While we may often bemoan the use of “litmus tests” when it comes to picking candidates, sometimes that is truly the best and only way to pick – especially when the candidates are so bad on so many issues, they may only be good on one or two.
Attempting to choose the “lesser of two evils” has proved rather difficult when both candidates are so unattractive, politically speaking. I think the questions voters, especially conservative voters, will have to answer this November are:
- For the good of my country, which values do I think matter the most? Because neither of these candidates supports all, or even many, of my conservative values like life, liberty, small government, western ideals, the constitution, and the natural family.
- Strategically, which choice will give my values the best chance in the long run, not just in this election? Will a vote for Trump damage conservatism for decades? Or will a vote for Hillary doom the unborn to decades more to death by abortion?
- Morally, are there any out and out deal breakers that force me to NOT vote for one or both of these candidates? Support for abortion? Racism or xenophobia? Having a huge ego? Lying?
Let’s think about these.
Typically, these seven areas of value have been emphasized in a conservative to liberal spectrum:
- Religious Freedom: freedom of conscience and speech
- Family Life and Children: support for chastity and the natural family
- Sanctity of Life: support for the unborn, the elderly, and the crippled
- The Poor and Vulnerable: support for the neglected poor and minorities
- Human Rights: Legal protections for individuals abused by power.
- Peacemaking: diffusing national and international hostilities between countries and races
- Creation Care: Concern for the environment
This excellent list, taken from the National Association of Evangelicals’ excellent For the Health of the Nation project embraces the entire list of values.
Notice that conservatives relatively ignore the bottom three values, while liberals generally ignore the first three. And perhaps both share a concern for the poor in the center.
As a conservative, I prioritize the sanctity of life over marriage issues, helping the poor, making peace, and caring for the environment. So this may be my first and most important tool for evaluating the candidates.
My liberal friends might respond, “but aren’t you concerned with climate change or the possibility of nuclear war?”
Climate Change – Not a Crisis
I may be preaching to deaf ears here, but let me briefly explain why, though I am concerned for the environment, I am not alarmed by the climate change alarmism of our day.
- As a thinking person, I am immediately skeptical of alarmists. I’ve even been burned by alarmists on my own side who say things like “if you promote condom use you will create an epidemic of teen sexuality!” or “if you take prayer out of schools, immorality, violence, and unbelief will spread like wildfire!”
- Exaggerations, cover-ups of data manipulation, demonizing opponents and suppression of dissent are all hallmarks of the modern Malthusian gambit of the climate change movement. They are all signs of ideology trumping science. You lost me at your first failed prediction of calamity.
- Appeals to authority (even if it is “scientific consensus”) rather than data are a hallmark of authoritarian liars. Read more at When to doubt a scientific consensus (wholereason.com).
Nuclear War – Who’s More Dangerous?
Typically in politics, “going nuclear” means being willing to blow everything up if you don’t get your way, without compromise. But worse, liberals are “going nuclear” on Trump by saying things like this:
His adoration of Putin, his tolerance and admiration for dictators, his disdain of allies will lead to instability. Even world war. ~ Rachel Held Evans retweet [ref]Donald Trump and a Tale of Two Gospels (rachelheldevans.com)[/ref]
Even the more centrist Atlantic Magazine is concerned about Trump’s seeming willingness to use nuclear weapons:
A Trump presidency could reverse decades of American presidents’ work to hold the line against the spread of nuclear weapons, ushering in a new era of proliferation. [ref]With his finger on the trigger (atlantic.com)[/ref]
While I agree that Trump’s openness to the proliferation of nukes is worrisome, it may be more likely that a nuclear Iran would use the nukes in the near future. The appeasement policies of the current and presumably Clinton administration seem incredibly naive in light of what is actually happening in Iran, not to mention Pakistan, a majority Muslim nation which already has nukes.
Robert Spencer, author of numerous books on Islamic Jihad, creator of jihadwatch.com, attempts to explain to westerners what they don’t get about Islam. In his new book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran, he explains why the leaders of Iran WANT to be nuked, and are not dissuaded by the threat of “mutually assured destruction.”
â€œThey want to get nuked back,â€ he said. He explained: “That sounds crazy, but it’s not. It’s Shiite eschatology. Because the Twelfth Imam, their savior figure, is going to come back when the Muslims are more persecuted. â€¦ In the book, I have a president of Iran, the former president of Iran, saying, â€œWe can sustain ten or fifteen million casualties if we’re nuked.â€ And they want that because the Twelfth Imam’s gonna come back when the Muslims are more persecuted than they’ve ever been before.”[ref]Robert Spencer: â€˜Iran Is What ISIS Wants to Be When It Grows Up’ (jihadwatch.org)[/ref]
Unborn Lives – Actual Losses, not hypothetical ones
To most conservatives, even more important than freedom of conscience and speech (a.k.a. religious liberty) is the pro-life stand. Viewed similarly to abolition of slavery, ittakes priority over most other values – if you believed that 3000 innocent people a day were being enslaved or killed by war or police, wouldn’t you make changing that your #1 priority?
This alone is perhaps the strongest motivator to vote against Hillary Clinton. She is sure to appoint the next one or two SCOTUS judges, and you can bet they won’t be interested in protecting the life of the unborn child.
Cravenly put: A vote for Hillary is a vote for murdering children.
Oh, I hear you, “unfair,” you say. But let’s just say this phrase is true.
What’s your real worst case scenario with Trump?
What are voting for, in the worst case scenario, with Trump?
a. Nuclear War? NO
Even Michelle Obama, in a speech at the opening of the Democratic National Convention, breathed out the concern over Donald Trump’s impetuousness and having control of the military:
Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed. [ref]Read Michelle Obama’s Emotional Speech at the Democratic Convention (time.com)[/ref]
Now, all of that is true, and a genuine concern. Trump’s lack of character could bring trouble. But would he just start wars out of bluster? Or is a nuclear attack by Iran more likely because of our appeasement of them?
