“[W]e do not have the choice to vote for [some] ideal candidate but only for the real ones that are on the ticket. In an ideal world this would not happen, but we do not live in an ideal world…. [W]e can only choose the best one available, not the best one conceivable. And as an evangelical Christian living in this real fallen world, it looks to me that Trump, as imperfect as he may be, comes closer to what we need in America now than Hillary Rodham Clinton.” — Norm Geisler, Christian author, theologian, & apologist
I didn’t enjoy writing this post, and I may even lose a few Facebook friends over it. But, I needed to say my piece….
Donald Trump is a greatly flawed man, as am I. As a rich and famous man, Trump’s flaws are bound to come to public attention, especially since he is running for the highest public office in the land. (Of course, he has been in the public eye for decades, so most of his behavior is hardly surprising.) Many claims that have been made about him have been exaggerated and sometimes turned out to be fearmongering fabricated by those “on the other side” (e.g., racism) or much ado about nothing (e.g., avoiding taxes via legal loophole). Unfortunately, some of those claims do have an element of truth.
The Access Hollywood “hot mic” comments were indeed vulgar and inexcusable. I’m not going to defend them. But, frankly, I’m not entirely surprised that a “blue-collar billionaire” with an enormous ego would spout off like that on occasion. And, yes, sometimes guys do talk that way in the locker room and elsewhere, despite what HuffPo says. Much of it is macho posturing, while some of it reflects actual views and possibly conduct.
Of course, the real issue is not the obscene language itself but the degrading attitude toward women that it evinced. The even more concerning question of whether or not Trump ever really followed through on his boasting is still up in the air (as of this writing), as allegations are being made and, in some cases, discredited. Certainly, the timing of the tape’s release and subsequent claims of being groped are very suspicious and personally and/or politically motivated. However, that doesn’t mean the claims are totally false. We shall see as the investigations progress. In the meantime, I will not presume him guilty of sexual assault. In fact, I am willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and hope that he has cleaned up his act a bit in the intervening years. (You better believe Melania wouldn’t knowingly let him get away with that crap, anymore!)
Finally, I won’t make questionable comparisons to King David or King Cyrus or St. Paul or anyone else. But, I know that God has a history of using broken and imperfect people — aren’t we all? — to be a blessing to others and carry out His purposes.
With that said, I would like to plead for some perspective. When we consider the upcoming election, we need to put aside the media-hyped distractions and look at the big picture. The person elected as our next President will have some incredibly important and often complex issues to deal with, both foreign and domestic. I believe we are at a crossroads as a nation, and the next president’s understanding of those issues and his/her approach to handling them will likely determine America’s future. Illegal immigration and refugees, abortion, LGBT rights, jobs & the economy, military strength and defense policy, Constitutional rights, healthcare, international trade, etc. All of these are in the balance. Knowing what we do about Hillary Clinton, we must do what we can to make sure she (and her “progressive” colleagues) do not take over this country. We may be unsure of what Trump will do, but we have a darn good idea what Clinton will do.
Back to the candidates…
If Trump drops out, great. But, I seriously doubt his ego would let him do that, and he is on record saying that there is no way he’s quitting the race. If the RNC somehow forces Trump off the ticket, fine — though, a) the legality of such a move is questionable, and b) the angry outcry from hard-core Trumpers and others decrying a denial of “the will of the people” may torpedo any replacement’s chances at winning, too. Besides, Reince Priebus has said that the GOP — under his leadership, at least — has no intention of booting Trump. (It would be extra tricky, given that voting has already begun.)
On a related note, Mike Pence would be the most likely person to move into the top position on the Republican ticket, if Trump were to “leave”. I have liked him from way back, so I hope he would accept it if called upon. There were rumors that Pence was distancing himself from Trump, due to the recent release of the “hot mic” recording. But, Pence is now on record as saying that he is not abandoning Trump.
So, assuming Donald Trump remains at the top of the GOP ticket this November, what are the alternatives?
