If this is your first trip to SaveJersey.com, John or Jane Doe U.S. Voter, then I should go ahead and get this out of the way up front for your benefit:
I’m not a Trumpie. It’s a matter of public record.
Stated succinctly: At his worst, Donald Trump is a walking, talking, orange nightmare that’s a Republican caricature of everything the Left tells persuadable voters WE are and conservative activists like myself have spent many, many years trying to overcome. At best? He’s a badly flawed candidate who made this election unnecessarily competitive.
I nevertheless decided to give him my vote in the November general election after staring at my vote-by-mail ballot for several tortured days.
What you’re about to read isn’t an endorsement so much as it’s a point-by-point explanation of how I arrived at my personal Election 2016 decision when faced, I think almost everyone in America would agree, with an objectively tragic choice. I won’t judge someone else’s decision to abstain. Your conscience is your own affair.
All that same, it’s possible that recounting my own mental journey will help you make up your own mind. Or at least give you someone/something with which to commiserate?
Either way, here at the five primary reasons why I held my nose and voted for Donald Trump:
1) For better or worse, this is a two party system. Get over it.
Passive resistance isn’t my style. I wrote thousands of words opposing Trump in the primaries. I urged party leaders to man-up and dump him at July’s Cleveland convention. For a time, I even held out some hope that a credible right-of-center third party alternative would assert itself. No such luck, folks. A third party hasn’t supplanted an existing dominant alternative since, ironically, the GOP arose out of the Whig coalition’s mid-18th century collapse. The statistical probability of a tie resulting in President Paul Ryan or Evan McMullin? Negligible.
American politics hasn’t seen a viable independent insurgency since Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign which, in the end, succeeded only in electing… Bill Clinton.
24 years later, you may not like where we’re at but the logic of it is unassailable: voting for Gary Johnson, writing in Marco Rubio, or hoping Evan McMullin can somehow take Utah and deny anyone else an Electoral College win are all just as likely to end in victory for Bill’s wife, Hillary.
Think we’d be better off with a parliamentary system? Or no parties at all? Those are academic arguments for November 9th. For now, your only real choices (should you choose to participate) are Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. God help us. Abstaining may or may not make you feel better.
I’m not your priest or rabbi so, given everything I’ve explained above, I’ll say only this: Qui tacet consentire.
2) The people who brought about ‘Trumpocalypse’ won’t learn a damn thing if he loses big league or turns heel in office (which is unfortunate).
Trust me: I’ve cumulatively wasted months of my youngish life arguing with ‘establishment’ and Trumpie/Trumper/Trumpkin trolls alike, Save Jerseyans, and you’re not going to change anyone’s mind about any of this.
If you think Mitch McConnell is the devil? Or Ted Cruz is the anti-christ? You’ve made an emotional decision. Consequently, you’re beyond the realm of reason/fact/logic/pragmatism.
Coalitions require compromise; like any relationship, personal or collective, when the parties stop caring about what the other person is saying and completely shut down, that’s invariably the end of the road (and I know what I’m talking about – I’m a divorce lawyer when I’m not commentating on politics).
Those of us who haven’t completely lost our heads? We know the French Revolution analogy for the GOP’s 2016 meltdown is the fairest, most accurate causative analysis for how the Party of Lincoln and Reagan arrived at this sad pass. That’s another discussion for another time when tempers cool and folks are once more ready to listen to one aother. For now? Trump going down in flames by 2 points or 12 points won’t speed up the catharsis of the willfully blind. The only certain result of a Trump loss is a Clinton victory.
The only way to ‘save’ the GOP is for better, stronger alternatives to Trumpism and Liberalism to step forward and assert themselves. No one can honestly predict how Trump’s fate either stymies or accelerates that organic process. Face it! I have, thought it wasn’t easy to do.
3) And no, sorry, they’re not ‘equally awful’ by any honest assessment of the situation.
We only have two real choices: check.
Electorally knee-capping Trump isn’t likely to rescue the resistance: check.
Both candidates suck equally? Not so fast.
Anything awful you can fairly say about the Donald goes double (or quadruple) for the Clintons. I see your Trump University and raise you the Clinton Foundation. The Republican nominee’s proposals are badly flawed, especially on the immigration and trade fronts; Clinton’s policy proscriptions seek to replicate, and amplify, Barack Obama’s ruinous 8-year journey to the letter including the ruinously expensive and ineffective Obamacare experiment. Trump may appoint decent Supreme Court justices; Hillary will certainly appoint terrible ones. There’s some evidence that Donald Trump behaved like a frat boy at various stages of his life, saying things you and I wouldn’t tolerate coming from the mouth of a grown man; there’s boatloads of evidence that Hillary Clinton punished women who called her own husband out for treating them like sexual play things. Trump routinely says objectively crummy or even downright cruel things; Hillary does awful, criminal, cruel, evil things, and she’s been at it for three decades like a pro.
