The Electoral Forest Just Got Greener

 

Like many others here, I have been resigned to a Trump candidacy from the moment Senator Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. I saw nothing particularly positive in that prospect, but I found it unquestionably preferable to any of the remaining alternatives. So, I chose to support Trump. Under the circumstances, it was the only defensible choice.

Subsequently, House Speaker Paul Ryan stepped up and confirmed his role as spokesman for conservative Republicans. Furthermore, he convinced me that he would use the influence of his office, as well as his formidable personal influence, to lead Congress and work with a President Trump to move the country in a positive direction. Ryan would collaborate with Trump as an ally on issues in which their goals align. Equally importantly, he would negotiate workable differences, as well as reign in Trump’s most extreme impulses.

But now that Trump has named Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, I’m beginning to see this candidacy in a genuinely positive light. One year ago, who among us would have objected to putting, at the top of the ticket, a conservative governor with proven leadership ability in Congress? The Trump phenomenon disallowed that (as we are all painfully aware), but now Trump has given us just such a man, albeit at the bottom of the ticket. At this point, I’ll take it. We’d be foolish to turn-up our noses at this development. Governor Pence possesses the political experience, conservative nature, and personal attributes that Trump lacks. To some degree, Pence can potentially neutralize much of what is objectionable about Trump the man.

A Trump/Pence White House combined with a Ryan-led Congress has real potential for moving the country in a positive direction. Perhaps it’s time for thoughtful #NeverTrumpers to re-assess the situation given these latest developments. Can’t we agree that the Trump candidacy is, at the very least, marginally less intolerable now? Can’t we agree that a Trump/Pence ticket is colossally superior to the Democrat alternative, and that a protest vote for a fringe candidate would be counterproductive? If you think not, then just how superior to the Democrat alternative would you require the Trump option to be? At what point does a protest vote become merely an exercise in moral preening?

I recognize that Trump the person is still Trump the person, but we’re not electing an emperor. An administration staffed with solid Republicans simply must be preferable to the Clinton cabal. It’s time for NeverTrumpers to rally around the true conservative on the ticket, and raise his stature within the Trump campaign and within the party.

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  1. BettyW Inactive
    BettyW
    @BettyW

    Yes, thank you

    • #1
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Yes! And I say this as someone who was never a Trump supporter. But now, we should all rally around.

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    RightAngles:Yes! And I say this as someone who was never a Trump supporter. But now, we should all rally around.

    Yes. When the campaign first began I was a Cruz supporter. When Trump started showing significant strength, I was dismayed. In Ricochet conversations I said maybe I could vote for Trump if Cruz were on the ticket. Pence is not Cruz but he’s good for me. Besides I’ve been thinking more positively about Trump as time passes. Today I’m comfortable with his candidacy. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be enthusiastic.

    • #3
  4. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Nice article and I agree with you.

    • #4
  5. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    I didn’t marry my wife because I like my mother-in-law. The top of the ticket remains who he is. If he is an ally, he is not a trustworthy one. To those of us who find him both unsuitable and unqualified for the White House, his veep pick, and events surrounding it, provide little reassurance.

    In Pence we have a conservative who does not seem able to stand up to pressure, seemed unlikely to win reelection, and disagrees with the top of the ticket on almost every major issue.

    Paul Ryan is walking a tight rope in trying to balance his personal beliefs and the party’s demands. In so doing, he seems to have turned off many of his supporters, and not won an ounce of respect from his critics, and I have yet to see any evidence of concession or reassurance from the presumptive nominee.

    The fundamentals on the ground also have not changed so far as I can tell. Hillary’s numbers have dropped while his have not risen. There is still no ground game to speak of, and fundraising is disappointing. Republicans everywhere are uncertain whether to support the ticket, or distance themselves from it, and the man who would lead this party has expressed indifference to keeping the senate.

    • #5
  6. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Problem is, you’re going to be married to either Trump or Hillary. There’s simply no way around that. You can simply cast your fate to the wind or you can choose the one who is less bad. One of the candidates just got less bad, did he not?

    • #6
  7. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    rico:Problem is, you’re going to be married to either Trump or Hillary. There’s simply no way around that. You can simply cast your fate to the wind or you can choose the one who is less bad. One of the candidates just got less bad, did he not?

    He remains who he is. Let’s pretend Hillary chose Ted Cruz as her running mate. Would she be any less Hillary?

    • #7
  8. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Here’s what I’m wondering: Are Never-Trumpers so invested in their position (which may have made sense during the primaries) that they cannot sell after conditions change on the ground.

