My Rational Case for Conservatives to Vote for Trump

 

trumpDonald Trump was near the bottom of my candidate choices during the primaries. I was among those who thought that his intemperate remarks would spell the end of his campaign, but they did not. That his campaign consisted of a few slogans rather than policies disturbed me. As someone who follows the Kremlin’s perfidy closely, Trump’s offhand praise of Putin was more than disturbing and elicited warnings from me. As a committed small-government conservative, I worry that Trump’s instincts do not mirror my own. In a word, I am an unlikely Trump voter, but come November I will pull the Trump lever without hesitation. I consider my reasons rational and want to share them with Ricochet.

First, there is no doubt that a Clinton regime will nominate Supreme Court justices who meet the demands of her extreme left-wing base. With a Supreme Court dominated by proponents of a living constitution, the protections of the Bill of Rights and the final check on an out-of-control executive will be lost — and lost for decades.

Second, although Trump is a high variance candidate, we know that Hillary Clinton is dishonest, a known liar and, through the email scandal and the Clinton Foundation’s wheeling and dealing, she places personal interests above national interests. If Putin has her emails, we could have a President subject to Kremlin blackmail. Trump may have blemishes in his background, but none compare to Hillary. Were she anyone other than a Clinton, she would be under criminal indictment.

Third, Trump’s foreign policy cannot be worse than Hillary’s failed years as Secretary of State. He has stated clearly that his foreign policy will be dictated by the national interest, not by the Obama-Clinton “citizen of the world” approach.

Fourth, Trump is correct in promising to solve the free-rider problem with America’s allies. If NATO countries are not willing to contribute their fair share to the common transatlantic alliance, they should suffer the consequences. Hopefully, Trump will allow for a designated transition period to give NATO members time to contribute their share.

Fifth, Trump has tapped into mainstream America’s disenchantment with Washington’s domination by special interests. The American people understand our national politics are broken and that both sides of the aisle are complicit. The people understand the problem is not a lack of cooperation but of corruption. A Clinton administration would mean even more of a broken Washington. Trump will have to battle the odds, including many in his own party, to make the basic changes in Washington that the working people of America want.

Sixth, economists of virtually all persuasions, including myself, favor free trade. Thus my initial reaction to Trump’s attack on trade (much of which had the wrong target such as exchange rates) was negative. However, one needs only to read the business-page headlines (such as China’s deplorable treatment of Apple and the banning of American chicken) to see that Trump’s call for fair trade is not without merit. We do perhaps need better negotiators to achieve fair trade, and Trump might actually improve free trade in the end.

Seventh, if a nation does not have control of its borders, it is no longer a nation. Nations must determine who they wish to enter the country for work and eventual citizenship. Most wealthy countries, like the US and those in Europe, need immigrants for their labor force and economic growth, but the choice of whom to admit should be determined by sensible rules, such as admitting very large numbers of highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs. Who gets into the United States should not be determined by unguarded borders, human traffickers, and family relations. America’s high school dropouts understand what Washington does not. Open borders drive down their earnings. We know that Hillary would not pursue a “rational” approach. Trump has promised he will.

Eighth, Trump has street-fighter instincts that the Republicans’ last two presidential candidates lacked. John McCain refused to go after Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers, and Mitt Romney insisted on playing the role of gentleman candidate. The Democrats can only be beaten by a candidate who is able to outpunch them. It is important that Trump’s attacks not be sui generis, but should focus on specific weaknesses, like Hillary’s sullied history and her failure as Secretary of State.

Ninth, Trump has launched an effective campaign against political correctness and has provided the Republican Party with a model for dealing with media bias. Instead of tip-toeing around political correctness and a biased media, Trump has shown how to attack dead on. His success in this area could neutralize the Democratic Party’s ability to control the language and semantics of political campaigns for years to come.

My reservations about Trump include:

First, he has not demonstrated an ability to run a viable general-election campaign. To do so, he must focus on the opposition and not on fellow Republicans.

Second, I do not know the depth of his anti-government, strict constitutionalist convictions.

Third, he must demonstrate that he is willing to do the study and work which is required to be a viable national candidate.

But my Trump reservations are minor relative to the alternative. Rational voters have no choice but to look at the alternative. On this, Trump wins hands down.

This essay reflects the views of the author and is not reflective of the views of the Hoover Institution or the University of Houston.

