Never Trump, Never Clinton

Donald Trump is now the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, after both Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the nomination race earlier this month. The departure of those two candidates effectively cleared the way for Trump to win the GOP nomination.

Some people have asked me whether or not I am now supporting Donald Trump, considering his status as the presumptive nominee. My answer is an emphatic NO.

That answer holds true even if withholding my vote from Trump means handing the election to Hillary Clinton. That desperate scenario isn’t what we’re facing now, though. There are still six months until America goes to the polls. That’s half a year. There’s plenty of time for a third party candidate to come out onto the national stage, or for something else to happen that shakes up the presidential election.

Here’s why I still refuse to back Trump. 

In March, my favored candidate Marco Rubio dropped out of the GOP race, and I switched my support to Cruz. That decision was, I think, analogous to buying oatmeal raisin cookies because the grocery store was out of chocolate chip cookies.

Cruz and Rubio both share very similar policy positions. According to, their political viewpoints line up with mine more than 90% of the time. Although Cruz was not the perfect candidate, I was still willing to back him.

The similarities between Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are demographic, biographical, and ideological. Both are young Cuban-American conservatives who won election to the U.S. Senate by defeating more established Republican politicians. They agree on nearly everything. Listening to them now, though, you would think their worldviews are fundamentally at odds. Cruz’s version of Rubio is an amnesty-loving warmonger; Rubio’s version of Cruz is a pandering isolationist. In reality, the candidates disagree more on political strategy than on policy.

— Ramesh Ponnuru on National Review

Just a week or two ago, Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP race, along with John Kasich. Since then, some have suggested that I switch my support to Trump, just as I switched my support from Rubio to Cruz in March. I cannot do so in good conscience.

Switching my support from Cruz to Trump is not adequately explained by the analogy of replacing one kind of cookie with another. It’s more analogous to restocking your cookie jar with rat poison, because the grocery store was out of cookies.

As I explain in detail here, a Trump presidency would devastate America, especially our relations with other nations. That doesn’t minimize the fact that President Trump would wreck basically our entire nation – our foreign policy is just the specific area of America’s policy that has the dubious honor of the policy area that was most efficiently destroyed by the Trump administration.

Trump and I also diverge on many different policy issues. When I made the decision to back Cruz, the choice was made easier by the fact that the policy differences between Rubio and Cruz (such as they were) were not differences that I really cared about. That’s not true when comparing Cruz to Trump.

It matters to me whether my president has at least a basic working knowledge of America’s nuclear capabilities. It matters to me whether my president respects the freedom and equality of all religious groups, including Muslims. It matters to me whether my president is capable of a strong and consistent stand on life. It matters to me whether my president can stand up to judicial activism, and fight for the traditional definition of marriage.

Some have made the argument that all #NeverTrump’ers are basically voting for Hillary Clinton. That’s absolutely not true. Withholding my support from Trump does not at all mean that I give that support to Clinton. Refusing to use rat poison to stock your cookie jar doesn’t mean you’re choosing to replace your cookies with death angel mushrooms. I continue to vehemently oppose the idea of a Clinton presidency.

In the coming weeks, I will be examining several third party candidates, in order to pick an alternative to Trump and Clinton. I will be analyzing which one matches my political views most accurately, and is the most viable candidate to take on both Clinton and Trump in November. Once I pick one, I’ll be back to write a post detailing the reasons for my choice.


Header photo originally from BBC News. Used under the fair use doctrine for nonprofit educational purposes.

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