Beginning with Ronald Reagan, I have voted Republican in every presidential election since I first became eligible to vote in 1980. I worked in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations and in the White House for George W. Bush as a speechwriter and adviser. I have also worked for Republican presidential campaigns, although not this time around.
Despite this history, and in important ways because of it, I will not vote for Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination.
I should add that neither could I vote in good conscience for Hillary Clinton or any of the other Democrats running for president, since they oppose many of the things I have stood for in my career as a conservative — and, in the case of Mrs. Clinton, because I consider her an ethical wreck. If Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton were the Republican and Democratic nominees, I would prefer to vote for a responsible third-party alternative; absent that option, I would simply not cast a ballot for president. A lot of Republicans, I suspect, would do the same.
There are many reasons to abstain from voting for Mr. Trump if he is nominated, starting with the fact that he would be the most unqualified president in American history. Every one of our 44 presidents has had either government or military experience before being sworn in. Mr. Trump, a real estate mogul and former reality-television star, hasn’t served a day in public office or the armed forces.
During the course of this campaign he has repeatedly revealed his ignorance on basic matters of national interest — the three ways the United States is capable of firing nuclear weapons (by land, sea and air), the difference between the Quds Force in Iran and the Kurds to their west, North Korea’s nuclear tests, the causes of autism, the effects of his tax plan on the deficit and much besides.
Mr. Trump has no desire to acquaint himself with most issues, let alone master them. He has admitted that he doesn’t prepare for debates or study briefing books; he believes such things get in the way of a good performance. No major presidential candidate has ever been quite as disdainful of knowledge, as indifferent to facts, as untroubled by his benightedness.
It is little surprise, then, that many of Mr. Trump’s most celebrated pronouncements and promises — to quickly and “humanely” expel 11 million illegal immigrants, to force Mexico to pay for the wall he will build on our southern border, to defeat the Islamic State “very quickly” while as a bonus taking its oil, to bar Muslims from immigrating to the United States — are nativistic pipe dreams and public relations stunts.
Even more disqualifying is Mr. Trump’s temperament. He is erratic, inconsistent and unprincipled. He possesses a streak of crudity and cruelty that manifested itself in how he physically mocked a Times journalist with a disability, ridiculed Senator John McCain for being a P.O.W., made a reference to “blood” intended to degrade a female journalist and compared one of his opponents to a child molester.
Mr. Trump’s legendary narcissism would be comical were it not dangerous in someone seeking the nation’s highest office — as he demonstrated when he showered praise on the brutal, anti-American president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, responding to Mr. Putin’s expression of admiration for Mr. Trump.
“It is always a great honor,” Mr. Trump said last month, “to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”
Mr. Trump’s virulent combination of ignorance, emotional instability, demagogy, solipsism and vindictiveness would do more than result in a failed presidency; it could very well lead to national catastrophe. The prospect of Donald Trump as commander in chief should send a chill down the spine of every American.
For Republicans, there is an additional reason not to vote for Mr. Trump. His nomination would pose a profound threat to the Republican Party and conservatism, in ways that Hillary Clinton never could. For while Mrs. Clinton could inflict a defeat on the Republican Party, she could not redefine it. But Mr. Trump, if he were the Republican nominee, would.
Mr. Trump’s presence in the 2016 race has already had pernicious effects, but they’re nothing compared with what would happen if he were the Republican standard-bearer. The nominee, after all, is the leader of the party; he gives it shape and definition. If Mr. Trump heads the Republican Party, it will no longer be a conservative party; it will be an angry, bigoted, populist one. Mr. Trump would represent a dramatic break with and a fundamental assault on the party’s best traditions.
A non-vote is a vote for Hillary… or Bernie if Hillary is inconveniently in jail. Keep that in mind at all times.
The non voting is what put unqualified, un-vetted, appointment we are now encumbered with in the house that used to belong to we people… not to vote is putting a democrat in office
@Dave Lindesmith Bill FA’ERS: “An angry bigoted populist.” The “narcissistic” face of the Republican Party .Is this what you want?
