It’s the question of the century for conservatives: should I vote for Donald Trump or should I vote with my conscience? Personally, I plan to do both.
To the NeverTrumpers and my fellow millennials who cling to a hope of a third party rising up and overtaking the Republican party: note that a third party candidate has NEVER won a presidential election in the history of this country. Though this is a weird election and Gary Johnson is indeed polling some 13% according to some (RealClearPolitics has him at only 7.2%), there is no reason to expect that a third party candidate could realistically win this election.
I won’t argue that our Founders envisioned a two-party system like we now have, but this isn’t the year to change it. For one thing, Hillary is incredibly hard to beat since no law seems to apply to her (and yes, the system is rigged). For another thing, Trump has been shattering records for voting numbers since day one, and plays the media like a fiddle. With major candidates as competitive as those, this is not the time to challenge the two party system.
In 2016, we have two choices for presidential candidates—no more, no less. A no-vote or a third-party vote is not a meaningful statement. It’s just one less vote that Hillary Clinton needs to win. Let that sink in: a vote for anyone other than Donald Trump helps Hillary Clinton.
Also consider the fact that Hillary has vowed to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants—and if you think they will be third party or right-wing voters, think again. They’ll be millions of permanent democratic-socialist-minded voters who will write off any possibility of changing the system in the future.
I have heard the argument—seldom among genuine conservatives, but it exists—that we could survive a Clinton presidency. Why should conservatives choose Trump over Clinton? Let me count the ways…
- Two words: SUPREME COURT. The next president will appoint at least one and potentially as many as three or four justices to the SCOTUS, plus fill dozens of vacancies on the federal bench. This election only fills the White House for the next four years, but it decides the leaning of the Court for probably the next FORTY. A leftist court is guaranteed to come with a Clinton presidency—leading to progressive rulings on abortion, gun control, free speech, and religious liberty issues and rendering any legislative action essentially worthless. As a lawyer and Constitutional Law professor, Hugh Hewitt argues with confidence that conservatism “cannot survive a strong-willed liberal majority on the Supreme Court.” Trump has committed to appointing conservative justices and proven that he values the Constitution as the law of the land.
- National Security and Foreign Policy. Clinton’s most classic foreign policy blunder was in Benghazi, where she let four brave Americans die and then blamed the tragedy on a video, saying it wasn’t “a big deal.” If the world is to return to stability and America is to remain safe and free, this country must be strong again. Mike Pence, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, said it well in his speech at the RNC: “We cannot have four more years apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends.” Trump has a grasp of this crucial concept and will implement it much as Ronald Reagan did a generation ago: peace through strength. Most importantly, he acknowledges radical Islamic terrorism for what it is, and will confront it accordingly.
- Second Amendment Rights: Trump has a concealed carry permit and says he wants all (law-abiding) Americans to have one, because “the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families.” He knows that mass shootings are more likely and much worse in gun free zones than in areas where people are allowed to protect themselves and others. Trump won’t even try to conduct an Australia-style gun grab. Hillary absolutely will.
- Law and Order. Trump condemns the killings of police and, while he recognizes that police brutality does exist, he honors the service and sacrifices of our law enforcement. After the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump made a phone call to the Cleveland chief of police to thank him and his team for their great work. He wants to protect life and liberty, and he recognizes that cops become cops because they want to do the same.
- Solid track record. This is the first time Trump has ever run for political office, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have what it takes. An amazing biography video shown at the Republican National Convention demonstrates Trump’s uncanny ability to ignore the naysayers, achieve the impossible (in less time and with less money than expected), and respect the dignity of everyone, from construction workers to his own family. And by the way, Donald Trump has some incredible kids. You’d think by this point we’d have started hearing about all the skeletons in the closets of these filthy-rich American millennial celebrities… but I haven’t heard anything except how hard working and brilliant they are.
For perspective’s sake, this election isn’t about Trump vs. Jesus. It’s about Trump vs. Hillary. As conservatives, we are not called to moral narcissism, or to cast votes based on personality and liking, but to choose practical policies that uphold our principles and candidates who can defeat the party who would hand this country over to radical democratic socialism.
Trump isn’t a perfect person or a perfect candidate, but he’s a whole lot better than the alternative. If the election were a perfect tie, and it came down to your vote alone, what would you do? My conscience says it would be downright immoral to sit out this election when we have an opportunity to keep “crooked Hillary Clinton” from becoming the leader of the free world. What does your conscience say?