Never means Never

Donald Trump won Indiana last night. I was just going to be quiet and let the Trump supporters have their moment. Regroup today. See if there was any honorable way to stop Trump from becoming the nominee. It didn’t look good.

Then Ted Cruz, the last hope to stop Donald Trump from becoming the RNC Nominee, dropped out of the race.

Immediately the calls for the #NeverTrump people to unite behind the presumptive nominee began. Didn’t we know that we had to give up our position and stop Hillary Clinton?

Hold on. Were you not paying attention before? Maybe I need to explain what the word “Never” means?

When I, and millions of GOP primary voters (35-37% of us if exit polls are to be believed) said we wouldn’t support the GOP nominee if it was Trump, we meant it. We weren’t just saying stuff.

I didn’t say #NeverTrump for political expediency. It wasn’t a clever way to support Ted Cruz or some other candidate. I, like millions of Republicans, will not vote for Donald Trump, ever.

I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton either. She stands for things I don’t. She will never get my vote.

I evaluate candidates along 3 lines: Character, Competence, and Core Values.

With Clinton’s character, I don’t believe she is a woman of integrity. It’s obvious to me that she will lie and try to further herself over the country’s interests. Regarding competence, she certainly has had ample opportunity to learn how to lead, and has obviously given thought to the issues facing our nation. I disagree with her on the issues, and if her previous performance is any indication, I don’t think she would do a good job as President. And her core values are directly in contradiction to mine. So, of course, I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton.

In previous Presidential elections, I’ve been able to turn to the Republican nominee, hold my nose and vote for them because while they may not be perfect (none ever is) at least I could live with them in the role of President. I didn’t doubt there character (more than any other politician) or competence. And at least some of their core values aligned with mine.

But Trump?

Character: People say there are two Trump’s, the one he has to play in the primary and the private Trump. A man of integrity is the same in public and private. He has lied so often I can’t even keep up. Just yesterday, a few hours before calling for Cruz supporters to unite behind him, he was accusing Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in the JFK assassination. he will say and do anything to get what he wants. He has written in the Art of the Deal that he often plays to people’s fantasies, and tells them what he thinks they want to hear. he calls it “truthful hyperbole”. He spins the circumstances, and presents them in a way that best help himself. I would say he is the master of that. But he is not a man of integrity.

Competence: He routinely contradicts his own stated policies. He campaigns according to public opinion. He basically throws something out and sees if it sticks. before the Wisconsin primary, there were a couple of days where he actually held 4 different positions on abortion. It seemed like he hadn’t given any thought to how to answer questions about a pivotal issue for conservatives. He changes positions all the time, based on whatever he thinks he should say to help himself. Most of the positions he claims to hold have been written by others, and he doesn’t seem to be familiar with them. His style of leadership does not lend itself to being President. his behavior on the campaign trail indicates that a Trump administration would not be a competent one.

Core Values: This is a big one. As I mentioned before, he doesn’t have a consistent position on abortion. He called for the killing of wives and children of terrorists (multiple times) and when he found out it would be a war crime, he said we should loosen up those laws. He’s soft on LGBT issues. He’s not for limited government. He’s soft on the ACA and government healthcare. He’s not for free trade. He’s a populist. He wants to ban immigrants/refugees based solely on their religion. He wants to round up illegal immigrants and send them home, build a wall, then let them back in. He wants to start a trade war with China and Mexico. He says he’s against visa for worker in American, but admits to using them himself to the benefit of his businesses. He wants to open up libel laws to shut down criticism from journalists. Until a few years ago, he held very liberal positions, and doesn’t have much of a reason for why he changed his mind. He has no conservative track record. He lies, a lot. He uses dishonorable tactics to smear his opponents.

Every core value I can identify is directly contradictory to my own. And the rest, who can tell what he thinks or will do? How many times has he given an interview, only to have his campaign clarify and walk back something he said?

At least with Clinton I know what we are getting. So no, I’m not going to vote for Clinton and I’m not going to vote for Trump.

And no, a vote for someone else is not a vote for Clinton. It’s a vote for someone else. Either my vote matters or it doesn’t. The Republican party has to earn my vote just like any party. Frankly, if I had been required to register as a Republican in Texas before the primary, I would request to be removed from the Republican membership. Since I didn’t, that makes it easier. I’m not handing the election to Clinton. Millions of us told anyone who would listen that we were not buying what trump was selling. the fact that th rest of you decided to buy it does not make it my responsibility to join you.

