Those of us who’ve pledged that we will never, ever vote for Donald Trump always get the same response: “You’d put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office instead?” Clinton’s name is spoken like an epithet, as if it’s unthinkable that any conservative would take any single action that could facilitate her election. I will not, under any circumstances, vote for Clinton, but I also do not believe that Trump would make a better president. Not because Clinton isn’t as bad as you think, but because Trump is worse than you imagine.
There’s no real difference in character between the two. They lie as easily as they breathe: habitually, transparently, shamelessly. Hillary lies like a lawyer, always parsing her words to provide a legal escape route. Trump lies like a thug, contradicting himself with each successive breath and daring anyone to call him on it. They both seek to destroy their political opponents, and they’d probably both wield the levers of power to do so and to reward their friends. In other words, they’re both fundamentally corrupt.
We know what we’ll get from Clinton when it comes to foreign policy. She’s an internationalist interventionist with more muscular instincts than Barack Obama and less resolve than George W. Bush. She voted for the Iraq invasion but then went wobbly as the war dragged on. She backed the surge in Afghanistan, advocated intervention in Libya, and was famously more skeptical of the Arab Spring than Obama. Her “reset” with Russia was a disaster, but she’ll broadly back American allies, maintain our stewardship of NATO, and keep our other international commitments.
Trump’s foreign policy, insofar as he has a coherent foreign policy, is by contrast an entire casserole of crazy. At various points in the campaign, he’s promised that he’d order the military to commit war crimes by torturing terrorists and killing their families; he’s called our core alliances in question; he’s pledged to remain neutral in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; and he’s switched anti-ISIS strategies so many times that no one has the slightest clue what he’d do. This is a man who has on multiple occasions endorsed a “bomb them all and take their oil” strategy for fixing the war-torn Middle East. He’d alienate every Muslim ally America has, including the Kurds, and he’s still completely mystified by the most basic defense concepts. The entire world would be less secure with his finger on the button.
But virtually everything we do know about Trump is negative. He lies. He traffics in far-left conspiracy theories. He incites violence. He surrounds himself with thugs, cronies, and fools. He’s ignorant of the most basic realities of national security, foreign policy, and global economics. He has a decades-long record of corruption and a decades-long record of liberalism. In arguing that he’s better than Clinton, his supporters now ask us to trust his current “conservative” incarnation and disregard that record. We don’t really know how he’ll handle immigration, trade, ISIS, abortion, or judges. But trust him. He’ll do better.
Hillary Clinton is the most beatable likely Democratic nominee since John Kerry, and the GOP is poised to nominate the one man least likely to beat her, and the one man who would be just as bad in the White House. I don’t vote for despicable people. I don’t vote for leftists. And I will never, ever, vote for Donald Trump. He’s no better than she is.
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