In part one, I explained why the conservative movement isn’t dependent upon controlling the presidency or the Supreme Court. If one understands how our system of checks and balances works, and is also a student of history, one realizes that the current situation we find ourselves in as a nation isn’t very different than some of the worst times in our past. We’ve had presidents who were incompetent and presidents who were very liberal (I guess I’m being redundant there), but we survived them all. In fact it’s often taken the election of a clueless president like Carter to wake us up as a nation and make us aware of the fact that liberal policies and big gov’t always make things worse for us, not better.
While the Supreme Court and the power of the executive branch in general must be taken into consideration, it’s just as important to look at the personal characteristics of each candidate running for president. In the end, as important as these other issues are, they become irrelevant if the person we elect as president is unfit to serve that office. So on that note, in this second part of my explanation of why I’m #NeverTrump, I will lay out all the personal qualities and traits that I think are crucial to look for when picking a president.
The most important factors I take into account when voting for President
To those who accuse us #NeverTrump conservatives of hypocrisy because we voted for Romney my response is simple:
It’s not about purity, at least not primarily. If Romney ran in 2016 and won the primaries instead of Trump, and even adopted most of the policies Trump claims to support, I would’ve voted for him over Hillary in a heartbeat. I don’t have allegiance to any party or any politician. And though principles are very important, even they take a backseat to the most fundamental personal characteristics that I believe a potential president must have in order to carry out his tasks while in office.
There are four personal qualities that I take into account that are more important than policy when determining who I vote for, which are the following in order of importance:
For me this is the most important quality I look for in a president. It’s what I call a limiting factor. Without it, nothing else matters. When Trumpsters make the argument about the Supreme Court, or about Hillary being so horrible and thus worse than Trump, I would ask them if they would say the same thing if we picked a homeless drug addict off the street and asked him to run the country. Would you trust him to make the right decisions, and would you vote for him just because he isn’t Hillary? No sane person would, because at some point competence matters.
To me, this factor makes it simple. He’s just not smart enough to be president. But even worse than that, he’s too egotistical to admit when he doesn’t know something, or allow others to help him make important decisions. Liberals always said George W. Bush was too dumb to be president, but they also said Cheney was running the country behind the scenes. Of course this wasn’t true, but it was true that Bush allowed Cheney to make important decisions, and he listened to his advice. Bush was humble enough to realize people knew more about certain things than he did.
Trump wouldn’t be like that. How do we know? Just look at the way he’s run his campaign. The vast majority of the time he hasn’t listened to the advice either of people outside the campaign or inside it, often to his detriment. Furthermore, most of the people he’s hired have been utterly incompetent and have made many mistakes that only amateurs would make. There’s no reason to think he would hire people who are more competent as President because he values loyalty over expertise and knowledge. In fact he’s even admitted that he’s always surrounded himself with “less successful” people because it makes him look better, and no doubt because his ego can’t handle being around people who are smarter and more accomplished than he is.
Electing Trump would be like electing a hormonal fourteen year old boy to the presidency. At that point, all of the arguments about the Supreme Court, how horrible Hillary is, etc, become irrelevant because the fourteen year old boy isn’t fit to be president. You could even find the most conservative teenage boy in the country, who would promise that he’d nominate conservative justices to the court, and it still wouldn’t matter, because the kid just isn’t qualified to be president. A president does a lot more than just nominate Supreme Court justices. He’s required to make crucial decisions, some of which can have ripple effects for decades. That’s why we don’t and can’t entrust that power to just anyone who comes along and claims to be a conservative or a Republican.
The fact that I wouldn’t vote for a hormonal teenager doesn’t mean I think Hillary would be a good president or that it’s ok that we would lose the court. It just means we don’t have any good options this time around, and one isn’t any better than the other.
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Trump has demonstrated that he has one skill and one skill only, which is the ability to market himself and tell people what they wanna hear. Beyond that, he’s proven himself to be utterly incompetent in every area of knowledge. Trump has known only one thing his entire life- real estate, and even there he only succeeded because he inherited a real estate empire and all its value and influence from his father. Yet even with that huge advantage he proved his incompetence. An analysis of his financial decisions over the years shows he would’ve made more money by simply leaving his money in the stock market instead of making the decisions he made. His companies also went bankrupt four times. Have you ever heard of a “successful businessman” going bankrupt four times? Maybe they might have once, but then they learn from their mistakes. Trump didn’t. That once again proves his incompetence.
