I’m voting for Trump

 

For about six months now, I’ve been a determined MaybeTrumper. I’ve been very unhappy with the choice forced upon me by my fellow Republican primary voters who selected this candidate. I am still unhappy with it.

But I assiduously avoided jumping on the NeverTrump train. I decided that the best course was to wait and see how the campaign developed, without committing myself either way. There was no hurry to decide.

I have now made my decision to vote for Trump. For whatever it is worth to my Ricochet fellows, I offer my rationale.

I. Trump is a deeply flawed candidate

I recognize that Trump is a deeply flawed candidate. I will not belabor the point. He has serious issues of personal character. He departs from my preferences on some important issues, most notably trade. He often comes across as a boorish bully, and seems to confirm some of the worst stereotypes that the Left applies to Republicans and Conservatives. I don’t really trust him, and he still, sometimes, gives me the feeling that he is a conman.

On the bright side, he presented a pretty good platform in his Gettysburg speech, and he’s said some excellent things on issues ranging from immigration to tax policy to regulation to abortion.

II. Hillary is Horrible

There was never any chance that I would vote for Hillary Clinton. The campaign has, if anything, strengthened my opposition to her. I find her to be personally corrupt and mendacious. I am opposed to her policies virtually across-the-board, from taxes to regulation to trade to foreign policy to immigration to gay marriage to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. Not to mention the Supreme Court.

I have always recognized that the best argument for Trump is the argument against Clinton.

III. My Vote Doesn’t Matter

I haven’t run the numbers, but I suspect that it is more likely that I will die before election day than that my vote will decide the outcome of the election. I live in Arizona. If Arizona is as close as my one vote, then Clinton almost certainly would already have won. And the chance of the Arizona result being tipped by my one little vote is negligible anyway.

So as a matter of winning and losing, my vote is inconsequential. What about using my vote to send a message?

I don’t see how my little vote would send any message that anyone could decipher. 

Would my vote for Trump send the message that I enthusiastically support him? That I give him my lukewarm support, as I gave to Romney and McCain? That I greatly disapprove of him but find Clinton to be even worse?

On the other hand, if I did not vote for Trump, what message would that send? That I just couldn’t bring myself to support this candidate, despite my vehement opposition to Clinton? That I want to teach my fellow Republicans a lesson, so that they never again present me with such an unpalatable choice? That I’m a big fan of Gary Johnson, or Evan McMullin, or whoever I were to (pointlessly) write in?

No, I don’t think that my vote will send any message, even if it could be separated from the noise of millions of other votes.

IV. Will I Regret It?

For months now, I have been concerned that I would, someday, deeply regret it if I voted for Trump. That I would feel soiled by a compromise of this magnitude.

Hey, it’s just an election. I don’t think that I’ll feel any shame, in future years, admitting that I voted for Trump with great reluctance, because I thought that Clinton would be worse. 

I’ll simply say, in my best impression of Jack Aubrey, that I sensibly chose the lesser of two weevils. Which is a good idea even if one is not in the Navy.

V. Unity Going Forward

The main reason for my decision is aimed at the future of the Republican Party and the Conservative movement.

I do worry that Trump, if he wins, will harm the Conservative cause. A Trump victory looks pretty unlikely now. I’ve decided to hope for the best in this regard.

In the likely event of a Trump loss, however, we’re going to have to put the Republican Party and the Conservative movement back together again. It will be hard work. I hear much talk of consequences, even purges, from both the avidly pro-Trump folks and the more vehement NeverTrumpers.

I don’t support Conservatism out of some religious conviction or tribal mentality. At least I hope not. I am a Conservative because I have concluded, based on reason and experience, that Conservative policies are far, far better for our country as a whole, and for the vast majority of our people. I agree with Lady Thatcher that the facts of life are Conservative.

So, for the good of myself, my family, and my fellows, I want the Conservative cause to prevail. This means that we need to keep together an effective electoral coalition. To be effective, that coalition has to include both the enthusiastic Trumpers and the NeverTrumpers. We simply must bridge this gap.

As I see it, the most effective way that I can bridge that gap is if I can say, to our pro-Trump friends, that despite major reservations and disagreements, I ultimately decided to vote for the guy. They gave me a choice that I found very unpleasant, and I went along for the sake of team unity. I will then be able to legitimately ask them to do the same in the future.