Members have made 100 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    All but one of those was basically “He’s not Hillary.” It’s a solid reason, but it stands almost wholly alone in persuading conservatives to abandon conservatism to stop the most unconservative candidate in the race. This is where we are, and it is why there’s a whiskey on my desk as I type.

    • #1
    • June 20, 2016 at 7:06 pm
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  2. Profile photo of Al French Member

    The King Prawn:All but one of those was basically “He’s not Hillary.” It’s a solid reason, but it stands almost wholly alone in persuading conservatives to abandon conservatism to stop the most unconservative candidate in the race. This is where we are, and it is why there’s a whiskey on my desk as I type.

    I hope you’re not typing at work. 😉

    • #2
    • June 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm
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  3. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    Al French:

    The King Prawn:All but one of those was basically “He’s not Hillary.” It’s a solid reason, but it stands almost wholly alone in persuading conservatives to abandon conservatism to stop the most unconservative candidate in the race. This is where we are, and it is why there’s a whiskey on my desk as I type.

    I hope you’re not typing at work. 😉

    No computers in the crane cab. We’re safe.

    • #3
    • June 20, 2016 at 7:18 pm
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  4. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Nice article sir. I dislike the man also but the situation became crystal clear to me long ago.

    #clintonbrainMRI

    • #4
    • June 20, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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  5. Profile photo of J. D. Fitzpatrick Member

    I’m not voting for Trump because I won’t vote for the evil I don’t know.

    But this is the best case I’ve seen for voting for him.

    • #5
    • June 20, 2016 at 7:57 pm
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  6. Profile photo of Hoyacon Member

    Really well said, with the inevitable “but” from the peanut gallery. But aren’t you sort of papering over the obvious defects in Trump’s position on trade? I detected that you were conflicted there, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate to excuse Trump’s myopia. IMO, there is simply no appropriate reason in today’s world for tariffs.

    • #6
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:04 pm
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  7. Profile photo of livingthehighlife Inactive

    Paul Gregory: We know that Hillary would not pursue a “rational” approach. Trump has promised he will.

    In early 2013 Trump was heavily criticizing Romney’s immigration plan as too harsh.

    I just don’t trust the man as far as I can throw him. Never have. Couldn’t stand him 20 years ago, can’t stand him now.

    • #7
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:10 pm
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  8. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Hoyacon:Really well said, with the inevitable “but” from the peanut gallery. But aren’t you sort of papering over the obvious defects in Trump’s position on trade? I detected that you were conflicted there, but I don’t think that it’s appropriate to excuse Trump’s myopia. IMO, there is simply no appropriate reason in today’s world for tariffs.

    Anyone reluctantly voting for him knows his defects.

    #dontletFrodofeetwearthering

    • #8
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:13 pm
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  9. Profile photo of EB Thatcher
    EB

    Like Mr. Nordlinger, I’m not swayed by the SCOTUS scarecrow. Trump said his sister would be good, then he had a list of conservatives, then he said he wouldn’t be bound by the list, and it’s probably another story today.

    The US managed to survive Roosevelt’s nine men against America.

    • #9
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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  10. Profile photo of A-Squared Member

    Paul Gregory: To do so, he must focus on the opposition and not on fellow Republicans.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • #10
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:20 pm
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  11. Profile photo of Cato Rand Member

    The King Prawn:All but one of those was basically “He’s not Hillary.” It’s a solid reason, but it stands almost wholly alone in persuading conservatives to abandon conservatism to stop the most unconservative candidate in the race.

    I had that same thought.

    I also had this one: we “do . . . know the depth of his anti-government, strict constitutionalist convictions.”

    He has none.

    Indeed, it’s a strong bet he has less such convictions than she (or her predecessor Obama) does.

    And one more: There is no sign that he’s willing to “do the study and work which is required to” . . . . Fill in your own blank. Whatever you think is important. The statement still will be true. To study would be to acknowledge that somebody else might know something you don’t. That is not Donald Trump. Never has been. Never will be.

    • #11
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm
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  12. Profile photo of BThompson Inactive

    Note:

    Seriously?

    [redacted]

    • #12
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm
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  13. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    BThompson:[redacted]

    Really?

    • #13
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:47 pm
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  14. Profile photo of Big Ern Inactive

    Funny, I read most of this litany as a reason to oust Trump at the convention. None of these truths are enough to put him in a position to win. There is a 3% swing vote in the middle that decides elections. If the man can’t even rally conservatives to his candidacy, he has no hope in the general. None.

