A current Trumper meme is: If you don’t support Trump, then you are supporting Hillary. Others have already addressed this concept in the past, but I want to look at it from a different perspective. I’m big on logic, and this post will attempt to show why this position is illogical and shallow, even assuming that Trump and Hillary really were the only two options. I hope that we can educate America, and I’m convinced that the way that starts is first in Religion, and second in Logic. For this post, I want to look at one argument and show how illogical it is.
The argument is very simple: There are two candidates who have a chance to win our presidential contest, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Since there are only two options, if you don’t support Trump, by default, you are supporting Hillary. Therefore, if Hillary wins, it will rest, in part, on those who didn’t vote for Trump.
This is what is known as a deductive argument. If each premise prior to the conclusion is true, then by necessity the conclusion is true. Each premise builds on the premise before, or provides supporting evidence for the conclusion, thus meaning that a sound and proper deductive argument is necessarily logically true. You can have proper deductive arguments that are not sound, thus meaning that they don’t ultimately prove their point. Then there are deductive arguments that are built on flawed arguments, which means that they are false.
This argument is unsound. That is, if it is true that there are only two options, and if it is true that not supporting Trump is the equivalent of supporting Hillary, then if Hillary wins, those who gave her support would be responsible for her win.
To the first premise, is it true that only Trump or Hillary will win the Presidency? This is an inductive argument (if any argument is actually thought out). An inductive argument looks at the evidence and says that the result is implied based on logical principles. In this particular instance, history indicates that more than likely, only Trump or Hillary will win. Thus it is not illogical to hold this position. Perhaps the argument is wrong, but at the same time it isn’t, per se, illogical.
What about the second premise? Here’s where the argument fails. Saying that not supporting Trump is the same as supporting Hillary is only true if the option is truly binary. There is a third option available: supporting neither candidate. A light is either on, or off. I can say if you don’t turn the light on, then you are choosing to leave it off. I can equally say that if you turn the light off, you are choosing for it not to be on. But not all things are equally binary.
What if I told you that if you don’t want to walk though a blistering wall of steam (water heated to boiling), then that must mean that you want to stand barefoot on ice? Water is not necessarily binary. Just because you don’t want to be scalded to death doesn’t mean you want to be frozen. You could prefer to go for a swim in moderately warm water.
In this case, if I say I don’t want to sacrifice my principles by voting for Trump, and I won’t sacrifice my principles by voting for Hillary, then I can choose to support neither.
You can see how easily the argument breaks down by reversing it in this instance. For instance, what if I said instead, if you don’t support Hillary, then you must be supporting Trump. Trump’s supporters wouldn’t accept that as true. They wouldn’t be willing to say that me not voting for Hillary is the same as me voting for Trump. The reason why is because they understand that the only true support for a candidate is an actual vote at the ballot. A non-vote is not the same as a vote.
You are not supporting Hillary if you don’t support Trump. You are only supporting Hillary when you choose to cast a vote for Hillary. If a Trumper throws this at you, you can either try to explain it to them so they understand the illogical position they are taking, or you can simply laugh in their face, because you know it isn’t true.
If Hillary wins then the fault falls on those who put forth Trump. Think about it logically. We told them upfront that he was unacceptable. We told them that he was not a candidate we could support. We told them upfront that we would not vote for him in the general election any more than we would support him as a candidate in the primary. They chose to ignore those warnings. They chose to elect a man whom they were told would not have our support, and then they come back and say, “Now you must support him.”
The Trumper position is illogical. We won’t support Hillary. We won’t support Trump. If Hillary wins, it is because Trump could not earn the support of a majority of the electorate in a sufficient number of states. That fault lies with Trump, and his candidacy lies with those who rejected our warnings. If Hillary wins, I hope Trumpers are willing to wear it with pride, because this is what you voted for. This is the contest you wanted, don’t complain to us when you get what you wanted all along.