Why I Didn’t Vote for Joe Biden . . . or Donald Trump

My absentee ballot went into the mail last week. It looked a lot like 2016’s ballot: conservative selections for various state and local positions, write-ins for President and Vice President of the United States.

I didn’t vote for Biden and Harris, because I believe they would be bad for the country. I didn’t vote for Trump and Pence, because I believe they’re also bad for the country. It’s not clear to me which would be worse, all things considered, but it doesn’t matter. Both major party tickets add up to “Absolutely no way do you get my vote”—not “maybe,” not “it’s a close call,” not “this is a tough decision”—just no. Emphatically, no.

I wrote in a couple of individuals who have demonstrated leadership ability, above-average wisdom, key conservative principles, and a sense of responsibility for their public discourse. They’ve also given me reason to believe that—if they were President and Vice President—they would see themselves as the leaders of the entire nation, not just those who already adore them.

They would attempt to persuade detractors rather than merely rouse their faithful and try to compel everyone else through policy.

So why didn’t I back one of the “electable” candidates? Several reasons.

1. I didn’t have to.

Much of the rhetoric on voting ethics assumes that no alternative exists to backing Trump-Pence or backing Biden-Harris. Actual ink on actual paper on the ballot I submitted proves that assumption is false.

Some object that failure to support Option A is defacto support of Option B. But a bit of reflection reveals that we don’t hold anything else in life to that standard, and rightfully so. Elections are not the exception.

I’m referring to the ethics of forced dilemmas—when someone wrongfully presents us with two bad options and insists we’re responsible for the outcome of whichever we choose. The truth is that the ones who created the dilemma are responsible, and no one else.

I had no hand in nominating Donald Trump. People with very different principles from me did that, and the national social cost of leaving voters with no suitable candidate to vote for is on their heads.

There is a third option. I took it. I don’t regret it.

2. It was not a “wasted” vote.

I realize that some are so focused on voting as a transaction (and on the immediate outcome of that transaction) that they can’t even begin to consider other factors. The fact remains, though, that as human beings, our principles, values and intentions play a huge role in the moral weight of our actions. We’re not machines, and our choices are more than mere math.

So a vote is an expression of beliefs and desires, regardless of how the electoral mathematics turns out. And for Christians, beliefs and desires matter—forever. It’s literally impossible to waste a vote, because votes are counted twice: once here below, as humans count, and once more above using a fundamentally different standard—just like everything else we do.

That said, for those who only see tangible, practical outcomes as real (an odd point of view for Christians!), I have arguments as well. Read on.

3. We won’t get a better result if we keep doing the same thing.

If you read the Federalist Papers and the views of many of the founding leaders of the nation, as well as the Constitution itself, it’s evident that there was a design they had in mind, and that design includes—ultimately depends on—the citizens choosing from among their own best and brightest to serve as the executive of the nation.

How did we get so far from that?

The answer is complex, but voting for candidates who fail the “basic leaderly character” test sure hasn’t helped!

I’m mainly talking to the “hold your nose and vote for Trump because he’s not Hillary and not Biden” crowd. Call me an idealist, but you’re going to develop a permanently sore nose if you keep making that compromise.

Moving past chronic rhinitis, consider what we know about political parties. They hate losing. When they lose, they reflect at least a little on why, and sometimes they learn and behave differently in the future. What the GOP needs is a lesson in the school of hard knocks. There’s no guarantee they’ll get the message—or that enough of them will get it to produce a better candidate in 2024, but if large numbers of GOP voters refuse to back Trump there’s at least a chance.

Rubber-stamping their abysmal candidates will never teach them to do better.

4. Government power doesn’t change minds.

Peter Drucker is credited with saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He wasn’t wrong. While who controls the reins of power is a huge factor in what life is like for us and our families, and a huge factor in shaping the future of the nation, it’s only huge until you compare it to the biggest factor: the reins of persuasion. What matters most is what millions of individual humans actually believe and value and do.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how persuasive is Donald Trump as a voice for conservative ways of thinking?