A Nuclear Iran is More Troublesome
In the minds of some experts, it is much more probable that the attainment of nuclear weapons by Iran will lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
They and other Muslim states have both outwardly and secretly stated their intent to spread Islam and destroy Israel. And as Robert Spencer mentioned above, many are willing to be nuked in return because such extreme “persecution” will bring their religious messiah.
b. Economic instability? Maybe.
Yes, Trump is capricious, and the markets like stability. But do you really believe that a pompous businessman can do that much worse than the man who doubled the national debt (we’re talking TRILLIONS of dollars) and continues to fund his cronies in the green energy industry with your dollars for their startups?
c. Totalitarian Control? NO
Yes, Trump is full of himself and sometimes talks like a demagogue. But seriously, you think he can really take away the reigns of power from our other branches? You think he’ll be less abusive of power than the Obama administration which shoved the most sweeping economic bill in history, Obamacare, down our throats with an entirely partisan vote? Who has appointed more unelected Czars than any other president so that they could wield power without the Congress’s approval? [ref]List of U.S. executive branch czars (wikipedia)[/ref]
d. Friends with Dictators? It a necessity.
The question is not whether our president must make alliances with dictators, the question is, which ones? President Obama has appeased Muslim dictators in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the now fallen Venezuela, while damaging our relationships with militaristic communist nations like Russia and China.
Arguably, Trump’s emphasis on befriending the growing economic powerhouse of China and the powerful Putin administration (which Obama erroneously poo-pooed as being of no account since “the cold war is over”) is a risky move.[ref]Why Obama Got Russia Wrong (and Romney Got It Right) (slate.com)[/ref]
Part of why Trump lauds the warmonger Putin is that he delivers harsh reprisals to militant Islamists, something the current administration seems very soft on.
e. Lives Lost? NO
Look, this thought started with accusing Hillary of basically supporting the evil of abortion as a worst case scenario. This is a realistic worst case because (a) the lives are being lost RIGHT NOW, and (b) she shows all signs of supporting abortion on the SCOTUS.
All of the scenarios against Trump are speculative at best, based on his admittedly awful character and personality.
2. Long Term Strategy
Some like sore loser Ted Cruz say we need to stand on principle and not support Trump because he will damage both the US and the GOP.
But look. Buffoons have led countries, even ours, and not broken the country entirely (save many socialist leaders as in Venezuela). Even more, look at the disastrous foreign policy of the current administration – filled with as many gaffes as any previous administration.
Is Trump inexperienced? Yes. Was Obama? Yes. Did that hurt us? Yes. But you weren’t that worried about it last time, were you?
To me, there are five real long term things to consider: the economy, our allies, nuclear conflict, and abortion. And maybe the future of the GOP.
a. The Economy: Advantage no one
Being conservative, I’m more laissez faire then Keynsian, so you know where I’m going. Basically, I think Obama is only ruining the economy, not saving it. But arguments about the economy are basically a wash – truth is, the economy is both better and worse, depending on how you view the numbers.[ref]The Economy Is Great; the Economy Is Terrible (The Atlantic)[/ref]
b. Our Allies: Advantage no one
Again, do we side with Muslim dictators hoping they will change (or is this a Chamberlainian gambit?), as Obama has done, or do we support our democratic allies like Israel, and our other allies against militant Islam? Do we stabilize and alienate, or vice versa? Either way is a tough call, and the middle ground is not much clearer.
c. Nuclear Conflict: Advantage no one
Again, there are real risks in both liberal and conservative approaches. Let Iran have nukes, or piss of North Korea with an offhand slight from Trump? Again, I think it’s much more likely that a nuclear Iran is a genuine threat.
d. Abortion: Advantage Trump
It basically boils down to this. On most other important issues, neither candidate is a good choice. But on this one, Hillary is a decidedly bad choice.
Choice of Supreme Court Justices – a 40 year Legacy
We’ve been fighting for the human rights of the unborn for nearly 50 years. If Hillary wins, we will be killing unborn children legally for another 50.
e. The fate of the GOP is already set
Electing Trump won’t hurt the GOP any more than it’s already hurt itself. It failed to pick a reasonable candidate (Kasich, in my view), opting for extremes and a buffoon.
I think the GOP is better off than the Democratic party, actually. While the Democrats have moved even farther to the extreme left, not only did the GOP field at least a couple of centrist and libertarian candidates (not to mention more diversity in race as well), the choice of Trump should wake up the party to meaningful reforms and a move away from being so narrow and far right.
The Democrats have no such hope. Their rebel candidate, Sanders, only moved them further left and away from any kind of meaningful balance, let alone the sanity of conservative principles. So Trump’s election, in my mind, has no more negative impact that what it has already had, and may actually be a harbinger of reform and balance in the future.
3. Deal Breakers
Is there any issue on which you would firmly eliminate a candidate? Any personality flaws? What if they were vocally racist? Or against a human right that you hold dear? Or power hungry? Or open liars? Or intellectual idiots?
We’ve got all of these factors in play. But look, I voted for Bush, not because I thought he was smart (or white, or a male), but because I agreed with his values. Whatever he lacked in intelligence, I hoped he would make up in his choice of advisers.
To some extent, this logic also applies to Trump. You can compensate for stupid. But you can’t compensate for evil – Hillary IS going to appoint one or many pro-choice judges to the supreme court. And for me, that’s the deal breaker.
So as far as I can tell, in November, I will be reluctantly pulling the lever for Trump. Because unborn children matter. And after that? We’re gonna pray for our nation like never before.