I am voting for Trump because he is not Hillary Clinton.
Trump is behind in the polls. I suspect there is a very large number of people like myself who have considered not voting for president at all or for a third party rather than vote for either candidate. I hope those people will come to see that it is a good decision for those who live in a swing state to vote for Trump. Even more importantly we should give verbal support to his campaign and financial support to groups trying to get him elected.
I know it is not attractive to vote for and support Trump, but I believe we must. The stakes are very, very high.
It took me some time to come to this judgment. I have watched all the debates and was horrified when the vulgar, shallow, bullying, mendacious Trump beat 16 other decent — and some very good — Republican candidates. When Trump became the nominee, I was seriously thinking of not voting.
But over time as I evaluated what Hillary has done – all the terrible things I know she has done — and when I saw that all of our worst suspicions of her have been verified by what has been found in her emails, I realized I needed to vote for the only person who can stop her. She is the most corrupt person I have ever seen in American politics.
She lost me big time with her actions with respect to Benghazi and her testimony before Congress about the tragedy. The list of her horrifically bad deeds, some of them felonious, is too long to produce here. But surely a private email account, a pledge to support abortion in every way possible, trading favors with our enemies to fatten her own coffers, and plans to force Catholic hospitals to do abortions (which will be followed by requirements for Catholic schools to teach that homosexuality and transgenderism are normal) are enough to prove that Clinton is a real and present danger to religious liberty.
I am, of course, miserable that the only viable alternative to Clinton is Trump. I share most of the concerns of all those who are determined not to vote for him, but those concerns don’t begin, really, to be counterbalanced not just by concerns about Hillary but very strong and justified convictions about her.
When I reluctantly decided I had to vote for Trump, I realized I had to do more than that. I had already made contributions to several candidates – Fiorina, Rubio, and Cruz, but I had a very hard time convincing myself to do give money to Trump or to speak on his behalf publicly.
Voting for candidates is not enough. I have concluded for the most part that our single votes in this huge nation count for very little. Whether I vote or not is not likely to influence the outcome of the election. That doesn’t mean I think it is unimportant to vote; I think it is very important. It is a civic act that reinforces my commitment to the democratic process; it makes me pay closer attention to candidates and their policies. Becoming an intentional voter and becoming informed helps me engage responsibly in arguably even more influential and important activities such as dialoguing knowledgeably with others and trying to influence their votes.
By donating to various political organizations, I hope more voters will vote the right way. My discussions and donations are arguably more important than my single votes. Still, while each single vote doesn’t count for much, many single votes do; so it is important that I vote and that I work to help others vote the correct way.
I was not quick, though, to get out my credit card or to write in behalf of Trump. In fact, when I saw that several individuals I highly admire had made public commitments to Trump, I didn’t know how they could be so disregardful of what that was doing to their reputations and what would happen to their reputations if he becomes president and turns out to be a terrible president. The media has smeared Trump supporters as racist, xenophobic, and sexist with all sorts of other deplorable qualities — and who wants to be painted with that brush? Certainly Trump is very likely to do some and maybe even many things I really don’t want to see done. Yet, after more reflection, I decided I had to join those willing to put their reputations at risk for the common good. If those of us who have been thought to be trustworthy guides to good decision-making become discounted because of our support of Trump, I hope that eventually people will realize what we did was wise even if the results are against our hopes and wishes. Our aim is to stop Hillary, a much surer threat to all that is good.
I have taken several positions in my life that have ruined my reputation in some circles and enhanced it in others – it seems this is another time that it will be worth it. I do believe the future of this country will suffer for a very long time if Hillary is elected.
Responses to counter-arguments
For a couple of weeks I have been discussing various issues on Facebook with people who think it wrong to vote for Trump. I truly hope “NeverTrumpers” will prayerfully reconsider. Especially those who have a lot of influence with others.
Let me address some of their points, though most every point can be answered the same way. Yes, Trump is bad because of X, BUT HILLARY IS WORSE.
We can’t do evil to achieve good
That is certainly true: we should never do evil to achieve good. But voting for the less bad candidate is not doing evil. In fact, it is what we often do. Although sometimes we really admire our candidates and want them in office, often we are not truly enthusiastic supporters of candidates: we just think they are better than the alternative.
Voting by its very nature is an “instrumental” act: a means to an end. Voting is most commonly the act of choosing the best option among the viable options available. It is not an endorsement of the candidate’s character or even his or her positions. Many, many considerations may factor into one’s vote. Many of those concern “contingencies,” that is, making the best possible judgments about what the candidate is likely to do. And those judgments can be based on what the candidate has done in the past, on what the candidate has said, on what one thinks about the candidate’s character, or on the testimonies of those one trusts (and perhaps other factors.) There is no complete certainty about these judgments, but one can have what is known as “moral certitude,” which means that one has very good evidence that a given outcome will occur.