Going forward, we need to consider compromises with pro-Trump folks on issues like trade, immigration, and more help for the working class. Personally, I won’t need to compromise much on immigration, but I’m fairly stubborn on free trade and opposition to welfare. Nevertheless, I recognize that working class folks have been having a really tough time, and we need to be willing to bend a bit to bring them some relief.

So I’ll be voting for Trump.

And praying. A lot.

 

 

There are 68 comments.

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  1. DocJay Inactive

    BOL. Nice article.

    • #1
    • October 27, 2016, at 2:00 PM PDT
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  2. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    I came to a similar realization some months ago.

    Very nicely said. So thoughtful of you to share your careful thinking and reasoning.

    Peace.

    • #2
    • October 27, 2016, at 3:28 PM PDT
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  3. Martel Member

    I suspect that lots of current undecideds who strongly dislike Trump will come to a similar conclusion.

    A Trump win may not be a “victory for conservatism”, but I can’t fathom how a Hillary win could be anything but a loss.

    • #3
    • October 27, 2016, at 4:35 PM PDT
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  4. TG Thatcher
    TG

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, AP.

    • #4
    • October 27, 2016, at 4:55 PM PDT
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  5. Front Seat Cat Member

    I’m with you 100% – many feel the same way. There is no question in my mind that Hillary Clinton will ruin our country – in ways we cannot imagine – I’m so angry today – by what I read on Ricochet – people that can’t get basic healthcare who are in pain, doctors leaving, carriers bailing, the dishonesty and corruption that has become the norm, not the exception on both sides – the cover ups, how much has changed since 2008 – chopping heads off and torturing Christians, the sanctioning of all this transgender stuff in grade schools, silencing freedom of speech and religion, attacks on police, major industries leaving our country, the heroin epidemic, Common Core and the dumming down of our kids, lies from the media, not taking care of our vets, the rise of anti-Semitism, I could keep going – but I am appalled and angry. You are doing the right thing – the Clintons will make Obama look like a saint.

    • #5
    • October 27, 2016, at 5:19 PM PDT
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  6. A-Squared Inactive

    Everyone has to make their own decision.

    In two weeks, I hope we all understand that and stop blaming other people for the outcome and start discussing how we rebuild this country (assuming anyone still wants to).

    • #6
    • October 27, 2016, at 5:45 PM PDT
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  7. TKC1101 Inactive

    Thank you for your vote. In a critical time you stood by America.

    • #7
    • October 27, 2016, at 6:30 PM PDT
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  8. Quake Voter Inactive

    Well thought out and well written. Bend a bit is a big problem for the GOP … as regards fellow Republicans. Re Democrats they are slinkies at times. If the GOP won’t do anything to slow waves of low skill immigration, design middle and upper middle class immigration to promote job creation rather than job substitution, and protect religious Americans from the Justice Department harpies over the next few years, the GOP will be as relevant as the Lib Dems in the UK.

    Trump’s chances are not vanishing. Even 538 gives him a 15% shot. So the same chance as Stephen Curry hitting an uncontested jumper from 45 feet.

    Think Trump would have taken those odds one week from election day when he came down the escalator 16 months ago?

    What a travesty.

    • #8
    • October 27, 2016, at 7:15 PM PDT
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  9. Publius Inactive

    Arizona Patriot: Would my vote for Trump send the message that I enthusiastically support him? That I give him my lukewarm support, as I gave to Romney and McCain? That I greatly disapprove of him but find Clinton to be even worse?

    It’s an awful choice that a lot of folks have to make. Some people just run the math differently and decided that the election ultimately boils down to a choice between two awful options. You’ve decided that one option is less awful than the other option and will vote accordingly. That’s absolutely reasonable and defensible even if some of us who refuse to vote for Trump or Clinton have come to a different conclusion.

    So, no, just speaking as a singular person who won’t vote for either of these wretched candidates, I understand your reasoning and I don’t think for a second that your vote for Trump means that you support him enthusiastically. You had to make a decision and you played the cards you were dealt by the primary voters as best you could. There’s nothing unreasonable about your decision.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2016, at 7:30 PM PDT
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  10. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    Arizona Patriot: As I see it, the most effective way that I can bridge that gap is if I can say, to our pro-Trump friends, that despite major reservations and disagreements, I ultimately decided to vote for the guy. They gave me a choice that I found very unpleasant, and I went along for the sake of team unity.