1) Don’t vote: This one just doesn’t make sense to me. Even with less-than-desirable choices, don’t you want to be heard? Don’t you feel a responsibility to do what you can to at least get some good done, even if you only agree with the “better” candidate on some of the big issues?
In a recent article, Dr. Jeff Myers identified four myths that many Christians (and probably others, I’d wager) believe, which has resulted in Christians having less & less influence. They are:
Myth #1: God doesn’t care about politics
Myth #2: It’s not my problem
Myth #3: Choosing between the lesser of two evils is evil
Myth #4: Politics doesn’t matter
Myers briefly explains why none of those excuses holds water. Here’s a relevant quote that I came across:
“[C]ivic engagement is still not optional for Christians. We must do the good we can and stand against the evil that we can. And that means voting. There are so many important things on the ballot: representatives and senators, decisions about legalized drugs and legalized suicide, and yes, who will be president. We must show up to vote.” — John Stonestreet, author, radio host, Speaker and Fellow of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Note: I also wrote about non-voting and 3rd-party voting in another post four years ago.
2) Vote 3rd party: I understand the appeal, here; I really do. Of course, I could never vote for Jill Stein (Green Party) nor for Bernie Sanders (Democratic Socialist “independent”), if he chose to jump back in at the last hour. I’m not crazy about Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) or Mike Maturen (American Solidarity Party), either. I could see myself voting for Evan McMullin (Independent) or Tom Hoefling (America’s Party) under other circumstances, as they both seem fairly consistent in their conservatism. And I really like Darrell Castle’s (Constitution Party) positions (see pic).
Unfortunately, in my estimation, none of them is truly viable. (Heck, some of them can’t even get on the ballot in most states.) Not that “3rd party” candidates never win, but it’s very rare in national races. We can complain that the current, two-party system doesn’t seem “fair”, and we can discuss how it might be improved. But, right now we have to accept and work with the system as it is. (See the Geisler quote above.) I contend that it is too late in the game to try to build a groundswell of support for a 3rd-party candidate. We need to face the harsh reality of what and who we are stuck with and make the best of a terrible situation.
Voting for someone else might make you feel better, but it won’t actually accomplish any good. Worse, it might help someone truly evil attain the most powerful position in the world. Speaking of which…
3) Vote Hillary: I honestly don’t understand how a conservative, Christian or otherwise, could even consider voting for HRC in this election. (There might be a scenario where I would vote for Hillary, but her opponent would probably have to be an avowed communist or fascist or convicted serial killer, and contemplating such circumstances scares the *&%$#! out of me.) I mean, do I really need to go over her well-documented history (with and without her husband) of blatant lies and extreme corruption? The DoJ and FBI know she’s guilty of crimes and she still skates.
Beyond that, Clinton is strongly pro-choice — loves Planned Parenthood, is in favor of partial-birth abortion, wants to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, etc. She wants to eliminate citizens’ right to be armed and will sue gun manufacturers for violence done with guns. She wants to save Obamacare, and, if that doesn’t work, will likely push for a government-controlled single-payer system. She will push all sorts of nonsense from the LGBTQ agenda, and that’s just one area where religious rights will be threatened. She is for higher taxes and increased regulations, along with bigger government and more dependency on it. She will increase entitlement programs, including for illegal aliens, and other government spending, which means even more debt. Under Clinton, the race-wars, class-wars, “war” against cops, etc., will just get worse. She will likely support actions against Israel and in favor of Muslim nations and other groups. She will support “progressive”/globalist projects, while giving away America’s sovereignty in the process (as Obama is doing). She will continue the vendettas against Republicans and conservatives via executive actions and agencies. I could go on, but you know all this….
