Okay, so here’s the plan. We need to send Biden/Harris packing, and still feel good about ourselves afterwards. Can I get an amen?
For some this might be a really tall order, but my goal in this post is to explain why and how this can be done. The idea is to vote for Trump, without any need for subsequent groveling apologies. So the proposal that follows is intended to enable you to go and vote for Trump, ideally without a mask, and not give way afterward to any temptation to flush red or laugh a little furtive heh heh if asked about it.
You are not a criminal. You are not insane. You are not a fascist. You are not a hazard to the republic. You are not trying to ring in The Handmaid’s Tale. You have good reasons, oh ye easily gaslit evangelicals.
Here are some of them:
Voting Is a Tactic, Not a Sacrament
Let us hearken back to more stable and peaceful times. One of the problems with our older forms of civic responsibility back then was that, as the influence of robust Christianity in our nation began to wane, certain forms of civic religiosity began to take its place. In the United States, our liberal civic order, just fine as far as that went, began to assume some sacral functions, which was not fine. This meant that voting was transformed from a relatively fair way for a large population to make decisions, and was turned into a sacred privilege and duty. It became a secular sacrament.
Now when you are partaking of a sacrament, you are doing what the god of the system requires of you. You are submitting to an appointed ritual, and, as with all sacraments, it is important to be “pure” in your worship. So whatever you do with your vote, it is assumed that you are “all in,” because that is what a worshiper is supposed to be — all in. Thus when someone discovers that you are thinking about voting for Trump, they immediately assume that you make all your kids wear MAGA hats at the dinner table, you fully endorse any and all payouts to porn stars, that you give two thumbs up to all of the meanest tweets, and that you believe Trump is a genius who is always ahead of his opponents in those 17th dimension chess games he is always playing. This assessment of you is made because religious devotion must be total, and because you are going to use your “sacramental” vote in such an irreligious way, you are treated as the equivalent a sacrilegious devil worshiper.
But maybe you are just playing cards with the hand you were dealt. Maybe you are just making a decision between the two available options. A national election in the United States is like playing blob tag with tens of millions of people. It is a contest between the two largest sumo wrestlers the world has ever seen. And the primary system for selecting the two final candidates is like a demolition derby. The last two cars running are the only possible winners. It is no use sitting there at the demolition derby wishing you had gone to the tractor pull instead. That’s no longer one of your options.
Now if you were the one person in the world who had the archangel Gabriel assign to you the job of hiring the next president of the United States, then you should obviously hire the best person for the job. You would hunt for and find a godly, qualified man, one who hates socialism (Prov. 28:16), along with every other form of civic wickedness. You would hire that guy, and you would not hire some skeezefest.
“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”
Exodus 18:21 (KJV)
The only problem with this imaginary scenario is that you are telling us that you could be a perfect statesman if only you had a perfect society to be it in. But that is not where we are right now. That is not what is going on. Something else is going on.
Suppose you were not the guy that Moses (or Gabriel) agged to appoint rulers of tens, fifties, hundreds, and so on (Ex. 18:21). Suppose instead you were a Jew exiled in Babylon, and there is a great pending showdown and battle between Cyrus the Great and Croesus of Lydia. Do you support Cyrus? Do you hope Cyrus wins? Cyrus is the anointed one (Is. 45:1), the one who is going to issue the decree allowing the Jews to return to the promised land in 538 B.C. (2 Chron. 36:23). He is also a pagan who refurbished temples for lots of gods.
And suppose you lived in Susa in the time of Ahasuerus, and were opposed to the politics of Haman. What were your practical options?
So if Daniel and Esther and Mordecai and Hezekiah and Joseph could function as political players with true integrity within the framework of those various pagan establishments, how much more should it be possible for a Christian today to function within our quasi-Christian, semi-pagan system? From the way Scripture tells their stories, it is self-evident that they functioned within their settings without compromise. They did not bend when it came to their own personal dedication to the living God, and as far as the larger (compromised) system went, they did what they could as they pushed in the best direction possible, out of the available options.
But this is only possible if a voice in such affairs (like a vote) is not sacramental. If advising the king of Babylon were tantamount to eating the food of the king of Babylon, then Daniel wouldn’t have done it.
So as things now stand, we are going to go this way or that way. Which would you rather?
This is quite different from many of the presidential elections in my lifetime, which were not a choice between this way and that way. They were a choice between driving off a cliff at 80 mph and driving off the same cliff at 55 mph. Often the 55 option has been more dangerous because people are more likely to think the driver is being responsible. Mainstream Republicans always look at the speedometer, and never at the road. So I have voted third party any number of times, or written in names, and I do not say my choices were always correct. But I do believe the basic principle I have been operating on throughout has been consistent.
Federal Judges, Oh My
Donald Trump has appointed about 300 conservative federal judges. One of his central campaign promises in 2016, one specifically made to evangelicals, was that he would do precisely this. That promise has been kept. Moreover, if he is re-elected, and if Republicans hold the Senate, which seems likely, by the time his second term is over, the federal judiciary will have been transformed, and all to the good.
Many of the situations of most concern to believers, from the liberty of individual cake bakers and florists to the freedom of Christian colleges even to function as Christian institutions at all, are situations that are going to wind up in the courts. So when your grandson’s hate speech case — he was an engineering sophomore at Behemoth State, and he called a classmate “a girl,” which was plainly hurtful — goes into the court system, which court system do you want it to be? Biden’s or Trump’s?
