When both parties chose their nominees, I made my choice of who I would vote for based on one simple question: who gets the nukes? At the time, I felt that I was possibly being overly dramatic. Sure, Trump was something not really seen in politics, but the threat of nuclear war seemed extreme, even for him.
I’m not sure I can say that anymore.
I’ve started and stopped this post at least a dozen times because I don’t know what I can add to the conversation about this dangerous man. It should be obvious that this man does not deserve our support, but every day I see people who I respect, who I think of as decent human beings, support someone that frequently violates basic human decency.
I grew up in a conservative home, attended a conservative church, and went to a conservative college. I don’t consider myself a conservative anymore, but I have a lot of respect for how I grew up, and for the people that helped raise me. I know that it’s possible to disagree with someone on a fundamental level and still consider them a decent human being.
That’s why I don’t understand the support for Trump. Everything I know about Conservative values, and everything I know about Christian values tells me that this man should not be anywhere near a position of power, let alone one that represents us. I think that’s the approach I need to take here.
I have a host of reasons for why I don’t support Donald Trump, but that’s not what I want to write about. Instead, I want to look at the reasons I’ve heard from conservatives, from Christians, from otherwise decent people why they might hold their nose and vote for someone who is counter to everything they stand for.
This man is not qualified to be President. Period.
On The Supreme Court
For many conservatives, particularly Christians, this is the most common argument I hear for why Trump should be President. Currently, there’s one post being held open by Congress. In the next 4-8 years, additional seats could be available and the President get’s to appoint the nominees.
Donald Trump knows that this is one of his strongest arguments to get hesitant conservatives to elect him, telling them that they have no choice but to vote for him since the Supreme Court is at stake. When Jerry Falwell Jr and his other Evangelical surrogates discuss why they support him, this is often their first and sometimes only reason.
In May, Donald Trump released a list (that he updated in September) of potential nominees for the Supreme Court. This was done to show “proof” that he was going to nominate pro-life conservatives (which most of the names are).
But the list doesn’t include the judges with the most experience arguing the Constitutional law, or those with experience on the high federal appellate courts. This isn’t to say that they are wholly unqualified, but that there are other judges, even other pro-life judges, that are better qualified. So, why did Donald Trump choose these names?
Senator Mike Lee of Utah appears to only be added to the list in an attempt to get him to endorse Trump. The Senator said as much when asked why he thought his name was on the updated candidate list. Mike Lee has since disavowed Donald Trump, calling him unqualified. He said he wouldn’t accept the nomination, but now it’s almost certain he won’t receive it.
Senator Lee’s name is telling. It shows that Trump is selecting people because of what they’ll do for him, and not necessarily those who are best for the job. Two months before he released his list initially, when asked who he’d nominate, Trump said that he would choose Judges who would look at Hillary Clinton’s Emails.
Whatever you think about the Email issue, it is not the primary role of a Supreme Court Justice to take a “hard look” at the issue, nor is it even clear what constitutional argument Donald Trump would make that would put the case before the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he was using his answer to attack his opponent in a political race, making an off the cuff remark about the topic that’s the one issue that he’s saying forces conservatives to vote for him.
President Trump would nominate someone to the Supreme Court who would benefit Donald Trump and his interests. He would pick someone who would rule in his favor should the Trump University case get appealed there, or anything about the Trump Foundation or his other interests. He’s also expressed a desire to change our first amendment, and would look for judges that would help him do this.
If that person happened to be Pro-Life, it’s entirely possible Trump would pick them, but it’s not a guarantee. And more importantly, it’s almost a certainty that they won’t be the best person for that position.
On The Constitution
Another reason I often see to support Trump is that he will strengthen or, among his more optimistic supporters, restore the constitution by protecting the Bill of Rights, something that they say Hillary Clinton, or Democrats in general, are trying to do away with.
Donald Trump is on the record that if elected one of his goals is that he’ll open up the libel laws to make it easier to sue the media. No matter what you think about the political leanings of the Media, this is dangerous and anti-constitutional.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two of the most powerful tools we have to hold the powerful, particularly the government, in check. If you allow someone to sue a paper because what they published was “bad” you silence speech.
The second amendment is also frequently brought up as a reason to support Trump. He is, after all, the candidate that was endorsed by the NRA. But Donald Trump supports banning people on the no-fly list from buying a weapon. You can get on this list without a court order, without due process, and when the Senate Democrats tried forcing a vote on this very law the NRA attacked it as anti-constitutional. This is one of the few times that many who call themselves progressive agreed with the NRA.
