In March I wrote:
I will not vote for Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. If he wins the nomination I will not vote for him for President.
This is not a tough call.
Donald Trump is an ignorant, unprincipled, amoral policy lightweight opposed to free market capitalism and limited government.
… Donald Trump is dangerous.
… Donald Trump acts like an eighth grade bully.
… Donald Trump lacks the character, the values, and the sound judgment essential to fulfill this awesome responsibility. He is unqualified and unfit to be President of the United States.
Over the past seven months Mr. Trump has repeatedly reaffirmed my March viewpoint. I continue to oppose Donald Trump and I will not vote for him for President. For me it’s a matter of conscience — I simply cannot vote for him no matter what the alternative or consequence. As I did in March, I again conclude that a President Trump would be a disaster for America, a danger to the world, and destructive of those values and ideas most important to me.
I find that this year I am not thinking of my vote as a choice between two bad alternatives. Maybe I should be; maybe I should vote for whichever major party candidate is less worse for America.
But I cannot. My mindset is more selfish: no one “deserves” my vote, especially if their principal case is a negative one. My vote is mine and you have to earn it by convincing me to vote for you, not just against your opponent. Has Mr. Trump earned my vote? No. OK, then has Secretary Clinton earned it?
Also no. Given my starting point it wouldn’t have taken much. I was gettable. She could have tacked back to the center in the general election rather than continuing to pander to her progressive base. She could have said something positive about free trade, or slowing entitlement spending growth, or keeping taxes low, or reducing the burdens on the private sector of an ever-expanding administrative state. She could have accepted responsibility for her past poor judgment and ethical lapses. She could have taken steps to show that she had learned from these mistakes and that she would not make similar ones in the future. She could have signaled that a Clinton presidency would sometimes be bipartisan, would occasionally be centrist, would always respect the rule of law and behave ethically.
Since she has done none of those things she has not earned my vote.
This means I’m stuck. Donald Trump must not become president but I cannot justify voting for Hillary Clinton. So a write-in it is for me—tomorrow I will write in Jeb Bush as I did in the California primary. I would vote for Clinton if she had tried just a little, so great is the threat that Trump poses. I comfort myself somewhat with this unsatisfying middle ground by remembering that my vote here in California is purely symbolic, and for once I am happy that I don’t live in a swing state.
I am not trying to tell you how to vote, and I respect others who are making different choices. I write this today simply because I want once again to be on record opposing Donald Trump while it still counts.