” responsible third party option” Jim Webb
If Trump becomes the nominee the Republican Party will have no one to blame but themselves. I will give two examples.
I didn’t listen to the SOTU speech because I have a business to run at night and I wouldn’t listen to a bunch of lies anyhow. Nor did I listen to the response. What I have gathered (and correct me if I’m wrong), is that after Obama laid blame at the feet of the Republican Party, the response from the Republicans did the same as opposed to launching a strong defense and criticism of Obama’s seven years of failures. There is ample evidence that could have been cited. This shows that the Republican establishment is unwilling to stand up for conservative principles and boosts Trump just like their tepidness in dealing with Obama’s Executive Orders. People want someone who will fight for them not roll over and play dead and self flagellate. Trump is filling that role right now.
Second, look at the refugee situation. Obama and Haley demonized Trump on the issue. Look at current events. Paris, San Bernadino, Cologne, and now there are even more reports about sexual assaults by the refugees going on throughout Europe. One side talks up being pro-refugee, the other says to put the brakes on until we can better sort things out. Whose argument do you think is going to resonate with the American people right now? Another boost for Trump.
The way to counter his noise is to push for substance. Take the refugee situation for example. The way to drastically reduce the problem is to defeat ISIS ASAP so they can return home. Someone needs to come up with a realistic plan for doing so. Yes, that will require thousands of BOG and there will be casualties. Given how much ISIS has spread its tentacles over the last three-four years due to inaction, they have affected lots of countries. Building a coalition to eradicate them should be fairly easy for a strong world leader, a position which has historically (at least until 2009) been filled by the POTUS. This will force Trump to come up with some details. If he can’t produce them, he’ll start to lose credibility and look weak.
I quit reading after the first paragraph…People like you put “duck hook” Obama in the oval office! 4 million non voting republicans last election if I recall correctly! Do you think Hillary or Bernie Sanders will be a better choice than Donald Trump?
No offense, but you sound like Nikki Haley. I’ll vote in someone who will actually address issues and fight political correctness. I think your mind was made up a year ago. I didn’t find your logic compelling in your article. Do you think cutting your nose off will solve this?
Peter Wehner is in the pocket (last paying gigs in politics) of the GOPe.
That’s the Republican ESTABLISHMENT.
The GOPe was behind pulling funding for TEA Party Republicans who were going to win office.
The GOPe was behind running 3rd party candidates against Republicans that they didn’t like enough.
The GOPe even encouraged Dems to cross over and vote for their GOPe candidates in open primaries where the GOPe was in dangeer of losing the nomination to a TEA party candidate.
The GOPe is funded by the National Chamber of Commerce (which disagrees 180 degrees from almost all Main Street Chambers of Commerce on amnesty, unlimited immigration, common core, etc.)
The GOPe wants a GOPe Republican nominee so bad that it forced Trump to sign a fidelity pledge to support whichever candidate wins the nomination BUT the GOPe has not agreed to support Trump or Cruz should either of them get that nomination.
It is a case of who is buttering your bread.
Peter Wehner’s bread is buttered by the GOPe.
No wonder the anti-GOP NYTimes has no issue with publishing his essay.
-A house that is divided against itself cannot stand.-
To watch the radical right’s Limbaugh, Hannity, Cavuto, Coulter and Co. bash the measured response of Nikki Haley—-priceless. The party is split– I see Rubio taking the nom.
I understand the frustration of not having the “right” candidate. For the past 30 years, every GOP (final) candidate did not believe in many of my values. But I’ve had to hold my nose and vote for him anyway.
It is people like yourself, if you go through with your decision and don’t vote, that gave us Bill Clinton, and Obama’s second term – I know people who told me “I liked Romney, but could not bring myself to vote for a Mormon”. I wanted to beat them senseless.
@Dreadnought: It’s not Curt’s post–Wehner’s article.
Your friend an example of why Repubs. will continue to lose national elections. Dem. tent is larger and more diverse and is on the right side of 21st century issues. Repubs looking backwards—playing on fear.
