There are more than a few smart, respectable, level-headed conservatives saying that we have to vote for Trump because that’s the only way to keep the Supreme Court out of Hillary’s hands. It’s an inversion of the “devil you know” argument: the devil we know is the most horrible thing imaginable, so anything else must be better.
It’s a compelling argument, for sure, and I don’t blame anyone who is convinced by it. But I’d like us to take a step back and consider the entirety of our current situation, of which the presidential election is only a small part.
Republicans currently control both houses of the state legislature in 31 states. They control at least one of the legislative houses in 37 states.
Republicans control the governorships of 31 states, versus 18 Democrats and one independent (Alaska; no telling what’s going on up there).
Republicans control both houses of the U.S Congress. They control the House of Representatives by a lot, more than 50 seats.
And you’re telling me that if the Republicans — the conservative party — don’t control who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, then all that counts for nothing and conservatism is doomed?
(Pause for effect.)
Yes, that is correct. That’s pretty much the situation we’re in.
Traditional conservatism (Tea Party conservatism, grassroots conservatism, whatever you want to call it) has made historic electoral gains over the past few years, and the only thing that’s happened is the system has adapted so as to more effectively ignore it. At one point there were 17 people running for the Republican nomination for president, half a dozen of whom I would have been not just willing but excited to vote for. When the nomination was decided, what we ended up with was a contest between two big government liberals. So now we’re reduced to arguing that we have to vote for the one who’s been a Republican for all of ten minutes, because maybe, possibly he won’t appoint Supreme Court justices who will rubber-stamp every insane progressive idea that comes down the pike.
If that’s the situation that we find ourselves in, my friends, I submit to you that we’ve got bigger problems than needing to win the presidency. What we have is a separation of powers that isn’t separating, and checks and balances that are neither checking nor balancing.
We are playing in a game that is designed to defeat us. Thinking we can fix the system by electing the right president is like me playing a sport called DestroyJasonBall, wondering why I keep getting destroyed, and thinking I can start to win if I send a strongly-worded complaint letter to the league commissioner.
Getting back to some semblance of constitutional government will take more drastic action than that. How drastic? Well, I don’t know, but pretty drastic. I’m sorry I don’t have the answers; right now I just want us to understand our predicament. Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to recovery.