DISCLAIMER: This post makes the argument that a Catholic in good conscience not only should vote for Donald J Trump in the 2016 US Presidential Election, but that to do otherwise is wrong. This post is written quite tersely mostly due to lack of adequate time and assumes that the reader is a devout Catholic who sincerely desires to do the will of God. The arguments apply equally as well for any conservative non-Catholic Christian, but they may need to come up to speed on some basic Catholic terminology. The arguments also apply to any person of good will.
In the past few election cycles, the average lay Catholic has been able to trust well respected Catholic leaders to guide them in how they ought to vote. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case this time around. Many otherwise trustworthy leaders have left it ambiguous or worse, having jumped on the #nevertrump bandwagon. Here is just one example — a facebook post by Robert George:
Donald Trump is dreadful. Hillary Clinton is horrible.
Neither of the two is fit to be president. Either would be a disaster.
Every single one of us needs to do his or her best to think this thing through carefully and then follow the dictates of conscience, acknowledging and appreciating the fact that conscience might lead other reasonable people of goodwill to a different conclusion.
I fully appreciate that people of goodwill, people I admire, and people who are much holier than me will not vote for Trump. However, I contend that it is not a well formed conscience that will lead people to withhold their vote from Trump, but rather erroneous reasoning (an ill-formed conscience if you will). In this post I will expose this erroneous reasoning.
Most important facts. (it really is this simple)
a) Intrinsic evils. Trump supports no intrinsic evils in his platform. Above this he has stated his ambition to roll back certain intrinsic evils that have become law. Hillary, on the other hand, supports all the popular intrinsic evils. Even if you can find that Trump does support an intrinsic evil, it is important to know that not all intrinsic evils carry the same weight (eg — the right to life is primary).
b) Prudential judgments. Even if you think Hillary is better on the economy, foreign policy, and poverty, these are not sufficient reasons to cast your vote for her. Paragraph #35 in Faithful Citizenship couldn’t be more clear on this point:
There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.
NOTE: “truly grave moral reasons”. None of your reasons for allowing Hillary to defeat Trump can be considered “truly grave moral reasons.”
c) Third Party? No third party candidate has a reasonable chance of winning the presidency. You waste your vote if you don’t vote for Clinton or Trump. It seems Evan McMullin is garnering support amongst a certain segment of the population, but there is absolutely no chance for him or any other third party candidates to win this election.
- “I have to vote my conscience”
If you think your conscience means that you can only vote for a perfect candidate, then your conscience is not well formed. We choose between lesser evils all the time (not that saying a vote for Trump is choosing an evil). Your conscience should be telling you to do all in your power to stop the anti-religious machine that is progressive politicians.
- “My state isn’t a swing state, so it doesn’t matter who I vote for.”
First of all, the national popular matters even if only to legitimize the end result. Imagine how much push back there will be from the liberals if Trump wins the electoral college, but not the popular vote. It’s going to be mayhem. Second of all, crazier things have happened that I wouldn’t consider any state so far gone that you shouldn’t vote for a candidate with a reasonable chance of winning the presidency. For example, the odds that Trump can win NY is much higher than your third party candidate winning it all. If you’re stubborn enough to still consider this option, you should also be informed that in many states your write in will be ignore unless they are on a list (here is a link to NY’s list).
- “But Trump will start a third world war” (or do some other crazy thing).
The claim that Trump is too crazy to be president is completely unfounded. The villification of Trump has led to group-think slander like I’ve never seen before. Sure, he’s said some questionable things, but the most juicy sound bytes are nowhere near what his detractors claim. If you’re going to write off Trump for something crazy he said you must at least take the time to read his actual words and in the proper context.
- “But he has no obligation to live up to his promises (eg — the list of 20 justices he says he will choose from for the Supreme Court). He’s not really pro-life. We can’t trust him to do what he says.”
He won’t be able to turn his back on those who supported him. He has so few supporters w/in, that he’ll need those who have trusted him more than anyone ever has. If he completely disregards his promises, he will lose all ability to do anything. btw — Ronald Reagan signed an abortion bill as governor of California before becoming pro-life.
- “There exist Catholic journalists, theologians, and clergyman, who say it’s OK to vote for Clinton and that Trump”.
For every erroneous thing that’s ever been said in the world, I can find you a prominent Catholic endorsing the error.
- “It’s a protest vote.”
Wear a t-shirt, write a letter, donate money, get more involved in the primaries next time around, but don’t waste your vote in the general election. That’s not helping anything.
- “Pro-life is more than just anti-abortion.”
Sure — so what? Being anti-abortion is a pretty big portion of pro-life. Voting for Trump doesn’t somehow nullify all your other pro-life causes. He has committed adultery in the past and said some vulgar things, but enjoying sexual pleasure is not somehow anti-life.
More important facts.
a) Trump has appointed quality people and will appoint more.
b) The popular vote matters.
c) The progressive movement sees you as the enemy. If Hillary is elected, the United States of America will continue along the path of transforming herself into something fundamentally different than the founding principles of this country. Progressives don’t want conservatives to have the freedom to educate their children as they see fit. They want them all in the public school system where they can infuse them with propaganda against their own conservative/religious parents.
d) Religious liberty. The progressives intent is to destroy conservative Christianity. Hate speech laws limiting what pastors are allowed to preach are not out of the question.
e) Trump doesn’t care what the liberal media says about him. He doesn’t back down.
f) As important as this election is, Fr B reminded us today that no matter what happens the sun will still rise on November 9th and Jesus Christ will still be king.
Questions for consideration.
a) What politician have you voted for that is sooo much better than Trump that makes you all up in arms about him? Have you thoroughly vetted them with the same scrutiny that Trump has been subject to?
b) Would you be willing to completely expose your life over the last 13 years or so, including being mic’d up for many of them? If your worst enemy wanted to expose the worst of you — would you be willing to stand up to that test?
catholics4trump.com — The Catholic Obligation to Vote for Donald J. Trump: An Application of Theological Principles to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
This is well worth the read and makes a strong case than I have here.
Pat Buchanan defending Trump against racist claims.
thepublicdiscourse.com— Banning Muslim Travel to the US? A Thomistic Perspective on Donald Trump’s Proposal by by Joseph G. Trabbic