    That reminds me of my rationale for voting Stein – which it’s increasingly likely I’ll do:

    I will do something I find personally revolting in pursuit of helping my side – in this case by adding to apparent disunity on the other side.

    • #10
    • October 27, 2016, at 8:00 PM PDT
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  11. dnewlander Member

    +1

    I live in the next state east of you, where a vote for Gary Johnson might (MIGHT) make a difference by possibly (non-zero, but not much higher, chance) throwing this horror-show of an election to the House.

    I’m still wavering. I have a week and a half until I have to choose.

    • #11
    • October 27, 2016, at 8:57 PM PDT
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  12. Western Chauvinist Member

    Arizona Patriot: This means that we need to keep together an effective electoral coalition. To be effective, that coalition has to include both the enthusiastic Trumpers and the NeverTrumpers. We simply must bridge this gap.

    I take a more tragic view of this election and am voting for Trump anyway. I think the Republican party is finished. The ruling class (versus Codevilla’s country class) started by alienating the Tea Partiers and finished by alienating Trumpers and Trump voters.

    If (when) Trump loses, I’m re-registering as an Independent. I stopped donating to the RNC many years ago and directed my money to individual candidates. I haven’t even done that this year. My disgust with the ineptitude of the Republican party was reflected accurately in VDH’s words and tone in the recent flagship podcast, which tells me I’m not alone.

    For many of us Trump voters, this election was never about what we’re for (dignity of human life from conception to natural death, sane immigration policy, confident restraint in foreign policy, free but fair trade policy, deregulation, tax simplification, power devolved to the states, …); it’s always been about what we’re against — everything Hillary Clinton (and the Left) stands for.

    I don’t know how we could possibly rebuild the coalition after first deriding our own voters and then handing the Left the means of our utter destruction. Seems like wishful thinking to me, but I’d be happy to be wrong.

    • #12
    • October 27, 2016, at 9:30 PM PDT
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  13. dnewlander Member

    Western Chauvinist: For many of us Trump voters, this election was never about what we’re for (dignity of human life from conception to natural death, sane immigration policy, confident restraint in foreign policy, free but fair trade policy, deregulation, tax simplification, power devolved to the states, …); it’s always been about what we’re against — everything Hillary Clinton (and the Left) stands for.

    I agree, and that’s what all the Never-Trumpers in the media (and here) miss. Yes, Trump is an [CoC]. We get that, in spades.

    But like the Cold Warriors understood, he’s our [CoC]. Hillary’s on the other side.

    • #13
    • October 27, 2016, at 9:41 PM PDT
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  14. Profile Photo Member

    just speaking as a singular person who won’t vote for either of these wretched candidates, I understand your reasoning.

    I simply don’t understand this. You choose not to vote for the nominee of the party. You may not like him. I can barely stand to watch him but the one vote I regret was my vote for Johnson because I thought Goldwater was a lousy candidate. I didn’t disagree with his philosophy. I just thought he was inept.

    • #14
    • October 27, 2016, at 10:14 PM PDT
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  15. Israel P. Inactive

    It’s all in your second reason. Everything else is extraneous.

    • #15
    • October 27, 2016, at 10:16 PM PDT
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  16. Brian McMenomy Inactive

    As a NeverTrumper, I appreciate both your reasoning and the spirit with which you offered your thoughts. No matter how the election turns out, we have to reunite the conservative movement. No good will come from vitriol and recriminations, on either side.

    Ben Shapiro has a good piece in NR that fleshes this out more fully:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441479/donald-trump-voters-never-trump-republicans-conservatives-divide-2016

    Essentially, it comes down to not ascribing nefarious motives to those on the other side of the Trump divide.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, AP.

    • #16
    • October 27, 2016, at 11:47 PM PDT
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  17. Publius Inactive

    dnewlander: But like the Cold Warriors understood, he’s our [CoC]. Hillary’s on the other side

    He’s not my anything and never will be. Not only do I find him manifestly unqualified for the office, I have profound differences with him on domestic and foreign policy.

    • #17
    • October 27, 2016, at 11:58 PM PDT
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  18. HeavyWater Inactive

    I understand that you have made a very difficult decision. For most of us, voting Republican is like breathing. It doesn’t require thought or effort. But this year it’s different. A plurality of Republican primary voters preferred a Left wing New York Democrat who supports socialized medicine and donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as the Republican alternative to Hillary Clinton.