But, of course, moral certitude is often not possible. In those instances, it is justifiable to vote according to one’s best judgment which might have very little certitude but represents the best that one can do with the knowledge one has.
In this freakish election cycle we have two wretched candidates but, in my view, Hillary is manifestly more wretched and more dangerous.
Trump is not qualified to be president (but he is impeachable!)
I’m inclined to agree with that assessment. But NEITHER IS HILLARY. She is a felon. She has given favors to our enemies to fill her own coffers. The fact that she got away with using a private server for classified mail, an act for which others are quite immediately convicted, shows she is untouchable. It is not inconceivable that Trump could get impeached if he did something awful. The Republicans hate him and, while they may be willing to work with him, they might well be happy to ditch him if the opportunity arises.
By contrast, Hillary is supported foursquare by her party, its institutions, and its elected officials, who would not support her impeachment even if she were caught personally leading a burglary at the RNC. Neither candidate is fit for office, but only one candidate has a chance at being removed for unfitness.
How strange it is to argue that we should vote for the impeachable candidate, but we should.
The GOP will never recover from a Trump presidency
I am not certain the GOP is worthy of saving, but I suspect Trump losing might be just as bad or worse for the GOP as winning. He will likely start a third party that neither I nor any of my friends would ever join. The GOP did not properly regroup after the election of Obama; why should we believe they will be able to regroup after Hillary? If Congress manages to pass some worthy legislation under Trump (such as the repeal of Obamacare), they may become a viable party again – though my more in-the-know Republican friends tell me the GOP is too divided for these things to happen. I hope that we at least get some decent Supreme Court justices and more protection for the life of the unborn and for religious liberty. Those may be long shots, but they are not outside the realm of possibility, in my view.
After a Hillary presidency, we might not be able to regroup or form a new and better third party. Freedom of speech and action may be so curtailed that we can no longer build the support needed to stop her and her ilk. If she succeeds in closing Catholic institutions and preventing freedom of speech, how will we educate others to think correctly so as to be able to counter her? Countries who fall under the rule of tyrannical relativists take centuries to recover. We are foolish to think it couldn’t happen here.
But isn’t Trump just awful?
Yes, he is in many respects — and in some really distressing respects. I make no excuses for his behavior – a lot of which is very objectionable. I wish he weren’t the only viable alternative to Hillary — but he is. Some people think he is more open to conversion and growth than Hillary. I hope he is but I try to base my decisions on who the person is now. And even now, as wretched as Trump is, he is better than Hillary.
There is no reason to think he will be faithful to his prolife pledges
Well, maybe yes, maybe no, but we can be sure Hillary will be faithful to hers. She will do everything she can to make abortion more accessible – up until birth. She will try to make abortions free and will appoint pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court – she may have up to 4 appointments. Yes, Republicans have made bad appointments; we have been duped. But Republicans have made some good ones too. Hillary will try her best to nominate those who pro-lifers will consider to be the worst possible candidates. Trump has presented a fantastic list of names from which he shall choose. Moreover, some very dedicated pro-lifers have met with Trump and endorsed him. He has been vetted by those I trust and he has made specific plans. Again, against Hillary’s plans, I will take my risks with Trump. Finally, note that Trump was the ONLY person to speak against abortion at the Al Smith diner. That was a bold step and not clearly calculated to get him votes.
His followers are terrible people
Some are, for sure, though we must remember how the media is slanting things towards Hillary. Indeed, Hillary is even responsible for much of the violence at his events – she went to far as to send thugs to threaten women at Trump’s events. But, yes, there are racists and sexists and xenophobes among his supporters. Of course, they exist in Hillary’s ranks, too, but the difference is that Trump’s are working class and Hillary’s are the elite. But I am not voting for Trump because I want to advance his “movement.” I want to stop Hillary.
Some people say it is a mortal sin to vote for Trump; some say it is a mortal sin not to; some say it is a mortal sin to vote for Hillary.
I think the very act of voting for a candidate in itself can rarely be a sin, let alone a mortal sin. That is not to say that sin can’t be involved. Mortal sin must involve grave matter, and I don’t think a single vote can have that kind of impact. But sin is a matter not just of the external act performed. It is also a matter of the intention. If a person votes for a pro-abortion candidate because he/she wants more babies killed by abortion, the will of that person is severely disordered and the sin is in the attitude that accompanies the vote rather than in the vote itself.
Indeed, sometimes it might be a good thing to vote for a pro-abortion candidate when, for instance, both candidates are equally pro-abortion but one is much better on other important issues. Or when one thinks the pro-abortion candidate has many other terrific proposals and won’t really make much of a difference in respect to abortion.
Believe me, I think it is rare that someone should vote for a pro-abortion candidate, for a person with several personality disorders, or for a person who has lived an immoral life (I think Hillary is all of these and Trump some). But one cannot make blanket statements that we can never vote for this or that candidate. Context can force us to make choices we wouldn’t otherwise make.
