John Adams was right. “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other.” On Tuesday, you have an opportunity to demonstrate the character of the American people. In our nation’s most religious region — in the party where most of the Christian voters are concentrated — it is now up to you to demonstrate that your commitment to character and integrity and truth itself is more important to you than your rage and frustration. And that means rejecting Donald Trump.
The only thing that you can trust about Trump is his willingness to say and do whatever he needs to gain and hold power. Do you think that he’s strong on illegal immigration — that you can trust him to build a wall, to preserve our nation’s borders, and to protect American workers? This is his principal issue, but he’s a hypocrite. He’s hired foreign workers rather than Americans, he’s hired illegal aliens at his construction projects, and he’s in favor of touch-back amnesty — in which vast numbers of illegal aliens will be granted lawful status if they just leave and come back.
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Moreover, Trump would subvert the honor of the American military. He has said repeatedly that he would use the awesome power of the American armed forces to kill terrorists’ families. The American warrior is trained to protect innocent women and children from the world’s most evil men. Seal Team Six is not a mafia hit squad, primed to assassinate eight-year-olds and their mothers at schools and playgrounds.
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Ominously, Trump has gathered behind him a swarm of white supremacists and assorted online racists — people who are known for flooding the comment boards and Twitter feeds of dissenting writers with the most vile forms of racial bigotry and hatred, attacking even children as “mud people” or “monkeys.” Yet Trump has played a double game — sometimes denouncing white supremacists, sometimes equivocating, and sometimes even retweeting white supremacists and fascist propaganda.
Trump is not only unrepentant about his many affairs, he’s bragged that “beautiful, famous, successful, married — I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names.”
Trump isn’t as bad as his critics feared — he’s worse.
There was a time when I was more amused than appalled by Trump. There was a time when I believed that his disregard for political correctness could have some positive side effects. Those days are long past. The crucible of the campaign has revealed him to be petty, malicious, and vindictive. He isn’t as bad as his critics feared — he’s worse. But the most disturbing thing isn’t that Trump exists — cruel and ambitious charlatans will always be among us — it’s that millions of Americans are embracing him because of his cruelty, because of his malice.
If Trump prevails, we will be left with both great American political parties celebrating and exalting people who personify the worst of values. The Democrats, of course, offer no moral refuge. Hillary Clinton’s personal corruption is matched only by her boundless ambition, and she is completely committed to not just preserving the atrocity of abortion on demand but subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars.
I began by quoting one Founding Father. Let me end by quoting another. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Trump is running not for president of a constitutional republic but to be the strongman of a failing state. A virtuous people would stop him in his tracks. But are we a virtuous people? Tuesday will help tell the answer.
— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.