Principle over party. Period.

A Republican party that can nominate someone like Donald Trump doesn’t represent me. So I no longer “identify” as one. I’m now an independent conservative. I will find someone I can vote for, instead of against. As long as we keep voting for the lesser of two evils, we will keep getting one of the evils.

I’m still #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary. Never means never.

#NeverTrump vs #Trumpertantrum: 2016 General Election Concerns and Math

This weekend Ted Cruz swept all of the delegates in Colorado. This led to Donald Trump complaining that voters were being cheated, and that the whole system is corrupt, and rigged. He’s right. It is actually rigged, to favor the frontrunner. Even though Trump has won just 37% of the vote, he has claimed 45% of the delegates awarded, so far. That’s after Cruz swept Colorado. I find it odd that Trump’s campaign didn’t care about the delegate process in Colorado, which has been planned this way for a long time, until after he lost all delegates there. To be clear, Colorado Republicans did vote, just not the way the rest of America did. Frankly, this faux outrage is just sour grapes after Trump’s campaign made some major mistakes in the process there.

There are 16 states left in the GOP primary. Trump has secured 37% of the vote in the previous primaries. In order to win the nomination airtight, he must win 1237 delegates. There are 854 delegates remaining. Trump must win 494 to secure the nomination before the convention. Otherwise it’s a contested convention and many think Trump will not emerge the nominee.

But as we continue through this contentious primary, more and more people seem to be hinting that if Trump is not the nominee at the convention, they will walk from the GOP. That’s very similar to the #NeverTrump movement, who say that if Trump is the nominee, they will not vote for him. It looks like no matter what happens some group won’t support the GOP nominee. Whether it’s caused by a massive #trumpertantrum or people who are #nevertrump, it’s becoming clear that the eventual nominee won’t have the support of the entire GOP primary voting body.

That sounds bad. I’ve been #NeverTrump since before there was a hashtag. But this doesn’t look good for the general election: Either Trump’s gonna take his millions of voters and go home if the nomination is stolen from him or millions of #NeverTrump-ers will never vote for Trump if he is the nominee. How can we hope to win the general election.

Let’s look at the math.

#Trumpertantrum:

To date, Trump, who has earned just over 8 million votes so far, has just 13.3% of the number of votes that Romney earned in his failed bid, in the 2012 general election. 13.5% of what McCain received in 2008. Only 12.9% of what Bush received in 2004, where he won. 16% of Bush’s 2000 presidential win. (Where he lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college)

8 million votes is a big number, more than any other 2016 GOP primary candidate, so far. But that is a small percentage of the overall general election votes. And, if the GOP turnout continues to be as large as it has been in the primaries, we should see more GOP voters than the last several elections have seen. Frankly, most of them won’t care about the primary. I used to be one of those voters, I rarely voted in the primary, but always voted in the general. This primary has brought more people into the action, but there are tens of millions more GOP voters who have not participated.

If all of Trump’s voters walked, it would be a blow, but one that could be overcome in the general election. But according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, Only 35% of his voters would walk. 2/3 would still vote for a brokered candidate. Based on current numbers, a non-Trump GOP candidate would lose 2.8 million votes in the general election. Not all 8 million. Obviously these numbers will change as the rest of the primaries are held, but the percentages will likely stay the same. A Trump campaign that is defeated at a brokered convention will take about 1/3 of his votes with him. Votes that probably won’t switch over to the Democrat candidate.

Losing a third of Trump’s voters in the general election will hurt, but it doesn’t have to be a death blow to the general election chances of the GOP. If the Democrats field an unpopular candidate like Hillary Clinton, GOP voter turnout should outpace Democrat turnout. Unless the GOP also fields an unpopular candidate. More on that later.

#NeverTrump

Compare Trump’s 1/3 walk away votes with polls showing that a full 35% of Republican primary voters won’t vote for Trump in the general. That isn’t 35% of Cruz supporters, that’s 35% of all Republican voters. #NeverTrump isn’t just Cruz supporters. Members of #NeverTrump come from the 63% of primary voters who did not vote for Trump. If that percentage holds, half of Republican voters in the GOP primary who didn’t vote Trump won’t support Trump as the eventual nominee.

