Trump vs. Hillary: A Personal View

by Jay Nordlinger

I’ve read a good deal of the commentary following Trump’s win. I understand almost everything, but not this: the idea that, if I vote for neither Trump nor Hillary, I’m voting for Hillary. I think this is nuts. Or rather, I find it incomprehensible.

I’m certainly not voting for Trump. I think he is spectacularly unfit for the presidency, in both mind and character (but especially the latter). I’m certainly not voting for Hillary. I think she is equally unfit. I have opposed her, politically, since she emerged on the scene in the early ’90s.

I believe the Republican party has disgraced itself, in nominating Trump. I believe it has disfigured itself, morally. (Philosophically too, but that is separate.) The Democrats, I gave up on a long time ago (c. 1982).

People tell me that, if I don’t vote for either Trump or Hillary, I’m voting for Hillary. My first response is, “So?” My second response is, “What are you smoking?” If it’s true that, if I don’t vote for either Trump or Hillary, I’m voting for Hillary, why isn’t it equally true that I’m voting for Trump? You see what I mean? How come Trump doesn’t get my non-vote? Why does just Hillary get it?

Am I missing something?

Perhaps it’s this: Perhaps people think that Trump has some kind of claim on my vote, because I’m a conservative (and, until earlier this week, I was a Republican). I do not regard Trump as a conservative. I’m not even sure he’s a democrat. He strikes me as a big-government strongman, or would-be strongman: a prospective American Putin or Chávez.

“Well, lesser of two evils!” people say. Okay. Who’s that? In my view, it’s a coin toss. I am not against “lesser of two evils” thinking. I’m a pragmatist. Indeed, I am often knocked, from the right, for pragmatism! I’m not sitting around waiting for my ideal. People wouldn’t vote for my ideal anyway, as they’ve shown by nominating Trump and Hillary.

I simply do not have a preference between Trump and Hillary. They are equally distasteful to me, and I’m not going to vote for either one of them. Nor am I obligated.

I’ll vote for some third candidate — an honorable conservative, or at least someone who is not corrupt, dishonest, and dangerous. If there is no such candidate, I won’t vote for president.

Now, the matter of my vote is the least important thing in the world. We’ve got big fish to fry, including a nuclearizing Iran. I’m writing about my personal situation because (a) I know it and (b) it relates to the general debate, and may stimulate further discussion, which may be useful.

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