Donald Trump is a walking disaster of a candidate. He can’t explain what the role of government is supposed to be, he exemplifies the sort of fascistic dear leader idol-worshiping that characterizes Leftist demagogues, and his social and economic policies fall Left of center on almost every front—and that’s assuming anything he says even remotely reflects what he actually believes or plans to do should he win the Presidency. Worse still, he’s now the de facto leader of the only major political party whose platform is supposed to be against all of these things. Conservatism in the United States is supposed to value adherence to Constitutional and small governance, free trade and freer markets, and the importance of ideas over ethnicities, policies over rhetoric, and personal character over just about everything else. Trump’s running for President is one thing; his hijacking of what stands in for the “Conservative” political party in this country is another.
This has been the fundamental question for conservatives during this entire election. People were saying it a year ago, six months ago, three months ago, and even still now, after the primaries have been put to rest and both conventions have finished. This isn’t new information, but this isn’t an easy decision to make, either. Voting for Trump is, ultimately, endorsement of what he has done so far—even when the purpose of voting for the man is purely to block his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Likewise, voting against Trump is the same: endorsing the most blatantly and unapologetically corrupt liar currently at large in the American political sphere—and possibly in the history of the country. So a reasonable person can’t really pull the lever for either one of them; a reasonable person can’t endorse a woman who has legitimately gotten away with selling out the US government’s favors, to say nothing of a long list of corruption and criminal negligence that has resulted in Americans getting killed, but a reasonable person also can’t endorse a man who has trouble explaining what the separation of powers refers to or why it’s important. But a reasonable person also can’t simply stay silent on the matter and refuse to vote for either candidate—that’s just cowardice in the face of a difficult decision.
“Well, what about the other ‘third party’ candidates?” I’m glad you asked. They’re worthless. Jill Stein is a conspiracy-theory windbag that can’t make up her own mind (being doped up on commie propaganda tends to be a requirement for inclusion within Green party), and Gary Johnson is walking proof that card-carrying Libertarians in this country are so disorganized that they can make all the negative libertarian stereotypes seem competent by comparison. This is the guy that said he didn’t really mind Hillary Clinton as recently as last year, but he might actually have been high when he said that. It’s the first election in which the Libertarians could have had a decent shot at really racking up the points, and instead they decide to rally behind this blazed crypto-socialist. Typical.
No, voting third party this year is the same as leaving the ballot boxes blank. Possibly worse, actually, as casting your vote for these clowns demonstrates even greater ignorance over what’s at stake.
I don’t have to like it, but these two lunatics are the options before us. Yes, I do believe that ‘lesser of two evils’ voting is destroying the country and has resulted in the erosion of liberties. And no, I don’t think boycotting the vote is going to change that. One person simply does not make a difference, no matter how many contrived platitudes about the corruption rife within the system you tell yourself. This is what democracy does. Grant political power to everyone in the country and you remove what sanctity political power originally had. There’s no reason that the vote of a successful businessman should be counted the same as a perpetually unemployed welfare queen, or that an elderly retiree’s vote should be counted the same as that of a young college kid who has no significant life experience to speak of. Democracy is the leveling of political powers and the homogenization of opinions, interests, and desires. Unchecked democracy does not result in the tyranny of the majority; it is the tyranny of the majority.
This brings me back, predictably, to our candidates. Before you say it, I’m not singling Trump out as our next tyrant. We’ve already suffered 8 years under a quasi-tyrant, and he paved the way for the election of another. Whether it’s Clinton or Trump doesn’t matter in that regard; both will be tyrants, although one will probably be worse than the other.
Clinton is a terrible candidate and, by most accounts, a terrible person as well. It’s not my place to judge her moral virtues, though to be honest, she seems to have about as many of those as she has scruples. Her tenure as Secretary of State resulted in the loss of American influence abroad, the destruction of several middle eastern counties for no legitimate reason, and that’s to say nothing of the dead Americans she has routinely lied about. Meanwhile, the so-called charitable organization she runs with her husband is mired in more RICO charges than most of the indie press knows what to do with, and her friends in the Justice Department are blocking every attempt by the FBI to investigate them. Oh, and the FBI director has already come out and admitted that everything she said to the American public regarding her private monopoly over classified information and government-related documents were lies, but he’s unwilling to recommend prosecution because… well, maybe his family were held hostage by hitmen, or something. Who knows? Oh, and by some reports, her health is failing, too. Bad.
