I should say at the outset that this is not a passive-aggressive endorsement of the Donald. I am a non-voter by temperament: If compulsory voting laws were ever passed in Virginia I would either be jailed for refusing to vote, fined, or write in my wife.
1. Anti-Trump Republicans have little to offer the American people.
The Republican Party has not always been a vehicle for doctrinaire classical liberalism—think of the universal basic income scheme devised by Moynihan for the Nixon administration—and it is a mistake to think that, for example, Reagan owed his success to ideas, which very few people care about. Voters liked him because has was charming, exuded competence, and made jokes about “the government” that were the equivalent of workaday grumbling about the DMV. My great hope for 2016 was that someone—Scott Walker or Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio—would abandon fusionist orthodoxy in favor of a pro-family reformist platform. I remain convinced that a Republican candidate who announced a generous fully refundable child tax credit could have won the White House this year. For two election cycles in a row generic talk about “entrepreneurship” and marginal tax cuts has bored the voters whom it has not alienated. If I were a campaign strategy man I would have been circulating memos all last year with lists of proscribed words: “small business,” “opportunity,” and “new technology” would have been near the top. Both factions in this #NeverTrump coalition, the so-called “Establishment” and the radical Tea Party types, either fail to understand why voters are not warming to their message or don’t care, something that was illustrated with cringe-inducing vividness at the debate in Detroit when Ted Cruz, asked how he would bring jobs back to the city, said that he would repeal Obamacare.
2. Their “strategy” is patronizing.
When they talk about strategic voting based on poll numbers—e.g., you might like Kasich in Utah but you’ve got to vote Cruz to put him ahead of Trump—the #NeverTrump people remind us why the “fed up with Washington” narrative is a thing. Voters are not horses and cannons on a Risk board. It is one thing to think that the primary system is a joke and that we should returned to brokered conventions—it is another to pay lip service to democracy while insisting that people pulling the levers should treat their visits to the polls as a tactical exercise carried out on behalf of pundits and party men. Normal people don’t think this way.
3. It’s a little late to start complaining about Trump’s vulgarity.
Think about the last time you refused to watch a film or listen to a pop song because it was obscene. I for one would welcome a return of the Hays Code and Singapore-style caning for purveyors of hardcore pornography; when the fusionist crowd start denouncing our trash culture—not only porno but also legalized dope, almost everything on television and Top 40 radio, the rapists and thugs in the NFL—they will be able to speak credibly about what a pig Trump is for saying “f—” at his rallies.
4. Trump, in my view, would be better than Hillary Clinton on the issue that matters most.
That’s right, I said it. If you want to see justices willing to overturn Roe v. Wade be appointed to the Supreme Court, this is a no-brainer. Controlling the court is a necessary rather than a sufficient condition for ending infanticide in this country, of course: we still need laws on the books in the statehouses. But that’s precisely my point: it’s necessary. Trump has been forthcoming about this issue from the beginning—in fact, he has been more specific than any other candidate. A few weeks ago I spoke with a credible source very close to the Trump campaign who named names. I was encouraged. Meanwhile, a Hillary Clinton presidency would ensure that abortion on demand remains the law of the land for decades to come.