Count me among those who agree with Leon Wolf: I won’t vote for Donald Trump. Leon spells out good reasons in his piece here, but let me add my rationale: We’ve seen no indication that Donald Trump, if elected president, would be any better than a Hillary Clinton in choosing Supreme Court nominees, executing a foreign policy that keeps us safe while not recklessly using our military, or constructing a domestic fiscal policy that wouldn’t continue the crony capitalism of which he’s been a prime beneficiary. Voting for Trump is a vote for another version of Hillary, in my opinion. If he and she are the candidates, it’s a lose-lose proposition for voters like me.
To the Newt Gingriches, Sean Hannitys and other conservatives who whine about the possibility of Trump being shunned, I ask this: Were you not called on in math class enough to understand that 63 percent is greater than 37 percent? So far, Trump has only received 37 percent of the GOP vote. And we’re supposed to rally around this guy because…? I’m not even mentioning the polls that show Trump is viewed highly unfavorably by women. Trump, despite his rhetoric, is a loser. If the GOP field weren’t so fractured, that would be starkly obvious. He’s lost to “Not Trump” in every single primary or caucus so far.
If this trend continues going in to the convention in July, then here’s the speech the Not Trump leaders have to give. Here are the arguments they have to make:
Don’t be fooled by the man behind the curtain. The so-called front runner is only the front-runner of a very small army. (As small as his hands, some might say.) An overwhelming majority of Republican primary and caucus voters chose the Not Trump option. More than 60 percent. Are we to ignore what this majority says? Are we to turn our back on not just a majority but a super majority of GOP voters? Are we to say “your vote doesn’t count because Donald Trump got 30-some percent?”
The voters in the primaries and caucuses were sending us a clear message that we simply cannot ignore: They do not want Donald Trump to be the nominee for president of this party, the party that gave the country Abraham Lincoln, the party that gave the country Ronald Reagan. Republican voters have said no, time and time again, in every single primary and caucus, to a flimflam man who uses a so-called victory speech to do a QVC ad for products that aren’t even his. To a man who faces lawsuits over his D-rated Trump University. A man who’s chosen enhancing his rich bottom line over American workers time and time again — in bankruptcy cases, in the hiring of foreign workers, in the use of eminent domain laws to kick out everyday Americans so he can grab their land.
The Republican voters have said no to a clown who insults women, disabled, religious minorities and more. They’ve said no, no, no over and over again to a man who until recently didn’t even align himself with this party. They have spoken, and it is our obligation to listen.
There’s a lot of talk about “the establishment” in this election, and how voters are fed up with it and looking for something different. Convention delegates are not the establishment. Delegates are hardworking men and women who aren’t consumed by party politics full-time. They have other jobs. They’re not making millions as campaign consultants for losing candidates. They’re not making millions as talk show hosts with lucrative book deals.
No, the delegates are nurses, teachers, accountants, small businessmen and women, lawyers, doctors, housewives, stay-at-home dads, and every other conceivable worker you can imagine. These are grassroots Republicans, the ones who volunteer for their state and local parties, who help elect mayors and councilmen, state legislators and governors. They are as far from the DC establishment as you can get. Calling them “the establishment” is an insult.
And this non-establishment group of the party is now being called upon to do something great and wonderful — the job they were brought here to do. Not be mere props in a television show fewer and fewer people watch every year. But to actually put their heads together, to listen to what primary voters have said, and to craft an appropriate response. If Republican voters have said they don’t want Trump, then who should our nominee be? Is there a Not Trump candidate we can all rally around, even if he or she didn’t attract a majority of votes due to the fractured field? Is there someone we can be proud to offer to the greater electorate as a representative of our party’s ideals and aspirations who will offer hope, not insults, truth, not sales pitches, real policy ideas, not incomprehensible and unrealistic promises he can’t and has no intention of delivering on?
I, for one, stand ready to back that candidate.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.