I recently urged those of us who can to tell others how we’re voting for president this year. I promised to do the same. I’ll be voting for President Trump.
I’m not saying you should cast the same vote. I’ve made the choice I think is best for the long-term freedom and welfare of our nation and my family. You could do the same, and vote differently.
If your vote differs from mine, I’ll still respect you as a person, and I won’t accuse you of being more loyal to your ideology than to your loved ones, or valuing politics more than you value truth itself.
If we vote differently and your guy wins, I’ll pray with all my American heart that you were right. If my guy wins, I’ll pray I wasn’t wrong.
I wonder what we’ll think of this moment two years from now, or five or ten.
Meanwhile, I’m not here to convince undecided voters or change anyone’s mind. So I won’t be explaining every point to my own satisfaction — or yours, probably. My first draft included what felt like a bare minimum of explanation. Then I cut it in half.
I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016, and I’m more than reluctant to vote for him in 2020. But my thinking goes like this.
I cannot vote this Democratic Party any more power in our government. I’ll explain in the next section.
I don’t mean I could never support a Democrat for president. Give me Joe Lieberman at the top of the 2020 Democratic ticket and watch me smile. Give me Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) instead, and I’d be sorely tempted.
I cannot vote for Joe Biden, of which more below.
I could vote for no one. I almost didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential race. I couldn’t vote to elevate the corrupt Clinton machine to power again, and I rejected you-know-who, the GOP’s alternative.
I could vote for a third party candidate, but I don’t see one I like. Besides, I did that last time, and it didn’t end well.
Or I could vote for President Trump.
Joe Biden’s Party
I have certain complaints about the current Democratic Party. Here are some highlights.
To summarize a long, complex story, we now know that senior Democratic leadership and other high officials conspired, with the help of Russian sources and abetted by most of the American news media, to cripple or topple President Trump with false evidence and false charges of colluding with Russia. Along the way, among other misconduct, senior officials made numerous false statements under oath, to the FISA court, to justify wiretaps.
The two-year Mueller investigation found no collusion (a result they knew early in the investigation), despite the investigators being eager Hillary Clinton donors. By the time the House impeached the President, the Russian hoax was so discredited that they didn’t include it in the Articles of Impeachment. But they still argued that impeachment was necessary, because “we know” he cheated in the 2016 election, which means he’ll cheat in 2020.
Highly-placed Democrats still say publicly that President Trump colluded with Russia to throw the election, and sometimes even that he’s a Russian agent. This tells me that Democratic leadership values power above truth. They stick to their lies even as the truth becomes widely known.
I will not vote more power to this party.
House Democrats impeached the President of the United States on the basis of a creative reading of a phone call transcript. Supposedly President Trump hinted — very vaguely, if at all, according to the actual record — that promised US aid to Ukraine was contingent on Ukraine resuming its investigation of Burisma, a natural gas company which is a key player in alleged corruption by the Biden family. Notably, Ukraine didn’t resume the investigation, and we sent the aid anyway.
Biden family corruption involving other nations was not a new theme; it came up near the end of the Obama administration in State Department communications, reporting by The New York Times, and elsewhere. One staggering irony of this drama is that we already had Joe Biden on video, bragging to the Council on Foreign Relations that he threatened the Ukrainian President: the US would withhold a billion dollars of promised aid if Ukraine didn’t immediately fire a chief prosecutor who was investigating corruption at Burisma. They fired the prosecutor, and we sent the aid.
We now know that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Adam Schiff suppressed exculpatory evidence in the impeachment. We know he lied about the contents of the call transcript, before it was released. We know he blocked witnesses for the President from testifying in the impeachment hearings. We know he instructed witnesses who did testify that they didn’t have to answer questions from Republican members of the committee.
Due process is one of our most important ways of determining the truth, but here was no pretense of due process. Chairman Schiff’s party leadership did not denounce, discipline, or remove him for these public abuses of truth and due process, or even for embarrassing them in front of the voters. They cheered him on. Nearly every Democrat in Congress (Tulsi Gabbard and a couple of others to the contrary) voted to impeach or convict, in the House and Senate respectively, largely on the basis of his corrupt work.