He has proven over and over again that he doesn’t know the issues, but even more so than that, he doesn’t know how to make tough decisions, manage people, and manage an organization. Look at all the mistakes he’s made just within his own campaign and all the infighting that’s been going on from day one. Now imagine him being in charge of the federal gov’t and it’s vast bureaucracy. The thought should send chills down your spine. Needless to say, none of this means Hillary would be a good president, because her entire history of public service indicates she wouldn’t be. But just cause she’d be a terrible president, doesn’t mean I have to vote for a guy who’d be equally bad, just in his own way.
I’ll give him credit for one thing, which is that as I said, he’s a good marketer. He knows how to create a brand and sell it. He has instincts for knowing what people wanna hear and giving them what they want. But last time I checked we weren’t voting for Marketer-in-Chief. His only skill is completely irrelevant to the debate about whether he has the experience and qualifications to be president. Outside of real estate, every single attempt he’s made to create a successful business has failed. If that doesn’t prove his incompetence, I don’t know what does.
Marco Rubio recently said it’s ok that Trump is wrong on foreign policy and a few other issues because he could learn on the job. Really? Conservatives have been saying for the past seven years that Obama had no experience and has been learning on the job from day one, and that we can’t afford to elect another president who isn’t prepared and ready to make things work on day one. Trump is the Republican version of Obama in that regard, and even politicians who support him like Rubio can’t deny it.
Trump has the thinnest skin I’ve ever seen from a politician, and that’s saying a lot since they generally have thin skin to begin with. In fact a fellow #NeverTrumper, Tom Nichols, coined the name Tweety McThinSkin to describe him, which I’ll be using in the future.
Trump has a horrible temper that’s triggered by even the slightest criticism, lack of praise, or failure, and he seems completely incapable of thinking about anyone but himself for even a second. He can’t handle stress or pressure at all, as we saw when he was attacked during the debates and had a total meltdown several times, and that’s nothing compared to the pressures he’d be under as president.
As I’m writing this, I’m watching the drama of his fight with the Khan family unfold. He can’t let criticism from a Gold Star father go without feeling the need to attack him back. Again, just take that personality trait and put it in the White House and imagine the ramifications of that. Any world leader who didn’t praise him or said anything that Trump even perceived as a slight would cause the dissolving of trust and alliances between us and many of our allies around the world. The world would be much more unstable as a result, and without a united front to push back against them, countries like Russia, China, and Iran would gain even more influence, and the fight against ISIS and other bad actors would grind to a halt.
The problem of his temperament would affect every area of gov’t and every decision he made. It would make it nearly impossible for him to hire competent people in his administration, and even harder to trust and work with them to create and implement policies, and then to enforce them. It would create chaos in our gov’t, which is the last thing we need at a time when there’d be instability and chaos around the world and here at home.
Trump doesn’t have the moral compass required to deal with the adversity that comes from trying to carry out any agenda in the White House, and this will create divisions both within the GOP and between him and Congress. Trumpsters like to remind us that we aren’t electing a pastor as president, but that’s a straw man argument because conservatives have never claimed that’s what we want. Character matters because the President represents our country, both to our people and to the world. That representation carries with it a lot of influence. In fact that was the point many conservatives made when they were denouncing Bill Clinton for his behavior in the White House. Now those same conservatives are saying character is completely irrelevant. So were they lying then, or now?
I don’t put character first because I realize we won’t always be able to choose a candidate of high character and morals. And as I’ve said, if a candidate doesn’t pass the test on the previous two factors I mentioned, it makes character irrelevant. That being said, we still want a president who we can defend when our country is attacked, either literally or figuratively, and who we can point to when we’re trying to show our children what a good and decent American looks like. Trump clearly isn’t that man, and if he were president, parents around the country would have to spend a lot of time explaining to their kids why they should ignore what he said or did on any given day, and why they shouldn’t be like him.
Furthermore, conservatives would be stained with the moral rot of a Trump presidency for years to come. Anyone who supports him, or even fails to denounce him, will always be called out by liberals, and it’ll be impossible to escape that association because it’s impossible to forget a man like Trump.
For criticizing Trump on his character, Trumpsters often say we’re moralizing or being “holier than thou”. That’s simply not true. We just have certain standards that we require of someone seeking the highest office in the land, standards Trump doesn’t meet. If you’re one of those people who still thinks Trump isn’t a bad guy, he’s just “politically incorrect”, you haven’t done your homework. There are countless examples of how he’s abused and mistreated anyone he crosses paths with who gets in the way of his goals and ambitions, but here are the most egregious examples:
- In a feud with his nephew over his father’s will, Trump cut off medical care to his nephew’s infant son, which he had previously agreed to help pay. When asked about this childish behavior, Trump said, “I was angry because they sued”. If you tell me about a man who is willing to cut off medical care to a sick baby, I’ll tell you that man has serious anger issues and lacks empathy.
