NeverTrumpers seem to believe that the act of voting is a sort of magic spell that can right all past wrongs. Psychologists call this “magical thinking.” Children do it. Magical thinking is the belief that we can change the outside world with our thoughts. Think of rain dances and crossed fingers. Or, as Dr. Ben Hunt explains, Fed policy.
Father Christopher J. Pollard, writing in Catholic News Agency, destroys the NeverTrump argument in his essay “On Voting.” I’ll give you the link in a moment. But first, let’s think about the thing NeverTrumpers seem to ignore: outcomes.
As Father Pollard notes, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be the next President. Voting for anyone other than Clinton or Trump is the same as not voting. Even if a third party candidate won a single state like Utah, nothing changes that outcome.
But the outcome of your vote extends beyond the voting booth.
You will be held to account for what the next President does. Period. If you, like me, vote for Trump and Trump wins, you and I will be accountable for what Trump does as President. I accept that responsibility.
If like NeverTrump, you vote against Trump and Hillary wins, you will be accountable for what she does. Every war she starts, every abortion she funds, every death she causes, every church she shutters, I’ll be watching you.
Father Pollard is no fan of Donald Trump. But grown-ups deal with reality on reality’s terms, not their own. Here’s Fr. Pollard’s key points:
Yes, of course, you are insulted that these are the choices. Perhaps you are mistaking your vote to mean that you think a particular candidate ought to be President. Instead you really are just choosing between one of the possible outcomes, one being better than the other(s).
And then, just when you’re about say, “no, I will not choose the lesser of two evils,” Fr. Pollard frees your soul for you.
Are you thinking that your vote somehow morally unites yourself to that candidate? You will take upon yourself the moral character of the qualities or policies that motivate you to vote. Voting for Donald Trump would make you guilty of sexual assault if that would be why you are voting for him in the same way that voting for Hillary Clinton because she vilified her husband’s alleged victims would make you guilty… something terrible. Both scenarios are highly unlikely. Voting for Hillary Clinton does make you guilty of murder if abortion is one of your reasons for supporting her.
There. Voting for Trump is not and endorsement of the things you despise about Trump. It’s a vote for the better outcomes expected (reasonably) from a Trump administration. Those better outcomes include reduced chances of nuclear war with Russia, reduced rapes and murders at the hands of refugees and illegal immigrants, reduced suffering from underemployment and economic stagnation, just to name a few.
But there’s a greater danger than the threat to American sensibilities here. The existence of Christianity hangs in the balance. As Fr. Pollard writes:
I contend that this vote is a choice between two poisons. One of them would like to bring about the end of authentic Christianity. The other is simply disgusting. One intends to ensure that abortion, even its most brutal forms, remain legally protected. The other wants to defund Planned Parenthood. If the abortion business had nothing at stake in this race then why would Planned Parenthood give Mrs. Clinton a 100% rating and Mr. Trump 0%?
If you vote against Trump, you are voting against Christianity. How can NeverTrumpers ever enter a church again with that stone around their necks?
I’ll let Fr. Pollard close it out:
If you do decide to vote, please do not do so for the sake of feeling better. Vote because it will bring about the better outcome. And for heaven’s sake, if you do cast a ballot, do not use it to promote abortion. If you have ever done so, please repent. The punishments for those who deliberately kill the innocent, from which God will not be able to spare the impenitent, do not expire after three days or three months or three years or ever.
Eyes are on you, even in the voting booth.
Also published on Medium.