I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton, and, before all this dumpster fire started, told my wife I’d vote for the Republican if she were nominated by the Democrats. I think she’s a fairly run-of-the-mill professional politician with all of the lack of trustworthiness and situational ethics that I unfortunately associate with that vocation.
As such, I expect her to be beholden to special interests, so, sadly, that doesn’t shock or disturb me since everybody I vote for is (thanks for making sure that doesn’t go away, Citizens United).
There’s just no evidence (despite multiple GOP hearings) that she bore direct blame for Benghazi, but she shamelessly worked to spin it and deflect blame once it happened. I have to swallow that if I plan to vote for her.
I also have to look past her (and her staff’s) behavior with private email server, which while it seems to have been pretty common practice, that’s no excuse. As Secretary of State, the actions were reckless, dangerous for national security, and honestly, just stupid.
But, unless I’m just one of the maniac fringe who say things like she’s murdered people (she can’t even keep her emails or speeches private, but she has successfully concealed murders? Sorry, I apparently have more faith in law enforcement than do the idiots saying that), I can’t begin to think her transgressions or flaws approach Donald Trump’s.
If I’m a GOP voter going for Trump, I have to look past him bragging (in his own words) about sexual assault, making fun of heroic POWs, mocking the disabled, attacking the parents of deceased soldiers, making racist statements about Mexicans and Muslims, and retweeting racist and anti-Semitic comments from openly white supremacist groups. (How on earth is that last thing not enough to get his poll numbers in the single digits?)
I have to just give up the whole notion of being a Christian Conservative altogether. He’s a man who said he was “a great and brave soldier” in his “personal Vietnam” by avoiding venereal disease. A man who has the temerity to attack the marriage of other people when the covenant of marriage clearly means absolutely nothing to him. It’s a man who has said we should kill the families of suspected terrorists (a war crime and surely unholy in the eyes of Christ), and a man who has said he’s never felt the need to ask for forgiveness from God. He can’t even fake being a knowledgeable Christian. And, again, a man who brags about sexually assaulting women.
I have to look past him not giving any specifics to his policies. While Hillary Clinton can bore you to tears talking about the details of her policies, Trump just talks about making things great, and how we won’t believe how great it will be.
And with what snippets of ideas he gives, I have to look past Trump ignoring all my traditional conservative principles. His stated ideas on immigration involve expanding the government and eroding personal liberties. He has suggested an isolationist foreign policy, including permitting nuclear proliferation in Asia and elsewhere. He vehemently opposes Clinton’s current and past support for free trade policies. It makes sense when Bernie Sanders makes that dig, but how does it make any sense when the Republican candidate runs to the left of the Democrat on trade?
I have to look past his most dangerous words–this completely baseless attack on our elections being rigged. He says this despite it being literally impossible to do a widespread rig of a national election thanks to our wildly decentralized election system, independent study after independent study has found virtually zero claims of voter fraud, much less prosecutions. He’s feeding this lie to people and undermining the most fundamental aspect of our democracy. But I have to let that slide.
I’d also have to ignore the fact that–for all his supposed wealth– if he took the money his father gave him and put it into index funds (essentially what a moron like me does to his 401k)–he’d have made almost 5 times more money than he has now. So even his suggested business success really just reflects an almost astonishing financial underperformance, as his many failed businesses and bankruptcies attest.
So what I’m left with, after all that, is gun control and abortion.
If I were a conservative voter, I’d know Hillary Clinton wouldn’t vote the way I want or nominate judges I want on these issues, so I have to pray that Donald Trump, despite flip flopping multiple times on both issues over the course of his life and even in this campaign, will support my views on them. I would have taken all my agency and power as a voter–all my ability to improve the economic or social or military or any other facet of my country–and reduced it to two issues that are largely settled law established by the Supreme Court precedent. On blind faith that he’ll keep his word–something he’s done, in his life, roughly 0% of the time.
I suppose this is why so many of my conservative friends and family members will spend their first ever Presidential election without casting a vote for the GOP candidate.
Because if I could look past all that, it seems I’d have to look past my face in the mirror as well.