At a time when virtually everyone recognizes that the nation is “polarized” and not listening to reason, we elected a president who is the quintessential polarizer, who listens to no-one he doesn’t already agree with, and who mischaracterizes opponents’ viewpoints—as well as hard, verifiable facts—almost as often as he exhales.

He is the anti-persuader.

He speaks to the dazzled-and-delusional crowd who view him through near messianic lenses. He speaks to the hold-your-nose and back him because he’s not Hillary and not Biden crowd. To the rest of the nation, the people who are most essential in this culture war, his communications have less than zero persuasive value. He flings verbiage at the center and the left like a middle-schooler throws cow pies and rotten eggs at an enemy’s house.

So what Trump offers to public discourse isn’t merely a zero in the people-won-over column. He pushes undecideds further from the things we believe in and galvanizes the committed left toward increased opposition to much of what we hold dear. (The old adage was never more apt: “With friends like these, who needs …”)

People of the center or left who were once for something (increasing funding for police training and technology, for example) often decide they’re against it as soon as Trump begins vocalizing support.

We may have already lost the culture war. 2016 may have sealed that outcome. Regardless, I’m against the current course of anti-persuasion and voted accordingly.

5. Character is upstream of politics.

The office of President of the United States is one of such high stakes that candidates must be filtered by some character essentials before we even begin to consider their political views and agenda.

  • What if war breaks out (from outside the nation or within it)?
  • What if a far deadlier pandemic than COVID-19 sweeps the world?
  • What if a series of other natural disasters of unusual scale strikes the nation?
  • What if mob violence and riots occur in five or ten times the number of cities we saw in 2020?

In these situations, sober-minded, competent, big-picture, adult leadership matters far more than Democrat or Republican. Political philosophy matters in these situations, but philosophy can’t compensate for basic character and competence.

6. There must be trust.

I can’t trust Donald Trump. He’s not unique in that regard. I can’t find it in my heart to trust anyone who openly admires dictators, who has at any time in his adult life publicly bragged about groping women, who fires employees by Twitter and publicly shames people who have loyally stuck their necks out for him over and over again, who has made disrespect of any and all who differ from him the one enduring principle of his public life.

I also can’t trust people who display a fondness for conspiracy theories and for encouraging others to do same. I’m talking about narratives that are clearly contrary to verifiable facts. If you’re out of touch with reality, I might be your friend; I might be your relative; I might like you personally; I might love you as a fellow Christian or a part of my family. But I can’t trust you.

It’s not that I won’t or don’t want to. I can’t.

“Trust” is always a scoped term: Trust for what? Trust to do what? In this case, demagogs, bullies, narcissists, and fantasy-worlders can’t be trusted to make decisions for the good of the organizations they lead. Whether it’s U.S. President or president of the town glee club, they don’t get my vote.

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There are 70 Comments

TylerR's picture

Editor

Agree. I, too, voted third party for the same reasons you explain.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Also agree. For me it is mostly point three. I understand why others don’t see it this way and I support their voting their conscience just as I have done. To me though, the Republican Party seems to nominate increasingly ridiculous (and liberal) candidates. I certainly understand the “yeah but the other guy" argument... but I no longer find it convincing. I’ve voted third party for the last few presidential elections and I’m content with it.

T Howard's picture

Like Aaron, I voted for neither Trump nor Biden. I'm tired of all the craziness. I chose instead to vote for Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential candidate.

 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The hardest part about writing that was keeping it down to a somewhat manageable size. There are so many reasons.

But I do want to tack on a couple more very briefly:

7. You can't really separate policy agenda from basic leaderly character.

Can't do it at any level of leadership and can't do it at the Presidential level. I'm sure I'll be characterized as saying a leader has to be exemplary in every way or that I'm expecting the President to be an exemplary Christian, or--and this has already happened before: of expecting the President to be Jesus.

These are straw men.

