As I write this Donald Trump has bagged his ninth of these great fifty states, with more likely to follow before dusk turns to dawn. I’ll admit this doesn’t bother me. I got what I wanted, which was the sight of Marco Rubio’s Presidential campaign streaking across the night sky, flames from its dead engine painting a glowing red line to an imminent drowning place somewhere off the coast of Florida.
Intellectually, I respect Ted Cruz the most. He outperformed his polls, and I am happy to see that – but I’ve always thought him too dislikable to win and the last two months reinforce that. No tears spilled.
At least none of mine. A review of the delegate map suggests that the staffers of his and other campaigns might shed a few. They are still counting ballots but its fair to think that Trump will have 320 delegates in his pocket after tonight. If he gets just 40% (a conservative allocation if past is prologue) of the mid March votes in KS, KY, LA, ID, MS, MI and NC, he will climb to 470. A probable win in Florda on the fifteenth of this month carries him to 550, with likely wins in later March, semi-winner-take-all states of MO, IL, and UT likely to bring him to 700 by the end of the month. At that point one could fantasize about Trump losing a brokered convention after entering with a plurality of delegates, but the party elite is unlikely to commit suicide by denying the choice of the electorate. They certainly wouldn’t do it for someone they loathe like Ted Cruz, and would have difficulty doing it for a third-place also-ran like Rubio.
So, unless Marco immediately drops out (improbable) or the long-predicted disintegration of Teflon Don, absent these last 200+ days, materializes in the next fifteen, Donald Trump will bear our standard against the forces of Hell and Hillary come November.
Of the words I have so far written, the only ones I’ve chosen deliberately are the two just above: “our standard.” Its a funny thing that Donald Trump should find himself in this position when neither grassroots conservatives nor the “establishment” support him, but here we are. The first lesson is that there is no establishment, and is no grassroots. Or rather, neither of these entities is a distinct and coherent whole. If they were, it would be Jeb! versus Cruz. We may have used the word “establishment” to conveniently scapegoat those we see as RINOs, and “grassroots” as a term with which to impart cohesion and purity of purpose onto ourselves, but it appears that the world has again shown that it is more complex than our convenient ways of understanding. So, we Republicans, rich and poor, Wall Street RINO and humble Cruz canvasser alike, are given the collective to choice to accept the one who has made himself ours, or not, with the consequence of that “no” indeterminate.
In days most proximally past, and today, and again tomorrow, prominent conservatives will declare “#NeverTrump” and peer down at those of us prepared to wear his mark with the haughty contempt that comes naturally to those who see themselves as inordinately wise. Trump, they note, was (is?) a Democrat. He cannot be trusted to protect the unborn. His narcissism smacks of a tyrannical nature that endangers the Republic. He hired illegal aliens, betrayed his several wives, is too ill behaved to assume our nation’s highest office and liable to get creamed by Hillary anyway.
I know all of this.
Still, I can’t remember when Heaven decided to favor us with easy choices. While the Ben Sasses of the world don the cloak of indignation, purity and scoff, there are, I hope, more of us quietly wondering the price of those tailored threads might total to. Hopefully you, dear reader, have reached these conclusions yourself. To those who haven’t, friends, I make a few points that I hope you will consider soberly.
- Donald might fail to appoint the best Supreme Court judges, but have you paused for a moment to imagine who Hillary might choose? Donald, at least, will be nominally allied to Senate Republicans who can shape his choice. There are as many as five that Hillary might place on that bench in her functional eight-year term should she be elected. The slaughter of the unborn would *never* abate. With Trump at least there is a gambler’s chance of holding out hope for the future.
- It is true that Donald probably won’t build his wall. But he won’t legalize twenty million new Democrats either (Hillary will. So would Rubio). Have you paused to consider the implication of that? The Right as it stands now would never reverse the tide, and we would accelerate down the autobahn towards European proto socialism with the transmission running in drive.
- Donald hasn’t always identified with GOP economics (free trade, uniformly lower taxes), but on taxes at least, he is worlds more trustworthy than Hillary, and in trade he is right to comment on the documented fact that our “friends” are usually cheating the terms of their treaties with us.
- While the isolationism of Trump’s stated foreign policy suits only part of the modern GOP, his stated objection to additional Mid-East wars seems more promising than handing the world’s greatest military to known Obama-era archbungler, SecState Hillary.
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard this line before. I hear it said every four years – “I won’t hold my nose this time.” My good sirs, you must hold your nose not this time, but every time. There will never be a perfect choice for the conservative movement, because there isn’t a conservative movement (or if there is, it is not what you think – half of it voted for Trump after all). We must have the serenity to change the things we can, and the grace to take the body blows of those things that we cannot, or we die. The notion that one can comfortably ensconce themselves in the righteous choice to wash their hands of politics because only a monster and a narcissist are on offer is a pure idea, an intoxicating one, but the price (see above) of that pure choice is not one that God and country would see paid. The consideration of that price, the knowledge that the ideal is unobtainable, and a humble appreciation of sacrifice creates the knowledge that the puritan choice to reject Trump is not the noble virtue of the strong but the vice, the crutch of those too weak to slay their golden calfs, sacrifice their favored sons and do what they must to survive.
I’m voting for Trump in November. I hope you’ll pull that lever with me. Thank you for reading.