    And, quite frankly, that is as it should be. He is not fit for the office.

    • #14
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm
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  15. Profile photo of James Of England Moderator

    DocJay:

    BThompson:[redacted]

    Really?

    Count me as disappointed, too. You’re a smart guy, BThompson, you can emphatically reject an argument with more eloquence and charm than this.

    • #15
    • June 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm
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  16. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    EB:Like Mr. Nordlinger, I’m not swayed by the SCOTUS scarecrow. Trump said his sister would be good, then he had a list of conservatives, then he said he wouldn’t be bound by the list, and it’s probably another story today.

    The US managed to survive Roosevelt’s nine men against America.

    Yes, but those nine men were all pro-America, if misguided. Now we have an anti-America president, and I am afraid that, in order to appease her base, H.R. Clinton would nominate anti-America candidates to the court.

    • #16
    • June 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm
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  17. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Why don’t you you self-redact that one BT, maybe you’re drunk and stupid tonight. I’ll delete this too and my previous comment..

    • #17
    • June 20, 2016 at 9:12 pm
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  18. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    In a word, I am an unlikely Trump voter, but come November I will pull the Trump lever without hesitation.

    … First, there is no doubt that a Clinton regime will nominate Supreme Court justices who meet the demands of her extreme left-wing base.

    … If Putin has her emails, we could have a President subject to Kremlin blackmail. Trump may have blemishes in his background, but none compare to Hillary.

    Your arguments express my own thoughts, especially the above-quoted parts. I can’t understand how the Supreme Court issue doesn’t sway people. She will abolish the 2nd amendment and worse. And the blackmail issue! There is no way he could be worse for the country than Hillary. It’s time to circle the wagons and unite behind him. No more shooting inside the tent.

    • #18
    • June 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm
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  19. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    RightAngles:Your arguments express my own thoughts, especially the above-quoted parts. I can’t understand how the Supreme Court issue doesn’t sway people. She will abolish the 2nd amendment and worse. And the blackmail issue! There is no way he could be worse for the country than Hillary. It’s time to circle the wagons and unite behind him. No more shooting inside the tent.

    That is the thing. With Trump inside the tent I’m no longer in it. So I will shoot from outside the tent all I please. Don’t like it? Tough. Get a better candidate. Can’t? Also tough.

    • #19
    • June 20, 2016 at 9:37 pm
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  20. Profile photo of Painter Jean Member

    If Trump is the face of the Republican party, I am not a Republican. I am, to be more exact, a conservative, and therefore see no compelling reason to vote for a liberal. The best predictor of a person’s future behavior is a person’s past behavior, and there’s no reason, given his past and current statements, to think Trump can be trusted to do anything that I as a conservative would like to see. On top of policy differences, add an utter lack of personal integrity and honesty. Both Hillary and Trump are unfit for the office, so neither will get my vote.

    • #20
    • June 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm
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  21. Profile photo of Mark Darris Coolidge

    Isn’t it odd, depressing, and somehow part of the new feeling that America is really in irreversible decline. That in a nation of 300 million plus (and yes, I know that not all 300 million are at least 35 years old and meet other constitutional requirements for President) the best we could do was friggin’ Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Truly perplexing.

    Anyway, here’s my two cents: Hillary simply would guarantee the destruction of this last great hope on earth. The Democratic party has become dangerous to the health of the freedoms of the West. The Bill of Rights, one of the masterpieces of human thought and moral achievement, is under their constant attack. Ergo, Hillary simply cannot be allowed the keys to power. Period. But Trump? I simply don’t know if voting for him accomplishes anything better. Scorecard: Hillary, he*l no; Trump, don’t know.

    • #21
    • June 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm
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  22. Profile photo of Painter Jean Member

    Scorecard: Hillary, he*l no; Trump, don’t know.

    Actually, I think Hillary might be somewhat better on foreign policy — it would not be much of a change from what we have now, but she might at least pro-NATO, whereas Trump appears to admire tyrants — or at least as long as they say nice things about him — and I can easily imagine Putin marching into the Baltic states without a word from the US, having prepared the ground beforehand by praising Trump.

    Bottom line? Both Hillary and Trump would be disastrous. Character matters, and both are disgusting liars. I see no reason to vote for either of them, and won’t.

