By Josh Hammer
“It’s a binary choice,” quoth the cultists, “and you are either with us or you are against us.”
Today, I am seeing an equally insipid argument advanced in pockets of the Internet. Presented by unapologetic Hillary shills, the argument attempts to take this Trumpkin sentiment to its logical extreme in the other direction: #NeverTrump conservatives and #NeverHillary Leftists (who allegedly exist beyond a negligible coterie of pot-smoking, tree-hugging malcontents, I am told) alike must both affirmatively vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in order to stave off the perception that they are somehow lending tacit support to the demagogic carnival barker that the Party of Lincoln has, indeed, just formally nominated for President of the United States.
This is an unserious argument advanced by people—mostly Democratic Party partisans—who should know better, and I want to address it.
First, let me put my own cards on the table. As I wrote yesterday in explaining why I plan to write in Ted Cruz’s name on the presidential line on my ballot this November:
Like many of my fellow constitutional conservatives, I oppose both Hillary Clinton and her old donor Donald Trump. I oppose a catastrophically corrupt, race-baiting*, plutocratic socialist who serially undermined American national security and lied to the faces of the families of Benghazi victims, and I also oppose a borderline-deranged, Kremlin-tainted, quasi—fascistic, fraudulent orange cult leader. As between Ebola and HIV, I choose neither. I am firmly both #NeverHillary and #NeverTrump.*
I genuinely do not understand why people make this out to be more complicated than it really is. “Voting pragmatists” can falsely define the purported binary choice for me all they want, and they can throw all the public choice theory and strategic voting theory at me that they want. Go for it. But that does not change the underlying reality that to cast a vote in a representative democracy is not merely to follow the homo economicus rationality framework of maximizing an idiosyncratic utility function subject to (truly abysmal, this election cycle) existing constraints; to cast a vote is also to affirmatively make a moral judgment. When you (proverbially, mostly, nowadays) pull that ballot lever to cast a vote, you are not just voting against the others who appear on the ballot line. You are also making a moral judgment that the person you are voting for deserves your support to be President of the United States. To be Commander-in-Chief of the greatest fighting force in the history of mankind. To lead the post-World War II global order. To lead the free world.
It is really that simple.
As my friend Kyle Foley of RedState wrote on Facebook, this morning:
When you vote for President, you are not casting a vote against someone. When you vote, you are casting a vote in support of someone.
You are casting a vote in support of their ideals, their character, their experience. Your name is attached to that candidate for better or for worse, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that.
If you affirmatively vote for Donald Trump—a catastrophically uninformed, demagogic blowhard whom I have personally written has a 10-15% chance of being a legitimate proto-fascist—as President of the United States, you will have to live with that decision for the rest of your life. But similarly, if you affirmatively vote for Hillary Clinton—a decades-long brutally corrupted socialist who has expressly used the levers of government to enrich herself and her God-forsaken cronies, pathologically lied to the American people over her chicanery on the email scandal, almost certainly belongs in jail for having clearly broken federal criminal law and repeatedly undermining U.S. national security interests, capitulated to the world’s worst actors as Secretary of State and directly abetted Putin revanchism in Eastern Europe, increased Chinese militancy in the South China Sea, the slaughter fields of Syria, the rise of Islamic State, and the second-Holocaust aspiring genocidal would-be nuclear sharia theocrats in Tehran alike, and who literally lied to the the families of slain Benghazi victims whilst those victims’ dead bodies still laid in rest in American flag-draped coffins—then you will also have to live with that decision for the rest of your life, too.
So stop taking the moral high ground here, Hillary apologists. You have no moral high ground—even as it applies to the few economically illiterate Bernie Sanders acolytes who now refuse to vote for your own party’s deeply unfit nominee. And stop making this out to be a binary choice amongst the “lesser of two evils.” It is patently nonsense, and at some point, that framework defeat its very own purpose.
There is a reason that, despite my firmly being #NeverTrump—and for a reminder of the enduring need for that stance even as the orange-hued clown is now officially the GOP’s nominee, read David French’s great take this morning—I have written that taking cyanide is preferable to affirmatively voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next President of the United States. Her list of scandals is legendary. Her zealous enthusiasm for the prenatal abattoir lobby is striking. Her eponymous family foundation’s ties to the world’s worst actors, including leading Sunni jihadi exporters such as the Qatari government, are well-known. She race-baits just like Trump, and would usher in an equally pernicious societal atomism. She is no less a serial liar than is Trump. While Trump is ignorant of the Constitution, she brazenly advocates violation of its timeless ethos. And yes, she should almost certainly be in jail.
“But what if your vote singularly decides the election?” Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this gem. Well, guess what? As Jonah Goldberg pointed out, some hypotheticals simply do not need to be answered:
My vote won’t decide the election. And I am not bound by hypotheticals like that … I can come up with an endless number of hypothetical choices between two horrible options.
That’s it! Not complicated! I don’t need to think about answering silly hypotheticals—and, in fact, when I am presented with this one, I answer precisely the same way as does Jonah: which is to say, I avoid it. As between Ebola and HIV, I choose neither. And it is to the Left’s great shame that there does not exist a greater-than-fringe #NeverHillary movement that mirrors the Resistance on the Right. Some of us on the Right are fighting back against this election cycle’s ignoble race to the bottom. Where, exactly, is the equivalent movement on the Left?
So no, Hillary apologists, I can view Donald Trump as a true menace—as the very demagogue the Founders feared—and still vehemently oppose your own truly putrid candidate. She is that bad, and you are blinded by your own form of partisanship if you cannot see that. I will not be tainted by being morally complicit in the election of either one of these positively immoral, pathologically lying, fraudulent Statists to the highest office in the free world. I oppose both Hillary Clinton and her old donor Donald Trump, and I look forward to writing in Ted Cruz’s name for President of the United States this November.