I use the phrase "basic leaderly character" intentionally. There are a handful of essentials that need to be there for any leadership role, and in many areas of life we don't even try to argue that a leader's agenda negates how he treats people, how he relates to factual information, or how well he actually leads, etc. We usually get that those go together in a single package. When elections roll around we switch gears and want to apply completely different rules to the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet. Doesn't make sense to me.

34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Mt 12:34)

A man who says and tweets the kind of stuff Trump does is not a trustworthy human being. There's chapter and verse.

8. Being anti-abortion doesn't compensate for all the other stuff.

There are better ways to say it, I'm sure, but that's the gist.

  • Abortion needs to be opposed on many levels and the Presidential level is not the most important of them.
  • A candidate's anti-abortion stance doesn't make him more trustworthy or less damaging in other areas that are just as important. Fetal lives matter, but so do adult lives, the lives of the elderly, the lives of the sick, the lives of young men sent to war, the lives of police officers, the list goes on.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

Aaron, you said, "[I can't admire someone] who has at any time in his adult life publicly bragged about groping women." David?

Robert Byers's picture

Another day. And another TDS article at Sharper Iron.  After Trump wins re-election (and I do very strongly believe that he will--my political evaluations are sometimes in error, but never in doubt) will you continue this trend, or will we finally get a break from the constant drumbeat?  We get it.  You don't like Trump.

One serious question.  You said you don't know whether Biden/Harris would be worse for the country than Trump/Pence.  Is that based on the assumption that Biden wouldn't be able to actually get done the things he's campaigning on doing?  Or do you think what Trump has done--done, NOT said--in the past four years is more negative for the country than the opposite policies would have been?  Or is there something else that leads you to the point of indecision?  

Ian Columba's picture

Thank you! Points #7 and #8 are among the most important, I think.  To them I would add the following:

- Christian testimony is more important than political outcomes.

It is undeniable that Christians had a great deal to do with the rise of Trump by their vocal support - even during the Republican primary. I believed this has destroyed the credibility of Christians and the resulting backlash from non-believers will erode what's left of Christian moral influence.  "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you" (Romans 2:24).  I would rather face persecution than sacrifice the testimony of Christ for temporary political power.

- Truth matters.

Not only have many Christians publicly dismissed or explained away the legion of lies that Trump spreads daily, I have seen Christians share or otherwise promote blatant misinformation to promote Trump's agenda with verifiably false accusations, intentionally misleading quotes ripped out of context, or just not telling the whole story. Do we not think the truth matters?  What does it say about the agenda we are promoting if we feel we must use untruth or neglect fact checking to support it? If we can't stand on truth we have nothing left to stand on.

Josh S's picture

Here's where I'm at:

I think a godly, discerning Christian could vote for Donald Trump. But they should do so with their eyes open, knowing exactly what he is and what he is not. 

I also think a godly, discerning Christian could vote third party/skip the top of the ticket. But they should also do so with their eyes open, knowing that their vote will not achieve objective results.

I don't think a godly, discerning Chrsitian could vote for Joe Biden. Period. 

Josh Stilwell, associate pastor,  Alathea Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa.

Bert Perry's picture

....is that one candidate worships in Samaria instead of Jerusalem, the other worships Moloch.  The sequence of sins of Israel clearly indicates that the latter is worse than the former.  One doesn't need to like the sins of Jeroboam to appreciate the fact that he's not Ahab, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Barry L.'s picture

If I had to base it on the spirituality of the person, I wouldn't have been able to vote for a candidate in my lifetime.

adammbreiner's picture

Hard to downplay the role of the president when it comes to abortion on a day when a third Supreme Court nominee of a first term President is confirmed and sworn in to serve. Most believe the Supreme Court is the key to overturning the legality of abortion, and clearly the president has an important role in selections. How different would the Supreme Court look if another candidate was elected in 2016? How different will it look in four years as a result of this election? Certainly abortion is not the only issue our country faces, and voting for life is not the only way to stand for life, but the role of the president as pertaining to abortion is definitely not worth downplaying. 
 

