The DAILY CALLER recently asked whether I would support Donald Trump in the general election if he were the GOP nominee. Assuming (correctly) that I felt deep reservations about the Trump candidacy, they also wanted to know whether my objections focused more on his position on the issues, or to his personality.
Actually, my problems with The Donald involve an “all of the above” reaction.
Of course, his personality makes it impossible to imagine a successful Trump presidency. We’ve just experienced a seven-year tutorial on the disastrous impact of a chief executive who’s unable to work effectively with Congress and unwilling to seek consensus. Unfortunately, Trump’s imperial ego makes Obama’s surly intransigence look as accomodating as Mr. Rogers’ neighborliness. Paralysis and polarization won’t strengthen the Republic in a time of foreign, domestic and economic crisis.
Then there are The Donald’s “issues” positions – or lack thereof. No, a promise to build a big, beautiful wall and deport 11 million (with their families) does not constitute a plausible or comprehensive agenda. He claims that his “unpredictability” constitutes a great strength, and so refuses to tip his hand to either foreign or domestic adversaries about his plans for confronting significant challenges. But if a candidate’s intentions are unpredictable, then they are also unknowable – thereby destroying all chance for the electorate to make a meaningful decision about the nation’s future.
Finally, the biggest problem for this Republican doesn’t involves Trump’s personality or policies, but rather his electability. Romney, in his losing effort, won white females by a crushing margin of 14% (56% to Obama’s 42%). Trump cannot conceivably replicate that historic success with white females against Hillary Clinton, a white female candidate. This means his only hope lies in winning a vastly increased portion of the non-white vote, which constituted 28% of the overall electorate last time. That portion of the vote will be bigger this time, and Trump possesses no chance to top Romney’s pathetic 26% when it comes to Latinos and Asians– forced deportation is even less popular than “self-deportation” among immigrant communities. A Trump candidacy would guarantee Republican losses in every swing state, as well as possible losses in Texas and Arizona, where Latinos comprise a significant and growing portion of the electorate.
The real tragedy of a Trump candidacy wouldn’t be an assured and devastating loss at the presidential level, but the likely defeat in Senatorial and House races that could put hard-won GOP majorities in both houses in jeapordy. In that context, a third party candidacy by a credible, mainstream conservatie might be advisable in order to rally anti-Trump Republicans to come out to vote for GOP Congressional candidates while supporting the conservative alternative. Remember, around 70% of national Republicans still oppose Trump’s nomination, and a majority of those who support other candidates say they’d never vote for The Donald. In a deeply divided field it does seem possible that he could win the nomination, but the GOP majority that backed the other candidates will find it tough to reconcile with a bullying blowhard who scurrilously and personally attacked their favorites.
On the air, I‘ve repeatedly promised to support the Republican nominee, whoever it happens to be. But Trump’s recent reconsideration of his own similar promise should perhaps lead to re–examination of that pledge for the sake of the survival of a credible conservative alternative in American political life.
Voting for Hillary over Trump would be unthinkable and idiotic — a wasted vote, since she would win in a landslide regardless of how broken-hearted conservatives cast our ballots.
Ready the DAILY CALLER article here.