It is regrettably true that the only two realistic choices we have for president of the United States are deeply flawed. One candidate helped the rapist of a 12-year-old girl beat the rap, and laughed at his ability to fool a polygraph to avoid justice for his crime. She, despite advertising herself as a champion of women, demonized and vilified the women who were victimized by her philandering husband.
Despite advertising herself as a champion of children, she’s only a champion for children who are lucky enough to make it out of the womb. She still supports partial birth abortion, in which a baby just inches from life has a hole punched in the back of his head and has his brains sucked out of his skull. Someone who could defend that monstrous practice is a monster herself.
The other candidate has been a moral reprobate through most of his adult life. The revelation of the language on that 2005 tape was not a surprise to anybody, which means the outrage over those comments is totally manufactured. Everybody knows this is what he has been and anybody who pretends otherwise is lying to us or to themselves.
(It’s ironic that suddenly liberals have developed Victorian vapors over sexual indiscretion. Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton would revive the Moral Majority and become its new commandant? NBC, which now claims the self-righteous mantle of moral superiority, sat on that tape for 11 years. If they are so scandalized by demeaning and degrading talk about women, as they pretend to be today, why didn’t they do something to Trump at the time? The hypocrisy is nauseating.)
New accusations against Trump from the recent past have surfaced in the last 24 hours. Who knows whether there is any truth to them? But the sad and dismal fact is that Trump’s behavior for the last 25 years makes the accusations believable. (Can you imagine anyone even thinking about accusing Billy Graham of this kind of behavior?)
So let us stipulate that we have two morally reprehensible human beings running for the most powerful office in the world. Let’s stipulate that if we are going to use character as our measuring stick there is no way to prefer one of these candidates over the other.
So what are we to do? How are Christians to process this admittedly wretched state of affairs? Oddly, the fact both candidates are so morally deficient simplifies rather than complicates the matter. If neither can be supported on the basis of character, and we have to choose between them, the only way to do it is on the basis of the policies they have pledged to pursue if they are elected.
I understand, by the way, that the conscience of many Christians will not allow them to vote for either of these two candidates. I respect their right of conscience, and I would never try to talk a fellow believer into going against the dictates of his own conscience. No vote that is based on conscience is a “wasted” vote. That being said, the only realistic choice is the one between the two leading candidates. Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
Because the character issue is a wash, it frees us up to ask a simple question: will the policies of these candidates, if they are implemented, be good or bad for America? As Hillary Clinton pointed out in the last debate, either she or Trump will be setting policy for America not only for the next four to eight years but well beyond.
It is imperative that we lift our eyes from the present tawdry mess - nobody can defend the character, conduct, or speech of either of these candidates - and lift our eyes to the future of America and the culture we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren.
So the question is this: whose policies offer the best hope for the future regarding the sanctity of human life, the Supreme Court, border security, and the threat of Islam? Most conservatives are going to find that comparison immensely clarifying.
To put it another way, let’s imagine that the only two mechanics in town are drunken louts. You must choose one or the other or walk everywhere you go. You cannot in any conceivable world endorse the character of either. But one can fix your engine and the other one will damage it beyond repair. Which mechanic will you choose?
Who knows whether Trump will keep the promises he has made? Conservatives may have to calibrate it this way: there is perhaps a tiny chance something good will come out of a Trump administration but there is zero chance that anything good will come out of another Clinton administration. Voting for a small chance is wiser than voting for no chance at all.
And so many conservatives may have to put on a gas mask to vote for a flawed candidate who at least offers the prospect of a better America. But many will hold their noses and do it because there is a country to save for our children and grandchildren.