The Supreme Court Is Not Enough to Justify Voting for Trump

Donald Trump

As far as I can tell, the unofficial slogan of Trump 2016 is “Trump is awful, but SCOTUS.” When I talk with conservative friends who are debating whether they can bring themselves to vote for him—which is most of them—Supreme Court nominations are invariably among the first things they mention. And it is not an insignificant point. The prospect of Hillary Clinton appointing the replacement for Justice Scalia, and perhaps another justice or two, is appalling. If Clinton wins this election she will be in a position to shift the court significantly leftward for a generation, and that prospect is among the most compelling reasons for an “anybody but Hillary” vote, even if that “anybody” is an immature con man with dictatorial instincts.

Because (a) I think this is a compelling argument and (b) I remain firmly in the #NeverTrump camp, I wanted to explain why I don’t believe Supreme Court nominations are a good enough reason to vote for Donald Trump.

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Two Ways to Go Wrong About Free Speech

When it comes to free speech, we’re losing our minds in multiple directions at once. On the one hand, some, mostly on the left, are crusading against unwelcome or unpleasant speech with tactics ranging from mob criticism to thuggish violence to actual state censorship. Others, mostly on the right, have reacted by dismissing civility and mutual respect as mere political correctness. It’s past time to regain the self-restraint–in our own speech and in our reactions to others–that makes free speech livable.

The urge to censor is natural. People (other people, of course) say awful, hurtful things. It is easy to see how the world would be better if that guy over there could just be shut up, and the excitement of joining together in righteous indignation to make him shut up is only an added inducement. So lives are ruined over ill-considered social media posts, controversial campus speakers are threatened and shouted down, and violent mobs assault their neighbors for the crime of attending a Donald Trump rally.

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#NeverTrump, now more than ever

So, what now?

After Donald Trump’s commanding win in Indiana last night, Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign and there is essentially no doubt left that Trump will be the Republican nominee. According to polling, a substantial portion of the Republican base says they won’t vote for him, but the “party unity” drumbeat is already beginning, with the spectre of President Hillary Clinton to add urgency to the appeal. Particularly with Supreme Court nominations at stake, it will be terribly tempting to give in and check the box for Trump, hoping against hope that the unpredictable showman will end up being at least a bit less bad than the pathologically dishonest liberal. However, despite the pull of a grudging, desperate “anyone but Hillary” vote, there is every reason, both moral and strategic, to remain #NeverTrump through November 8.

The Moral Case For #NeverTrump

I get the logic of voting for the least-bad candidate. That’s why I reluctantly voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and reluctantly voted for John McCain in 2008. But in some contests the least-bad candidate is still too bad to support in good conscience. In an election between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who would you vote for? A strategic vote against the other guy is still a vote for someone to lead your country and your fellow citizens; you’re still helping to put someone into office. In a small way, you are responsible for whatever that leader does in the office you chose them for.

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We need to pray against Donald Trump

It is time for evangelical Christians to unite to actively pray that Donald Trump does not win the Republican presidential nomination.

This isn’t about policy. The Bible leaves room for disagreement and debate over important political questions. But this is about character, and about whether serious character flaws should be disqualifying for the presidency of the United States. This is about a candidate who claims to be a Christian and asks for Christian support, yet lives a testimony of vulgarity and unrepentant sin. And it’s about our testimony, as Jesus’ followers, if Donald Trump wins with Christian votes.

When Bill Clinton was in office, we said character mattered in a president. Did we mean it? Because Donald Trump is the guy who decided that what his casino really needed was a strip club. Trump is the guy who thinks violating marriage vows is something to be proud of, boasting about “my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women.” Yet Trump says he has never asked God for forgiveness for anything.

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You should not support Donald Trump.

Perhaps you’ve heard: Donald Trump is running for president. (It’s been mentioned on the news a couple times.) Not only running, in fact, but consistently leading the polls by significant margins over his competitors in the Republican primary. Despite his awkward answers when asked about his faith at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa–he doesn’t ever ask God for forgiveness, he explained, but he does “drink my little wine” and “have my little cracker” in church–he leads among Christian voters as well as other demographics. This is embarrassing. Voting wisely is part of loving our neighbor, and Christians ought to be doing better than supporting a man who is basically the incarnation of the biblical definition of a fool.

Put aside the political question of why Republican primary voters would support a man who once described himself as “very pro-choice” on abortion, including partial-birth abortion; who once advocated universal healthcare and praised single-payer systems in other countries during last week’s debate; who used to actively support Hillary Clinton; and who was a registered Democrat until 2009. Perhaps he has simply changed his political views. All of them. Be that as it may, I am more interested in the man himself because, ultimately, a presidential election is not about a binder of policy positions–it is about a person.

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