We’ve been hearing it with increasing frequency from Sean Hannity to the next meme on Facebook: Since Trump’s nomination is supposedly inevitable, Republicans are to be quiet to line up behind him. Why? Because Hillary. We should ignore Trump’s complete lack of moral fiber–because Hillary. Forget his shady business dealings–because Hillary. We must let pass his lies, his attacks on others, and his promises to intentionally kill women and children–because Hillary. We just accept that he suddenly is against abortion even though he finds that Planned Parenthood “does wonderful things”–because Hillary.
To that, I say “Rot.” What these Trumpters are all missing is the straightforward fact that our concern in this election isn’t primarily to stop Hillary. Further, when the ideology of the Republican Party devolves into something so self-serving that it justifies anything and everything that isn’t Hillary, it has lost its meaning and, with it, its way.
When it comes to presidential politics, conservatives and Christians have spent the last few decades choosing the lesser of two evils. We’ve done it so much, we’ve come to think of it as our primary moral imperative and not as a last resort. The fact is, however, our main job as voting citizens isn’t to contort ourselves into whatever shape the spineless, lesser evil chooses to take. Our goal is to elect good men and women; people of character, worthy of trust. We are to put our votes behind the people with the honor and wisdom necessary to make decisions that will affect the lives and livelihoods of millions–perhaps billions–of people. If we fail at this, only then are our votes truly wasted.
Within that context, if the “lesser evil” is an intelligent man or woman who seriously strives to live honorably, even if falling far short, then it is possible to vote for him or her. The Bushes, McCain, Dole, Romney–such a case could be made for each of them by moral, thinking people. And that is what true conservatives have done time and again.
Unfortunately, in our rapid descent down this slippery slope, we seem to have hit a bump that many didn’t anticipate. There comes a point when the “lesser” of the evils is still too evil to be considered. I fear that we have crossed that line with the Trump candidacy. The fact is that neither Trump nor Hillary is acceptable. If this bump derails the Republican agenda, so be it. They should have taken steps years ago to arrest our “progress” by offering real, principled alternatives. I will not sacrifice my soul because Republican talking heads say Beelzebub is a viable alternative to Lucifer.
But we will continue to hear that argument. Hannity recently claimed that if his listeners “threw away” their votes on an alternative to Trump, then “you will get the government you deserve.” Codswallop. Hannity and others like him are busy throwing their votes–and their character–away on a man like Trump when they could be supporting a principled candidate like Cruz. If their voices had been united in favor of someone who we could trust in such a position, Trump would most likely be a non-issue and Hillary a distant memory. If anyone is wasting a vote, it is the person who chooses fear or greed over principle and truth. If either Trump or Hillary win, we will be getting the government that Sean Hannity deserves.
One day we will each stand before God and we will give account of our choices. I am certain that our choice for president will not be the least among them. I do not envy the person who must explain a vote for Trump. No, this election isn’t about Hillary. It’s about something much, much bigger.