    • #22
    • June 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm
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  23. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive

    James Of England:

    DocJay:

    BThompson:[redacted]

    Really?

    Count me as disappointed, too. You’re a smart guy, BThompson, you can emphatically reject an argument with more eloquence and charm than this.

    I disagree James. That is not the case and it has been proven time and again.

    • #23
    • June 21, 2016 at 12:51 am
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  24. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive

    A good article that highlights for me what is the only attraction of Trump. He at least highlights the issues. His policy prescriptions are questionable at best, dangerous at worst, and he is definitely a loose cannon, but he isn’t afraid to listen and bring up hard issues.

    • #24
    • June 21, 2016 at 12:53 am
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  25. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive

    BThompson:[redacted]

    Genuinely curious to see if the editors allow this to stand. If so it will only add to the evidence.

    • #25
    • June 21, 2016 at 12:55 am
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  26. Profile photo of Painter Jean Member

     His policy prescriptions are questionable at best, dangerous at worst, and he is definitely a loose cannon, but he isn’t afraid to listen and bring up hard issues.

    Where’s the evidence that he listens? I would argue that he isn’t interested in listening whatsoever, given his often stupid comments and nutty, conspiracy-themed attacks on people. Did he listen to anyone before launching his weird attack on Cruz’s father, claiming archly that he was somehow a party to the Kennedy assassination? Did he listen to any of his advisors who might have told him that praising Planned Parenthood was not a good strategy? Any advisor worth his salt would have told him to cease and desist, but no, he doesn’t listen, because he has a great brain and so of course he just listens to himself.

    Nor does he bring up “hard issues”, except accidentally. A “hard issue” is the massive federal debt, but he has nothing to say about that. A “hard issue” is federal intrusion into too many areas of our lives, but he doesn’t have anything to say about that. A “hard issue” is Obamacare, but he has nothing to say except that he’ll take care of everybody.

    Illegal immigration is hardly a “hard issue” – Americans would prefer to have immigrants come legally. He has an unworkable plan to deport Mexican illegals only to give them amnesty later.

    This isn’t a man of courage. This is an opportunist.

    • #26
    • June 21, 2016 at 1:25 am
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  27. Profile photo of Could Be Anyone Member

    Painter Jean: -snip-

    The issue with trying to rationalize trump on conservative grounds is that it takes a bit of omission, distraction, and perhaps even some projection. trump is a leftist, we can go through his actions and words through his entire political history and it belies a leftist. So in order to “make” him conservative one has to first omit most of his history then project onto what little is left and then finally distract or divert from that new and still disgusting concoction by pointing at haglary and saying she is even more disgusting.

    That is why trump isn’t very persuasive and cannot be made to look persuasive as a conservative, even when others are doing their best to make him palatable.

    • #27
    • June 21, 2016 at 1:33 am
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  28. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive

    DocJay:Why don’t you you self-redact that one BT, maybe you’re drunk and stupid tonight. I’ll delete this too and my previous comment..

    Not drunk, not stupid, just ops normal.

    The editors will allow the comment to stand prominently on the Main Feed because it is vulgar insult against the author of an article that does not crucify Trump.

    If we are looking for ethics, standards, or consistency Doc, we are shopping the wrong forum.

    • #28
    • June 21, 2016 at 3:19 am
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  29. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    BThompson:[redacted]

    Succinctly put, but how does it forward the conversation or bring others to your views? If this is your idea of intelligent discourse, perhaps you would be happier away from Ricochet where we tend to rehash these topics over and over again? Or maybe you are not here for the politics and stumbled upon this thread inadvertently?

    Perhaps you would like to elucidate on your views?

    Is it that you think Hillary is a better candidate?

    Do you think a third party has a chance?

    Is your direction above for the conversation starter alone? For Ricochet? For the country that gave you such sterling candidates? For the world at large? Really, we would like to hear more…or perhaps three words less.

    • #29
    • June 21, 2016 at 4:05 am
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  30. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    BrentB67: The editors will allow the comment to stand prominently on the Main Feed because it is vulgar insult against the author of an article that does not crucify Trump.

    Well, has anyone flagged it to bring it to the attention of the editors? Or are we all just having fun responding to it and propounding conspiracy theories about how Ricochet runs?

    • #30
    • June 21, 2016 at 4:08 am
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