Is voting for the “lesser of two evils” wrong?

From:,  by J. Cal Davenport,  on Sep 7, 2016,  see the article HERE.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

Dennis Prager, conservative talk-show host and columnist, has taken it upon himself to persuade those of us who remain #nevertrump to hold our nose and vote for the Donald, apparently since all efforts by others to change our minds have failed. Mr. Prager is an intelligent and thoughtful guy, so it gives me no pleasure to say he’s wrong.

But he is.

And, rather ironically, Dennis comes to the wrong conclusion about what we #nevertrump conservatives ought to do right after he accurately discovers the difference between us and those who have decided to plug their noses to block the stench of Trump and punch the ballot for the GOP ticket.

He writes:

We have the same principles as the #NeverTrumpers, especially those of us who strongly opposed nominating Trump. That’s why we opposed him, after all. Almost everything that prevents #NeverTrumpers from voting for Trump also troubled us about the candidate.

This seems true enough to me as regards most reluctant Trump voters. There are some people who considered him a top choice, but others at least see him as…problematic. Prager goes on.

We differ on this: We hold that defeating Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the left is also a principle. And that it is the greater principle.

Well, okay, he’s sort of right about what we disagree on. I challenge anyone who supports Trump to prove that #nevertrump conservatives don’t consider defeating Hillary Clinton to be a principle by providing evidence beyond the fact that we aren’t voting for Trump.

Because here’s where we actually differ: #nevertrump conservatives do not see a superior choice in Mr. Trump. Therefore, defeating Hillary Clinton, while a principle, is not the “greater” principle. (Indeed, it seems every few days there is someone on the Right who argues for supporting Clinton this time around, such as in this piece linked on Real Clear Politics right next to Mr. Prager’s.)

Amusingly, Prager and others like him seem to be under the impression that in deciding that we can not vote for Trump, we never considered how bad Hillary Clinton is.

As he writes,

[#NeverTrumpers] argument is profoundly mistaken.

It assumes that America can survive another four years of Democratic rule.

By “survive” he means America remains “the country it was founded to be.” Now Dennis will be the first to agree that liberals and progressives have long had a very different conception of what America ought to be than those of us who fight to conserve our founding constitutional principles.

Yet he continues, as though this changed in the last four or eight years.

One side seeks to undo just about every founding principle that made America exceptional. Important examples include small and limited government; preservation of the power of the states to serve as political and social laboratories; a belief in individual responsibility; a society rooted in Judeo-Christian morality — one composed of people who nearly all affirmed in God and Bible-based moral teachings; and a deep sense of a unifying American identity and destiny.

Yet Hillary Clinton was as much a threat in 2008 as now, as was Barack Obama. Dennis knows this:

[T]he left and the Democratic Party (which are now indistinguishable) boast of their aim to do so. As then-Senator Barack Obama accurately prophesied in 2008,

“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Obama was elected and then 2012 became “the most important election in our lifetime,” replacing 2008. It wasn’t the first time. John Kerry was an existential threat in 2004. Al Gore was in 2000. Not to downplay the danger of progressivism, but I’ve never voted in an election that was not “the most important of our lifetime.”

Except they never are.

Why? Because there are almost no permanent victories or losses in politics, but almost exclusively marginal ones. Barry Goldwater’s loss in 1964 wasn’t a permanent loss for small government, to take just one example.

Mr. Prager seems not to take this into account. He continues,

And for the first time in American history, a man calling himself a socialist won the great majority of young people’s votes in the Democratic presidential primaries. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ new political movement is accurately named “Our Revolution.”

Dennis does not bother to explain what electing Donald Trump will do to change the electorate. Indeed, he seems to imagine that electing the worst possible alternative liberalism will somehow reverse the flow toward liberalism.

What exactly does conservatism offer when our electoral vehicle is headed by a man who undermines all our goals and hard work over the years? The likely outcome is that people will be pushed toward men like Sanders as alternatives to the disaster Trump will be and that conservatism will be compromised by the poison of Trumpism. In other words, Republicans will lose more, Democrats will win more and both parties will be worse.

What does that mean for conservatives considering their election choices? It means that we need to consider the long-term consequences of votes. We must consider if it we ought to gain the highest office in the nation, but lose our souls.

By “we” I now mean “the GOP,” not conservatives. To ask that question as a conservative, rather than as a Republican, is to assume that Donald Trump is one of us, a conservative who cares about this nation’s founding principles. He isn’t.

Sure he promised to protect all twelve articles of the Constitution, but that was one of the few times he even mentioned the document. I don’t need to rehash the numerous ways in which Trump is not only ignorant of conservative principles, but even ignorant of his own ignorance. Others have done a sufficient job explaining that.

Indeed, far from it being #nevertrump voters forgetting how bad Hillary Clinton is, the gap between us and his reluctant voters is that they simply don’t like him. We don’t consider him an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton. Perhaps at a fundamental level, we can simply imagine someone as bad as her and they cannot.