 

Adam Breiner

adammbreiner@gmail.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Bert Perry wrote:

....is that one candidate worships in Samaria instead of Jerusalem, the other worships Moloch.  The sequence of sins of Israel clearly indicates that the latter is worse than the former.  One doesn't need to like the sins of Jeroboam to appreciate the fact that he's not Ahab, no?

We do not have to vote for either Samaria or Moloch.

So, you're offering "the way I see it..." and I'm offering 7 reasons (5 in the post, 2 in the comments). I find that interesting.

None of my reasons even come close to "He isn't godly enough" or "He isn't Christian enough" or "He isn't spiritual enough" or whatever. Basic leaderly character isn't the unique possession of any particular religion. It's common grace ....and everything from Confucianism to the "enlightened self interest" of many atheists supports it--but mostly common sense.

As for Abortion & Court nominees, now there's an argument.

But I have a counter. It's not all that "hard" for a couple of reasons.

  • Most of the reduction in abortions has happened and will continue to happen (if it does) at the level of "people changing their minds about it."
  • The second greatest reduction has been state level legislation... but it's a big step down from number 1.
  • Even if the Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it's going to throw the matter back on hearts and minds and state laws.
  • A new "conservative" (remember how often we've seen that label used on Justices who turned out to have different views than expected) judge only makes a difference if a majority in the Senate + Democratic President doesn't pack the court. (A majority that, if it happens, is quite likely attributable to the President we've had the last four years.)

The prospect of court packing only intensifying the "culture eats policy" argument I've been making. If enough people want something, they're going to find a way.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

not in the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House, or the Presidency.

That said, I am not going to let the perfect be the harm of the good. Call that pragmatism if you want. Go ahead.

Leftists have a real agenda. Liberals have a real agenda. Maybe you shield yourself from them. I get a front-row seat every day on campus. It pains me that the majority view on campus now is that "focusing on the written word" is racist and white supremacist. That expecting a person to be accountable for their individual actions is white supremacy. That showing up on time and often is white supremacy. That reading and learning is white supremacy. But it is.

Wake up.

G. N. Barkman's picture

I listen to all the reasons for not voting for Trump, and they seem like grasping after straws, feeble attempts to rationalize a poor decision.  I'm sorry, but not liking Trump is a sorry reason to not vote for him.  It's way too emotional and subjective, in spite of all the justifications to present it as an objective, principled choice.  It betrays a weak understanding of how politics work in America.

There are two possible outcomes in this election--Trump or Biden.  One of these two will win.  If Trump loses, Biden wins.  If Biden wins, the leftest, anti-God agenda will sweep in with a vengeance.  The Supreme Court will almost certainly be expanded to neutralize Trump's appointments.  Religious liberty will be under attack with renewed energy.  Higher taxes and thousands of regulations will be imposed.  Socialistic solutions will be adopted which will make problems worse, not better.  And everyone who refused to vote for Trump will bear some responsibility for these outcomes.  That's just the way it works, like it or not.

G. N. Barkman

WallyMorris's picture

To those who won't vote for Trump or Biden: I understand your position & reasons. The problem you encounter is being consistent. Did you vote for Reagan, a divorced man whose second wife was involved in occultic activities while in the White House? Or Mitt Romney, a Mormon whose theology about Jesus Christ is blasphemy? I could point out other examples of Republican candidates and Presidents with deep flaws. Your decision may help you sleep better at night, but it won't change the practical realities of politics. If you don't like the candidates for political office, then run for office yourself. The solution, of course, is the gospel and that is our primary purpose. But since we live in a world characterized by Romans 1:16ff and 2 Timothy 3:1ff, and since in America we still vote for our political representatives, I choose to vote in a way that will actually make a political difference. I sleep just fine at night.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Bert Perry's picture

Absent some miracle that no poll is even hinting at, it's going to be either Biden or Trump.  We need to understand that sometimes, our choice is indeed binary.  We can pretend we're not participating, but we are.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Barry L.'s picture

The ability of Christian institutions to turn down employment based on LBGTQ lifestyle.  (case currently making its way to the Supreme Court

Church tax exemption

Increase in globalism that is pro-state and anti-God.