When I was in civics/government class I was taught there are only two offices that require a natural born citizen, born of TWO United States citizens, and that is the office of president and vice president. I can say with certainty congress has not amended that requirement, at least in my life time. So therefore I will not support any candidate that is not eligible. Two candidates come to mind. Marco rubio born in Miami. fl to TWO ILLEGAL Cuban citizens, and ted cruz born in a foreign country to one US citizen and one Cuban (supposedly his father was a Canadian citizen at the time – but that is a bit sketchy) Now it is also speculated that both his mother and father were actually Canadian citizens as they were on the Canadian voter rolls and ONLY Canadian citizens are allowed to vote. Regardless that is not for me to determine, but the courts – and if he is the candidate I will bet that it will go to the SCOTUS. The same holds true with rubio, a member of the gang of 8. As a conservative and someone who holds the Constitution dear I will not support them. Just because barry got away with it does not make it Constitutional.
I am beginning my research on the multitude of cases in regard to eligibility.
Hmm… looks like some democrats are getting sick and tired of having to clean up all that donkey sh*t while the Democrat elite get rich enacting socialism. All their big tent does is collect a bunch of diverse groups all competing to have the most power and get the most benefits.
Republicans are worrying about voters staying home if Trump is the candidate. What do you think Democrats are going to do if they have to choose between corruption or socialism?
@Bill:Your article suggests some Dems come across if he pivots to the center and ditches his abrasive personality and outrageous sound bites—that gonna happen?
@Richard Wheeler: Have you noticed Trump hinting he is on the verge of pivoting to the center?
Everyone that is supporting him are doing so because what he is saying is what they are thinking. This is why he can say politically incorrect things and it only boosts his popularity. Political correctness is doing what it is designed to do; stifle conversations that liberals do not want to have and Trump absolutely ignores it.
@Bill: If Trump doesn’t moderate he’ll be stuck out in right field with a Goldwateresque defeat–He’ll get 40-45% simply as nominee and less than 200 E.C votes.
That being said I don’t think he’ll get nom..
And what do you make of RNC head Rence Prebus forcing Nikki to take back all of her divisive remarks?
He made a huge point of the fact that the RNC has SWORN to back which ever candidate becomes the Republican nominee.
@Nanny G: She didn’t take back anything–did you see the cheers she got tonight? Notice all the catcalls and boos for Trump when he took on Cruz?
If you prefer a loud mouthed, crude old misogynist over a classy Lady like Nikki what does that say? Could you really put up with seeing this guy EVERY DAY for the next 4 years?–a true nightmare.
You actually mean the head of the RNC, Rence P., as well as all the other Republicans who insisted she walk back her remarks….which she did.
I wish she had thrown her hat into the ring for prez, frankly.
Just let me say this, the majority of the Republican candidates would be better by far than Barry Soetoro. The only exception I can see is Chris Christy and perhaps Rand Paul, who got his knickers in a twist at being at the happy hour debate. We have NO PERFECT candidate, each has their flaws and baggage. Frankly Jesus could run and people would complain. I honestly like Carly the best, note: I don’t give a DAMN about her so called history at HP. I know what it is and it wasn’t as bad as some make out. She is SHARP. I will vote for the nominee, I’ll even hold my nose for Christy. Christy lies lies lies on his 2A stance. He record on this speaks for itself.
Like adding trillions to the debt for future generations to deal with?
Like dismantling the Constitution one Executive Order at a time?
Like adding more to the food stamp rolls than to the employment rolls?
Like ceding vast swaths of territory to terrorist groups like AQ and ISIS?
Like trying to implement as many control measures over “we the people” as possible, i.e. gun control, AGW, Fairness Doctrine, political correctness, and a heavily progressive tax system as advocated by Marx in his manifesto.
Like using the IRS and Justice Department for political gain?
Like sending arms to drug cartels in Mexico and terrorist groups in Syria?
Like dividing the country along race, class, and political lines?
Like open borders?
Like promoting, “Ask not what you can do for your country, but whether what it can do for you?”
Like painting the police as a bunch of trigger happy racists?