There have been 22 million votes cast in Republican primaries this year, so far. More will follow as the rest of the Primaries happen. If 35% of those Republicans follow through with their claim of #Nevertrump, that is a much bigger number that the third of Trump’s 8 million voters. At this point, it’s more than 7.7 million GOP voters that will not vote for Trump. If the percentage of #NeverTrump holds, that number will grow.

Is that the death knell for a Trump presidential bid? Not necessarily, but with Trump’s growing unfavorable ratings it doesn’t look good. If 35% of your base will not vote for you, and your unfavorable numbers are far below your opponent’s (10 point difference), it becomes very hard to get out enough votes to win in the general election.

Nominating Donald Trump almost certainly hands the general election to Hillary Clinton. And, if the #NeverTrump people choose to not vote at all, it harms other GOP candidates down the ballot.

Nominating Ted Cruz will alienate some Trump supporters, but in the end, the deficit is much smaller. Plus, Cruz has actually beaten Clinton in some polls about the General election. Cruz currently trails by 2.5 in this Real Clear politics average, while Trump trails by over 10 points. Obviously, things will change during the general election cycle, but a Cruz nomination has much less to overcome than a Trump nomination going into the general election.

A #trumpertantrum walkout of Trump supporters is much better than a #NeverTrump revolt against the GOP nominee.

Why #NeverTrump?

If you follow me on this blog or any social media, my opposition to Donald Trump’s bid for President isn’t a surprise. Recently a hashtag has been in use on Twitter: #NeverTrump. It’s used by people who promise they will never vote for Trump, no matter what. According to some polls, 37% of GOP voters will never vote for Trump. I’m one of those people. I began using twitter to explain why:

Why #NeverTrump? I will never place party above principle. Not now, not ever.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve better. Conservatives deserve better. America deserves better.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a leader who respects women.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve leader of principle, not one who promises to compromise on core values.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve someone who supports the constitution. Trump has shown he doesn’t care about the Constitution.

Why #NeverTrump? Because I won’t put party over principle! America deserves better than lesser of 2 evils!

Why #NeverTrump? Because his tariff policies would hurt our economy.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve leader who values all life. Not one who threatens kids for crimes of parents and supports Planned Parenthood.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a man of courage. Not someone afraid to defend their views in a debate, or to hold to an unpopular position.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve a man of integrity. Not one who says laws/rules are bad for USA but he uses them anyway.

Why #NeverTrump? We deserve someone to look up to. Not a crass, foul mouthed jerk. Someone who can represent us well.

Why #NeverTrump? You can’t govern by polls. We need a real leader with core values.

Why #NeverTrump? Because Presidency isn’t reality TV. We need a real leader.

Why #NeverTrump? Because we deserve a leader who values the truth. Not one who lies casually, continually.

Why #NeverTrump? I won’t let the media decide who I vote for.
Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 11.25.51 AM

People claim that a vote for someone besides Trump in the general election is a vote for Clinton. I say, based on the number of GOP voters who will never vote for Trump, a vote for Trump in the primaries is a vote for Clinton.

#NeverTrump now, #NeverTrump forever. It’s not a bluff, #NeverTrump. If he is nominated, we won’t get behind him. The GOP will lose. This is a choice GOP voters and leadership is making now. We have already made our choice.

Follow me on twitter: @scottlinkpol. Feel free to retweet anything above.

