I never liked Donald Trump. Truth be told, I still don’t. That makes me an outlier here at American Greatness. For months on Facebook, my refrain has been, “I’m not gonna vote for the son of a bitch.” When a story would appear that put Trump in a somewhat more favorable light—his unapologetic endorsement of an America-first foreign policy, for example, or his Labor Day speech to the American Legion—I would nod, smile, then dig in and say, “I’m still not gonna vote for the son of a bitch.”
As recently as a week ago, I had planned to abstain from voting for president. It would have been an easy and relatively cost-free choice. I live in California. My vote doesn’t matter anyway.
Of course, my vote doesn’t matter any more today than it did a week ago. But I’m gonna vote for the son of a bitch, in spite of the fact.
What changed my mind? I do not believe Trump is a good man, much less a statesman. If we’re looking to Aristotle for guidance, Trump strikes me more as a “prosperous fool.” Of course, I may be wrong. Decius’s writings helped weaken my resolve, though I may be—if anything—more pessimistic than he is. And even Decius cautions (again and again, to the point that even a blind man couldn’t miss it) that Trump might or might not pave the way necessary to restore constitutional government. Trump is, at best, an imperfect vehicle. There are no guarantees.
I am certain, however, that Hillary Clinton is a criminal. She is not just “wrong within the normal parameters.” She is thoroughly and irredeemably corrupt and has no business in the Oval Office.
It isn’t just the reckless and cavalier way she mishandled national security secrets as Secretary of State with her private, unsecure email server, although that’s bad enough. She almost certainly used her family’s bogus charitable foundation to enrich herself and her family at the expense of the national interest. There was the Russian uranium deal. The $28 million Morocco conference. Favors to the crooked Brothers Chagoury. Do not believe for a moment that she would not continue to do the same as president. For the Clintons, it’s all about the power and the money.
Because I was until recently outspokenly #NeverTrump, I understand why many of my friends would cast their votes for a third party candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson or even the Green Jill Stein (who has said Trump is preferable to Clinton). But I do not understand so-called Republicans casting their lot with Clinton or Evan McMullin, the ex-CIA operator and “independent” conservative candidate nobody heard of before August and barely anyone knows now.
McMullin is nothing more than the candidate of Conservatism Inc. He had the mandate not of 13.3 million primary voters, but precisely four people: Bill Kristol, John Kingston, Joel Searby, and Rick Wilson—political operators all. McMullin is the candidate “for those who thought everything was fine,” except for the Republicans’ “tone.” The GOP is right on the issues, McMullin told Byron York at the Washington Examiner last month. He just happens to think the Republican Party is irretrievably racist.
“We learned lessons after 2012 that we needed to appeal to [minority and younger voters], I don’t think by changing policy as much.” McMullin lists criminal justice reform, anti-poverty programs, and “general government reform” as possible winners. “But it’s a lot about tone.”
In reality, the entire point of McMullin’s campaign is to ensure Hillary Clinton becomes president. He says it’s to stop both Clinton and Trump from getting a majority of the electoral vote, but the practical effect is to clear the way for Hillary. Yet McMullin insists that he is also building a “new conservative movement.”
The most important thing the Republicans need to do, McMullin told York, is “to stand up for what we believe are true conservative principles in this election at a time when no one else is . . . That, at a very basic level, is what we’re doing.”
This is the conservatism of surrender. McMullinism, if it may be so called, is more of the same supine accommodation that got us into this mess in the first place. McMullin has carried a gun and killed in the service of his country. Yet he doesn’t understand that standing up for his “true conservative principles” will surely bring this country to its knees. How many more triumphs of “true conservative principle” can America endure before we’re completely ruined?
But as blinkered as the #NeverTrump position is, what finally pushed me into the S.O.B.’s column was the thoroughly hysterical response to Trump’s “closing argument” from the Left (and some on the “principled” Right).
Watch the ad. It repeats most of the themes Trump has discussed over the past year.
The response from the Left? “Donald Trump’s Closing Ad Has Anti-Semitic Overtones,” reported Huffington Post. (To cite just one example.)
“As Trump says ‘levers of power in Washington, we see footage of George Soros, a billionaire investor and philanthropist (sic). And when Trump says, ‘global special interests,’ Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen appears on screen,” HuffPo bleated.
“Both Soros and Yellen are Jewish.”
That did it. Evidently, criticizing the leftist currency manipulator George Soros is anti-Semitic. That’s the “argument” now. Criticizing the Federal Reserve is anti-Semitic because Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellin is Jewish. That’s the “argument” now.
For more than a year, Trump’s opponents have tried to tar him as a bigot, a racist, and an anti-semite. Among his sins: he “waited too long” and “seemed insincere” when he disavowed former Klansman David Duke’s endorsement. He said: “I disavow. OK?” He didn’t don the sackcloth and ashes. He wouldn’t play the mug’s game.
Enough of this. Snark will not do. Insinuation will not do. Conversation stoppers—“he’s a bigot,” “he’s a fascist”—absolutely will not do. “He’s a fascist” is not an argument. There can be no reasonable response. Over and over, reasonable people plead, “No, he’s not.” What they’re really saying is, “No, I’m not.” But who is listening? We’re called to be charitable. But what good is charity when the other side has made up its mind? The only fitting response is the middle finger. Or the back of the hand.
To defeat Clinton is to rebuke and repudiate a noxious premise. Race relations are arguably far worse today than they were eight year ago. This isn’t an accident or a coincidence. I see nothing particularly noble in my vote for Trump, except the possibility of humbling the people who see millions of their fellow Americans as bigots, racists, and boors.
I say again: she’s a criminal. If Clinton is elected president, she would still be a criminal. By virtue of her stated positions on campaign finance regulation, gun control, and war, it may be only a slight exaggeration to say she would violate her oath of office the very moment she utters it.
I don’t know if Trump can carry off what my friends and colleagues on these pages believe or hope he can.
But I do know what a Clinton victory would mean. “She will be the president of the few, enriched by the even fewer, while the many become poorer in goods and spirit,” Lewis Fein writes at The American Century. My sentiments exactly.
For me, it isn’t a matter of Trump winning. All that matters is she loses.