Impeachment was just the next gambit. When it failed, they moved on. It didn’t even come up at the Democratic National Convention, as a reason not to vote for the President.
I will not vote more power to this party.
COVID-19 spread from China, where official misconduct bordered on an act of war by the Chinese Communist Party (the Chinese government) — but the Democrats would have us blame President Trump entirely. The Trump administration’s response is the worst of any country’s, they say — which might be a fitting counter to the President’s vexing hyperboles, if our chief concern were poetic justice, but it doesn’t fit the facts. For example, numerous modern European nations have higher COVID-19 death rates than the United States.
It’s increasingly clear that major Democratic cities and states are staying locked down to impede an economic recovery which would improve President Trump’s reelection prospects. The Democrats claim to be the party of science, but even science now says lockdowns are doing more harm than good (as some said from the beginning, and were reviled).
Every so often they tip their hand. A California official says they’ll consider reopening schools after the election. New York says it will wait until a few days after the election to release data it already has about the carnage in New York nursing homes, thus delaying full exposure of the Andrew Cuomo administration’s role in many thousands of deaths.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats have repeatedly blocked further economic aid to American workers and businesses, to deny the President a political victory before the election.
They put advancing their own power above the welfare of millions of Americans.
I will not vote more power to this party.
Antifa and Violence
Preserving public order is arguably the most basic government function — but we’ve seen Democrat officials abdicate even that duty, to advance their Party’s prospects of seizing vast political power in and after the 2020 election.
“Mostly peaceful” protestors peacefully destroyed dozens of businesses and other buildings in Minneapolis and elsewhere. They peacefully murdered law enforcement officers. They peacefully set fire to an occupied apartment building in Virginia, having already prepared to block firefighters’ approach. They peacefully set fire to the front of a Seattle police precinct, after attempting to barricade the rear exits with concrete.
Night after night for months, after genuinely peaceful protesters went home, criminals committed mayhem in Portland, peacefully blinding law enforcement personnel with lasers (not mere laser pointers), peacefully hitting them in the head with various objects, including a sledgehammer or two; and on and on.
We watched in vain for leading Democrats to condemn the perpetrators. Instead, they encouraged them; collected funds to help them; denied the existence of the violence, then its severity; tried to blame right-wing extremists; and tried to blame President Trump directly. In the Democratic National Convention we watched in vain for one word condemning or even acknowledging the violence. We heard a few words on that theme later, when it became clear that the violence was hurting Joe Biden’s electoral prospects.
I don’t believe all Democrats or even all leading Democrats are sympathetic to, let alone allied with, Antifa or the violent leftist revolutionary cause generally. I believe Antifa and Democratic leaders are using each other — Antifa thinking it can use the Democratic Party to advance its revolution, and the Party believing or fearfully hoping it can restrain Antifa enough (while pretending it only exists as “an idea”) that the violence will help, not hurt, Democrats in November and beyond.
I will not vote more power to this party.
The Politicization of Science
Just as politics corrupts religion, when it intrudes into religion, so it corrupts science. As I wrote recently, “Science … moves slowly, at the speed of experiment, data collection, analysis, and peer review, not at the speed of electronic press releases. We learn one piece of a complex picture at a time. Often enough, we have to unlearn or adjust it later in the face of better data or better analysis. … Science (when it’s being scientific) continually adjusts its conclusions as new data arrives. Politics (or science when it’s corrupted by politics) tends to cling to and enforce an early, politically convenient view despite new data.”
The internal and external politicization of science has impeded and confused our response to COVID-19. It has corrupted our understanding and consideration of climate change and other concerns. Both sides of our politics are guilty, but only one party has prominent officials demanding the trial and conviction of dissenters from its orthodoxy. Only one party has its uncloseted allies among the Big Tech oligarchs suppressing opposing views on social media. Once again, we see a long-standing, systemic commitment to power at the expense of truth and the processes by which we discover truth.
I will not vote more power to this party.
Democrats on Capitol Hill, among others, have long wanted and now openly scheme to dismantle key parts of our constitutional protections for the rights of minorities, as soon as they control both houses of Congress and the White House.
