Would a President Trump be better than a President Clinton?

It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I am a #NeverTrump guy. I have explained what I mean by that here. The consistent objection that I hear to this position is that it amounts to a vote for Secretary Clinton. And nothing could be worse than electing Secretary Clinton.

I disagree with that argument for a number of reasons. But no one has put a finer point on answering this objection than David French has today. He argues that the apparently self-evident conclusion that Trump is better than Clinton is by no means self-evident. He writes:

Those of us who’ve pledged that we will never, ever vote for Donald Trump always get the same response: “You’d put Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office instead?” Clinton’s name is spoken like an epithet, as if it’s unthinkable that any conservative would take any single action that could facilitate her election. I will not, under any circumstances, vote for Clinton, but I also do not believe that Trump would make a better president. Not because Clinton isn’t as bad as you think, but because Trump is worse than you imagine…

Hillary Clinton is the most beatable likely Democratic nominee since John Kerry, and the GOP is poised to nominate the one man least likely to beat her, and the one man who would be just as bad in the White House. I don’t vote for despicable people. I don’t vote for leftists. And I will never, ever, vote for Donald Trump. He’s no better than she is.

I recommend that you read this entire piece. French makes a forceful case on issue after issue that Trump is in fact worse than Clinton on many points.

I know that many Trump supporters aren’t really interested in policy details. They like Trump’s defiant “tell it like it is” attitude. The primary problem with that posture is that Trump is not telling it like it is. He’s a pathological liar. Also, that preference for attitude over policy makes some of his supporters impervious to reason and common sense. That preference causes them to defend their candidate even when news breaks that his campaign manager has been arrested for assaulting a female reporter. And it’s why they are unlikely to respond to an argument like French has provided.

Still, there are many conservative Americans who are reasonable and will listen, and they would do well to read French’s entire argument. They can do so here.

22 Responses to Would a President Trump be better than a President Clinton?

  1. twebb2 March 29, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    Dr. Burk, agreed that Trump is actually worse than Secretary Clinton is. Apart from his bluster, it at times can be hard to tell the difference between them (sorta like President George W. Bush’s 8 years and President Obama’s first 4 years, almost no difference). At least she has political experience and savvy. I never thought that a Republican candidate would make Mrs. Clinton look good. 🙁

    Well, I guess we’ll get the president we deserve.

    #NeverTrump

    Tim Webb

  2. Christiane Smith March 29, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    I think the focus of ‘choice’ right now might be best employed
    in how the GOP is handling its own internal struggle. . .

    perhaps followed by some analysis of how on Earth all of the ‘crazy’ came to be, and having determined some of the cause(s), taking steps as a party to move towards a healthier perspective which allows for people of integrity and character to have a voice and not be shouted down as ‘moderates’ . . . extremism leads to party divisions, and apparently the GOP has had enough of extremism, I think

  3. Scott McCauley March 30, 2016 at 8:17 am #

    Denny, just so I’m clear on your stance…In a general election with just Clinton and Trump on the ballot, would you abstain from voting? Write-in another name?

    initially, I thought #NeverTrump meant that you’d vote for Hillary, but I’m beginning to think I was mistaken. Could you please clarify for your readers?

    Thanks! God bless you. I enjoy your blog.

    • Denny Burk March 30, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      No, I would never vote for Secretary Clinton either. I would choose some other alternative (third party, write-in, etc.).

      • Tyler Easton March 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

        You’re wasting your vote then. If you don’t vote for Trump, you are voting for Clinton.

        • Ian Shaw April 1, 2016 at 8:50 am #

          From a moral standpoint, no, he would not be wasting his vote and as a result be voting for Clinton.

        • steve hays April 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

          Tyler,

          That completely misses the point of Denny’s post. The “if you don’t vote for Trump, then you’re voting for Clinton” threat only has teeth on the assumption that Hillary is a worse alternative. But that’s precisely what the NeverTrump camp denies. The unredeemable badness of Hillary doesn’t redeem an equally bad Trump. The fact that Hillary is unacceptable doesn’t make Trump acceptable.

          Now, you can try to challenge the comparison, but that’s the operating framework for the NeverTrump camp.

  4. steve hays March 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Trump v. Clinton is often framed in terms of the lesser-evil principle. I think that’s a valid principle.

    However, I think the principle becomes worthless if it never bottoms out. If there’s no threshold below which a candidate, however atrocious, can ever be out-of-bounds, then the comparison is morally compromised beyond recognition.

    For instance, some people say not voting for Trump is a vote for Clinton. In a sense.