And I’m sympathetic. After 25 years of her being the devil incarnate in the eyes of many conservatives, it’s hard to consider the possibility that there could be someone as dangerous.

And yet…


According to a cursory count, I’ve published 111 posts here on Pesky Truth that were related to Donald Trump and all were bashing him in some fashion. I also contributed a LOT of anti-Trump posts to a blog where I was a contributing author in a previous gig. I believe that qualifies me as “anti-Trump.” There is a lot (a LOT) to dislike about Mr. Trump and seeing him take the oath of office as our president is not a visual that comforts me. He is an egotistical, narcissistic bully and he lies and exaggerates without remorse. His temperament is NOT suited to the presidency and the thought of it gives me chills.

However, I’ve also written countless essays about Hillary Clinton, going back to her days as First Lady of Arkansas and she is perhaps the most corrupt politician that I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. She has an insatiable thirst for power and will do anything (to anyone) to get her way. I truly believe that she is evil – and I don’t use that term loosely. She accomplished nothing to speak of as a U.S. Senator and, up until Benghazi, nothing as Secretary of State. I firmly believe that her decisions led directly to the loss of four brave men in Benghazi and she was intimately involved in the cover-up. Following that, we learned of her secret server setup so she could conduct her own personal get-rich-quick business (Clinton Foundation business) without oversight by anyone and lied about that. All the while, she played fast and loose with our country’s classified correspondence with little concern. More lies, more cover-ups. With Hillary, there is no end to what she will do, no law she wouldn’t break, to reach her goal – the presidency of the United States. I believe that she is convinced that it is her destiny and she’ll stop at nothing to achieve that goal.

So, here we are. Faced with “awful” and “awfuler,” what to do, what to do?

In the end, I’ll vote for Trump because I do think that he is the lesser of two evils. Some may berate me for that choice, saying that the lesser is still evil and I don’t deny that, but not voting is not a choice that satisfies any part of me and voting for a third party candidate or writing in “Ted Cruz” won’t accomplish my goal either – and that is to prevent Hillary from becoming president.

If this election is close (which seems likely), and someone votes for a write-in or third-party candidate instead of voting for Trump, this action will directly help Hillary Clinton, because she will need one less vote to win. I just can’t condone that.




Categories: Political

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13 replies

  1. No, I don’t think it’s wrong to vote for the lesser of two evils. What IS wrong is that in a country of 330 million people, some of whom are intelligent, wise and of good character, this is the choice we’ve been forced into. There ought to be a consequence for those responsible for our predicament.

    According to the article Dennis Prager said, “We hold that defeating Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the left is also a principle. And that it is the greater principle.”

    I don’t know who the “we” is Prager speaks of (people take a lot of liberties with that word these days), but since when is it a “principle” to defeat someone or something? Victory is an objective, NOT a principle. Shame on Prager for confusing the two; furthermore Prager needs to decide which of those objectives he wants to pursue. A sensible person would make it their primary objective to defeat the Left, because that takes out Hillary and the Democrats at the same time, but therein lies the rub. You can’t defeat the Left by running or electing an unprincipled, non-conservative like Donald Trump. The nomination of Trump reduces “us” to the objective of just defeating Hillary, i.e. the foolish “Anyone but Hillary” strategy. “Anyone but Hillary” got us Donald Trump.


    • Our problem is that we have so many otherwise reasonably intelligent and patriotic citizens who are so focused on the microcosm of making a living and raising a family, that they pay little heed to the “big picture” of electing an individual who will impact their lives and the lives of their family for decades to come and they don’t engage until it’s too late – when it’s time to vote.

      Everyone, on both sides of the political spectrum, had ample opportunity to learn about their respective candidates for their party’s nomination, and ample opportunity to try and affect the choice of candidate, but most just let it slide by and now we’re faced with the two least desirable candidates in my lifetime.

      And the rest of us must suffer for the lack of their engagement. In effect, those unengaged, inert morons will have selected, by default, the two clowns from which we now must choose. THAT is really sad.


      • I think you’re much too kind, Garnet. It doesn’t require that big of a time investment to familiarize oneself with the candidates, watch a debate or two and cast a vote for a nominee. If you’re too busy to do that, you’re not that patriotic in my book. Having said that, I don’t think a lack of engagement was the biggest problem for Republicans this time around. There were plenty of people engaged on behalf of Donald Trump. IMO it was Trump’s enthusiastic supporters and their selective amnesia about what they’d fought for over the last 8-plus years who are responsible for the poor choice on the Republican side. Democrats? Who cares about their lousy candidate? Their idea of a good candidate is a someone who can lie to our faces and get away with it.


