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The entertainment’s almost over

November 4, 2016

I’ll be voting for Johnson/Weld to help the Libertarians hit the 5% goal because what the U.S. needs is an alternative to Democrats and Republicans. So I urge people to vote for the least of the evils.

But I live in a pretty Red state: ElectionBettingOdds has Missouri at 90% Trump/10% Clinton today, numbers that haven’t changed much over time. So my vote will make little difference no matter who I favor. The only thing I can affect is the percentage of popular vote.


Like many others, I’ve been fascinated with the contortions the Republican party’s been going through over the Trump candidacy this year. There have been quite a few interesting arguments pro and con since the convention last summer.

Here are a couple of recent ones. First, Ross Douthat in Wednesday’s New York Times arguing against Trump:

An Election Is Not a Suicide Mission

[…] I agree with them that grave evils will follow from electing Hillary Clinton. But the Trump alternative is like a feckless war of choice in the service of some just-seeming end, with a commanding general who likes war crimes. It’s a ticket on a widening gyre, promising political catastrophe and moral corruption both, no matter what ideals seem to justify it.

It is a hard thing to accept that some elections should be lost, especially in a country as divided over basic moral premises as our own. But just as the pro-life movement ultimately won real gains — in lives saved, laws altered, abortion rates reduced — by accepting the legitimacy of the republic even as it deplored the killing of the unborn, so today’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump, and the chance to oppose Clintonian progressivism unencumbered by his authoritarianism, bigotry, misogyny and incompetence, than it does from answering the progressive drift toward Caesarism with a populist Elagabalus.

Not because it is guaranteed long-term victory in that scenario or any other. But because the deepest conservative insight is that justice depends on order as much as order depends on justice. So when Loki or the Joker or some still-darker Person promises the righting of some grave wrong, the defeat of your hated enemies, if you will only take a chance on chaos and misrule, the wise and courageous response is to tell them to go to hell.


Second, here’s Jim Geraghty at National Review advancing Hugh Hewitt’s left-handed argument in favor of Trump. I actually found this one sort of appealing and agree with Hewitt’s tactic.

ADDENDA: As mentioned on this morning’s Hugh Hewitt show, I voted absentee this year, and voted for Evan McMullin. Needless to say, I instantly got the typically calm and easygoing response from Trump fans you would expect. Hugh made the argument that because Clinton’s actions with her private server are now so clearly harmful to national security that even a Never Trumper like me has to be rooting for his victory. (It’s easier to root for her defeat than his victory.)

Hugh convincingly argued that there will be more opposition to Trump’s unconstitutional instincts than to Hillary’s. If both are likely to face criminal charges and an impeachment attempt against their abuses of power, Trump will face opposition that Hillary will not. In short, “You have to vote for the lesser Constitutional crisis.”

The perfect slogan!

lesser-constitutional-crisis


The Democrats have an easier time of it (ignoring the diehard Sanders supporters). They’ll vote for Secretary Clinton either not believing there’s any substance to the alleged scandals or not caring whether there is. And to be scrupulous, they’ve got a point: there haven’t been any indictments, much less any convictions, so far.

What there has been is a lot of the Appearance of Impropriety, though. I thought Ed Morrissey at Hot Air asked a good question: How did Hillary get so rich? Money quote:

Don’t forget that the Clintons had been in federal office continuously from January 1992 to February 2013, a period of twenty-one years, while they amassed a nine-figure net worth. Only a small portion of that came from book advances, while their speeches and especially Bill’s consultancy income derived almost entirely from Hillary’s status as a Senator and later as Secretary of State.

In the same appearance-of-impropriety vein, here’s news from Reuters just this evening about a gift to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s charity confirms Qatar’s $1 million gift while she was at State Dept

The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.

Clinton signed an ethics agreement governing her family’s globe-straddling foundation in order to become secretary of state in 2009. The agreement was designed to increase transparency to avoid appearances that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by wealthy donors.

Maybe there was a perfectly good reason for the Qatari donation. And maybe there was also some perfectly innocuous reason why Secretary Clinton didn’t disclose it as she’d agreed to do. And perhaps there’s some perfectly reasonable explanation for why we’re learning about this now — via WikiLeaks — instead of earlier from Secretary Clinton herself.

But what are the odds that all those things are true?

As one of my correspondents said, "If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…"

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