In addition to the no-fly list, Donald Trump wants to roll out New York’s version of “Stop and Frisk” nationwide with one of the stated goals of getting guns off the streets. Setting aside the constitutional issues with this policy, many states allow people to open carry, and several allow residents to concealed carry without requiring them to obtain a special permit. How long do you think it will be until legally obtained guns are being confiscated due to this policy?
But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are some links to constitutional conservatives talking about their doubts about him:
- The Anti-Constitutional Authoritarian – National Review
- Donald Trump’s Constitution Of One – National Review
- Is The First Amendment Safe From Donald Trump? – CNN (written by a free speech lawyer)
On Keeping Him In Check
Some conservatives justify voting for Trump because of their believe that, even if his policies are unacceptable, Congress will keep him in check. After all, 1/5 of republican leaders said that they would not vote for Trump, so they would block any crazy ideas he tries to pass, right? Unfortunately, no.
There is no reason to assume this to be true.
Donald Trump ran as a Republican, a party he had very little connection to before. He ran a campaign that ran counter to what the party expected. No one was able to prevent him from doing what he wanted. In fact, his campaign famously ran on the idea that they should “let Trump be Trump.”
Upon receiving the nomination, he continued running a campaign that was counter to Republican interests, no one could stop him. In fact, the GOP officially said that anyone who refused to back him risked consequences for doing so.
Throughout the campaign, and throughout his business Career, Donald Trump has a reputation for doing things his way, no matter what. At every step so far, the Republican party conceded to his demands. Why expect differently if he becomes the most powerful man in the world?
If Trump is elected president, it’s almost certain that the Republicans will control Congress.
It’s true that many congressional leaders have publicly denounced Trump this cycle, but one of the reasons they feel free in doing so is because he is currently trailing so far in the polls that they think the chance of him winning is unlikely. If he does win, it means that he has far more support than they assumed, support that they’ll have to rely on if they depend on re-election.
If they oppose President Trump, at best, they can assume that Donald Trump will tell his followers not to support them for their re-election campaign. Trump’s gone on the record as saying he is willing to use personal money to sponsor attack ads against Republicans who were not “loyal” to him during the primaries.
If Donald Trump is put in power, not only will the Republican Congress have a mandate from their voters to support him, but they have the very real prospect of a president from their party campaigning against them if they show anything less than complete loyalty. They will not prevent his policies from becoming law.
This campaign showed that the Republican party, even those in office, are unable to control Candidate Trump. There is no reason to expect President Trump would behave differently.
The “But Hillary Is Worse” Argument
If you were looking for me to bring up Hillary Clinton, congratulations, you found it. If you scrolled all the way to this section, I ask that you read what I wrote above because I think it’s important. We need to stop judging Donald Trump on a curve because he does not align with Conservative values on a lot of points. I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton here. I want to devote another post to this Hillary, but this is why I don’t think the argument against Clinton works as a reason to support Trump.
To start, I disagree that Hillary Clinton is worse. There are at least a few conservatives who agree with me. But that’s not the argument I want to make. Think about what I mentioned above, with keeping the President in check.
If Hillary Clinton wins, it’s increasingly likely, thanks to Trump’s war with the GOP, that she might have a slim Democratic Majority in Congress. But even if Democrats win the newly toss-up elections caused by Trump’s Campaign, the best they can hope for is a slim advantage.
More importantly, President Clinton wouldn’t have the mandate President Trump would have. Trump is a populist candidate, Hillary Clinton is not. The gains she’s seeing in polls recently are from voters who want to stop Trump more than they want to see her in the White House. Congress will know this and know that if they want to hold their seats, the best path isn’t to act as a rubber stamp for Hillary Clinton.
She’ll have an easier time passing laws with a Democratic Majority, it’s true, but it is by no means a sure thing. It’s also very unlikely that she’ll react in the way Donald Trump would if people oppose her, making it more likely that people will. One last thing to consider: Historically, the party that loses the presidential election has a high chance of retaking congress during mid-terms, which would be 2018.
That might lead to a gridlocked congress, which while not ideal, is far better than one that refuses to question the President.
Dump Donald Trump
The purpose of this argument is not to convince you to vote for Hillary Clinton but to hopefully get yourself to question why you would support a candidate that is against everything I understand Conservatism and Christianity to represent.
He is uncouth, unqualified, and unfit to hold office, let alone ascend to the presidency.