We obviously have a different opinion of what is right and wrong for our country.
Fiorino @Oblamo binLyen, #19:
Does that include the $120 million she made by supplying computer equipment to Iran in violation of the trade embargo? This was cleverly done by moving their products through Redington Gulf, a Dubai-based subsidiary, and a subsidiary in Netherlands. Some of it might have been used in Iran’s nuclear program. How about the company’s policy of bribing foreign officials to gain contracts? HP and their subsidiaries were fined $108 million in criminal and regulatory penalties.
The Republican tent is much bigger – in fact that is our biggest problem right now. You have everything from Social Conservatives, Fiscal conservatives, Social liberals, Fiscal liberals, strict constitutionalists, neoconservatives, etc etc in every possible combination. The Democrats have kicked out all the moderates (remember 2010?), and liberals are actively trying to silence views they disagree with in academia and elsewhere. Disagree with a liberal, and you are called a racist, bigot, meanspirited, homophobic, xenophobic etc.
The similarities between today’s liberals and the nazis of the 1920s and 30s is truly astonishing. To your credit you have not openly advocated the introduction of concentration camps – yet. Democratic congressmen have stated publicly that they wished all members of the NRA would be infected with Ebola and die.
I just read the post and have not read any of the comments yet. I will go back and read them. I’ve never heard of Peter Wehner before, but it sounds as if he is slam eat up with dumbass. If he thinks the Republican party has been conservative since GHWB was president, he must either be dumb or ignorant. I guess he thinks being a politician is a qualification for being president. Funny, I missed that in the qualifications to be president. There are only 2 qualifications, natural born citizen and 35 years of age and apparently the natural born was thrown out back in 07 when Obozo was allowed to run. Mitch McConnell has been in elected office all his life and is worth 24 million dollars. Bill and Shrillary left the presidency stealing white house furniture and now they’re worth over 200 million. Is that what it means to be ‘honest politicians’? When we see Rino’s stepping all over the Republican party every day and then we are told we need ‘loyal Republicans’? Yes, like Cruz and Rubio that are not natural born citizens or Niki Haley who is an anchor baby, as is Rubio. They are barely US citizens, but even with that are actually more constitutionally qualified than Cruz, who is a Canadian.
I’m not sure what the point of the post is, but it is certainly not intended as a promotion of Conservatives, but just more ‘politics as usual’.
@Enchanted: I agree with you enchanted. Though I’m not so sure about Goldwater since he was born in US Territory of two parents that were citizens. Obama was certainly not eligible but the courts wouldn’t take the issue up, but you can bet if either Cruz or Rubio get the nom, it will get to the courts like it’s riding a rocket ship. While you’re at it, Nikki Haley is not eligible either. I do not understand why (though I’m sure it’s ignorance) that people don’t give a damn about the qualifications for president. Obama was the least qualified of all those we’re talking of because it is likely he is not even and probably never has been even a US citizen. It is certain he was an Indonesian citizen while he was living over there and no one has shown where he applied for US citizenship.
And that from someone marching with the rainbows and watching Obozo without getting sick?
she’s not eligible Nanny, an anchor baby.
You seem to have the impression that Trump is campaigning in some sort of a vacuum. He is campaigning against Obama, Hillary and Bernie, all of whom have proven to the citizens of the United States to be either proven failures or a supporter of what has failed all around the world.
If you prefer a loud mouthed, crude old misogynist
In the Drudge snap poll right after the debate Donald Trump got twice the votes as Rafael Cruz
As ye sow, so shall ye reap
Never forget power of stupid people in large groups
@Redteam: She was BORN here and did not go through any ”naturalization proceeding at any later time.”
Therefore she is what we call a ”natural born citizen.”
As of today ALL ”anchor babies” are.
You ought to (everybody, not just aiming at you, Redteam) read this Harvard Law Review article: http://harvardlawreview.org/2015/03/on-the-meaning-of-natural-born-citizen/
by Neal Katyal & Paul Clement.
@Redteam: and Enchanted Is Trump ineligible?–mother born in Scotland