- Trump got five, yes five draft deferments, despite being in perfect health during the time he applied for them. This decision to dodge the draft reveals how he has a personality that combines dishonesty with cowardice. It also makes him a total hypocrite, because he attacked John McCain for being captured as a POW, but he himself was so afraid of fighting that same enemy he had to come up with a laughable excuse. He claimed he had “bone spurs” in his feet, but if that was true, how come he didn’t mention the condition in his previous four deferments? Plus, even if he did have such a condition, the vast majority of the time it isn’t a serious medical condition. The fact that he was an elite athlete in the years leading up to his deferments shows that it in no way impeded him from being physically active. In other words, it was a flat out lie.
- Last but not least, maybe the clearest evidence that Trump is an extreme narcissist who will try to crush anyone who gets in his way is his treatment of the people of Scotland at his golf course there. For some reason he had the desire to build a golf course in an area that already was home to some Scots who had lived on that land for centuries. Trump offered them money to pack up and leave the land of their birth. They refused. How did Trump respond? He ordered his workers to build the golf course anyway, around their property. In the process he cut off the water supply to an 86 year old woman, along with cutting down her electric lines and fences, and never paying her back for the damage. His people did the same to another man living nearby, but this man stood up to Trump, and was rewarded by being honored as the Scotsman of the Year. In fact, a documentary was made on this entire drama, and I urge everyone reading this to watch it. It details how horribly Trump treated these innocent people, whose crime was nothing more than owning property near his golf course.
I could write an entire diary on this topic alone, but by now I think anyone who’s been paying attention knows exactly what kind of man Trump is, and they either approve of him or they don’t.
The first three factors can be combined into this one final factor. A man with no moral compass, a hair-trigger temper, and narcissistic traits, and who is extremely incompetent simply can’t be trusted with the vast powers of the presidency. To be honest I wouldn’t trust Trump to run a lemonade stand for me. He’d probably steal the kids’ money and use it to buy himself some lemonade from another kid.
I can’t and won’t trust such a man to stay true to his word on anything, whether that be implementing conservative policies, or nominating conservative Supreme Court justices. He has a lifetime of deception and self-serving behavior to prove this, and he’s not about to change at age 70.
Consider how often he lies. An analysis of Trump’s statements showed that out of all the ones that have been fact-checked, 78% were “mostly false” or total lies. He even lies more than Hillary on the campaign trail, and that’s really hard to do. If that isn’t convincing enough, when you combine the lies with how many times he’s flip flopped on major issues, it makes it pretty clear he’s not a man of his word. He isn’t gonna magically transform into an honest and trustworthy man if he ever gets elected, which means nothing he says right now about how he’d govern, or who he’d nominate to the Supreme Court, has any meaning. The same can be said of Hillary Clinton. That’s why both are unacceptable as candidates for president.
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As I hope I’ve made clear, these intangible factors are more important than policy because conservative policies mean nothing if we don’t have a president who has the qualities necessary to implement them without creating widespread chaos and confusion.
After this election is over, we’re gonna need to come together and rebuild the conservative movement from the ground up. So it would behoove all of us to treat each other with respect and dignity, and aim our fire on the true enemies of conservatism, which are the extreme left and the extreme right, the progressives and the nationalist populists.
We must have the proper perspective about all of this and keep our eyes on the bigger picture. Shouldn’t we have realized by now that true conservatives on both sides of this debate agree on probably 90% of the issues, and yet the only reason we’re so divided is because of just one man? Donald Trump is the reason we’re fighting among each other, and yet it seems like we come from different worlds.
To me this just proves how divisive a candidate Trump is, and is a big reason why I’ve been #NeverTrump from day one. Lincoln said a house divided against itself cannot stand. Trump is creating bright red battle lines between conservatives, and between people all over the country. I believe as President he would only increase this division, to the point where it would cause great damage to the conservative movement and the country. We had disagreements before, but never to this degree.
We’ve just had seven years of a divider, I don’t wanna watch us suffer through another four or eight with Trump. Hillary would probably be no better in my humble opinion, which is why I won’t be voting for president for the first time in my lifetime. If your conscience tells you you should vote for Trump to save the country from Hillary, then that’s your right to do so, and for those conservatives who sincerely believe that’s the right decision, I respect them. But I hope this diary at least helps you understand why those of us who won’t do so have made that choice.
The fate of our country is in our hands more so than it will ever be in the hands of a President Trump or a President Clinton, and if we take that responsibility seriously as citizens and patriots, then we can look beyond this election and see the good that might await us in the future. We simply have to take a look inside, see what we can do to improve ourselves, and then do what we can to build up our families and communities. By doing so, we’ll restore the culture, traditions, and values that served as the foundation of America and made this country great long before an egotistical narcissist came along and claimed he could do it for us.