 Rise of Communist China as a threat. If you were for Reagan and the fight against the Soviet Union, how can you be ambivalent to the fight against the same thing in different form?

 

T Howard's picture

For those of you who feel compelled to stick with Trump, enjoy your stay on the plantation

josh p's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

To those who won't vote for Trump or Biden: I understand your position & reasons. The problem you encounter is being consistent. Did you vote for Reagan, a divorced man whose second wife was involved in occultic activities while in the White House? Or Mitt Romney, a Mormon whose theology about Jesus Christ is blasphemy? I could point out other examples of Republican candidates and Presidents with deep flaws. Your decision may help you sleep better at night, but it won't change the practical realities of politics. If you don't like the candidates for political office, then run for office yourself. The solution, of course, is the gospel and that is our primary purpose. But since we live in a world characterized by Romans 1:16ff and 2 Timothy 3:1ff, and since in America we still vote for our political representatives, I choose to vote in a way that will actually make a political difference. I sleep just fine at night.

No I didn't vote for Romney actually. Also it's not just Trump's character. For many of us, it's his policies as well. 

josh p's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

I listen to all the reasons for not voting for Trump, and they seem like grasping after straws, feeble attempts to rationalize a poor decision.  I'm sorry, but not liking Trump is a sorry reason to not vote for him.  It's way too emotional and subjective, in spite of all the justifications to present it as an objective, principled choice.  It betrays a weak understanding of how politics work in America.

There are two possible outcomes in this election--Trump or Biden.  One of these two will win.  If Trump loses, Biden wins.  If Biden wins, the leftest, anti-God agenda will sweep in with a vengeance.  The Supreme Court will almost certainly be expanded to neutralize Trump's appointments.  Religious liberty will be under attack with renewed energy.  Higher taxes and thousands of regulations will be imposed.  Socialistic solutions will be adopted which will make problems worse, not better.  And everyone who refused to vote for Trump will bear some responsibility for these outcomes.  That's just the way it works, like it or not.

It isn't "not liking Trump." It's disagreeing with his policies as well as not believing him to be a good leader. No emotion (I guess there is always some) involved here. I can go right down the line and explain where his policies are atrocious. Just as I can with Biden. Republicans complain about the leftward shift of America but they turn around and vote for more liberal presidents all the time. "Yeah but the other guy..."  If anyone is being emotional it's those that believe voting for Trump is the only way to stop our country from becoming socialist. 
 

I can make the same argument that you are making pretty easily:

If you vote for Trump you will bear some of the responsibility for:

An out of control debt that our children will have to bear, The death of Yemeni people who are being slaughtered with the support of our country, American soldiers dying, Increased national polarization, jobs lost from tariffs which are the most backward and (Liberal!) foolish economic policy in existence, etc. 

See scare tactics and guilt trips work both ways. People have a right to vote their conscience and for me that's voting libertarian. I wish more Christians would get out of the ever plummeting neo-con political bubble and vote based on principle but they don't. That's ok. They don't have to. Just as those that chose to vote for something other than "This candidate is slightly less ridiculous than the other guy" have a right to as well. It's not binary. 

Robert Byers's picture

josh p wrote:

If you vote for Trump you will bear some of the responsibility for:

An out of control debt that our children will have to bear, The death of Yemeni people who are being slaughtered with the support of our country, American soldiers dying, Increased national polarization, jobs lost from tariffs which are the most backward and (Liberal!) foolish economic policy in existence, etc. 

Government spending is completely determined by Congress.  A president presents a budget proposal, but the only control he has over spending is to veto complete bills.  Trump has proposed spending too much money for sure, but blame for the out of control debt lies at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Helping equip Saudi Arabia to defend itself against Iran-backed Yemeni terrorist attacks does not put blood on American hands.  The blame for those deaths in Yemen lies in Tehran, not with Trump.