    Jonah Goldberg makes an arguable point that as a political writer he has an obligation to maintain a certain ideological purity. His family’s livelihood depends on it.

    I suspect he will come around and vote Trump/Pence in the end, arguing that voting in an A/B situation is an entirely separate proposition from journalistic advocacy.

    But most of us here are free to make a rational choice without such considerations. We can freely change our positions based on the available choices in front of us.

    • #8
  9. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Mister D:

    rico:Problem is, you’re going to be married to either Trump or Hillary. There’s simply no way around that. You can simply cast your fate to the wind or you can choose the one who is less bad. One of the candidates just got less bad, did he not?

    Mister D:

    He remains who he is. Let’s pretend Hillary chose Ted Cruz as her running mate. Would she be any less Hillary?

    rico:

    Hillary would still be Hillary just as Trump would still be Trump, but I’d have to re-assess her candidacy. It would take a couple nanoseconds to determine that her candidacy had improved marginally but that Trump/Pence was still far superior.

    • #9
  10. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Windows Phone and 3.0 aren’t getting along right now (quote function and page formatting). I’ll try to get to a keyboard later.

    • #10
  11. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    rico: Here’s what I’m wondering: Are Never-Trumpets so invested in their position (which may have made sense during the primaries) that they cannot sell after conditions change on the ground.

    That is the crux of the matter.  Not convinced yet that anything substantive has changed.

    Mr E is with Mr D on this.

    • #11
  12. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    At this point, I might trust Trump/Pense to hold the conservative line more than Ryan.

    • #12
  13. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    Paul Erickson:

    rico: Here’s what I’m wondering: Are Never-Trumpets so invested in their position (which may have made sense during the primaries) that they cannot sell after conditions change on the ground.

    That is the crux of the matter. Not convinced yet that anything substantive has changed.

    Mr E is with Mr D on this.

    1. I have to wonder if all the people who insist that they don’t like Trump but insist there is no other choice, if they stopped insisting there was  no other option and actually were open to one if one might not emerge.
    2. In my opinion, neither Donald nor Hillary is fit for office. Period. Neither deserves my vote.
    3. Because I am in a deeply blue state, my vote doesn’t matter, which means I don’t need to thread the needle on this choice. I don’t know how many NT’s are in the same boat. I imagine it would be harder for me to be on the NT team if I lived in Orlando. For this reason I am sympathetic to those who choose to vote Trump reluctantly, and have never tried changing their minds. All I have ever asked is the same courtesy, but rarely have I received it.
    • #13
  14. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Mister D:

    • I have to wonder if all the people who insist that they don’t like Trump but insist there is no other choice, if they stopped insisting there was no other option and actually were open to one if one might not emerge.
    • In my opinion, neither Donald nor Hillary is fit for office. Period. Neither deserves my vote.
    • Because I am in a deeply blue state, my vote doesn’t matter, which means I don’t need to thread the needle on this choice. I don’t know how many NT’s are in the same boat. I imagine it would be harder for me to be on the NT team if I lived in Orlando. For this reason I am sympathetic to those who choose to vote Trump reluctantly, and have never tried changing their minds. All I have ever asked is the same courtesy, but rarely have I received it
    1. I’m certainly open to a better alternative, but we’re extremely unlikely to have one. So I’m planting my flag with Trump/Pence for now. BTW I’ve posted some pretty harsh anti-Trump stuff over the past year.
    2. Whether fit or not, deserved or not, one of them will become president. I do agree that you are free to do whatever you want with your vote.
    3. I assure you that this post was not directed at you personally, and I hope you don’t feel that I am being in any way discourteous.
    • #14
  15. 701-818 Member
    701-818
    @

    I’m going Gary Johnson this year. It’s my “vote libertarian one time” vote.

    I would have crawled over broken glass to vote for Walker, but he gave up so fast Trump didn’t even have to accusse his father of being Castro’s pen pal.

    • #15
  16. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    701-818:I’m going Gary Johnson this year. It’s my “vote libertarian one time” vote.

    I would have crawled over broken glass to vote for Walker, but he gave up so fast Trump didn’t even have to accusse his father of being Castro’s pen pal.

    I’d love to see Walker serve in the next administration. Maybe Gary Johnson will appoint him Secretary of Something.

    • #16
  17. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    First, thank you for a thoughtful post on the matter. I don’t think you’re going to particularly like my answers, but this was a great conversation starter.

    rico:Furthermore, he convinced me that he would use the influence of his office, as well as his formidable personal influence, to lead Congress and work with a President Trump to move the country in a positive direction. Ryan would collaborate with Trump as an ally on issues in which their goals align. Equally importantly, he would negotiate workable differences, as well as reign in Trump’s most extreme impulses.

