On the weekend before the official kickoff of the GOP nomination season, Donald Trump would seem to have the momentum. Now, both of “my guys” for this race – Walker and Jindal – are long gone, so my short list is (in very rough order) Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Christie.
Trump’s ascendancy has, of course, brought out the usual jeremiads about the oncoming implosion of the GOP (to which cooler and more historically-grounded heads reply “What? Again? This happens every eight years or so“).
But I keep getting asked – what if Trump is, at the end of the day, the nominee?
Simple. I’ll hold my nose and vote for Trump.
It’s not just because I regard third-party candidacies as irrelevant exercises in personal philosophical navel-gazing – that’s between you and your conscience, and is none of my business.
And it’s not that I’m a “my party, right or wrong” guy; I’m a Tea Party Conservative who votes GOP because it is, to evoke Buckley, the most conservative party that can win. And if Trump, heaven forefend, is the most conservative person on the ballot who can win next November, then I’ll vote for him.
But Trump promises to be a rerun of the Jesse Ventura years, only coast-to-coast. So why bother?
Three reasons: Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Scalia – one of the better conservative minds in the history of the court – lamentably can’t last forever. Having Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders nominate his “replacement” – or that of Kennedy, the most powerful “Moderate” in the history of the universe – would turn the SCOTUS bright blue for decades to come. Kiss any chance of rolling back Obamacare, getting control of immigration or voting or the borders, or the Second Amendment, goodbye right now.
And by the opposite token, if Kennedy retires, or Ginsburg gets called by her overlords back to her mothership, during a GOP administration, there’s at least a chance of getting a much better, more conservative justice on the bench. And don’t be caterwauling at me about what disappointments Roberts and Souter turned out to be as conservatives; without a GOP president and GOP Senate, “eventual disappointment” is the best you can hope for.
Remember – Trump may well nominate a complete idiot. But the Senate has to confirm them. And if both a hypothetical President Trump and a GOP Senate are idiots, then we’re screwed – but those are both “maybes”; you can bet a hypothetical President Sanders will nominate Saul Alinksky, and Clinton’s nominees will make Sonia Sotomayor look like John Marshall.
So yeah. I’ll hold my nose and vote Trump.
And then set to work on fixing the rot that led us to this point.