What to Expect in a General Presidential Election: Trump vs Clinton

This is the last in a series of articles on Donald Trump.
Want to know what to expect if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee and faces Hillary Clinton in the general election? In the end, Clinton wins. According a RealClearPolitics.com poll average, Clinton beats Trump. I know, polls mean squat. But Trump himself brags about his polls. So while polls are not a guarantee, they can give an idea about how things will go. You can bet that people will be working to move the polls more in Clinton’s favor. You can bet that some will be doing everything they can to insure a victory for Hillary Clinton. [Update: new poll released Super Tuesday morning. Show Trump losing, Cruz or Rubio winning against Clinton.]
As soon as Donald Trump accepts the nomination for the Republican Party several things will happen.
The gloves come off in the media. Now, wait, I know. if you support Trump you think he is already being treated poorly in the media. But just wait.
Have we forgotten just how in the tank the media was for the Democrat nominee in the last two elections? There are so many hinted at stories about Trump out there. How long before we see wave after wave of news story about ties to criminals, fraud investigations, hiring illegal workers, supposed racist comments, and so much more.
And you know how they will do it. It will be presented as hearsay. Unsubstantiated rumors, but they are just reporting what is being said. And they will do it so much that no American can think of Trump without also thinking of one of his many scandals.
He will continue to be pressed on issues, and his lack of substance will be exposed. For some reason 36% of Republican primary voters don’t seem to care that Trump is an inch deep on all of his policies. Asked how he will get Mexico to pay for the wall, he spouts vague ideas of economics. Asked what he will replace the ACA (Obamacare) with, he says we won’t let people die in the street, and mentions interstate competition between insurance carriers. These answers will not suffice in the general election. Clinton and the media will tear him to shreds.
Age will become an issue. Clinton (age 68) is only 1 year younger than Trump. But Clinton isn’t going on TV saying crazy things. For instance, last Friday Trump denounced the fact that David Duke had endorsed him. Then on CNN Sunday he seemed like he had no idea who he was. After the show, he posted to twitter that, of course, he disavowed the endorsement. Did he forget who Duke was from Friday to Sunday? I want to give him the benefit of the doubt here. But there’s no good reason, either he didn’t want to distance himself from Duke or didn’t remember why he should. [Update: He now says he couldn’t hear. But he could hear well enough to repeat back the words “David Duke” and “white supremacists” Watch the 1:30 video here and see if it looks like he cannot hear what the reporter is saying.]
Does he sometimes say things off message because he is getting old? Expect that issue to be raised.
Democrats will capitalize on his gaffes. Whatever the reason Trump says nutty stuff, he will continue to say similar things throughout the campaign. Short of making him only read pre-written speeches and delete his twitter account, there is no way around it. Trump is gonna Trump. and if you think the other Republicans have made fun of him, just wait until the media and Democrats get going in the general election.
Conservatives lose one of their biggest weapons against Clinton. No other Republican candidate brings the baggage to the general election that Trump does. If you want to say that Clinton is under investigation, expect the media to point out that Trump also is. Any time Trump tries to criticize Clinton’s record, we will be reminded that he donated to her foundation, attended her wedding, called her a friend for years. He never had any problem with her before.
The fact that Trump used to be a liberal until recently (very recently) will provide the Democrats with everything they need to stave off any attack on Clintons’s character or record. It will be very hard to draw distinctions between Clinton and the Trump of the past.
All the news cycles about Clinton’s legal troubles will pale in comparison to the media onslaught of Trump’s fraud cases, bankruptcies, and alleged ties to the mafia.
With the current feeling in the nation, the election should be an easy win for Republicans. The media establishment and Democrats will use every weapon at their disposal to defeat whoever the republican nominee is. If we select Donald Trump, we are giving them all the ammunition they need to succeed.

The 3 Least Christian Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said

In an ongoing series of posts about Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump I want to turn my attention to those of us who are followers of Christ.

I realize that no candidate is perfect. There isn’t a single conservative or liberal candidate out there, running for any office, that will be the perfect Christian candidate. I don’t expect Trump to be perfect. In fact, had he not repeatedly brought up his faith I wouldn’t even write this.  He has said recently that he is a big christian, and no one reads the Bible as much as he does. He even went so far as to say, after the recent debate in Texas, that the reason that the IRS was auditing him might be because of his faith, since the IRS targets religious people/groups. I know that some will think that I shouldn’t “judge” but Matthew 7 does say that people who are religious should be known by “their fruit”.

Back before Iowa, Trump had a few well known pastors endorse him. He has done very well with voters who are evangelical. I’m confused as to how this has happened. You see, there are things he has said. Not things others accused him of, but things he has said (and then said again) that are incongruent with the Christian faith as I know it.

The 3 Least Christian Things Trump Has Ever Said

He said he doesn’t have to ask for forgiveness: At a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa he said: “I’m not sure I have ever asked God’s forgiveness. I don’t bring God into that picture.” (July 18, 2015)

Later that same month he told Anderson Cooper on CNN:

“I like to do the right thing where I don’t actually have to ask for forgiveness. Does that make sense to you? You know, where you don’t make such bad things that you don’t have to ask for forgiveness. I mean, I’m trying to lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness….Why do I have to repent? Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes?”  When pressed, he repeated that he is a member of a church.