    I would not be so optimistic on this point. It’s as sure a bet as exists in American politics that you should bet on the president if he and Congress are at loggerheads. Ryan is among the few that showed any reluctance to endorse Trump, and I’d wager that he’ll be much more successful at bringing him to them than otherwise.

    • #17
  18. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    rico:To some degree, Pence can potentially neutralize much of what is objectionable about Trump the man.

    How so? In this regard, a vice president has only as much sway over a president as the latter allows and the veep has no constitutional power or influence over the president. If Trump tells Pence to take a hike, Pence will have no recourse short of resigning in protest, and that strikes me as unlikely in the extreme.

    • #18
  19. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    rico: At what point does a protest vote become merely an exercise in moral preening?

    At a similar point to that where compromising your principles becomes merely an exercise in selling-out. That is to say, it depends on the nature and quality of one’s objections and it’s cussed difficult to articulate those standards without reference to the specific circumstances and dilemma at hand.

    I truly believe Donald Trump is philosophically and temperamentally unsuited to the presidency (Hillary Clinton is similarly disbarred from my support; the reasons both overlap in part and diverge in others). Trump receiving a total brain transplant might shake me of that conviction, but Mike Pence as VP would not and, indeed, does not. If you wish to call me implacable on the matter, I will agree.

    Moreover, I think there is value — genuine value — in seeing that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton enters office with as small a mandate as possible. A protest vote is one of the few ways of sending such a signal.

    • #19
  20. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    rico:

    1. I’m certainly open to a better alternative, but we’re extremely unlikely to have one. So I’m planting my flag with Trump/Pence for now. BTW I’ve posted some pretty harsh anti-Trump stuff over the past year.
    2. Whether fit or not, deserved or not, one of them will become president. I do agree that you are free to do whatever you want with your vote.
    3. I assure you that this post was not directed at you personally, and I hope you don’t feel that I am being in any way discourteous.

    I didn’t mean to single you out either. Just venting a general frustration with the pro-Trump crowd.

    • #20
  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Mister D:

    rico:Problem is, you’re going to be married to either Trump or Hillary. There’s simply no way around that. You can simply cast your fate to the wind or you can choose the one who is less bad. One of the candidates just got less bad, did he not?

    He remains who he is. Let’s pretend Hillary chose Ted Cruz as her running mate. Would she be any less Hillary?

    No, but there is good chance I would self immolate in the middle of Dallas if that happened.

    • #21
  22. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Mister D:

    Paul Erickson:

    rico: Here’s what I’m wondering: Are Never-Trumpets so invested in their position (which may have made sense during the primaries) that they cannot sell after conditions change on the ground.

    That is the crux of the matter. Not convinced yet that anything substantive has changed.

    Mr E is with Mr D on this.

    1. I have to wonder if all the people who insist that they don’t like Trump but insist there is no other choice, if they stopped insisting there was no other option and actually were open to one if one might not emerge.

    I am wide open to it if they address the issues Trump has raised.

    1. In my opinion, neither Donald nor Hillary is fit for office. Period. Neither deserves my vote.
    2. Because I am in a deeply blue state, my vote doesn’t matter, which means I don’t need to thread the needle on this choice. I don’t know how many NT’s are in the same boat. I imagine it would be harder for me to be on the NT team if I lived in Orlando. For this reason I am sympathetic to those who choose to vote Trump reluctantly, and have never tried changing their minds. All I have ever asked is the same courtesy, but rarely have I received it.
    • #22
  23. Turn MD Red Inactive
    Turn MD Red
    @TurnMDRed

    I am a lifelong conservative Republican and have served on my county’s Central Committee for four years.

    I resigned after it became clear my party was going to nominate a nationalist populist progressive Democrat “not conservative” (his words) to be its standard bearer.

    I have not left my party – I’m still a registered Republican – but I fear my party has transitioned into one to which I would never have wanted to belong.

    I have not and will not criticize Trump publicly – I have no desire to hurt the party more than it has already hurt itself, and I may end up voting for him. It’s just that every time I think maybe I can, maybe it’ll be ok, he says or does something stupid or outrageous or borderline racist.

    For me it has always been about the Constitution, and I guess I thought my fellow conservatives and TEA Party members felt the same way.

    I guess not.

    • #23
  24. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Mister D:I didn’t marry my wife because I like my mother-in-law. The top of the ticket remains who he is. If he is an ally, he is not a trustworthy one. To those of us who find him both unsuitable and unqualified for the White House, his veep pick, and events surrounding it, provide little reassurance.