American soldiers are dying at a fraction of the rate they were under Bush 43 and Obama.  Just 63 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the last four years compared to 210 in Obama's last four years (and more than 1700 in his two terms).  Trump is trying to withdraw from the endless wars, not continue them.

Trump is not the cause of polarization but a symptom of it.  The fact that a large chunk of the country lost their ever loving minds along with the election of 2016 is on them, not Trump.

Job loss from tariffs?  From COVID maybe, but prior to that employment was at record levels, with manufacturing jobs having made a huge comeback.  Obama said there was no "magic wand" to get those jobs back, but it turned out that insisting on fair trade deals (that's what tariffs are for) worked pretty well.  

Josh, you're going to have to do better than that to justify your raging case of TDS.  Your list of complaints do not conform to reality.

Bert Perry's picture

....is the system we have now, the income tax.  I don't know why apparently both parties agree that it's just to tax factory workers to pay for defense spending that keeps the sea lanes open for their competition, but that is the system we have today.  Trump retaliating for unjust treatment is, in my mind, a big step forward.  Even better would be a 10% revenue tariff and a fossil fuels tax (including a tax on imports to measure the impact of their fossil fuel use) combined with a massive income tax cut that would eliminate even more workers from the rolls of those liable to the income tax, IMO.  There are a lot of reasons the Founders did NOT allow direct taxes, but did allow tariffs.

And if we want to talk about the consequences of out of control spending, consider the numbers that Nancy Pelosi was demanding for COVID funding, and consider the response of Biden to COVID, more or less "let's give Democrats the wish list they've had for a long time," combined with "we'll tax the rich to make up the difference, never mind that experiences in Maryland and New Jersey indicate clearly that tax rate hikes on the rich can actually reduce revenues."

I also tend to libertarianism, but I'm realistic enough to know that it is in effect something of a binary equation as long as we have "winner takes all" in elections.  Libertarians would have a bigger say here if we had a parliamentary system; we don't.  Hence I tend to ally with those who are closest to my positions.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

Robert Byers wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

If you vote for Trump you will bear some of the responsibility for:

An out of control debt that our children will have to bear, The death of Yemeni people who are being slaughtered with the support of our country, American soldiers dying, Increased national polarization, jobs lost from tariffs which are the most backward and (Liberal!) foolish economic policy in existence, etc. 

 

Maybe you misunderstood my post but I was highlighting that the same "scare tactics" and "guilt trips" that are used to promote new-con politics can be used by conservatives and libertarians as well. Democrats do it all the time and republicans (rightly) criticize it. I was being intentionally fantastic just as the neo-cons are being. I do believe there is a problem with all of the things I cited though. 

Government spending is completely determined by Congress.  A president presents a budget proposal, but the only control he has over spending is to veto complete bills.  Trump has proposed spending too much money for sure, but blame for the out of control debt lies at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

Ok would you say Trump is helping or hurting the debt problem? 

Helping equip Saudi Arabia to defend itself against Iran-backed Yemeni terrorist attacks does not put blood on American hands.  The blame for those deaths in Yemen lies in Tehran, not with Trump.

They invaded Yemen. The Saudi's are the aggressors. They have killed thousands of civilians. Please read up on this. 

American soldiers are dying at a fraction of the rate they were under Bush 43 and Obama.  Just 63 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the last four years compared to 210 in Obama's last four years (and more than 1700 in his two terms).  Trump is trying to withdraw from the endless wars, not continue them.

I agree that Trump is better than both Bush and Obama here. I commend him for it. I wish he would do much better still. 

Trump is not the cause of polarization but a symptom of it.  The fact that a large chunk of the country lost their ever loving minds along with the election of 2016 is on them, not Trump.

I didn't say that he was although I think he contributes with his asinine texts and general posture. 

