I’ve been observing and participating in our nation’s electoral process for more than three decades. I’ve seen some awful candidates and despicable campaigns, but I can’t remember a single presidential election cycle in which I was so thoroughly disgusted with my choices(or lack thereof.) I’ve remained quiet since the primary season because I see no point. I had nothing to add, and nothing useful to say about the state of the primary, and given the two major parties’ nominees, nothing good to say about any of it. The Republican nominating process was a disgusting, miserable mess. It was dominated by open-primary states, and the GOP’s nominee was chosen not by conservatives, or even Republicans more generally, but instead by the media and by line-crossing Democrats in open primary states. As bad as that is, the Democrat primary was even more ridiculous. Bernie Sanders never had a prayer, as the whole party apparatus of the DNC was aligned against him, and the conclusion was determined not by voters but instead by the broken, corrupt “super-delegate” weighting of the outcome. Bernie’s supporters would be right to feel betrayed, because it was quite literally rigged against him. What it all means and has meant to me is that I have been a man without a candidate. Gary Johnson, while the sole vaguely-qualified third-party candidate, proved to be a kook, Jill Stein is insane from a policy-based point of view, and Evan McMullin is just a Kristol-Romney sock-puppet. As you can see, things are pretty slim, and conservatives don’t have much to look forward to in this election. The question therefore arises: What’s a conservative to do? How can a conservative maintain his or her principles and still vote in this election? The answers seem quite negative. The conclusions one must reach simply aren’t satisfactory. Still, as conservatives, we have a responsibility to make a judgment about all of this. Ignoring or evading that responsibility is the deepest betrayal of our principles we could undertake. Let us consider the ugliest election ever, and know what our actions or inactions will really mean.
Let us begin from the self-evident premise that voting for McMullin, Stein, Johnson, or “None of the Above” is nothing more or less than a protest vote. There’s no escaping that conclusion, and pretending to ourselves that any of these candidates have even the remotest chance of victory is simply absurd self-delusion. It’s time to embrace the horror: With or without us, whether we abstain entirely, or vote for one of these three protest candidates, in just about a day’s time, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our President-elect. While horrifying, at least to a conservative, this is the fact from which there is no escape.
It is true to say that Donald Trump isn’t even approximately a conservative. Worse, his lifetime of bad, boorish, and perhaps worse behavior means that it’s difficult to overlook what a complete buffoon this man has appeared to be over this campaign and election cycle, but also over the course of his life. You can worry about a lot of things if Donald Trump wins, from his insane tariffs notions, to his likely retreat on illegal immigrants and amnesty. He rightly says Obama-care must be repealed, but then goes on to describe replacing it with another government program. He seems to be acceptable on second amendment issues, but that’s assuming he’s gotten an education and has completely disavowed his previous stance on such things as the “assault weapons” ban. His foreign policy leaves much to be desired, and it seems at times that he doesn’t know all that much about the subject. On the other hand, he has expressed a generally pro-American view, as contrasted against the America-Last stance of the current administration. He seems to exhibit some concern for veterans, although that’s been a somewhat more spotty record in the past. His views on Supreme Court and other judicial appointments is less than comforting. Most of all, he’s told a huge number of whoppers during this election cycle.
Then there is Hillary Clinton. There is nothing whatever to recommend her. She is wrong on virtually every issue where an actual conservative might be concerned, to the extent that she could and should be viewed with real enmity by anybody even approximately interested in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In a word, Hillary Clinton’s policy preferences are un-American to the core. She absolutely hates the country as founded, and like the current resident of the Oval Orifice, seeks to undo the United States as a nation governed by a free people. She detests free speech, she would act to restrict further the free exercise of religion, imposing on private citizens those restrictions that apply legitimately only to government. Hers is the ultimate cultural attack on what it is to be an American. Her policy on immigration is an open border. Her view on citizenship is expansive, inasmuch as she believes we ought to be overrun by foreigners of every conceivable description in order to solidify her party’s hold on government.
More than all of this, however, Hillary Clinton is an un-convicted criminal. She is still under investigation by the FBI, particularly with respect to the Clinton Foundation, but more, her entire career in and around government has been littered with crooked dealings and corrupting applications of power and privilege. She owes no allegiance to the American people, but is instead a sort of mob-boss, where she and her friends exercise control over the law itself. There is no office beyond the reach of their corrupting influence, and as this campaign season has demonstrated, almost the whole of the news and entertainment media are in her corner at best, but at worse, in her pocket.
Don’t bother to tell me this and that about Donald Trump. As far as I am aware, his actions, some of them detestable to me, have not resulted in the deaths of Americans, and have not included treason, effective espionage for enemies of the United States, and bizarre and wholly illegal instances of thorough corruption of government offices, in and out of office. I know he’s likely to betray the people who would put him in office, as he already has on several issues, but what he is not is a person who hates America, or Americans, at least as far as I can determine.