    But suppose you had a choice between Stalin and Mao. Suppose you were able to conclude that Mao was marginally better than Stalin (or vice versa). But when two candidates are as bad as Stalin and Mao (in my hypothetical), is the lesser-evil principle even germane anymore?

    What if you said, not voting for Mao is a vote for Stalin. Even if there’s a sense in which that’s the case, so what?

    • Scott McCauley March 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      Steve,
      You make a good point. Your illustration was helpful.

      Do you think that reasoning could eventually lead a Christian to withdrawing completely from the voting process? If our choices become worse and worse over time, will we reach a point where we just stop voting? Have we given up our voice at that point?

      • Ian Shaw March 31, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

        To your question, check out a 3 part blog and search for ‘elections and idolatry’. Worth the read.

  5. Ian Shaw March 31, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Or perhaps this country will get the president that it deserves….if you catch my drift.

    • steve hays March 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

      That’s an overgeneralization. At most, the majority of voters get what they deserve. That doesn’t include a righteous minority.

      • Ian Shaw April 1, 2016 at 8:50 am #

        True, I guess i was going for more of a “you get what you pay for”, or in this case, what you vote for mentality.

  6. Curt Day April 1, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    I am afraid that the vote for Trump or to vote for Clinton is a choose your own poison problem. But such has been the case between voting for the Republican or voting for the Democratic nominees for a while now.

    Why not consider voting for third party candidates? After all, it is a bipartisan option since both conservatives and nonconservatives sport multiple third parties and third party candidates.

  7. Brian Holland April 2, 2016 at 9:19 am #

    I’m a 100% #NeverTrump guy, but the problem I have with what I’m reading in the comments section in particular, and even in the blog itself is that it assumes that Trump is going to be the nominee. He’s had a terrible week, and Cruz is poised for a big win in Wisconsin, and he’s also winning a lot of the uncommitted delegates that Trump thought were guaranteed to him. If Trump doest make it to 1237, and I don’t see how he can at this point, then the GOP will look at other options. Obviously they already are. The GOP elites are good at picking losers, but are not dumb enough to allow a walking, talking 50 state disaster like Trump to get the nomination if he doesn’t get to 1237. Now that would provoke a series of ethical questions, a revolt among the Trump supporters, and a certain loss in November, but it would still be less of a longshot than Trump winning in the general.

    God help us all! And Denny, why have you not endorsed Senator Cruz? He’s the only true conservative still running, and a man of principle.

    • Denny Burk April 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      I don’t do endorsements.

      • Ian Shaw April 4, 2016 at 8:53 am #

        Amen to that and for that brother. Pastors and theologians shouldn’t be in the business of endorsing political candidates.

        In my best Yoda, “Bedfellows, they should not be.”

        • Brian Holland April 4, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

          Denny/Ian I have to be honest. I find this to be an absurd, and illogical position. If Trump’s as bad as you say he is (and he is, or worse) then you are morally obligated to support someone else who is a viable alternative. You can’t just stop at #NeverTrump. And if you don’t do endorsements, then why endorse the #NeverTrump movement.

          So how far do you take the “no endorsements” position? Would the German Churches prior to WW2 have been wrong to endorse Hitler’s opponent? I’m afraid you’ve bought into the very flawed reasoning behind the Johnson Ammendment.

          • Ian Shaw April 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

            I can’t speak for Denny, as I’m not in the pastor category. I’m personally saying that no church, should stump for 1 specific political candidate. In my opinion, that is grounds to have their tax exempt status away. There has been a blatant use of a black church in Flint that made a tv commercial to stump for Clinton before the primaries here. It was absurd. Churches should not be in the business of doing that.

            While I can appreciate a history lesson, your reference is bordering on reductio ad absurdam. If the Republican party gave a rat’s fart about it’s constituents, they’d have accomplished something considering they have the House and Senate. It’s the same dog and pony show about what they’re against, rather than stating what they’re for and executing a plan.

            I’m not a bright individual, but it’s self evident that Trump is a dumpster fire. Period.

  8. Sam Dilton April 4, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    It absolutely drives me crazy. All of the complaints about Obama could have been easily solved with the Republican party sticking together for once and voting for their nominee. I completely get not voting or Trump; the guys an idiot. Would I take him instead of Clinton? In a heartbeat. Make your stand if you must, write in a candidate. Terrific. Feel better about yourself, good for you.

    • Brian Holland April 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

      I admit you raise a great point. I’m a #NeverTrump guy, and I’m convinced that he’s the scum of the Earth. I can’t vote for him under any circumstances, but Hillary is still much worse. She’s responsible for the deaths of four brave Americans in Benghazi, and for lying about the whole ordeal to their families, and to the entire country.

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