their gal:
Trump’s opponents on the right fall into two main categories – conservative opinion journalists (most of whom are under 50, who came of voting age after Ronald Reagan left office) and the political-consultant class. The latter’s opposition is easy to understand, as Trump has essentially dispensed with their services, running a bare-bones primary campaign that resulted in the largest vote total in the history of the GOP nominating process. No wonder they’re sore.
What’s more puzzling is the entrenched opposition by a die-hard handful in the right-wing media, whose increasingly desperate (and mind-numbingly repetitious) anti-Trump columns read more like a personal cri de coeur than reasoned political discourse.
The time for opposition was during the primaries. But now, for better or worse, the issue is settled. Increasingly sounding like leftists, the “never Trumpers” appeal to a higher morality to justify their electoral sabotage, but the fact is their stance is profoundly immoral; sore losers, they demand a rules change after the game is over, and refuse to accept the results.
So determined are they to retain their status in the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, they have put party before country, and swear they’ve done just the opposite.
Meanwhile, the “never Trumpers” continue to offer up spoiler candidates, such as Evan McMullin, a Mormon former CIA officer with no chance of even getting on all 50 state ballots, in the hopes of damaging Trump’s chances in states with significant Mormon populations, such as Utah and Arizona. The thinking goes that five candidates in the race (Trump, Clinton, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein) might cost Trump a state or two, leading to his defeat in the Electoral College.
Some Trump opponents on the right disingenuously claim they have little or no influence on voters; they’re merely advocating a vote of conscience while they await a restoration in 2020 or ‘24. Further, they risibly assert that a GOP Congress will hold Clinton in check, forgetting how little the Republicans did to stop Obama – and why their base is so furious with them today.
I’m deeply unhappy about the #NeverTrumpers and that’s for a personal reason. I have been for years a very big fan of many of the #NeverTrumpers, especially the writers at National Review. I haven’t always agreed with them (e.g., I wasn’t a Mitt Romney fan, but accepted him once he won the primary), but I deeply admire their intelligence, their thoughtfulness, the breadth and depth of their knowledge, their committed conservativism, their strong principles, and their uniformly excellent writing.
Indeed, admiring them as I did, it troubled me a great deal when a few months ago I realized that I would have to part ways with them. Did I dare to strike out on my own path when such highly regarded people were assuring me it was (and is) the road to perdition?
But you know what sometimes happens to people who are too close to each other? They lose perspective. I came to imagine them going back and forth between each other’s offices, brilliantly, wittily, and thoughtfully reinforcing their prejudices. Collegiality, instead of being a source of strength, and (and has) become both a shackle and a blindfold, preventing them from looking beyond the parameters they’ve drawn for themselves and reaching out for the bigger picture.
Even at National Review, though, people are beginning to accept that Trump is our guy, no matter how much we wish he were not. Dennis Prager wrote a wonderful pro-Trump column which said thoughtfully and elegantly what I’ve been saying in my ragged, scattershot fashion for months now: Trump is better than Hillary and, when there’s a binary election, patriots must choose the least bad option.
Likewise, Victor Davis Hanson, while trying to avoid endorsing Trump cannot help but savage Clinton. He’s too intellectually honest to pretend that throwing the election her way will be anything but a disaster.
Even Andrew McCarthy, once a staunch Trump foe, has come to realize that, when it comes to national security, reasonable people can work with Trump — and he’s better than Hillary.
When you’re brilliant, erudite, and principled, and you’ve loudly, publicly, and often made brilliant, erudite, and principled arguments to support your position, it’s mighty hard to back down. I know that I, who am neither brilliant, nor erudite, nor a lifelong principled conservative (having come late to the game after a Road to Damascus political conversion) had to swallow a bitter pill and a lot of pride to accept that Trump is my candidate.
Lord knows, at my own little bully pulpit, one that reaches only thousands, not tens or even hundreds of thousands, I wrote enough scathing indictments against Trump. During the primaries, he was a political monster when compared to Walker or Cruz or Rubio. But the primaries are over and now Trump is my monster. Instead of being scary, Trump has become endearing and cuddly. This election has been my own personal version of Monsters, Inc., with Trump no longer the killer under the bed but, instead, the hero who saves the day.
Given what both Shirky and Walsh say, it’s time for the #NeverTrumpers to have their own Monsters, Inc. moment. Guys and gals, stop screaming every time you see Trump and learn to appreciate his virtues, laugh at his wacky sense of humor, and line up behind him because, while he’s not a real monster, the monsters are out there and Hillary wants to let them in.
Crossposted at Bookworm Room