As a conservative, I am forced to evaluate and pass judgment on such things as this presidential election, making my choices and taking responsibility for them, not evading them and hiding behind a veneer of claimed inviolate principles. There is no moral superiority to be found in permitting Hillary Clinton to be elected President. As a conservative, I believe in my right to life, and my right to defend it and all the facets of it. What I notice is that if Hillary Clinton is permitted to become President, my rights, and indeed the rights of all Americans, to their lives, and their liberties, as well as the means to defend them shall be stripped from us. In short, as a first principle, I believe in the right of self-defense, and I believe in the moral imperative of defending one’s rights along with one’s life. Hillary Clinton will make it infinitely more difficult for Americans to defend themselves, and worse, she will increase the number of actual threats confronting us.
She will import millions of refugees from nations torn by war, and most of those refugees will not in any way add to our national growth or prosperity. In many cases, and in many ways, they will come here to sponge off of the rest of us. They will come here to attack us. There’s no good in this. There’s no improvement in the American condition by virtue of these programs. Hillary will extend taxation to an even greater degree. This is an attack on property rights, including the property that is your labor. She will doubtlessly tinker with Obamacare but rather than repeal it, she will seek to extend its oppressive, crushing burden on all those who most shoulder its burdens.
Therefore, tomorrow morning when I rise, I will go vote for Donald Trump. I do not enjoy this prospect, but there is no rational alternative. Hillary Clinton is such a thoroughly evil creature that I cannot countenance her ascension to the presidency without my opposition by the only method that now remains to me: I must vote for the most viable opponent to her. That means that the Kristol & Romney sock-puppet cannot have my vote. It means that Gary Johnson cannot count on me. There would be no scenario in which I could vote for the walking brain-death that is Jill Stein. No, I cannot merely withhold my vote for the top slot on the ticket. I must do that which is despicable to me: I must vote for Donald Trump and hope that we conservatives will have some means by which to restrain him, for with Hillary, there is none. There is no manner by which to temper her attacks on America should she obtain that office. I shudder to think of her Supreme Court nominees. I gasp when I think at the extending reach of her corrupt, criminal enterprise. I must vote for Donald Trump, not because I favor the man, or would have chosen him among my top ten to lead the country, but because he is the only candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton. He’s the only one remaining to defeat her, and for the next four years, that will have to be good enough, bad as that may be.
We can talk about what conservatives must do in the future, should our nation survive long enough to make that question relevant, but the truth is that Hillary takes that possibility off the table. If she’s permitted to consolidate the power Obama has already seized, and if she’s permitted to wreak further havoc on our nation’s economy and our national culture, there will be no recovery. Not in my lifetime. Not in my child’s lifetime. It’s time to face the horror of tomorrow with a stiff upper lip. I can vote for Mr. Trump, or I can accept the destruction of our nation under Hillary Clinton. That’s not a choice, but instead a threat, and a threat that removes all other options.
As a matter of self-defense, one doesn’t seek the fight, but must be willing to fight when confronted with an existential threat. In terms of our national polity, our culture, and indeed, the whole body of law that defines our governance. Hillary Clinton is a mortal threat to all of that. Most American would prefer to avoid fights. None of rational intent relish the notion of defending one’s life and liberty, for all the ugliness that is inevitable in such a fight. We conservatives would just as soon live and let live, in the main, and more often than not, we’d be happier if our fellows would simply abide by that golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Sadly, ours is an era in which the resurgence of the aggressive state increasingly attacks us, acting as a surrogate for the whims and wishes of some of our fellow citizens who have captured, at least for a moment, the power of the state to act in their favor by aggressive means, particularly theft. In this environment, there is no way for we conservatives to fend off our oppressors if the executive branch of our government is dominated by yet another villain, perhaps worse than the current occupant of that office.
Hillary Clinton’s potential election is a serious threat to all Americans, whether they have the wisdom to see it or not. We conservatives did not choose this fight. It’s been thrust upon us by the ceaseless aggressions of the statists who now hold the reins of power. Hillary Clinton is merely their latest and perhaps most corrupt and criminal agent, and the America she intends to create is an abomination before Nature and Nature’s God. We must defend ourselves from her maniacal intentions, and we must do so whether she wins or not. Without doubt, it is true that the world would be slightly less disagreeable to our continuing liberties should she be defeated. In the arsenal that is an election for the defense of a nation, Donald Trump is the only bullet remaining in the magazine for our cultural and national self-defense, and tomorrow morning, as soon as the polls open, I will be pulling that trigger. Just as I am certain Ted Cruz felt dismay and disappointment at having to make the same choice, he acted as a responsible adult must in defense of all he loves, and voted for Trump.
He certainly isn’t the best weapon we could have, and he’s not the means of defense I would choose, but he’s the only one we have remaining. I will vote Trump.
That doesn’t mean I like it. In the context of self-defense, who ever likes it?