    While I appreciate the reasoning you provided to us, I have decided to withhold my vote from Trump as a way of sending a message to the Republican party. The message is: Do not nominate people for president who have only recently become members of the Republican party. Do not nominate people who still hold the views of Left wing Democrats. In the words of Jonah Goldberg, don’t give me a crap sandwich and tell me it will taste good because it’s on whole grain bread.

    Republicans need to learn that the talk radio mentality might be good entertainment, but it doesn’t win elections.

    • #18
    • October 28, 2016, at 1:53 AM PDT
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  19. Viator Member

    Closed primary races mean enthusiastic candidates draw registration to their party.

    Arizona is case in point with a closed primary and an R+5 registration advantage. And turnout in the primary races was 409k voted Democrat (turnout 40%), 531k voted Republican (turnout 45%) – a significant enthusiasm gap on top of a 170k (5%) voter registration deficit.

    When pollsters don’t use an representative sample of state party registration, the cornerstone of their polling is fundamentally flawed. This is what the MSM media polls continue to do with Arizona.

    • #19
    • October 28, 2016, at 4:30 AM PDT
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  20. Wolverine Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist:

    I take a more tragic view of this election and am voting for Trump anyway. I think the Republican party is finished. The ruling class (versus Codevilla’s country class) started by alienating the Tea Partiers and finished by alienating Trumpers and Trump voters.

    If (when) Trump loses, I’m re-registering as an Independent. I stopped donating to the RNC many years ago and directed my money to individual candidates. I haven’t even done that this year. My disgust with the ineptitude of the Republican party was reflected accurately in VDH’s words and tone in the recent flagship podcast, which tells me I’m not alone.

    For many of us Trump voters, this election was never about what we’re for (dignity of human life from conception to natural death, sane immigration policy, confident restraint in foreign policy, free but fair trade policy, deregulation, tax simplification, power devolved to the states, …); it’s always been about what we’re against — everything Hillary Clinton (and the Left) stands for.

    I don’t know how we could possibly rebuild the coalition after first deriding our own voters and then handing the Left the means of our utter destruction. Seems like wishful thinking to me, but I’d be happy to be wrong.

    Western Chauvinist, you summed up my beliefs beautifully. Well-said.

    • #20
    • October 28, 2016, at 4:36 AM PDT
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  21. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Wolverine:

    Western Chauvinist, you summed up my beliefs beautifully. Well-said.

    Isn’t @westernchauvinist a Ricochet Treasure ™?

    • #21
    • October 28, 2016, at 4:40 AM PDT
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  22. A-Squared Inactive

    Spiral9399: Do not nominate people who still hold the views of Left wing Democrats.

    I think we have to accept that the Republican Party is a big government central-planning party.

    That is the party’s choice. It is their party, they can nominate whomever they want.

    After the election, the party has to decide if it wants to continue down the Trump central-planning path or try to become the party of small government again.

    My sense is, it is small government classical liberals that will be the ones hoping to form a new party in December (because the country needs one small government party – especially since the so-called Libertarian Party doesn’t qualify as one.)

    • #22
    • October 28, 2016, at 4:50 AM PDT
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  23. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Brian McMenomy:As a NeverTrumper, I appreciate both your reasoning and the spirit with which you offered your thoughts. No matter how the election turns out, we have to reunite the conservative movement. No good will come from vitriol and recriminations, on either side.

    Ben Shapiro has a good piece in NR that fleshes this out more fully:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441479/donald-trump-voters-never-trump-republicans-conservatives-divide-2016

    Essentially, it comes down to not ascribing nefarious motives to those on the other side of the Trump divide.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, AP.

    This is just Shapiro trying to recover for his breaking of faith with the GOP.

    • #23
    • October 28, 2016, at 5:27 AM PDT
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  24. A-Squared Inactive

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

     

    This is just Shapiro trying to recover for his breaking of faith with the GOP.

    To paraphrase many former Democrats, I didn’t leave the GOP, the GOP left me.

    • #24
    • October 28, 2016, at 5:29 AM PDT
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  25. Rick Harlan Inactive

    Fake John/Jane Galt:This is just Shapiro trying to recover for his breaking of faith with the GOP.

    The GOP is not the Church and Trump is not God, so it makes no sense to “break faith” with either. Leaving the GOP is like more a farmer growing soy beans after boll weevils ruin his cotton crop. He’s still keeping to his original calling, but my different means when the old ways prove futile.