  2. I’m not there yet. All I have to do is decide whether I want syphillis or gonnorrhea.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. God forbid, but if Hillary wins, the #neverTrumpers will be beaten over the head for years, much like O blamed Bush for so many thing. There always has to be blame and someone at fault, regardless of merit.

    I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been told ‘this is the most important election ever.’ Like the guy said, they never are. It wasn’t always that way, but the two parties are so much alike now that it’s hard to tell much difference in them. The only difference in the two is that the dangers associated with Hillary are fairly predictable, whereas with Trump the dangers are unknown. Trump says what the GOPers want to hear, Hillary the opposite.


    • If Hillary wins a close election, the #neverTrumpers will deserve to be ostracized and shunned since their votes FOR Trump could have changed the outcome. I have a slightly different take on the “most important election” canard, in that each election can be thought to be more important than those that went before. I can’t see how anyone could call a presidential election unimportant.

      I concur with your last point. We pretty much know what we can expect from Hillary, we’ve got a long rap sheet to inform us. Trump is different. He’s not someone that I would have chosen as a candidate, but given the circumstances, I guess the “devil I don’t know” is preferable to the “devil I do know,” he may not be quite as evil.


  4. Garnet, I’m with you 100%. Like you, I’ve written countless blog columns, as well as stuff published in my local papers, slamming Trump, as well as the Hildebeest. But also like you, I’ve decided that the time has come to accept the reality of the present, and cast my vote for Trump.

    Y’know, I’ve never even heard of this “J. Cal Davenport” who wrote this column. But I HAVE heard of Dennis Prager, and Mark Levin, and David Limbaugh, and respect ALL of them as real constitutional conservatives. Interestingly enough, ALL of THEM are also voting for Trump. In fact, here’s Limbaugh on this very topic, today in Townhall:

    Interestingly enough, in all of this guy Davenport’s blathering, he doesn’t even MENTION the Supreme Court once. Not once. And if nothing else, THAT is one of THE most important issues of this election, because one of only two people will be appointing Scalia’s replacement: Trump or the Beest.


    • I’ve never heard of this Davenport guy either, I just wanted to take advantage of his counterpoint to illustrate the choice that we all must make. I also agree that the talkers you mention are of the same opinion regarding Trump yet are planning on voting for him. Yep, the Supreme Court appointments are the “gift” that keeps on giving – whoever is appointed will affect the direction of the U.S. for decades to come – what could be more important than that?


  5. First, if anyone here in Texas votes for a write-n candidate that is forbidden ballot access by having lost in a prior primary, the ENTIRE ballot is spoiled, and you lost your ability to participate entirely. DON’T DO IT!

    Second, no one should ever criticize another for their vote, even if it is nonsensical, like voting for the evil Hillary.

    Third, the voting we do here is called the secret ballot for a reason. No one needs to know who you vote for unless you reveal it publicly.

    I have no confidence or desire to see either of these two ascend to the presidency.

    Of the two, there is at least the chance that Trump might do some thing right from my perspective, while Hillary is assured to do nothing but evil. So, there’s that to consider.


    • Thanks for clearing that up curtmilr – I didn’t know that. As far as criticizing another for a vote, I can respect a vote cast for a candidate because the voter believes them to be the best candidate to govern in a manner desired by the voter. I don’t respect, and will criticize someone who votes for a candidate simply based on race, or religion, or gender without any consideration on how that candidate will govern the country.

      On our secret ballot: I remember that many voters who suffered “buyer’s remorse” were quick to say, “hell no, I didn’t vote for that SOB” when their real choice turned out to be a disaster.

      i agree totally with your last two points.


  6. As a retired military and commercial pilot, there are many answers to the question, “What is the difference between a real pilot, and someone who knows how to fly an airplane?” The relevant answer is that when things fall apart, the real pilot fights through to the end, constantly evaluating and searching for some sudden, fleeting chance, being ready to seize it. Right up until the point on the cockpit voice recorder which usually ends with “Expletive deleted. Sounds of aircraft breaking up.” The person who simply knows how to manipulate the controls throws up his hands, screams “What should I do?” and is a passenger who sits back and lets it happen.

    There is a similar difference between an American Citizen, and someone who is merely qualified to vote. An American Citizen knows how to make the hard choices, no matter how appalling, and votes accordingly. The person who is merely a voter throws up his hands by staying home, or voting for someone who is irrelevant, thereby effectively staying at home.


    • Tregonsee, thanks for your comment. I agree that a real citizen is one who recognizes that he/she has a vested interest in the selection of a leader and does at least some cursory research into what each of the candidates has to offer. That’s the only way to make an informed decision.

      The others (I generally refer to them as “inert”) invest no effort or energy into their decision – they are disconnected and vote according the a “D” or “R” or name recognition or skin color. Given a choice, I’d prefer that they not vote at all, but it is their right, and often (like the past eight years) the rest of us must suffer for their lack of interest in the governance of our country.


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