The Corner

Trump vs. Hillary: A Personal View

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.

Most Popular

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More

Trump: Yes

Editor’s Note: The following is one of three essays, each from a different perspective, in the latest edition of National Review on the question of whether to vote for President Trump. The views below reflect those of the individual author, not of the NR editorial board as a whole. The other two essays can be ... Read More