I don’t mean just racial or ethnic minorites. I mean any political minority — in the sense of “democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding who’s for dinner.” They speak openly of dismantling the Electoral College, which helps to prevent large states running roughshod over small states. They talk of completing the abolition of the filibuster in the Senate, adding new states to tilt the partisan balance of the Senate their way for elections to come, and adding new seats to the US Supreme Court for the same purpose.
Their hostility to essential freedoms of speech, religion, press, and assembly, are increasingly public.
They also speak seriously of implementing “the Great Reset,” which would involve a massive transfer of power and freedom from the American people at large (among others) to a faction convinced of its moral and intellectual superiority, and therefore its right to rule.
I cannot vote more power to this party.
Joe Biden Himself
I’ve watched Joe Biden since 1987, when I worked at the US Senate for a semester and he newly chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. I don’t believe he’s a committed leftist (socialist). I do believe he’s malleable, and I’ve watched him for decades, as he’s pursued power at the expense of truth and due process.
He has never been a strong presidential candidate. Now his mental faculties are slipping to the point that I have to ask: If he’s elected, who will run the country? It likely won’t be the Vice President, until the ailing President is formally removed. Who will make major decisions in his name? In the United States of America, it’s supposed to be an elected president.
Quite apart from his emerging corrupt ties to two of these nations, I don’t believe Joe Biden has the spine to stand up to China, Russia, and Iran. Or that he, a supposed moderate, could resist the leftist excesses of the people who successfully pressured him to embrace Bernie Sanders’ agenda in the Democratic platform.
He refuses to answer crucial questions about his policies and plans before the election. In one recent, cringeworthy moment, he said we voters don’t deserve to know. His whole case is that he’s a nice guy (some genuinely think so), a regular guy (absurd, but then again, the other guy’s a billionaire), and Orange Man Bad.
I wish Joe Biden well personally; I wish him courage, strength, and comfort for what he, like many others, faces in his declining years. But I can’t vote for him.
Reasons Not To Vote for President Trump
Here are the top reasons I hear from friends and media alike for voting against Donald Trump.
Threat to Democracy, Wannabe Dictator
They say President Trump is an existential threat to our democracy, and he wants to be a dictator.
Set aside, for now, his opposition’s desires for vastly expanded power over Americans, and their well-known recent excesses in its use.
If President Trump proposes to be a dictator, he’s historically bad at it.
He’s rolled back thousands of pages of federal regulation, which past administrations imposed without Congressional action, thus decreasing his own power.
He’s spoken and tweeted harshly about the media, yes — but real dictators shut down news organizations and kill journalists, even in the 21st century. Meanwhile, Americans aren’t afraid to publish the most awful things about him; I never knew of a dictator who would endure that for years.
He offered federal forces to combat violence in Democratic cities, but only sent them when they were invited, or to protect specific federal facilities. When rebuffed, he cajoled, called out, and even threatened, but — unlike many past presidents — he didn’t invoke existing federal authority to act unilaterally against insurrection.
While heads of state around the world and governors and mayors in some states have taken COVID-19 as a pretext to increase their powers dramatically, he has largely deferred to the states. He even mostly avoided using the legal authority he has to command US industry in a crisis, preferring an aggressive but more cooperative, coordinating approach.
While calling for the economy to be reopened nationwide, he has not tried to order it reopened. (The states have that authority.) By contrast, his opponent has promised a nationwide mask order and a nationwide lockdown, on presidential authority which doesn’t exist — at least not yet.
Consider this sampling of acts which sent the President’s opposition into frenzies of accusation:
- He fired an FBI director who by law serves at the pleasure of the President. In impeaching him they argued that acting within his legal authority in this case constituted obstruction of justice. They said he did so to impede an investigation of himself, but the investigation continued. Mere months earlier, the Democrats had called for James Comey’s firing — and we’ve since learned that he was up to his eyeballs in the Russian hoax, which threatened democracy by attempting to cripple if not topple a duly elected President of the United States.