    • #25
    • October 28, 2016, at 6:40 AM PDT
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  26. EDISONPARKS Member

    I’m NeverHillary…although my Chicago based Presidential would only be symbolic for any (R).

    Having established my position, as much as I concur the NeverTrump position is completely reasonable(There are times I consider voting for Evan McMullin or leaving it blank when I listen to many of my favorite POD casters) I find it off putting when NeverTrumps actively campaign/make the public case against Trump.

    It seems as if those efforts can more effectively be made making the same case, although for different reasons, (ie: this person is truly unworthy of the Presidency) against a Hillary Clinton Presidency and leave the the very compelling case against Donald Trump unremarked upon.

    Hillary is worse than Trump.

    • #26
    • October 28, 2016, at 6:50 AM PDT
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  27. A-Squared Inactive

    EDISONPARKS: It seems as if those efforts can more effectively be made making the same case, although for different reasons, (ie: this person is truly unworthy of the Presidency) against a Hillary Clinton Presidency

    There is very little disagreement on whether Clinton is unworthy of the Presidency, the only debate is whether Trump is unworthy of the Presidency. There are a couple of threads dedicated to discussing how bad Clinton is (example), and they got very few comments because everyone agreed.

    It simply doesn’t make sense to keep repeating the things we agree on to avoid discussing the things we disagree on. It’s not like there are a lot of undecided voters plumbing the depths of Ricochet to decide how to vote and finding only discussions of Trump and therefore deciding that the people of Ricochet must be supporting Clinton.

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    • October 28, 2016, at 6:56 AM PDT
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  28. Front Seat Cat Member

    dnewlander:+1

    I live in the next state east of you, where a vote for Gary Johnson might (MIGHT) make a difference by possibly (non-zero, but not much higher, chance) throwing this horror-show of an election to the House.

    I’m still wavering. I have a week and a half until I have to choose.

    How would it make a difference? A vote for one of the other candidates, while I understand it, puts a notch in Hillary’s column.

    • #28
    • October 28, 2016, at 7:11 AM PDT
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  29. Jager Member

    Spiral9399: While I appreciate the reasoning you provided to us, I have decided to withhold my vote from Trump as a way of sending a message to the Republican party. The message is: Do not nominate people for president who have only recently become members of the Republican party.

    I did not vote for Trump in the Primary. The RNC did not select Trump. Trump played by the rules and won. During the Primaries there was constant talk that Trump was winning states by winning pluralities not majorities. Trump was winning by getting 40% of the votes.

    I get that maybe you can send a message to Trump’s original voters. The message you are sending the Republican Party seems a little more muddled. It is easily confused with asking the Party to ignore it’s own primary rules to insure that you approve of the outcome.

    • #29
    • October 28, 2016, at 7:36 AM PDT
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  30. EDISONPARKS Member

    A-Squared:

    EDISONPARKS: It seems as if those efforts can more effectively be made making the same case, although for different reasons, (ie: this person is truly unworthy of the Presidency) against a Hillary Clinton Presidency

    There is very little disagreement on whether Clinton is unworthy of the Presidency, the only debate is whether Trump is unworthy of the Presidency. There are a couple of threads dedicated to discussing how bad Clinton is (example), and they got very few comments because everyone agreed.

    It simply doesn’t make sense to keep repeating the things we agree on to avoid discussing the things we disagree on. It’s not like there are a lot of undecided voters plumbing the depths of Ricochet to decide how to vote and finding only discussions of Trump and therefore deciding that the people of Ricochet must be supporting Clinton.

    As the author points out there is little disagreement that Trump is “a deeply flawed candidate” which I take(and agree) as a essentially a euphemism for “unworthy of the Presidency”.

    I agree that within Ricochet comment board no undecideds will be swayed, and the comments are more numerous, contentious, and interesting when there is serious disagreement. However, I’m not talking about the Ricochetee commenting among ourselves. I’m talking about NeverTrump commentators making the NeverTrump case publicly either verbally or in print.

    The debate should be which candidate is more unworthy: Trump or Clinton.

    The a publicly announced and argued NeverTrump position implies between two unworthy candidates you, at the very least, hold no position on a Hillary Clinton Presidency, (given third party candidates have no chance of winning).

    • #30
    • October 28, 2016, at 7:45 AM PDT
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