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The Conservative Case Against Donald Trump

Six reasons Republicans should not vote for Trump in November

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

There are a lot of folks out there who, like me, don’t care one bit for Hillary Clinton — 53 percent of you, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average. Whether you are Republicans or Bernie bros or just people who have fully functioning auditory systems, you don’t trust her, don’t think she is in touch with your concerns, and don’t really want her to be president.

I come before you today, Hillary haters, as one of your standard-bearers. I find her utterly loathsome. I literally wrote a book on her failures — you can buy it for the low, low price of 99 cents on Amazon dot com. I started the first anti-Hillary super PAC of the presidential cycle back in 2013. My bona fides are real.

But here is the painful reality. As truly awful as Hillary Clinton is, Donald Trump is far, FAR worse. It is not even close. Trump is a clear and present danger to our republic. And no matter how deep and abiding your mistrust is of Hillary, you cannot pull the lever for Trump. Let a charter member of the vast, right-wing anti-Clinton conspiracy convince you.

1. Trump Is Conning You

Whatever it is that Donald Trump has sold you, it’s a lie. I wish I could write a personal column to every Trump supporter who reads The Ringer. Maybe Simmons will let me crush your arguments on his Facebook Live one at a time. But based on my conversations with Trump supporters at the LSU–Mississippi State tailgate last month, here are some top examples:

  • He’s a winner/great businessman: He’s not. Besides The Apprentice, he hasn’t had a business success in decades. This is a guy who managed to lose money running a casino! Ever heard of the Tour de Trump, Trump Steaks, Trump Lubricating Gel, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka? No? Well, all of those things are real except one and they were all dismal failures. The one thing Trump is purportedly skilled at is real estate, right? Well, Trump started a mortgage company in April 2006. Take a moment to appreciate the monumental stupidity of starting to sell mortgages right as the housing market was beginning to crash and take down the entire economy. The guys in The Big Short had foreseen the crash one whole year earlier. As a businessman, Trump is a loser and a fraud.
  • He cares about the working man, not the elites: Every single Trump product is made overseas. Trump ties, shirts, everything. At his luxury resort in South Florida, he still to this day uses foreign workers. He says “it’s very, very hard to get [Americans] in Palm Beach.” At a resort. He will sell workers out in a second. He has his whole life.
  • The Supreme Court needs a conservative: I promise you Trump can’t even name anyone on the Supreme Court list he released in September. He’s as likely to pick Omarosa as a conservative jurist.

Supporting Trump for president would be no different from signing up for Trump University. He made students promises, they gave him time and money, but in the end all they had to show for it was a phony degree. Don’t be conned.

2. Trump Will Not Govern As a Conservative

Conservative Hillary haters: Donald Trump is not your friend. He is a lifelong New York liberal whose few policy proposals have had more in common with European nationalist parties than anything Ronald Reagan would support. He has flip-flopped on every major conservative policy priority. The only thing he’s reliably more conservative than Hillary on is deporting immigrants. If that is the most important issue to you, vote Trump. Otherwise, a Trump presidency will do lasting damage to the conservative cause. Hamilton is hot right now, so listen to the original: “If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures.”

3. Trump Is Not Your Friend, or Anyone’s

Donald Trump has no real-life friends. Literally, zero. Before he ran for president he would eat dinner alone at his resort or in his apartment almost every night. Have you ever seen or heard from a single friend who wasn’t paid by or related to him discussing how great he is? No.

It’s totally rational to be annoyed by PC culture where every perceived slight is an infringement on people’s safe space. The correct response to that is not elevating to the presidency a man who demeans Latinos, women, Muslims, the disabled, soldiers with PTSD, POWs, and parents of dead veterans.

What kind of impact would having a person like that in the White House have on our kids? When you consider the positive qualities you admire in a person — fortitude, humility, sacrifice, quiet confidence, poise, integrity, affability — Trump has the opposite on every count. Try to think of a character trait he has that you would want your child to emulate. I can’t come up with one.

4. Trump Is the Most Dangerous Nominee on Foreign Policy of Either Party Since World War II

To be sure, we’ve had some nominees and presidents with deeply misguided foreign policy agendas. Trump is the only one who does not believe that American influence can be a source of good in the world. He’s the only one who hasn’t taken the time to learn about foreign affairs. He’s the only one who is so emotionally volatile that he could engage us in conflict on a whim.

Trump has complimented Vladimir Putin, the Chinese dictators in Tiananmen Square, and Saddam Hussein. He has said the idea of American exceptionalism is offensive. Plus, he’s the most insecure person on earth. Trump bases whom he likes and dislikes on whether the person has massaged his ego recently. That is about the worst imaginable quality in a president. All Bashar al-Assad has to do is tell him how big his hands are and we’ll be sending troops to defend his war crimes in Syria. This is not a person who can be trusted to lead the greatest fighting force in the world.

5. Trump Has No Respect for the Constitution

Trump has shown a willingness to step on religious freedom by implying that members of one religion in this country can’t travel abroad and be guaranteed reentry. He has said he doesn’t care about freedom of speech, and thinks the government should be able to target journalists. Can you imagine Trump, as president, responding to the Supreme Court ruling against him by just saying “Screw it, I’ll do it anyway, the people love me”? Of course you can.

His belief is in the power of Trump, the strongman. The U.S. system has checks and balances for a reason. It limits presidential authority to protect us from tyrants. Trump has shown no interest in those checks. Everything he has proposed is predicated on giving more power to Trump — who has said, “I alone can fix it.” That is very, very scary.

6. We Do Not Need to “Blow Shit Up”

Lastly, for all of you who hate “the establishment,” think Barack Obama has ruined the country, and just want to “blow shit up,” let me offer you this: If you are an average person with an education and a genie offered you the chance to live in any country, at any time in the history of the world, you would be a moron not to pick the USA in 2016. We have our problems for sure, but this country is already great. If you want to blow shit up, go to Venezuela or Greece or Russia. America needs smart reforms, steady progress, and a recommitment to the principles of limited government and individual liberty that have served us so well for the past 240 years.

This doesn’t make good copy on the conservative blogs, but the reality is the U.S. can survive four more years of a liberal president, with a Republican check in Congress. (This part is important. Republicans, make sure you vote for your Republican Congressional candidates.)

The question is can we survive four years of someone who shreds those checks and the Constitution altogether? Someone who ends American global leadership? Someone who is so insecure he might get us into a war over a tweet? Someone who is so vile that he would scare millennial voters off of conservative governance for a generation?

It’s far too big a risk.

So, fellow Hillary haters, on November 8, whether you land on Evan McMullin or Gary Johnson, write in Coach O or Vince Staples, or decide to hold your nose and vote for Hillary — I ask for the sake of our nation that you don’t vote for Donald J. Trump.

Tim Miller is a partner at Definers Public Affairs. He has been spokesman for Jeb Bush, the Republican National Committee, and a bunch of other Republicans. He tweets a lot at @timodc.