    In Pence we have a conservative who does not seem able to stand up to pressure, seemed unlikely to win reelection, and disagrees with the top of the ticket on almost every major issue.

    Paul Ryan is walking a tight rope in trying to balance his personal beliefs and the party’s demands. In so doing, he seems to have turned off many of his supporters, and not won an ounce of respect from his critics, and I have yet to see any evidence of concession or reassurance from the presumptive nominee.

    The fundamentals on the ground also have not changed so far as I can tell. Hillary’s numbers have dropped while his have not risen. There is still no ground game to speak of, and fundraising is disappointing. Republicans everywhere are uncertain whether to support the ticket, or distance themselves from it, and the man who would lead this party has expressed indifference to keeping the senate.

    Bottom line – you’ll need to decide – Hilary or Trump – given the state of our country and the world, I don’t want another Obama – how about you?

    • #24
  25. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    BrentB67:Mister D:

    Paul Erickson:

    rico: Here’s what I’m wondering: Are Never-Trumpets so invested in their position (which may have made sense during the primaries) that they cannot sell after conditions change on the ground.

    That is the crux of the matter. Not convinced yet that anything substantive has changed.

    Mr E is with Mr D on this.

    1. I have to wonder if all the people who insist that they don’t like Trump but insist there is no other choice, if they stopped insisting there was no other option and actually were open to one if one might not emerge.

    I am wide open to it if they address the issues Trump has raised.

    1. In my opinion, neither Donald nor Hillary is fit for office. Period. Neither deserves my vote.
    2. Because I am in a deeply blue state, my vote doesn’t matter, which means I don’t need to thread the needle on this choice. I don’t know how many NT’s are in the same boat. I imagine it would be harder for me to be on the NT team if I lived in Orlando. For this reason I am sympathetic to those who choose to vote Trump reluctantly, and have never tried changing their minds. All I have ever asked is the same courtesy, but rarely have I received it.

    Your vote matters – if votes propel Hilary to top numbers, it influences how others may vote – blue state especially.

    • #25
  26. M. Brandon Godbey Member
    M. Brandon Godbey
    @Brandon

    rico:

    I recognize that Trump the person is still Trump the person, but we’re not electing an emperor.

    Really?  Could have fooled me.

    • #26
  27. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:First, thank you for a thoughtful post on the matter. I don’t think you’re going to particularly like my answers, but this was a great conversation starter.

    rico:Furthermore, he convinced me that he would use the influence of his office, as well as his formidable personal influence, to lead Congress and work with a President Trump to move the country in a positive direction. Ryan would collaborate with Trump as an ally on issues in which their goals align. Equally importantly, he would negotiate workable differences, as well as reign in Trump’s most extreme impulses.

    I would not be so optimistic on this point. It’s as sure a bet as exists in American politics that you should bet on the president if he and Congress are at loggerheads. Ryan is among the few that showed any reluctance to endorse Trump, and I’d wager that he’ll be much more successful at bringing him to them than otherwise.

    I don’t want to overstate my case, but I think Ryan has a certain charisma that the general public will find quite reassuring, particularly when contrasted to Trump bombast. Ryan will also have his finger on the pulse of Congress while Trump would be a fish out of water. Yes, Trump would have the presidential bully pulpit, but would be capable of using it effectively or simply come off as, well, a bully?

    • #27
  28. Wordcooper Inactive
    Wordcooper
    @Wordcooper

    I do take issue with your assertion that supporting Trump is the ONLY defensible position. I can understand my fellow Americans who decide to vote for the lesser of two evils and I don’t think they are stupid or evil, I just refuse to be part of the hope that Trump will turn out to be OK.  Pence will serve at the whim of Trump.

    I have filled out my form to leave the R party and will probably send it in this week. I will probably vote for down ticket Republicans. Split ticket voting, here I come.

    • #28
  29. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    rico:To some degree, Pence can potentially neutralize much of what is objectionable about Trump the man.

    How so? In this regard, a vice president has only as much sway over a president as the latter allows and the veep has no constitutional power or influence over the president. If Trump tells Pence to take a hike, Pence will have no recourse short of resigning in protest, and that strikes me as unlikely in the extreme.

    Okay, I’m on a little shakier ground here. This applies mostly to campaigning (as opposed to governing), but it serves the Trump campaign to present Pence as a counterbalance so as to reassure portential voters that there will be an experienced and stable administrator in Trump’s inner circle.

    • #29
  30. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    If anything the Pence pick makes me less likely to vote for Trump. Pence folded like a cheap lawn chair on the RFRA, why would I think he would stand up to Trump on anything.

    SMOD 2016!

    • #30

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