Obviously, everyone needs to ask for forgiveness. 20 years ago Trump wrote about affairs with married women: In his 1997 book “Trump: Art of the Comeback” he said: ““If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller (which it will be anyway!).”

Later, in his 2007 book “Think Big and Kick A**” he said, “Beautiful, famous, successfulmarried – I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names, but unlike Geraldo I don’t talk about it.”

We Christians know that God can forgive anyone of anything. And I wouldn’t bring up any of this man’s past indiscretions, except to point out two things: 1. He brought them up himself, multiple times. 2. It’s obvious that Trump, like everyone else, needs forgiveness. I suspect that he needs it as much as anyone; every day.

1 John chapter 1 speaks clearly about this:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

He is not consistent on the issue of Life: We all know that Trump was previously pro choice, and had an experience where he became pro life. Christians, in general, are pro life because human life is intrinsically valuable; we are made in the image of God. In multiple debates and interviews Trump has also said that he does not support abortion, but he said in two debates that he thinks that Planned Parenthood does “very good things.” He also repeated the misinformation that Planned Parenthood does mammograms. (They don’t, they refer patients to other clinics for mammograms.). At first he didn’t say he would commit to defunding them, but when it became an issue, he said that he would not allow federal funding for Planned Parenthood as long as they performed abortions.

Praising the largest provider of abortions in America for doing good things is like saying a doctor convicted of serial killing children isn’t so bad because of the adults she helped. Christians, in general, are pro life because humans, created in the image of God, have intrinsic value. (Genesis 1:26). A conservative, pro-life, Christian candidate should denounce the actions of Planned Parenthood- every time, as often as it comes up.

He said he would kill the families of terrorists: In 2015, talking about how to stop ISIS he said,

“And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

Given the chance to clarify this further at the 5th debate on CNN (which was after the terrorist attack in CA), in response to a questions that asked, “How would intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?” he said:

“You look at the attack in California the other day — numerous people, including the mother that knew what was going on…They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on… I would be very, very firm with families,” he added. “Frankly, that will make people think, because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”

Multiple times Trump said that he would kill the families of terrorists, without due process. Just for being related to them and not stopping them. While we might make the case for capital punishment for the terrorists themselves, killing their families…? I cannot believe he stood by this, twice.

In John 13 Jesus tells us how we can identify his disciples:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

And if you want to know what love is, you need look no further than 1 Corinthians 13:

 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Does this describe Donald Trump in any way? Try saying it this way… Donald Trump is patient and kind; He does not envy or boast; Trump is not arrogant  or rude. He does not insist on his own way; Trump is not irritable or resentful… 

I’m sure Trump is a decent guy at home. He has a beautiful family. But his public persona, his public witness is not one that fits with a committed follower of Jesus Christ.

None of that means that Christians cannot vote for him. If they like his policies, they can vote for him. But we should all know that his veneer of religiosity is very thin. Fellow Christians, please do not support Donald Trump simply because he says he is a believer.

 

Why Do I Care About Trump?

Prior to this election, I never cared much about the presidential primaries. I always figured whoever made it to the general election would be fine. I mean, I voted, but I didn’t write a lot or try to sway anyone’s opinion about one of the primary candidates. But I’ve been a lot more involved in this cycle.

Mainly because I want to see Donald Trump as a business man and TV personality, not as a President, or even just as an unelectable presidential candidate in the general election. I’m not campaigning for anyone, but against Donald Trump. I will use what little influence I have to try to stop Republicans from selecting him as the nominee for the general election.

I know the world will keep spinning no matter who is elected. Most of my day to day life will not be effected by the president. I will still have to pay taxes, and deal with the healthcare issues. I don’t think my small town is much of a target for terrorists. I will have to put up with the economic policies of who ever is elected, but in many ways that is mitigated by Congress. Like all Americans, local and state election affect the details of life most. But the big things are affected by Federal elections. They matter.

Once we get past Super Tuesday, if Trump wins every state, I will stop. It will be inevitable. He will be the Republican nominee.

A few folks on twitter and elsewhere have chided people about not supporting Trump if he is the nominee. They feel that we must support him if he is the nominee. That’s placing party over principle. I won’t do it. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. Period. Full stop, as they say.

If I can somehow influence people to not select Trump as the Republican nominee, then I will. If he wins the nomination anyway, I will look to 3rd party candidates.

Maybe of Trump does win the primaries, a real alternative to the Republicans will rise up?