Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Am I Really Voting For Hillary?

Like, numbers unknown, I am a long time conservative who is not planning to vote for Donald Trump in November. And of course I’ve seen many times the Trump supporter claims that not voting for Donald is tantamount to a vote for Hillary [hereafter NVT=VFHRC]. While I think this argument is seriously flawed, I don’t deny that it has some merit.

Besides math, I take the NVT=VFHRC argument to rest on two propositions; 1) an understood initial position, and 2) the view that turnabout is fair play.

On the first, it seems reasonable to say that before things get started it is quite valid to take it as given that long time conservatives will vote for the Republican nominee. If your team’s quarterback, who started as a sophomore and junior, decides sometime during the preseason that he’s no longer going to play it’s understandable that team, coaches, fans are going to feel let down. They had proceeded on the reasonable assumption that the team was set at quarterback. A key point in the primaries is to find a candidate that can appeal to independents—electability—it being taken as given that conservatives will fall in line.

On the second, I think the argument would go as look we hated McCain and Romney with a passion. Didn’t you notice how desperate we were to find an alternative to Romney in 2012? But we voted for them anyway because we were told to be practical and understood it to be our duty to support the eventual nominee. And now when OUR candidate is the nominee, you put your nose up and declare he’s too declasse to support [insert your favorite image of blind rage here]?

What I believe is being lost sight of in a history of normalcy is the element of contingency in both of these propositions. The conservative starts the election cycle with a presumption of voting for the Republican nominee. As your QB I WAS planning to play my senior year, but then you hired as coach a man who poisoned my dog. I too--perhaps for very different reasons—wasn’t keen on either McCain or Romney but like you sucked it up and voted for them. But this nominee, this Trump [because of my overly exquisite sensibilities?] is too much. Better in the long run to lose to someone, even Hillary (and of course here, a critical variable is just how bad do you believe Hillary to be), than to put Trump in charge and to be associated with him.

Awhile back, in a context I can’t recall, Jonah Goldberg observed that “it’s all in the dosage.” That covers a great deal of ground. I’m long past the expectation that my votes are going to be tasty and delicious, but I’m not inclined to cast a vote that will kill my sense of self however mistaken that sense may be.

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