So I’ve planned on writing my official #NeverTrump post for a while. It’s the thing to do. At least, all my Facebook friends seem to be doing it. I’ve written on Trump before. Like this piece on my blog, this one at Patheos, and this one at Mere Orthodoxy. But all of those lack the crisp thesis statement. So here it is:
I have never supported Trump, and will not vote for Trump. I plan on voting for Evan McMullin.
According to Facebook, my next step is giving every reason for rejecting Trump. That should be easy–there are at least a dozen independent reasons why Trump shouldn’t be President.
But I’ll be honest . . .I don’t want to.
I’m tired of this whole Trump thing. I’m tired of scrolling through Twitter and liking all the anti-Trump quips. I’m tired of lambasting the self-righteousness of Trump’s evangelical defenders. I’m tired of feeling self-righteous myself.
So I’m not going to add another full-blown anti-Trump post. Other people have done that already. For those interested, some of my favorite #NeverTrump articles include this one by Matt Anderson, this one by Sho Baraka, and this one by O. Alan Noble.
If you’re voting for Trump, you’re probably rolling your eyes at my virtue signalling and moral squeamishness. A couple weeks ago, I would have had all sorts of indignant arguments in response.
But now I’m tired of arguing. And let’s be honest–neither one of us is going to change the other’s mind. So instead of a full-blown jeremiad, I’ll just say a couple things. They relate to the only real reason evangelicals support Trump.
I know a fair number of evangelicals who are voting for Trump. They almost all loathe him. But they support him for exactly one reason–pragmatism. The Supreme Court and all that. To them, the only thing that matters is winning so we can get conservative justices.
I don’t think these Trump voters are bad people. But I do think they’re wrong on this one.
First, their argument fails on its own grounds. I actually think the practical thing is voting for McMullin. Here’s a quick sketch of why:
- Most pro-Trump evangelicals assume that THIS is the election to end all elections. But here’s the thing…there will be other elections. For the Gen-X and Millennial among us, there will probably be lots of elections. That means plenty more opportunities to appoint Supreme Court justices.
- Supporting Trump will be a stain. One the GOP (to say nothing of the Church) may never erase. For younger voters especially, Trump is synonymous with ignorance, bigotry, and racism.
- Trump is going to lose. Probably by a lot. Why waste your credibility (and your vote) on a losing candidate you don’t even like?
- Voting for McMullin, on the other hand, can actually do some good. It shows support for a positive, appealing form of conservatism–one that’s viable moving forward. In other words, it’s conceding inevitable defeat in the short term in order to win in the long term. That sounds pretty pragmatic.
Ultimately, though, my pragmatic argument shouldn’t matter. As believers, practicality should not drive our politics. If pro-Trump evangelicals have one fundamental flaw, it’s their belief that the only thing that matters in politics is results.
Here are some things I was taught growing up: The ends do not justify the means. Morality is not relative. Character matters. Yet many evangelical leaders–sometimes the very ones who taught me these things–disregard them for Trump. In order to maintain their desperate sliver of a chance for a good judge, they will abandon every other belief.
To repeat: if you’re voting for Trump, I’m not saying you’re a “bad Christian.” But I am saying that, when it comes to politics, many evangelicals have a blindspot.
That’s why Trump gets me so depressed–he’s causing good people who I respect to say things they’ve never believed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I plan on doing literally anything other than follow this election on Twitter.
Photo by Gage Skidmore