- He ordered his staff to look for legal means to deny some funding to states and cities which refused to address ongoing violence in their streets. To me this displays an inclination to act within the law, not defy it.
- He nominated someone to fill an election-year vacancy on the US Supreme Court. This is unprecedented, they say; but 17 of 19 times in our history, when such a vacancy occurred in an election year and the same party held the White House and Senate, a nominee was named and confirmed. The exceptions were two Lyndon Johnson nominees, who were blocked by a bipartisan filibuster. In the ten cases where a different party held the Senate, there were only six nominees, and none were confirmed. The people deserve to decide, they say. But the people elected President Trump to serve until January 20, 2021.
I think President Trump is quite a number of things I don’t like, but not a racist. When I ask people why they believe he is, here are their top arguments.
When things blew up in Charlottesville, he said some of those white supremacists were good people. But this is false; read the whole statement. He spoke — granted, in his scattered way — of good people on both sides of the debate over Confederate statues, good people who were there to protest peacefully. He even said outright that he didn’t mean “neo-Nazis and white nationalists.” Democrats have perpetuated this falsehood ever since, as Joe Biden did in a recent debate.
He said Mexican immigrants — or Hispanic immigrants generally — are rapists, murderers, etc. This is false too. He spoke specifically of criminals the Mexican government sent across (or released and allowed to cross) our border, who then committed rape and murder.
He banned Muslims from entering the country. I’m not sure how we get from religion to race here, but I hear this one a lot. President Obama ordered the same ban on people from the same Muslim countries. But more to the racial or religious point, other mostly-Muslim nations were excluded from the ban. This was about terrorism, not race or religion.
Donald Trump has been a major figure in New York City real estate for decades. I’d be surprised if his business dealings didn’t involve some corruption. I’m not excusing any corruption. But when my choice for government office is between him and a man who has engaged in government corruption for decades, especially with nations who are not altogether friendly to the United States, I’ll take the lesser and less germane of two evils, if I take one at all.
President Trump has occasionally said nice things about Vladimir Putin, causing some to accuse him of being too friendly with the Russian despot. But the Trump administration’s energy policies have been predictably disastrous for the Russian economy, which depends heavily on oil prices. Moreover, rebuilding the US military cannot please Moscow. And President Trump recently blocked the completion of a natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, which would have made western Europe much more dependent on Russia for its economic survival.
These are not the acts of Putin’s good friend.
This one I believe to a degree, and it gives me great pause. President Trump’s words and actions in this respect may be worse than Joe Biden’s; if we had complete information on both sides, we could compare. But neither has ever been convicted of rape or other sexual assault. That’s a low bar for presidential candidates, I admit. In any case, the only person on either major ticket I suspect of being chronically inclined to treat the opposite gender respectfully and to honor one’s own and others’ marriage vows is Vice President Mike Pence.
I wish we had better choices. This is a big reason why I didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016. If I thought the country would be fine either way, this would be a deal breaker for me in 2020. But I don’t think that — on long and sober reflection — and I profess to be an adult, which apparently involves doing any number of unpleasant things.
That said, I don’t take Donald Trump’s or anyone else’s misbehavior as justification for any personal misconduct on my part. Evidently that’s part of adulting too.
By the way, I haven’t seen President Trump’s tax returns. But even the highly-motivated New York Times didn’t report any violations of tax law in them, when they recently acquired them (thanks to at least one felony by someone). If I think he legally paid too little tax, my beef is with the tax law — that is, with Congress. He never served in Congress.
Sooner or later we must come to grips with the fact that we spend far more than we take in every year, and this year more than most. I blame President Trump plenty, and I could blame him more than I do for this year’s outrageous deficits, if the Democrats hadn’t demanded even more trillions be spent.
Democrats are spending massive amounts of money — again — on ads declaring that, if Republicans win, no one with preexisting conditions will be able to get health insurance. But even Republican attempts to roll back ObamaCare legislatively have included protection for people with preexisting conditions. In recent polling a majority of Republicans voters favor this protection. President Trump and most Republicans in the House and Senate favor it too. It’s unrealistic to think it’s going away, even if a Republican Congress manages to pass its own an approach to health insurance.