Voting certainly has moral dimensions of many kinds. If I vote for a swindler who will pass laws that benefit other swindlers and not for the common good, that both reveals my character and solidifies it. Holding one’s nose and voting for someone one really doesn’t want to see in office, but whom one understands to be better than the alternative, can reveal and solidify a good character. Such a person has the virtue of prudence and values the common good over one’s own reputation.
Trump will lead us into a world war and international conflicts.
I don’t really know how to assess this claim. Many speak of Trump as isolationist and Hillary as hawkish. Some fear that Trump’s taunting and combative ways might lead other countries to be readier to wage war against us. I understand that. But more military folk seem to support Trump and prefer to have him at the helm. He promises to strengthen the military which generally makes war less likely. Putin has endorsed Trump and that makes me think he wants Hillary to win. Furthermore, it is arguable that Hillary has done more to assist our enemies than to thwart them. People are guessing here, so it seems to me. Those who are convinced Trump will more likely lead us into war should not vote for him (thought the death toll from Hillary’s support for abortion may be higher), but I haven’t seen evidence that convinces me .
My conscience is revolted at the thought of voting for Trump. You shouldn’t question the judgment of my conscience.
The Church teaches that we must always choose in accord with our consciences, and that our consciences should be properly formed. In the case where there is settled Church teaching on a matter, a Catholic should form his/her conscience in accord with that (i.e., no fornication).
But there are many decisions that require prudence, which means assessing many factors, often foremost among them the certain or likely consequences of an action. In voting, that is very much what must take place. Voters must educate themselves about the candidates and vote for the one who will do a better job of governing.
Not voting or voting for a third party candidate completely unlikely to win can sometimes be a good choice, if both more viable candidates likely to win are equally bad. That vote is a “sending a message” vote. Those who live in states which Hillary will win by a landslide might wish to use their votes that way, since a vote from Trump will do no good.
Much of the disagreement between individuals who agree on fundamentals, but think it is right to vote for different candidates, results from different evaluations of the likely consequences of voting for a candidate. Some very devout Catholics think Trump is worse; others think Hillary is worse; others think they are both so evil that it would be wrong to vote for either one.
Is there no way of adjudicating these differences? Must we say, “We must all vote our consciences and thus agree to disagree?”
No, not before a lot of discussion takes place.
We must work to flesh out all the considerations that are influencing our votes. We must follow the news and bring out the facts as they are disclosed. It is possible that such a process will lead to a clear conclusion that one candidate is better than another.
[It should go without saying that none of us can be absolutely certain that we are correct, and thus should have some humility in insisting that it is altogether clear what the right choice is.]
Now, certainly, even if all the objective evidence clearly points to one candidate being better than another, not everyone (who agrees on fundamentals) will agree that the evidence is objectively clear. What accounts for the disagreement?
Some people are incapable, for various reasons, of evaluating evidence correctly. They may have irrational fears about some matter, for instance. If they are innocent of not recognizing and overcoming those fears, they would not be culpable for their poor choice. (This is invincible ignorance.)
But some people may be culpable; their inability to choose correctly may be the result of some character flaw, such as stubbornness, which prevents them from changing a position already taken even in view of the clear evidence. (This is vincible ignorance.)
Would some people be justified in not voting for the clear choice? Could their consciences be rightly leading the to make a choice different from the objectively correct choice? And thus they would be justified in saying “My conscience tells me to vote for X, so please respect my conscience.”
Yes, sometimes this can happen. As I have stated, one single vote in our culture is quite an inconsequential thing. One vote has little impact on the whole. If it would create serious marital disharmony to support a candidate, then it could be a wise matter not to verbally support or vote for that candidate. Voting is a private act so it is possible that one could vote for a candidate one has not “supported”. Still, one might very much want to answer one’s spouse truthfully who asks, “For whom did you vote?” In that instance, a vote for the poorer candidate could be justified. Example two: a person who works in place where he would lose all credibility with his coworkers shouldn’t show support for a candidate. (Note, though, those who are voting in accord with some personal standard that overrides the objective standard should not be trying to get others to vote the way they are going to vote.)
Yes, we must all vote our consciences even when they are wrong (though we should not believe they are wrong!). We must do everything to shape them and vote accordingly.
One last question: suppose one agrees that all the evidence points to one candidate as clearly being the right choice but one still cannot move one’s self to vote for that person. Would it be wrong not to vote for that person? I suspect not. It may well be that one has a strong intuition of an obstacle to voting that one has not yet identified and sometimes it is right to heed those intuitions, though one should be careful not to use them as an excuse for failing to do what one knows to be right.
I believe the evidence manifestly points to Hillary as the vastly inferior candidate and a tremendously dangerous one. It is to be much lamented that the only viable alternative to her is the reprehensible Trump.
While I am voting for Trump, advocating for Trump, donating to Trump-friendly organizations, I am not praying that Trump will win. I am praying that God will use whomever we elect to lead this country to respect His laws. I know He often writes with crooked lines…