Should You Vote for Donald Trump?

After decades of lackluster presidential nominees who embodied various diluted forms of center-right thought, this year we finally had an authentic, passionate movement conservative to rally around in Ted Cruz. Finally we had an opportunity to restore the Constitution, liberty, and prosperity; to take real steps toward ending the massacre of abortion, to shrink government rather than slow its growth, to turn the tide of America’s culture war and put the Left on the defensive for a change. Finally we had our chance to vindicate conservatism against the cancerous moderation espoused by the Republican establishment.

And we blew it. Thanks to a perfect storm of primary voters letting themselves be conned by a clown and divided among a half-dozen mediocrities and vanity candidates, and too few conservative leaders willing to show leadership and make clear that Cruz was the only serious choice, instead we’re now stuck with Donald Trump as the GOP nominee for President of the United States. A choice so manifestly terrible that it seemed inconceivable a year ago. Yet here we are.

So patriots have a decision to make: hold our nose and vote for Trump to protect the country from Hillary Clinton, or stay home to protest Trump’s lack of character, competence, and conservatism? My answer has wavered back and forth over the past year, so I hope this review of all the arguments for and against will help similarly conflicted conservatives find a definitive answer.

Before diving in, let’s dismiss two unserious options out of hand: voting for Hillary Clinton (such a despicable, asinine idea that those who’ve written and published it should be ashamed of themselves), and voting for a third-party or independent candidate (no, not even that obnoxious imbecile Austin Petersen who gives Glenn Beck such a tingle up his leg). It’s simply delusional to believe the latter could actually become president, so if you’re doing it for the symbolism it’s functionally no different than staying home. If you absolutely must put down another name at the ballot box, at least choose a deserving and likely future nominee by writing in Ted Cruz.

(Caveat: if by some bizarre, infinitesimal, miraculous twist of fate a quality conservative somehow uncovers the secret path for an independent candidate to reach the White House, I of course reserve the right to take that back and revise the conclusion of this post.)

That said, let’s begin. Continue reading

New at Live Action: Donald Trump’s Amendments to GOP Platform on Abortion Would Be a Disaster

If it wasn’t already clear that Donald Trump doesn’t really understand how pro-lifers think, he’s doing a bang-up job of reinforcing the point every few weeks. As Live Action News’ Danny David covered earlier, Trump said the following on the Today Show:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The Republican platform, every four years, has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child shall not be infringed. And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the exceptions that you have?

TRUMP: Yes, I would. Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would.

GUTHRIE: Would you have an exception for the health of the mother?

TRUMP: I would leave it to the life of the mother, but I would absolutely have the three exceptions.

Pro-life activist Abby Johnson had some choice words in response:

Read the rest at Live Action News.

Donald Trump: Amnesty Shill

Donald Trump Meets DREAMersOne of the reasons attacks on Donald Trump such as National Review’s recent symposium have been ineffective is because they don’t speak to the factors that could actually change his supporters’ minds. Among Trump fans who read conservative commentary, The Donald’s various political heresies, temperamental deficiencies, and personal failings are already priced into their decision—they aren’t prioritizing a full-spectrum conservative, they just want someone who’ll finally shut the border and get our immigration system under control once and for all, and don’t trust anyone else to do it.

So don’t waste space reiterating what they already know and don’t care about. Instead, focus the bulk of your energy dismantling the only good pro-Trump argument—his perceived strength as an immigration hawk—and publicize the truth that, beyond the tough talk about building walls and deporting rapists, he’s as wobbly and inconsistent on the issue as anyone. Continue reading

Ann Coulter Has Sold Her Soul to Donald Trump

YAF 2009 - Meeting Ann Coulter 1For fifteen years, I was an enthusiastic, unapologetic Ann Coulter fan. I’ve expressed my share of disagreements with her, but on balance have supported and defended her many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, times—from Left and Right alike—as one of the most fearless and principled assets to the conservative movement. Her books were defining influences on my own political development. She regularly raised devastating, critical points that more than a few conservatives were too meek to say or too conventional to notice. Meeting her in 2009 (above) was one of the biggest thrills of my political career, and I counted my autographed copy of Slander as one of my most prized possessions.

So when I say that Ann Coulter has officially lost me, know that I didn’t reach this conclusion lightly.

For the better part of 2015, Coulter’s aggressive support for Donald Trump has been a source of major consternation on the Right. Contrary to what some demagogic charlatans would have you believe, her underlying rationale is entirely correct: the next president’s level of conservatism on other issues will be irrelevant if he allows mass immigration and amnesty to give the Democrats enough new voters to guarantee them a permanent national majority. If this were, say, a two-man race between him and Marco Rubio, it would be perfectly reasonable to conclude that Trump is more likely to do the right thing on the issue.

