I do not like Trump. I may never. I consider some of his behavior and antics (specifically his Tweets) to be flat-out petulant, immature, and unbecoming of the President of the United States. But an election is not a popularity contest. After doing my research and carefully analyzing all of the candidates, their policy platforms, and their visions for our great nation, I have made a decision. I will bite the bullet and vote to re-elect the Trump/Pence ticket to a second term. Fitting for the insane year 2020 has been, it’s oddly both the hardest and the easiest choice of my life.
I did not vote for Trump in 2016. In fact, I strongly opposed his candidacy from the beginning. I initially supported Senator Rand Paul and given that I was a partisan Republican at the time, I would’ve voted for literally anyone with an “R” next to their name. It didn’t matter if Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, or Jeb Bush (please clap) ended up being the party’s nominee, I would’ve voted for them.
However, Trump was different. Despite him being the man who actually won the nomination, he wasn’t a real Republican to me. He was a former longtime Democrat who had once called himself “very pro-choice.” On top of this, he campaigned on policy issues that struck me as being antithetical to the brand of libertarian conservativism I subscribed to, and still subscribe to. For example, he heralded tariffs and protectionism, while I, like the then-majority of the Republican Party, was staunchly pro-free trade. Furthermore, the one policy area where Trump emphasized his conservative credentials in 2016 was immigration – where it happens, I hold a more liberal stance.
Presidential candidate Trump’s actual platform wasn’t enough to dissuade me from voting Republican. What sealed the deal for me that year were his comments about women from a 2005 Access Hollywood tape that surfaced the month before the election. I still was utterly repulsed by the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming president, due to her endless scandals, so I “threw my vote away” and supported Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
My last article detailed my personal political journey during the Trump years. To make a long story short, I suddenly went from being a “sometimes Trump” conservative to becoming a vicious hardcore “Never Trumper.” Early this summer, I even flirted with becoming a fully-fledged liberal who was ready to enthusiastically vote President Trump out at all costs. Although I had identified as being right-of-center my entire life, due to my stances on abortion and fiscal policy, I was upset with conservatives on practically every other issue.
One major area where I disagreed with (and still disagree with) President Trump and many of his supporters, is police brutality and racial justice. I strongly believe, contrary to the president, that systemic racism does exist and is an issue in our country, and it is specifically rampant in the criminal justice system. Like other libertarian-minded folks, I have held this stance way before the harrowing murder of George Floyd, back when it was not even framed as the “left vs. right” issue like it is today. I have long believed that the police should be reformed (read: not defunded or abolished). However, the mainstream left’s continual embrace of Antifa and other radical groups, who use the covers of “social justice” and “anti-racism” to promote ruthless violence, have turned me off to even the most moderate form of liberalism, and placed me squarely on the right by default.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden deeply disturbed me during the September 29 Presidential Debate where he downplayed Antifa calling them “an idea, not an organization.” In doing this, Biden and the Democratic Party punted on addressing the concerns of millions of Americans who desperately want to see an end to the extensive carnage that has been plaguing the nation for the last few months. “An idea doesn’t burn down buildings…throw Molotov cocktails at people…assault people on the street. People do that,” observed Libertarian political commentator Dave Rubin. Michael Kenney, a University of Pittsburgh professor who studies radical militant groups said that with regards to these violent extremists, “the fear is that we are witnessing the beginning of something that could be more violent over time.” The experts clearly realize that the terror unleashed by Antifa can very well worsen, especially if an entire political party fails to disavow them.
The left continues to use the same tired talking points and weak straw-man arguments on racial issues. They portray the President as a virulent racist who routinely fails to denounce white supremacy. I bought this narrative hook, line, and sinker for three full years before I found out that it was nothing more than a blatant lie. In fact, Trump has repeatedly denounced and condemned white supremacy. The media has just ignored it. Even Trump’s widely reported “very fine people on both sides” comment about the horrific 2017 Charlottesville rally was taken way out of context. Immediately after this controversial soundbite, he clarified his remarks by saying, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.” Of course, the mainstream media cut this line out as they would rather spread misinformation to help Trump lose than report the full truth.
Although I feel like some aspects of Trump’s “law and order” message are tone-deaf to minority communities, it is overall more in sync with reality than the utter chaos being heralded by the far leftists who are taking over the Democratic Party. The party has ditched its former “safe, legal, and rare” stance on abortion and is now promoting legalizing and forcing taxpayers to fund the insidious practice up until, and in some cases after, birth. I wrote a previous article on how this sudden change will cost the party millions of votes from pro-lifers with liberal positions on other issues, myself included. In other words, they are forcing us to become single-issue voters.
As one Facebook user beautifully put it, “a vote is not a valentine.” By voting, we are not confessing our love for our chosen candidate. Instead, it’s a “chess move” toward the world we choose to live in. As a Catholic, I know firsthand that God often uses very flawed and imperfect people to do good work. St. Paul for example, whose letters are read almost every week at Mass, was once a terrible sinner who persecuted and killed Christians. Now, Trump is no saint by any stretch of the imagination, but he does love our country. From his speeches (the full ones, not edited soundbites), I can see that he genuinely cares for the American people. I can’t say that about the rising radical elements of the Democratic Party. My vote for Trump will not be as much a vote for him, as it is a vote against the left. It’ll be a vote for the world I choose to live in, a better one away from the divisive “resistance.” In the end, it will count just the same.