With President Trump, Americans will have a commander-in-chief who isn’t a role model.
With President Clinton? Americans will have a commander-in-chief who’s a model plutocrat, one likely to be indicted and/or impeached in her first term.
Like I’ve said again and again… it’s an unhappy choice, one I didn’t want to have to make, but one which also isn’t hard to make once you’ve conducted a dispassionate, honest comparative analysis.
Still struggling? Ask yourself a simple question: Would you vote for Richard Nixon IF you knew had advance knowledge of Watergate?
4) Our system is better suited to survive an indecisive buffoon than an effective criminal.
That last question posed above is critical.
We’ve heard a lot about Trump’s hedging on the ‘will you accept the election results’ question and the alleged threat it poses to the American system.
What about the threat that Hillary Clinton’s criminality poses to the country?
Americans still haven’t recovered from the Watergate effect on public confidence in government. Emailgate and Foundationgate are each independently Watergate ON STEROIDS. God knows what’s still to come. If I’m an honest liberal sincerely devoted to the progressive cause (for argument’s sake, of course), I may be rooting against Hillary Clinton between now and November 8th. Her inevitable downfall could damage the Democrat Party for a generation in much the same way as Republicans suffered in the wake of Nixon’s resignation.
Buffoons? Defined broadly? We’ve survived plenty of weak presidencies. Johnson. Grant. Harding. Carter. Men who were accomplished in one or more non-political arenas but wholly incompetent in the White House. Our system of checks and balances, as well as the bureaucratic hierarchy of executive power structure, guarantees that Donald Trump can’t accidentally nuke a country or empty the treasury. Will we be better or worse off? Time will tell.
Criminals? They warp the system to serve their diabolical ends in a thousand less-than-obvious ways. They pervert our culture, too, and lower the ethical bar for their successors. They poison the relationship between the people and their representative in a manner that’s difficult to reverse. Hillary is Al Capone in a pantsuit. The damage Hillary Clinton is likely to inflect upon our beleaguered republic won’t be easily remedied by a midterm election or Senate trial. We know because we’ve been down this road before.
Hillary’s criminality is a bigger threat to our republic than the Donald’s buffoonery. It’s really THAT simple, Save Jerseyans.
5) As ever, Americans are their own worst enemy. It’s time to re-take responsibility for our democracy.
This nation’s first Republican president said it best:
“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”
China and Russia aren’t what keeps me up at night, Save Jerseyans.
The fact that Americans chose a potty-mouthed snake oil salesman (Trump) and an sickly socialist crook (Clinton) as the presidential finalists out of 300+ million citizens?
It’s the stuff of which nightmares are made.
Our culture is sick. Very sick. This disease will doom us long before any single policy or politician.
What’s a voter to do?
These politicians are a reflection of us. Donald Trump’s antics are a symptom of what we’ve become. Hillary Clinton and her hubby are both symptom AND causation. I first learned what oral sex was – back in grade school, in the 1990s – snickering with other kids over the Clinton scandal. The Democrat Party’s senior statesmen is the original one-man ‘War On Women,’ and Slick Willie’s wife was his right-hand hatchet woman. Neither of them should be permitted within 1,000 yards of the White House (or a school building).
Treat the disease, America.
Hillary Clinton will use every lever of federal power to finish implementing Saul Alinsky’s vision. Defeating Hillary Clinton and her radical band is our first meaningful opportunity in a decade to at least stabilize our society’s decay. It’s a vote against big government, creeping socialism, political correctness, microaggression ideology, Pajama Boy-itis, safe spaces, disrespect for our police officers, ‘Holiday’ Trees, Halloween in school bans, and every other aspect of modern American life that’s stealthily weakening our society and eroding our values from within. It’s a vote FOR restoring the United States as a place where ‘the rule of law’ isn’t just a rhetorical flourish and persons are evaluated primarily by their deeds, not verbal transgressions as judged by the sensitivities of the cultural elite.
A visit to any random Clinton fundraiser or rally is a carnival freak show experience in the sewer that’s grosser, and more vile, than any trip to Trump Tower.
I’m under no illusions as to who Donald Trump is, and my expectations for a Trump presidency are appropriately measured.
Knowing how terrible President Hillary Clinton would be doesn’t require an active imagination, only a cursory familiarity with who she’s been during her pathetic, stomach-churning public tenure.
Of the two? Donald Trump is the only defensible option for president of the United States on November 8th.