How many times — in how many elections and legislative battles — have Democrats said that Republicans want to destroy our health care, our air, our water, our food, our Social Security, etc.?
Preexisting conditions are safe in this election.
His Odious Personal Style
We can debate to what extent President Trump is the disease or a symptom of the disease. We might even debate to what (small) extent his bad behavior justifies others’ bad behavior. Unless we’re hard-Right or hard-Left (few Americans are), we could probably agree that the toxic tone of our politics is wrong and dangerous.
(Those of use whose political memories go back a few decades will recall Senator Joe Biden presiding over huge spikes in our national political toxicity.)
In any case, I consider many things I’ve mentioned here to be more consequential for my nation, my family, and my freedom than a candidate’s personal political style.
Sometimes you retain General Ulysses S. Grant, because he’s winning battles and consequently the war, no manner how much you and others around you dislike his manners and personal conduct. I think this is a key to President Trump’s enduring political appeal to many Americans who go to work and church (when their governments permit), care for their families, and look after their neighbors. Generally, these are not the people who rip off their shirts, set their hair on fire, and run screaming down the street whenever the First Tweeter tweets.
Tens of millions of voters see President Trump, for all his repellent flaws, standing stubbornly against an enemy which few Republican officials are or have been willing to resist for long: the arrogant and encroaching tyranny of the administrative state, which is in some measure a tyranny of the Left.
Reasons to Vote for President Trump
Some of this list has surprised me. While his personal style in office has been as odious as I anticipated, President Trump’s governance has been noticeably better than I feared and predicted.
- Through deregulation and a decent tax cut, he invigorated the US economy to a level President Obama and his minions said we’d never see again. We saw historically low unemployment among African-Americans and other minorities. We saw real, inflation-adjusted wages rise convincingly for the first time in quite a while.
- Our recovery from the self-imposed COVID-19 recession has been striking, though it’s still incomplete. It’s even more impressive when we consider that major Democrat-led states and cities are still locked down, impeding the recovery.
- He backed us out of the lopsided Paris Accord and the dangerous agreement with Iran.
- Through various means, including renegotiating dramatically unbalanced trade agreements, President Trump has reinvigorated American industries President Obama said were gone for good.
- He has stood up to China and other antagonists to a degree no recent president from either party has attempted, and with success they never saw. I can’t even imagine China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea preferring Trump over Biden.
- He’s been more reluctant than recent presidents of either party to engage US troops abroad.
- His firmness in supporting Israel has helped lead us to a remarkable season in which three Arab countries which never before recognized the nation of Israel have formally done so. This hadn’t happened since Egypt and Jordan, decades ago.
- He has invigorated the US oil and gas industry to the point that our dependency on foreign oil, and thus our vulnerability to (other) oil-producing giants such as Russia and the OPEC countries, is largely a thing of the past. This is the very industry the Democrats keep saying they want to destroy.
- He has put two or three fine justices on the US Supreme Court, judges who are inclined to judge the law, not make new law — who thereby respect the American people and Congress.
- He’s tried harder, and with more success, than any recent president of either party to get NATO countries to pay their long-agreed-upon contributions to the alliance, so American taxpayers don’t have to make up the difference.
- With the help of Senator Mike Lee and others working across the aisle to pass meaningful legislation, he’s instituted long-awaited reforms of our justice system, to the transparent benefit of African-Americans, among others.
- His real threat is not to democracy, but to bureaucracy, to the unelected administrative state which, at least collectively, claims the right to govern — which right we know belongs to the people of the United States. This, more than anything else, explains that bureaucracy’s rabid opposition.
- I want ongoing investigations of the Russia hoax and other crimes completed, not shut down and swept under the rug.
In one way I’ve gradually, grudgingly learned to admire President Trump personally: for the last four or five years, he has stood against a daily, hourly onslaught of hatred and invective, both personal and political, from many sources — and he’s still pretty much the same guy he was when he started. Granted, not all of it was false, and he has often answered disgrace with disgrace; he’s brought some of the whirlwind on himself by his manner. But over the years we’ve seen many supposed giants in America cower and retreat against a brief, tiny fraction of the same onslaught.
