I have made no secret of my utter distaste for Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Nonetheless, I have had friends who suggest that I need to be more “open-minded”, that I need to give Trump a chance, that he is just the “outsider” that this country needs. Here’s the problem: I have to look myself in the mirror every morning, to answer to my own conscience, to be true to the principles by which I have attempted to live for these past 55 years. And because this is true, I have stated clearly that there are no circumstances under which I could pull the lever for Donald Trump. Does the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency scare me? It should every American. That said, I am not at all convinced that Trump would, on the whole, be a better president than Mrs. Bill. While he’d likely get some things right that she gets wrong, it seems to me just as likely that he’d do a plethora of dumb stuff that might get this country in a mess. At any rate, I have been thinking about the compromises and changes I would have to make in order to cast a vote for Donald Trump:
1. I would have to change my understanding of what leadership is all about.
2. I would have to believe that humility is not an important virtue in a leader, and accept that arrogance is not any big deal.
3. I would have to thus rescind any comment I ever made or thought I ever had about Barack Obama’s extreme arrogance.
4. I would have to discount the importance of character in a leader.
5. I would thus have to take back everything I’ve ever said, written, or thought about the Clintons’ lack of character.
6. I would have to change my belief that experience is a good thing, and instead come to believe that a total lack of experience is preferable, even in a person with his finger on the nuclear trigger (a belief I hold in no other area of my life).
7. I would have to come to believe that speaking in degrading ways toward women is perfectly acceptable.
8. I would have to come to believe that crudity is a virtue.
9. I would have to embrace the cowardice and fear that causes a grown man to whimper and whine about “unfair questions” from a debate moderator.
10. I would have to believe that switching one’s political party five times since the Reagan administration is the mark of someone who has “grown in his political understanding” or some such thing.
11. I would have to come to believe that intellectual respectability, as championed by William F. Buckley, George Will, and other leading conservative thinkers of the past few decades, is an unworthy goal for which to aim on the part of the conservative movement.
12. I would have to believe that serial exaggerating (as Trump has done in his writings and speaking) is not really lying, and that even if it is, “everyone does”, as Trump says. I would thus have to believe that serial exaggerators are trustworthy individuals.
13. I would have to change my way of thinking to come to see “plain talk” as preferable to demonstrated competence in governing.
14. I would have to come to applaud the further coarsening of political discourse.
15. I would have to renounce my long-held belief that sloganeering, bluster, and ad hominem attacks are a poor substitute for political discourse, and a significant contributor to the polarization of American politics.
16. I would have to come to see ambiguity regarding policy positions to be a political positive.
17. I would have to come to believe that billionaire’s trying to seize little old ladies’ homes for a fraction of market value in order to build a limousine parking lot is a perfectly acceptable way for a president to behave.
18. I would have to take back everything I have written or said about the awful Supreme Court “New London v. Kelo” decision.
19. I would have to compromise my belief that the first-enumerated right in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, is a fundamental right preceding all others, and thus that it is of paramount importance.
20. I would have to believe that a person whose companies have undergone four Chapter 11 bankruptcies is just the man to lead the world’s largest economy.
21. I would have to change my beliefs about the business of casinos, coming to see them as a public good rather than as a leading contributor to the rise of gambling, which destroys, rather than builds, character in people.
22. I would have to believe that electing someone who was naive enough to praise Barack Obama as “totally a champion”, as a person who’s “really doing a good job”, who “understands how the economy works on a fundamental level”, is nonetheless wise enough to lead our country.
23. I would have to utterly discount Trump’s funding of, and praise of Hillary Clinton (issued only three short years ago) as a “terrific woman” who “does a good job”, and instead go with what he says about her now, in the midst of a campaign to defeat her.
24. I would have to renounce the significant sympathies I have for the Tea Party movement, the political goals of which are generally opposed to those Trump assumedly has.
25. I would have to trust that Trump will propose a system that improves upon Obamacare despite the fact that as recently as this year, he has expressed admiration for a single-payer system (Scotland’s).
26. I would have to get over my belief in frugality, since Trump welcomed Obama’s wasteful stimulus package.
27. I would have to reconsider my opposition to the silly “birther” movement, since Trump gave significant credence to it.
28. I would have to believe that a man who is unable to name a single Bible verse and is, by his own words, “not sure he has ever asked for God’s forgiveness”, is nonetheless a committed Christian, as Trump has claimed to be.
29. I would have to believe that governing by executive order, such as Barack Obama has regularly done, is legitimate, since Trump has suggested that he would accomplish things in the same “by fiat” manner.
30. I would have to believe that Trump’s ridiculous statements and unworkable plan with regard to illegal immigration are defensible and sensible.
Open-minded? Yes…I would vote for over a dozen of the current Republican candidates were they to get the nomination. But I cannot, I will not, be so open-minded as to let my principles fall out. There are some compromises I will not make, some prices I will not pay. Voting for Donald Trump is one of them.