Job loss from tariffs?  From COVID maybe, but prior to that employment was at record levels, with manufacturing jobs having made a huge comeback.  Obama said there was no "magic wand" to get those jobs back, but it turned out that insisting on fair trade deals (that's what tariffs are for) worked pretty well.  
 

Again, please read up on Tarrifs and "fair trade". This is one thing that conservatives used to be in unanimous agreement over but they have now accepted the democrat (Bernie Sanders was the other outspoken tarrif supporter in '16) position. There are many factors that determine the unemployment rate. 

Josh, you're going to have to do better than that to justify your raging case of TDS.  Your list of complaints do not conform to reality.

Use the "TDS" label all you want. It's childish and shows that you aren't trying to hear the other side. 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't know how anyone can read my 5 reasons and see them as

not liking Trump

Well, it's true that I don't like him, but that's hardly the point. I don't like cancer, but that doesn't have much to do with why I'm against it. I don't like snake venom or auto accidents or nightmares either. But I could list many reasons for not liking them, and it would be a bit obtuse to dismiss them all as, "I don't see how not liking snake venom is a good reason to avoid it."

But, honestly, I wasn't planning to convince anyone by posting the article. By now, almost nobody is wrestling with what to think of Mr. Trump or of whether he deserves a vote.

I do like to be understood if I can, though.

So, I suggest this exercise that may help with that:

  • Look at each of the reasons I provided for not voting for Trump
  • One at at time, ask, if this were true would it count as a reason to vote for Trump or as a reason not to?
  • Is it probably true? What factors make it more or less likely to be true?

I refer everyone to a writer who, minus a bit of profanity, has said it all better than I possibly could. But I guess all he's really saying is that he doesn't like Trump Biggrin

There’s more to citizenship than voting, and partisanship is not patriotism. If casting a vote is all you have in you, then, fine — by all means, do what you believe to be best. But consider the possibility that the duty of the patriot in these times is not to choose one pack of jackals because it looks a little less hungry and vicious than the other pack of jackals but to oppose these jackals — these demagogues, profiteers, and hangers-on, these greasy little salesmen trying to sell you something that is already yours — and to insist that the free and self-governing men and women of this struggling republic deserve better than what is on offer. We can have better than what we have had because we can be better than what we have been.

What is called for right now is not more idolatry of the presidency or a rousing chorus of “Happy Days Are Here Again!” but prayer and penance, intelligence and application.

And so much more where that came from.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

G. N. Barkman's picture

Joshp has helpfully turned this discussion in the proper direction.  It's not about Trump being a deplorable jerk.  (I fully agree.)  It's about policies, not personalities. What policies will guide our nation over the next four years?  If you are truly convinced that the policies of Biden and the progressive left are better for our country, you should vote for Biden.  If you believe the policies of the past four years have been better for our nation, you should vote for Trump.  

Does Trump the man deserve our support?  No, not in my opinion.  Do the policies Trump espouses deserve our support?  Yes, in my opinion.  He not only declares his support for solid policies (as have so many others), but has proven he will actually enact them.  His determination to do what he says is an amazing  game changer in Washington.  His ability to enact much of his agenda against such incredible opposition is virtually unprecedented.  That's what I support, not the flawed man but the proven actions.   That's why I think Christians should pull the lever for Trump.

G. N. Barkman

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

For those of you who feel compelled to stick with Trump, enjoy your stay on the plantation

Interestingly, one of the big reasons I pulled the lever for Trump in 2016 (and almost certainly this year) is because I felt that there was at least a hint of a chance that in the case of serious misconduct, many Republicans in the Senate would vote to remove him from office.  So I feel less locked in with Trump than I did with Bush, and definitely far less locked in than I would with any Democrat.  Let's face facts; known corruption on the part of Hilliary Clinton and Joe Biden at the beginning of their candidacies (Benghazi, server, easy jobs for Hunter, etc..) didn't torpedo them in the primaries.

