Explaining My 2016 Vote
Last week, TAC published short pieces from many of our regular contributors in which they explained their voting intentions for president tomorrow. I briefly said why I was writing in the American Solidarity Party’s candidates, Michael Maturen and Juan Munoz. In short, they endorse a consistent pro-life ethic and reject wars that fail the test of just war principles, and that makes them the party that best represents my views. However, there wasn’t enough room to give a full explanation of why I wasn’t voting for some other ticket. I want to be as forthcoming on this as I can be, so I think a follow-up post is in order.
The reasons why I can’t vote for Clinton should be obvious: I’m pro-life and antiwar, and she has consistently been the opposite for her entire public career. I could never talk myself into supporting Obama even when I was confident the Republican alternative was worse, so there was never any chance that I would find a way to justify a vote for Clinton, and I wasn’t going to try to find one. I have written many times on why her foreign policy will be more aggressive than Obama’s, and it seems all but guaranteed that it will be, and that by itself is reason enough not to support her. The fact that many of the worst hard-liners in the GOP are flocking to her because of her foreign policy is an another reason. McMullin represents the last gasp of Bush-era Republicanism that I despise, so that was never an option. Voting for Johnson seemed like a tempting protest vote until he showed himself to be hopelessly unprepared on foreign policy issues, and I have no interest in supporting a candidate who tries to make a virtue out of ignorance.
So why not Trump? Well, where to start? Trump is unfit for any position of authority because of his many failings of temperament, preparation, and judgment. Even if I could somehow overlook all of that, he isn’t going to deliver the foreign policy or any of the other policies that many of his supporters hope for. He can’t be trusted and changes his positions to whatever suits him at the time, but his stated foreign policy views are mostly awful or incoherent anyway. Trump takes a number of positions that make him just as unacceptable as any previous Republican nominee from this century. He isn’t really antiwar, and he’s definitely not antiwar when it matters (i.e., before the war starts). He routinely denounces the results of diplomatic engagement, wants to bring back torture, rejects the nuclear deal, takes a shamelessly pro-settler view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and seeks to have an even more bloated military budget than we already do.
On top of that, his running mate is a dyed-in-the-wool hawk who backed every failed Bush policy, he surrounds himself with hard-liners and authoritarians of the worst kind (e.g., Bolton, Flynn, Giuliani, Gingrich, etc.), and he reportedly plans to appoint some of them to major Cabinet posts if elected. If anyone thinks that Trump won’t pursue regime change abroad, consider that at least three of his prominent supporters and possible appointees (Gingrich, Giuliani, Bolton) are public MEK boosters. That is the alternative that is being offered, and there is no way that I would vote for such a ticket.
It is usually not very hard to find reasons not to vote for the major party candidates, but the 2016 election has made it much easier than normal.