I was probably the last contributor on RedState who would admit that they would cast a vote for Donald Trump. I’ve written on the subject a couple of times (here | here) and my position has been grounded in a series of assumptions. 1. Trump wants to be president but not to serve as president, therefore, he would probably be more likely to delegate everything to McConnell/Ryan and play a lot of golf than to actually screw things up. 2. Hillary Clinton is a profoundly dangerous and evil person who must be kept from the reins of power. 3. Trump would not run for reelection because it would be a lot like work so he is a four-year problem, not an eight-year problem like Hillary could become. 4. A Trump win will keep the House and Senate in GOP hands where a Trump loss virtually guarantees a bloodbath down ballot.
And to be quite honest, I have an immense amount of sympathy for the impulse of the mass of people that responsible for Trump’s success thus far. Being of Appalachian heritage I am tribal and clannish by nature and these are my people and I acknowledge to God every single day that but for His grace my life would be like theirs. (On Tuesday, over 80% of the GOP ballots cast in the precinct where I worked were for Trump. The remainder were for Chris Christie. Ted Cruz did not get a single vote in a precinct that votes overwhelmingly for Republican and conservative candidates every election.) The attacks on Trump voters have, at times, reached a point where I seriously contemplated resigning from RedState.
But there comes a time when one must reexamine the assumptions underlying one’s beliefs. Over the past week or so I’ve done that. I am now firmly #NeverTrump.
It started, as have a lot of significant things in my life, with a conversation with my wife over lunch. We had both been of the same mind about Trump. Yes, he is an uncouth lout with a mediocre intellect but he doesn’t believe in anything. This makes him less dangerous than a vicious, scheming, partisan kleptocrat. My wife informed me that Trump’s behavior and statements were so degraded that she could never cast a vote for him while voting for down ballot candidates.
In the evaluation that followed, I concluded that some of my assumptions were more likely than not incorrect but the most significant change was in the weight I assigned the factors.
The critical deciding factor was that I no longer believe Trump will be a detached, hands off president. Trump will try to govern by fiat. He will be like a Barack Obama with worse table manners. He has demonstrated that he cannot attract talented people and there is no reason to believe that will change should he be president. His foreign policy speech yesterday convinced me that man is a dangerously uninformed buffoon who is surround by other, equally dangerous, buffoons and fixers. I’m not equating Trump with Hitler, because I think Trump lacks the innate drive and ambition, but I cannot go along with voting for Trump, as the Germans of 1932 did for Hitler, on the grounds that no sane person believes this crap and once he is in power than he will moderate his views. He does believe the crap he says and I have no doubt now that he will use the power of an executive branch run by Corey Lewandowskis, Paul Manaforts, and Roger Stones to carry out an agenda that would, after eight years of Obama, fundamentally change what America is.
I was right about my second assumption. But a Clinton government would at least be composed of people who didn’t make policy while eating bugs and rubbing feces in their hair.
I still hold that my third assumption is true, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is irrelevant. As late as six weeks ago I thought Trump would beat Hillary Clinton when it actually came down to voters in a poll booth (I think public opinion polling is a joke, by the way, and the election cycle has validated my view). Trump would run the kind of erratic and unpredictable campaign that an ill and aging Hillary Clinton could not respond to and Hillary has the same problem as Jeb Bush. When you try to define the enthusiastic Hillary voter, once you eliminate elderly lesbians you are pretty much out of ideas. And I was convinced that most Republicans and many Independents and Sanders supporters would hold their nose and vote for Trump simply to stop Hillary. That has changed. Now I think a sufficient number of Americans have seen enough of Trump that he will be repudiated in a way that will make George McGovern and Walter Mondale look like they ran very close races. His stank will attach itself to the GOP for decades to come making a brand that was showing signs of life utterly radioactive.
I am not yet at the point of voting for Hillary Clinton because I am sure the damage Hillary Clinton will inflict upon the nation will be both terrible and long lasting. But Donald Trump is a terrible candidate. More than that he is a pathetic man and an inadequate human being. I will never, ever, cast a vote for Donald Trump.