Where Coulter’s conclusion breaks down is that Trump isn’t the candidate with the most credibility on fighting amnesty—Ted Cruz is. Conservatives don’t have to make a last-resort choice between an immigration hawk and a conservative; we can get both. Continue reading

Laurence Tribe, Trump’s Eligibility Expert, Is a Liar

For many of us, the highlight of the latest Republican debate was Ted Cruz demolishing Donald Trump’s attack on his status as a natural-born citizen eligible for the presidency. For added insult to injury, Cruz pointed out the following about the constitutional “expert” Trump has repeatedly cited on the matter:

Let me tell you who Larry Tribe is. He’s a left-wing judicial activist, Harvard Law professor who was Al Gore’s lawyer in Bush versus Gore. He’s a major Hillary Clinton supporter. And there’s a reason why Hillary’s supporters are echoing Donald’s attacks on me, because Hillary wants to face Donald Trump in the general election.

This was devastating not merely for discrediting the legal question, which was never going to be a serious problem, but for demonstrating that Trump is getting his information from liberals and has no idea what an actual conservative would consider a credible authority. Indeed, Tribe prefaces his analysis of the case with an ode to “living Constitution” judges who “believ[e] that the Constitution’s meaning evolves with the perceived needs of the time and longstanding practice”—which anyone who came to conservatism naturally would instantly recognize as code for twisting the Constitution to justify whatever liberals want.

But it turns out there’s another reason why The Donald choose poorly: his expert is not just mistaken, but lying. Continue reading

Republicans Can’t Do Anything Right: Sean Duffy Edition

Donald Trump’s authenticity on issues such as ending abortion may be highly questionable, but there’s still a stylistic lesson more conventional Republicans desperately need to learn from him: people are sick of timidity in response to outrageous policies and malicious smears.

Case in point: on Friday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) said the following:

I hear a lot in this institution from minority leaders about how their communities are targeted, but what I don’t hear them talk about is how their communities are targeted in abortion […] My liberal friends, Congressional Black Caucus members, talk about fighting for the defenseless, the hopeless, and the downtrodden […] There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but their silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?

So far, so good. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) reacted with the usual hysteria:

After nearly 30 years in public office, not much surprises me anymore. So you can imagine my lack of astonishment when my dear friend and colleague from Wisconsin, Sean Duffy, rolled out abortion statistics among African-American women to lecture black legislators like me about defending the welfare of our constituents […] I don’t expect Rep. Duffy to understand why his comments are offensive […] What he and so many of his Republican colleagues fail to acknowledge is the underlying context behind high abortion rates in African-American communities. High rates of abortion are related to poverty and lack of access to quality care […] Rep. Duffy’s hypocrisy on this issue is as predictable as it is offensive. If he truly, truly wants to fight for the hopeless and voiceless, he should join us.

At which point Duffy falls apart. Moore’s attack is equal parts dishonest and malicious, purely an attempt to distract from his critique by changing the subject. This should have been met with doubling down on the original charge against her and her colleagues, with a healthy dose of shame added in.

Instead, he felt the need to appease his attacker. Continue reading

Nikki Haley’s SOTU Response Was Even Worse Than You’ve Heard

Haley’s leadership-approved Republican response to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address has rightly been eviscerated for devoting so much time to attacking a leading Republican candidate rather than the Democrat president she was there to refute, and for condescending to the party’s base that they need to lighten up about their entirely-valid, perpetually-neglected immigration concerns.

Mark Steyn’s takedown of those offenses (as well as her general vagueness on the good positions she did espouse) says it all:

Unfortunately for her, this sentimentalist twaddle is not where the Republican base is. She’s looking at immigration policy from the point of view of the seven billion hard-working soon-to-be-vetted Americans-in-waiting around the planet. But one of the changes this election season is that the party base is considering immigration policy from the point of view of the 300 million Americans who are already here […]

Trump is a monster of the GOP elite’s creation. And their solution to it is to use what’s meant to be a rebuttal to the President as a rebuttal to their own leading candidates and the two-thirds of their voters who support them. Truly this is the dumbest political party on the planet.

So here I’ll focus on a few more than have gone relatively unnoticed amid the uproar, but are also highly indicative of the leadership rot within the GOP. Continue reading

Abysmal Kasich-Rubio ’16 Case Illustrates Why GOP Keeps Losing Elections

The following article was originally written in August. Given the lack of responses at the time and that the subject of conservative publications giving platforms to disastrously unconservative political advice remains newsworthy, I am publishing it here.

In most fields, past failures to produce results tend to diminish one’s standing as an authority on future successes. So while it’s natural that alumni of John McCain’s presidential campaign would favor a 2016 nominee as centrist as John Kasich and a running mate as amnesty-minded as Marco Rubio, it’s also alarming to see their prescriptions disseminated in a leading conservative publication.

None of Myra Adams’s five points for Kasich-Rubio ’16 are persuasive. In fact, her August 14 National Review column making the case reads more like a catalogue of the Beltway myths, shallow assumptions, and unconservative priorities that have created countless Republican defeats. Continue reading