Let’s be honest here: Donald Trump is a divisive figure. Most Republicans did vote for him in 2016, and there are Republicans (like me) who refused to vote for Trump in 2016 who will vote for him in the 2020 general election. But there are a few holdouts who will vote against Trump this year. They all have their reasons, and some of those reasons are less justifiable than others.
Addressing the “less justifiable” first: There are Republicans who will not vote for Trump out of sincere principle. There are others who will not vote for him because of petty personality conflicts. There are others who have sold out and become Democrats. I am not defending them.
One of my primary reservations about Trump has been answered: I expected a New York City liberal, but Trump has been far more conservative on policy than I could have imagined. But the other problems with Trump remain, and those are primarily concerns of character. Trump remains childish, petulant, thin skinned and impulsive. Whatever you think about Trump’s inclination to strike back hard against any criticism, he has diminished the office of the President with his rampages on Twitter.
Trump’s demand for absolute personal loyalty is bad for the Republican Party and bad for the country, and his tendency to lash out against anyone who is not 100% perfectly aligned with him is unpresidential and unprofessional. Trump is too willing to embrace bad people when those bad people have praised him. The infighting and chaos in his administration should have been disciplined immediately.
And let me be clear: I do not owe you my vote. There is no Republican candidate who “deserves” my vote. It is not my job to vote for every candidate who has an “R” next to his name. I will generally vote for the Republican by default, but a Republican can disqualify himself or herself from getting my vote with bad personal character and/or bad public policy.
The question is whether Trump’s many flaws disqualify him from getting your vote. For me, the conservative policy we have gotten (such as protecting religious freedom, pro-life executive action, reducing harmful regulations on business, tax cuts, protection of due process for college students, and some solid federal justices) and Trump’s status as a bulwark against the excesses of the radical Left are enough reason for me to vote for him. For some principled conservatives like David French, that is not enough.
While I do not agree with them, I do respect their convictions. We should all do the same.