“If I were voting for Trump in a vacuum, this would be different. But Clinton isn’t a vacuum. She’s more like a vulture lying in wait to end the republic as we know it. Accuse me of hyperbole or alarmism if you must, but I genuinely fear Clinton could do irreversible damage to the country. And millions agree with me.” — David Limbaugh, political commentator & author
OK, now, let’s look at Trump’s platform/agenda. I admit up front that he has only recently seemingly come around to the pro-life side, and I am hoping that it is a principled change. At this point, at least, he seems to be genuine, though he does (unfortunately) allow for exceptions for incest and rape. He also believes there should be exceptions to the 2nd Amendment, but he is generally supportive. He wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a consumer-focused, competitive system. He is “mixed” on the LGBTQ agenda, which is disappointing but clearly better than what Clinton has in store. He is for reducing and simplifying taxes across the board, as well as eliminating every wasteful and unnecessary regulation. He wants to end government corruption and rein in profligate spending. He is a big supporter of the law enforcement community. He has no patience for politically-correct nonsense. He has no problem calling out our enemies by name (e.g., Islamic terrorists) and wants to rebuild the American military for a strong defense, while taking necessary precautions against terrorists entering the country. Trump appears to be pro-Israel, though not aggressively so. He likes Netanyahu and has a lot of support from conservative Israelis. He will definitely not be ceding authority over America(ns) to the UN or anyone else, and I’m pretty sure he will put a stop to any anti-Republican/conservative vendettas by federal agencies under his watch. (He is in favor of abolishing the IRS, which has been one of the biggest offenders.)
But, you know all that, too. The main point is that with Trump, our nation has a chance at retaining its independence, its freedoms and liberties. Innocent lives will be saved. The economy will be rejuvenated. Many stupid and/or unsafe policies will be rolled back. Forget not voting, forget ineffective 3rd-party votes. I will vote Trump in order to avoid another Clinton administration — worse than the last one and potentially worse than Obama’s — and sure disaster.
You can accuse me of being blind, stupid, ignorant, delusional, compromising this or that, “sacrifice [my] principles and values”, etc. That is your right, but I think you’re wrong. It is also my right to vote for an (highly) imperfect candidate, because I think the alternatives are all much worse. And, I’m not willing to throw in the towel and accept that the U.S. has gone past the point of no return. It may have, but I’m not ready to give up without a fight and just throw away my vote.
I’m not a Trump-ophile — never was — and my eyes are wide open on this. I disagree with some of his proposed policies (e.g., on trade) and cringe over many things he says, or at least how he says them. That’s just the beginning of his shortcomings. Trump is definitely not the second coming of Reagan or anyone else. He is not a true conservative and not the savior of the Republican Party, nor will he be able to save the nation on his own. He’ll probably disappoint a lot of people on the Right — especially those who think he’s awesome. But, I truly believe that he is capable of at least slowing the decline that we are currently experiencing in so many areas (i.e., economic, military, security, etc.). (That’s why we need to keep a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, preferably conservatives with backbone, to help him do it. Also to keep Trump in check on other stuff.) Hopefully, someone like Pence or Cruz can then succeed Trump and put us on a more sane, consistently conservative-minded course.
Is Trump the “lesser of two evils”? Yes, I believe so. But, I don’t approach it that way. Rather, I look at the viable options and choose the one that I believe is likely to do the most amount of good for the country and the least amount of bad. This election cycle, knowing (and suspecting) what I do about the candidates running, that person is Donald Trump. Or, as a friend of mine said on Facebook,
“In this presidential election, I’m not voting for a person. I’m voting, however, for pre-born children, for the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution, for our military, our police force, our national security, and our future as a country. Which candidate most fits this?” (h/t Dr. Rick Walston)
I don’t want to vote Donald Trump into the Oval Office. But, all things considered, once we get past the frustration and moral outrage, I think it is the most responsible thing to do at this time — for the good of the nation as a whole, for the American people, and for our allies.
God have mercy on us all….
P.S. Other than the ones I already linked to, here are 6 more articles I recommend on this topic:
1) “Why Donald Trump is the Best Choice for President”, by Gary DeMar
2) “Words vs. deeds”, by Thomas Sowell
3) “Why I Am Voting for Trump”, by Bruce Bialosky
4) “Why Vote Trump”, by Terry Paulson
5) “IF YOU’RE A ‘CHRISTIAN’ WHO HATES TRUMP: Don’t Read THIS … You Might CHANGE Your Mind”
6) “The consequences of a Hillary Clinton victory”