Never. Adverb. Synonyms include “not ever, at no time, not at any time,” and “not once.” That means neither on May 3, nor on May 4. Neither on July 18, nor on July 21, and certainly not on November 8, 2016, either. Never.
The #NeverTrump movement didn’t end on May 3 with Donald Trump winning the Indiana primary, causing Ted Cruz and John Kasich to drop out. Trump may now win the Republican nomination, but Never Trump means never Trump, not #MaybeLater.
The Republican establishment is putting forth all their efforts now to try to “unite” conservative voters behind their party’s unfortunate nominee. Many unprincipled people are reversing their past statements and saying they’d be open to backing Trump. RNC chairman Reince Priebus tweeted, “[W]e all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton.” Dan Patrick, Ted Cruz’s Texas Campaign Chairman and Lieutenant Governor of Texas, called on Republicans to unite behind Trump just two days after Cruz told voters “we will not give in to evil.”
A pledge is a pledge, however. Anyone who said they would never vote for Trump and then ends up voting for Trump is a liar.
“Oh, but not voting for Trump will result in Hillary Clinton being elected!” Trump apologists shriek. Is the only case to be made for Trump one of fear of the other? There is no affirmative case for Trump. But there may be one thing scarier than that which Priebus, McConnell and company are warning of, and that is this: Voting for Trump could result in Trump being elected.
Many have already written why Trump would be an unprecedented disaster for the country. He’s a “liberal masquerading as a conservative, who preys on nationalistic, tribal tendencies” (Erick Erickson), “a megalomaniac who doesn’t understand constitutional limits on executive power” (Philip Klein), “might be the greatest charlatan of them all” (L. Brent Bozell III), and he “doesn’t know the Constitution, history, law, political philosophy, nuclear strategy, diplomacy, defense, economics beyond real estate, or even, despite his low-level-mafioso comportment, how ordinary people live” (Mark Helprin).
Those words were true when they were written and they are just as true now. When the threat of a possible “President Trump” became too great to ignore, Bombs and Dollars raised its voice and said this:
Almost all of [the candidates] know about the policies, try to understand how to fix the country’s problems, and care to even a minimal degree about being respectable, discussing the issues, and working with all Americans. All but one.
Here we have a candidate who threatens to sue newspapers for reporting on his bankruptcies, who said he would “certainly” create a government database of Muslims in America, who incited his fans to physically assault a non-violent protester and said that they were right to do so, defended Putin from charges that he kills political opponents by equivocating the United States with Russia (“Our country does plenty of killing, too”), and his personal account tweets racist messages about “white genocide”.
To say he is an authoritarian or that he seems to have an admiration for fascistic types (he praised Putin and Kim Jong Un no less) is not hyperbole. Think of a president in recent years who openly supported doing any of that?
Nor is he one iota qualified to have his hand on the nuclear trigger. After all, he doesn’t even know what the nuclear triad is. Nor does he know what Hamas and Hezbollah are, and he gets the Kurds confused with Iran. These aren’t tough questions. These are things that ordinary observers of politics know—and the Commander-in-Chief, in charge of sending our troops into harm’s way, ought to know better than the average Joe.
As such, Bombs and Dollars can only recommend a vote against Trump. As a citizen of the United States, this author is well in his right to actively oppose a candidate. As a registered Republican, this author is right to grieve the terribly disappointing results for the GOP primary, but no party member should put the (narrow and short-term) interests of his party ahead of those of his country. Someone should support a specific party on the basis of that party’s values; if that party’s values—as represented in its nominee—momentarily change, then so too could one’s view of that party.
Bombs and Dollars makes no affirmative endorsement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. There are a number of candidates who are much more qualified than, and would be better for the country and world than, Trump, including Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson, and there is also the possibility of conservative activists organizing a third-party run.
Someone who pledged to never vote for Trump would be honest and virtuous voting for any of the above candidates or not voting for president at all. What someone who would never vote for Trump cannot do, however, is vote for Trump.
Featured image used under Creative Commons license. Caricature created by Flickr user DonkeyHotey, which was originally adapted from Creative Commons licensed images from Michael Vadon’s flickr photostream. No symbol created by Wikipedia user GravisZro (Creative Commons). Edits added by Mitchell Blatt.