What do conservatives do when there is no conservative candidate?
I watched Donald Trump serially blast apart all my preferred candidates — Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — as if for sport they were sent up in succession as clay pigeons. And now the November Rubicon — vote for Donald Trump, or stay home and de facto vote for Hillary Clinton — is uncomfortably close. Most of the arguments pro and con have been aired ad nauseam.
The choice is difficult for principled conservatives, because no sooner should they decide to vote for Trump than Trump will surely say something outrageous, cruel, or crude that would ostensibly now have their imprimatur on it. And note, this matters to conservatives much more than it does to liberals. Few Obama supporters at Harvard or the Ford Foundation or the New York Times worried much in 2008 that their candidate had dismissed his own generous grandmother as a “typical white person” or that he tried to get away with airbrushing out the obscene Reverend Wright and mythologized his close friendships with reprobates like Bill Ayers and Father Michael Pfleger.
Aside from his dubious political loyalties, Trump persists in being mean-spirited. He seems uninformed on many of the issues, especially those in foreign policy; he changes positions, contradicts himself within a single speech, and uses little more than three adjectives (tremendous, great, and huge). But the problem with many of these complaints is that they apply equally to both the current president and the other would-be next president. When Hillary Clinton, playing to the green vote, bragged that she would put miners out of work, and then, when confronted with an out-of-work miner, backtracked and lied about her earlier boast, we had a refined version of Trump’s storytelling. The Clinton Foundation’s skullduggery and Hillary’s e-mail shenanigans seem to trump the Trump University con — and involve greater harm to the nation. Her combination of greedy Wall Street, for-profit schmoozing and paint-by-the-numbers progressivism is repulsive.
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