I consider this fortitude an essential quality in an American president now and for the foreseeable future. I haven’t seen it in Joe Biden.
My View of the Stakes
I‘m an American, with aspirations and ideals which have historically been identified as American. I still want to be an American two, four, twenty years from now — in some sense that I will recognize, beyond geography and nostalgia.
By my lights, evil has unmasked itself and stepped into the open — because it is evil to plot against human freedom, and it is evil to fight against truth and dismantle or corrupt our means of discovering it. Many don’t see the evil, because its PR department has taught us to hate their caricature of a flawed president instead. I use the word “caricature” advisedly, because the nature of caricature is to exaggerate and distort recognizable, existing features.
I will vote for the possibility of good over the certainty of evil any day.
I will vote almost any day for the party which at least believes its base wants to hear American things, over the party which avoids saying them, because its base won’t abide them. I will vote for the party which unabashedly approves flying an American flag.
An American flag.
I will vote for a president who diminishes the dignity of the presidency in some ways before I will vote for a movement which hates and wants to dismantle the American founding in favor of tyranny — again, watch for “the Great Reset” and its advocates — or for that movement’s fellow travelers, who either fear a loss of their own power if they don’t go along, or think it’s their own best path to greater or longer power.
I will vote for a President who sometimes lies and often exaggerates before I will vote power to a faction which is outright hostile to the truth; which systematically buries, distorts, and denies it in pursuit of greater power; and which can count on the eager complicity, not the eternal vigilance, of vast, partisan media empires.
I am voting in the manner which by my lights is best calculated to secure the welfare and freedom of my family and nation. I regret that this means voting for Donald Trump. For that I blame the voters, the American people, mostly the Republicans. But that’s how I’m voting, and now you know why.
What I Think Will Happen
I think (and hope) President Trump will win both the popular vote and the Electoral College by a sufficient margin to overcome both lawyerly attempts to invalidate the election and coordinated efforts to corrupt the vote.
I could be dead wrong.
I could also be wrong about how a Biden-Harris administration would play out. If they win, no one in America will be happier to have been wrong about them — if I am.
I could be wrong about President Trump’s second term, if he wins one. I hope I’m not.
It’s likely that the winner, whoever he is, will not still be in office by January 20, 2025 — but let’s leave that topic for another time.
Whoever wins, and whoever succeeds to the office after him, people who love America’s founding principles and freedom generally will have a continuing battle. The questions are how much the battlefield will be tilted against American freedom, and how well we will fight the battle, especially in our homes and schools.
Can we at least agree that some people in our politics and culture are busy fueling and encouraging hatred? We don’t have to agree that it’s one particular side (or both). For a moment I’ll think of the people I blame, and you think of the people you blame. (Perhaps you include me.)
They win a key battle in our hearts and homes, if we choose to hate or fear people in our family, community, or nation who vote differently.
Good people I love and respect are voting for Joe Biden. Good people I love and respect are voting for Donald Trump. Good people I love and respect are voting for someone else or not voting at all. This is true within my family and my neighborhood, among my friends and colleagues and beyond. Some on each side believe they are voting against evil.
We have different educations, different experiences, different ways of thinking and feeling. We have mostly similar values — but different ways of weighing and balancing our own values, when they compete. In some measure we hear different voices.
Anger and hatred are not proper responses to these differences. They’re difficult to resist, but please step back from the fray often enough and long enough to realize and consider this: none of us, save the genuinely evil, wants to be on the side that gets stronger when hatred and anger grow.
Far less important, please remember: If my vote prevents you from respecting me as a person, you’ll be in great company. But the feeling still won’t be mutual.
God bless you and yours and me and mine, and God bless America.
Thanks for reading!
Comments are always welcome, within the bounds of common civility and relevance.
If you’re on Facebook and you liked what you read here, or you hated it and think you should keep an eye on me, please consider liking my page, The Freedom Habit, on Facebook.
If you want e-mail alerts of new posts here at FreedomHabit.com, fill in your e-mail address below and click “Subscribe.”