In 2016, I was a delegate for John Kasich during the Republican presidential primary, and I wrote in Marco Rubio during the general election. This year, I wrote in Mitt Romney as my choice during the primary election. I don’t regret any of that. But today, fifty-six years after Ronald Reagan jumpstarted his political career with his famous “A Time For Choosing” speech, we find ourselves at another crossroads in American history. A binary culture war rages that is entering its critical stages, a conflict in which the Democrats are not just on the wrong side, they are the wrong side. Donald Trump, for all of his many faults, at least stands opposite to them, so on Election Day this year, I will vote against the Democrats by voting for him.
You need not remind me of the myriad things Trump has done to offend you, an uncomfortably large fraction of which is actually true. That’s why I cast the protest votes that I did. I am just as repulsed by Mr. Trump’s boorish, incorrigible behavior, and I have been as sharp a critic of the man as any conservative not named “John Bolton,” because I still believe in the archaic notion that character matters.
But it’s not the only thing that matters. Issues matter, and I’m more concerned with what affects me than what offends me, especially with so much at stake, and with the alternative being a Democratic Party dangerously wrong on almost every issue, even before it was hijacked by radicals hellbent on burning down the very institutions that made America the greatest country of all time. To be clear, this is the first election in my lifetime — really any of ours — where the future of the country is not only at stake, it is seriously in doubt.
Republicans like John Kasich, George Will, and those over in the Lincoln Project — good people, all of them — who proudly proclaim their support for Joe Biden, do so because he is at least a respectable person, support for whom allows one to maintain the esteem of respectable peers. There are worse reasons to support a candidate.
But there could not be a worse time to do so. There are times for protest votes. This is not one of them.
Joe Biden, diminished capacity and all, might be a better human being than Donald Trump. But this is not an election simply between two men, one senile and one puerile. It’s a custody battle between two different Americas, one characterized by faith, family, functionality, and personal and civic responsibility, and one characterized by dysfunction, dependence, and destruction, with traditional America struggling to survive, and the other openly hoping it does not.
Oh, but don’t worry! Democrats, after tripping over each other to run as fast and as far to the left as possible during the primary season, now reassure us about all the things a Joe Biden presidency is not going to do. It’s not going to impose new taxes on the middle class. It’s not going to pack the courts with leftists. It’s not going to impose socialism. It’s not going to destroy private health insurance. It’s not going to defund the police. It’s not going to support open borders. It’s not going to take away our guns. It’s not going to destroy the energy industry. It’s not going to cede American autonomy to multinational organizations. And it’s certainly not going to threaten our most cherished constitutional rights, like free speech! The same crowd that silences and discriminates against conservatives on campus, mocks us in the media and popular culture, and sues us in the courts for everything from praying to protesting, just wants a fairer and more equal and inclusive country, so shut the [bleep] up!
Forgetting for a moment that this has to be the first presidential campaign in history defined almost exclusively by what it promises not to do, this begs the obvious question: what, then, was the point of nominating Joe Biden, if not to gain control of the White House precisely to do those things?
And why nominate as his Vice President — whose primary function is to step in for Mr. Biden should he continue his slide from diminished to outright incapacitated — a senator with the fourth most socialist voting record in the Senate, putting her even to the left of Bernie Sanders?
When Bernie Sanders is too moderate for the Democrats, they cannot be trusted with power, and not just because of their agenda. The winning team is entitled to advance their agenda, and the other side can undo it later when they take their turn at bat. That’s the entire point of democracy.
But that presumes the playing field remains level. The problem — rather, the threat — is that these Democrats have openly championed abusing their power to game the system to consolidate their rule, by adding seats to the Supreme Court, adding new states to the union (Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia), and adding new voters chosen specifically for their likely support of Democrats, on top of destroying the Electoral College, the collective purpose of which is to make sure the pendulum never swings back to our side.
Understand that to Democrats, the checks and balances that created our freedom by demanding consensus and compromise are today seen as the very problem, not the solution, because they stand in the way of the Left unilaterally using their slim majority to remake the country into one that forever excludes the other half. Make no mistake about it: they are not interested in sharing.
We therefore cannot afford to punt this election in protest, and regroup four years from now, because the playing field may have by then changed so much that Republicans will never again be able to compete in any election, just like we already can’t compete in any major city, the entire northeast, and the entire west coast. That’s at least a function of our terrible messaging and outreach as a party and that can be remedied. But to not be able to compete, not for lack of persuasion, but for the other side’s subterfuge, threatens to create a permanent socialist regime, hellbent on retribution for the imagined sins for which we are all somehow guilty by association, and characterized by open hostility to faith, freedom, and prosperity.
It is, in short, very possible, if not outright likely, that if Republicans lose this election, we will never again win one, at least with a governing majority. And what was once a great country of limited government where lawmaking was shared or it just didn’t happen, will become one in which one group forever rules over, lives off of, and totally disregards the needs of the other, a reality already experienced by those of us in deep blue states.
So I will vote for Donald Trump, not because I like the man, but because he’s not the Democrat. And because I, unlike that once venerated party, still believe in the America that was, and I’d rather fan the fading embers of the prosperity and freedom bestowed upon us by previous generations, holding out hope that the flame can be rekindled, than deliberately extinguish what remains.
We are, as Reagan once said, the last best hope for freedom. And when the light goes out here, there will be nobody left to turn it back on.