In his column yesterday, Ross Douthat explored why the new Hillary Clinton is so hard for even Trump-hating Republicans to get behind. Excerpt:

But on social issues, Clinton and her party aren’t even offering the fig leaf of her husband’s “safe, legal and rare” formulation. They’re for abortion rights without exception and for public funding of abortion, a maximalist stance that thrills pro-choice activists but is nowhere near the muddled middle on the issue. So any pro-lifer inclined to cast a vote for Hillary has no cover; to stop Trump, they have to cast a baldly pro-abortion vote.

Or again, imagine that you’re one of the many Americans conflicted about immigration policy — you view immigrants favorably, you find Trump’s rhetoric toxic, but you also favor limits on migration, and you want to make sure that the law is respected and enforced.

You would be happy to vote for the Hillary Clinton of the early 2000s, who talked a lot about border security and workplace enforcement. But that Clinton is long gone. Her party is evolving toward the position that illegal aliens, save criminals and terrorists, should never be deported once they’ve reached our soil, and Clinton herself is committed to a unilateral amnesty even more expansive than the one that President Obama attempted. Which for our conflicted voter isn’t really a middle ground compared to Trumpism; it’s closer to the opposite extreme.

Clarifying his point in a tweetstorm this morning — read the whole thing here — Douthat says, in part:

He’s saying that liberals who believe that it’s perfectly obvious that anti-Trump Republicans should vote for Hillary aren’t taking seriously how much her Great Society 2.0 liberalism violates so much of what they hold dear.

I feel this way about HRC and the Court. In my circle, there are some very serious conservative Christians who cannot abide Trump, but who genuinely fear for what would happen to the country if Clinton were elected. Their fears (I share them) are real and valid. One of my law professor friends e-mailed over the weekend to say that this problem is a very, very big deal. Conservative Christians like us are non-factors in mainstream politics now and going forward, he said, but at least we can now count on the courts to protect our right to be “wrong”. Under a left-wing SCOTUS of the sort HRC would appoint, to say nothing of four more years of a Democratic president filling the federal judiciary with liberal judges, everything is up for grabs.

Law professor Hugh Hewitt is completely on board for Trump. Excerpt:

If Hillary Clinton wins, the Left gavels in a solid, lasting, almost certainly permanent majority on the Supreme Court. Every political issue has a theoretical path to SCOTUS, and only self-imposed judicial restraint has checked the Court’s appetite and reach for two centuries.

That restraint will be gone when HRC’s first appointee is sworn in. Finished.

This is not hyperbole. I have the advantage of having taught Con Law for 20 years, of having argued before very liberal appellate judges like Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the very liberal Ninth Circuit, of practicing with the best litigators in the land, and I know what a very liberal SCOTUS means: conservatism is done. It cannot survive a strong-willed liberal majority on the Supreme Court. Every issue, EVERY issue, will end up there, and the legislatures’ judgments will matter not a bit.

So vote for Hillary Clinton (or sit it out) and then prepare for the deluge of court-ordered solutions to every social problem, bench-drawn congressional districts and extraordinary deference to every agency of the federal government combined with a sweeping away of federalism.

This is the size of the ask, liberals. In the spirit of Ross Douthat’s thought experiment, let’s consider that the hypothetical candidate Santorum promised to nominate judges that would overturn Roe, overturn Obergefell, strengthen corporate interests, give Christian businesses the right to turn away gay customers, and basically reject all that you most value. What if you were confident that President Santorum would likely be able to replace the late Antonin Scalia, the aged and ailing Ginsburg, the aged Breyer, and the aged Kennedy, with younger justices from the cream of the Federalist Society, creating a 7-2 conservative majority that would last a generation. Would you still be able to vote for Santorum because he wasn’t Al Sharpton?

This is the choice conservatives are facing this fall. To many of us, either Clinton or Trump would be disastrous for America. It’s only a question of what kind of disaster we are more willing to endure. And it’s not at all an easy question.