Moreover, Trump has brought in something very important for the Republican Party; an awareness of the importance of the interests of working people.  There has always been the argument that conservative policies are in fact better for the working people, and I've largely agreed, but Trump ups the ante by pointing out the disadvantages suffered by workers (blue and white collar) due to relatively unrestrained immigration (illegal and legal) and imports.  The increase in the portion of immigrants in our country has gone down a LOT since Trump was inaugurated, hundreds of miles of fence have been built or improved, and selective tariffs have led to far better trade agreements with many countries.  

It's not perfect--I'd (again) favor a good revenue tariff that would restore trade to its proper place of "things we cannot easily and economically make in our country" (and which would put a real hurt on Maersk, but I digress), and I'd love to see immigration law followed at least to the point of "showing serious criminals the door and doing basic health checks on all immigrants", but it's a start, and a good one, and I hope this degree of populism takes hold in the GOP.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I fully agree with separating personalities from policies. It's another thing to separate character from policy.

It can be done to a point. There's never been a perfect leader of anything, US Presidents, and OT kings included. But the writers of the books of the Kings and Chronicles took pains, inspired by the Spirit, to help us see that some, on the whole "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord" while others did not. And story after story drives home the lesson that the character of the king has consequences.

Then you have the book of Proverbs.

Then you have all the NT calls to identify those who are good examples and follow them.

Scripture is not warm to the idea that only a leader's agenda matters.

So the claim that we can help people gain positions of enormous power based only on their policy agenda and nothing else is a claim with a very heavy burden of proof. But my ears are open: let's hear a biblical--or even a 'wisdom of experience'--case for "only the agenda matters in leadership."

This is what I'm referring to when I talk about how many seem to want to apply different rules to the highest office in the land than they do to any other leadership position there is. ... or maybe it's just different rules for politicians?

I don't see why there should be different rules at all. If anything, those tasked with governance should be held to higher standards.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

G. N. Barkman's picture

What this boils down to, it seems to me, is the very subjective decision as to when the "bad character line" is crossed.  Up to a point, it's not disqualifying.  Past a certain point, and it is.  So how does one know exactly when the line is crossed?  One can give all sorts of objective sounding arguments for why his decision that the line is crossed is the correct one, but someone else can equally claim a different evaluation.  Some believe the line was crossed with a previous candidate that you considered acceptable.  Others believe the line has not yet been crossed with Trump.  It's way to subjective to be so dogmatic about Trumps disqualification.

I saw a post on FB earlier this morning that went something like this:  "My vote is not a Valentine professing my love for a particular candidate.  My vote is a strategic chess move to counter the advancement of a dangerous attack upon the Constitution."  That's my thinking as well.

G. N. Barkman

Mark_Smith's picture

Yes, character matters. Prove to me Trump's character flaws. Don't quote gossip columns masquerading as news or political reporting. Facts. What is Trump's character like? Do you know? Have you met him? Have you talked to him?

People say he lies. About what? Most of things people classify as lies are very subjective. The political things people say he lies about are commonly disagreed on. They called Bush a liar too. Remember that? As for the personal things, do you know to say he is lying. Nope.

Divorce? Yep. How many in your church are? You still preach and care for them. His books and personal life. He is a worldly man, no doubt about it. His comments, in particular the one he said with the interviewer Bush that was revealed before the 2016 election. Well, worldly men are scumbags. Yep, I said it. If you are a man who hangs out with unsaved men, you are going to hear things like Trump said over and over again. I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps. You think those guys are angelic honorable knights? Does any of this excuse his behavior? No. It just reveals that it is common place.

They said Abraham Lincoln was a liar and worse.

And here is the kicker. What is Obama like? Do you know? No you do not. How do you know he and Chuck Schumer didn't get together and tear one up when Michelle was away? Affairs. Common in DC and you know it. Did Obama respect "flyover country"? Not at all. Did he release the power of the federal government on his enemies? Yes. Obama lied early and often about the Affordable Care Act. No fact checker ever looked into him.

So, character? At least face reality before you act like Trump is any different than any unsaved man with power.

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