Will establishment (I prefer traditional) Republicans declare their disgust with Donald Trump by voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election for president?
That's a question flummoxing increasing numbers of Republicans as Trump appears to be ever closer to securing the GOP nomination for president. It has caused Ian Tuttle in the conservative National Review to swallow hard and say that he'd have to vote for Trump
Seven months after announcing his candidacy, and three weeks before the first voters go to the polls, the possibility that Donald Trump could become the presidential nominee of the Republican party is no longer farfetched. For conservatives a crisis of conscience is looming, says Ethics and Public Policy Center fellow Peter Wehner.
“Many Republicans will find themselves in a situation they once thought unimaginable,” writes Wehner in Thursday’s New York Times: “refusing to support the nominee of their party because it is the best thing that they can do for their party and their country.” Wehner is among the troubled Republican his piece describes; the title of his important, carefully considered op-ed is “Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump.”
After laying out all the reasons not to vote for Trump, Tuttle concludes:
But if he is the Republican nominee, I might — with my nose pinched tight and on my lips a miserere nobis (have mercy on me) — still vote for Donald Trump. Because the alternative would be Hillary Clinton, and that could be still worse.
Basically, it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils. Of course, voting for Clinton isn't the only option. You can always withhold your vote in protest, and join the legions of Americans who always say "none of the above" should be on the ballot.
And that's what worries me. As the Republican party becomes ever more defined as home to angry Americans who love the authoritarian Trump I fear that traditional Republicans will boycott the election. Just like those angry conservatives did in previous elections, giving us Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
The question that conservatives might well ask themselves is: Would Hillary Clinton (or, God forbid, Bernie "fairy dust sprinkler" Sanders do more damage to the Republic than Trump?
There's no doubt in my mind that a Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders presidency would be devastating, continuing the nation's inevitable march toward fiscal catastrophe.
So, the question is: What would Donald Trump do? "Make America Great Again" is no answer. We're left to guess how he would do that, other than "trust me." That appeals, apparently, to growing numbers of Americans who can take no answer for an answer. As much as it bothers me to support a megalomaniac, for now, I'm leaning toward Tuttle's "hold my nose" advice.
But there's this: I'm not ready to give up. Keeping Trump out of the White House now is in the hands of rational GOP voters, who still have a choice. If only they could consolidate behind one of the remaining, rational candidates.
So what to do now? The Republicans' creation will soon be let loose on the land, leaving to others the job the party failed to carry out. For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.
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