It’s clear that Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate the Democrats have propped up in more than a generation. They want her now and they have wanted her for years. The real shame in this election is how obviously beatable she is. Despite the media privilege, the name recognition, the ‘experience’ in politics, the connections, and the fact that she’s been the de facto Dem nominee since before even 2008, she still can’t manage to get her poll numbers reliably above 45%. And part of those numbers are from people who really just hate Trump that much, not out of any love of Hillary herself. If the GOP had fielded a candidate that was even remotely likeable outside of a narrow base of dedicated black shirts, they’d have had this wrapped up and had it in the bag a month ago. Instead we end up with this bloviating lunatic that simply can’t help himself.
A swell case has been made that electing Donald Trump will do irreversible damage to the GOP. The liberal media will have every excuse—and many fitting ones, at that—to pin Trump’s inexcusable behavior and choice of words on the Republican establishment that supports him, the Republican voters who get him elected, and of course, on conservatism as a whole. The only major party representative of American interests will be dragged through the mud while it’s tethered to Trump, before being given cement shoes and tossed into the Hudson—probably even within view of Trump Tower. So goes the gist of the argument by folks at the Daily Wire, National Review, and some other places.
And it’s a compelling argument. But, at the same time, I think it’s too optimistic. I think Trump has already done that damage and I don’t think his losing the election will change things. I think the GOP is already doomed, in part due to its own incompetence. It promised undeliverable goals to its voters and then, predictably, failed to deliver on them, and worse still, it also promised perfectly reasonable goals and then, due to typical establishmentarian cowardice, capitulated to the current regime’s bullies. I think the light of conservatism in this country set years ago, during the second Bush administration. I think its dawn and resurgence is just around the corner, but it’s not quite there yet. The nationalist rumblings of today’s Trumpsters are the result of eight years of Leftists telling us how to frame our conversations, explaining to us with faltering, holier-than-thou flippancy that the government is always the solution and that freer markets can’t be trusted. But Americans know that Obama’s policies aren’t working and that his administration is a catastrophic failure. They just don’t really know how to frame the proper responses when the entire media establishment has conditioned them to believe in the power of the State and that the State’s power is only as evil as the ones who wield it. Like Boromir, the modern conservative has been corrupted by the seductive whispers of the Marxist ideology—not by its economics, but simply by its terminology.
Yes, Trump is mostly Leftist in his approach. Trust him with the power to fix everything and he’ll use that power to fix everything, just like Obama did. And just like Hillary promises. And Sanders promised. And every major contender promised this election cycle, except maybe Cruz.
Electing Trump won’t reverse this decline. It won’t save conservatism. But Trump losing to Hillary won’t reverse this decline, either. She won’t save conservatism—not even as a monolithic counterforce against whom to rally conservative ire. As a movement, conservatism remains still in the pre-dawn twilight.
Trump will, however, destroy the party. I think he’s already fractured it beyond repair, and based on his comments after the convention about possibly funding super PACs to take out the Republicans who ran against him in the primaries, I think that destroying the party is his intention. I don’t mean this as some conspiracy-fueled jaunt, as if Trump is some sort of political suicide-bomber kamikaze-ing the GOP all at once. No, I think he’s just interested in running the party from the top and kicking out anyone he doesn’t agree with; his campaign shuffling should be evidence enough of that. Destroying the GOP is simply a byproduct of his ego; the two things can’t occupy the same space at once.
If I’m correct, if conservative movement is not on its feet, then it doesn’t matter how much more its name gets dragged through the mud. The election isn’t over and, should Trump win (there is still a shot, however slim at this point), we’re only getting started. Conservatives will have to abandon the GOP entirely and form a new party in the future. For an organized form of conservatism to grow, this is a requirement, and I think inevitable. Trump winning or losing doesn’t change that outcome, just the date of when it happens.
The future of the country is what remains the fundamental question. If I’m right, there is no reason not to vote for Trump. He clearly lacks the political record of Hillary Clinton. For anyone with two brain cells, that’s a huge mark in his favor. His business record is not the best. His political opinions aren’t conservative. His thoughts on the economy will probably continue the last 8 years of “recession” that has so far resulted only in the nation on the ground with the Left’s boot crushing its throat—not enough to kill it, but just enough to make it hard to breathe. He’s a disaster. He’s more of what we have already. But he’s not Clinton.
Conservatism is an entire moral framework and worldview. It isn’t going to be killed by one presidential candidate, and no amount of media coverage will be able to stamp it out. When things get bad, men always return to the comradery of those they are familiar with. Family values return to the forefront. Competitive markets become more trusted. Faith in God becomes more widespread. Granted, things have to get bad for these things to return on their own. Fortunately, with the strides conservatism and the groups haphazardly thrown under the Alt-Right umbrella have made in the past several years, they don’t have to return on their own. The missionaries are already out there and the twilight conservatism basks in presently will soon, I think, be over. But there will certainly be some storms before the dawn.