I am giving numerous reasons here, but I think that this one should be sufficient, all by itself.
Character Matters, but Not the Way You Think
The reason I didn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election was that I flat didn’t believe him. I have explained this before, but it really is worth mentioning again. Trump, like all candidates for president, gave us his promises and assurances. Going into the general election last time, I had no good reason for believing him. He said he would appoint conservative judges, and okay. Why would I believe that? A man who has been unfaithful to his wives is certainly not going to have any trouble being unfaithful to me and my little vote. Character matters, and I voted the way I did because I believe that character matters. Character really is an early indicator, and it is not being fastidious to take it into account, as I did.
But notice that we are not in the same position going into this election. Not even close.
We can no longer say that we have no good reason for believing that he will appoint hundreds of conservative judges. In 2016, we had to pretend that he might do that. In 2020, NeverTrumpers now have to pretend, and pretend very hard, that he won’t. We now have very good reasons to believe that he will. I have about 300 good reasons. I also have three good reasons with regard to the Supreme Court — despite some really bad casuistry from Gorsuch, and some vanilla lameness from Kavanaugh. Trump didn’t promise us that none of his appointments and/or nominees would ever flake on a decision. He promised us SCOTUS nominees from a pre-published list, and he delivered on it. If we had problems with the list, we should have said so at the time.
That reminds me. Going forward, we should ask Trump to revise his list downwards, only including jurists who have “I hate Roe” tattooed on their forearms.
In 2016, I thought those who believed that Trump would transform our federal judiciary were guilty of wishful thinking. But today I know that those who believe he won’t do so are demonstrably guilty of wishful thinking.
Voting for Continued Free Elections
The deep state really is a thing. The swamp that needs draining is frankly the size of Wyoming. But in 2016, when the unthinkable happened and Trump defeated Hillary, the desperate denizens of that deep state immediately began their treasonous and slow-motion coup attempt.
This was not just because of their ideological opposition to Trump, although that was obviously a factor. Their immediate response was made necessary by their prior hubris and over-confidence. They had been playing so dirty, and were so sure of an elected Hillary’s ability to “take care of everything,” that Trump’s election left them and their dirty cops entirely exposed. Had they just sat there and done nothing, a bunch of people were going to go to jail.
Because the best defense is a good offense, they went immediately on the attack, beginning with the Russian collusion story. All of that was cooked, fake, bogus, false, spurious, fraudulent, phony, and less than fully honest.
This is why the chorus of voices from the Left, asking Donald Trump if he is going to accept the results of the 2020 election, coming from people who down to the present have not accepted the results of the 2016 election, is a bit rich.
We have seen 3 plus years of orchestrated chaos, and all of it calculated to get Donald Trump out of the White House. All of it. Mueller investigation. Russian collusion. Impeachment. Antifa. Black Lives Matter. COVID-19. Lock downs. Masks. This has been a pull-out-all-the-stops, run-a-full-court-press, flop-like-a-Belgian-soccer-player, and mix-up-all-the-metaphors take down attempt. Not only so, but when anyone observes what is plainly going on and says something about it out loud, he is back-handed as a “conspiracy thinker.”
Look. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.
The gas lighting on this has been something fierce. The projection onto the Republicans of whatever it was that the Democrats were just up to has been outrageous. If you see a dirty operative standing there, with cash payments in the millions from Ukrainian oligarchs falling out of his pockets, you are looking at someone that the Democrats would, with their usual chutzpah, put forward as someone qualified to investigate the possible misdoings of Devin Nunes. And then they would just stand there with a fat face, waiting for CNN to sweep up all their lies for them.
The Alternative Is Totalitolerance
Joe Biden has promised us national masking if he is elected. Up to this point, the masking mandates have been what you might call a little totalitarian beta testing. You know, taking their suffocating message of “we own your face” out for a little test drive.
And it turns out that our modern corporate economy has a lot of pinch points. If the government wants to flex, they can make it impossible for you to function. I am typing this sentence in the airport at Salt Lake City, coming back from the Fight Laugh Feast conference in Tennessee (which was a true encouragement). I can assure you that empty airplanes and empty airports are a thing, and that shuttered businesses are a thing, and that if the government is taken over completely by the “we own your face” crowd, we will be governed by people who believe they have the right to tell the economy to immolate itself.
Remember my first point. My cheerful willingness to vote for Trump is not because I believe he is superman. He was both rolled and played by this pandemic farce. The Russian collusion hoax was a coup attempt that he fought. This pandemic panic is a coup attempt that he tried to manage and steer, and not successfully either. But try to imagine the entire country being run by control freaks with the same tyrannical outlook as Newsom and Whitmer. At least you can move out of Californian or Michigan, but when the suffocating policies start coming down from the feds, and the pandemic is made permanent, and Pandemic Management is made a cabinet-level position, where are you going to go?
The difference between Trump and Biden on this is that Trump was kidnapped and hates it, and Biden likes it down in his basement.
Beyond the Margin of Cheating
As I have written before, this election needs to be “not even close.”
If the election is close, either way, it is difficult to imagine either side conceding. That kind of public spirited concession used to be possible when both sides had more commonality, but is not really possible now. When Nixon lost to Kennedy, there had been some dirty deeds in Illinois, but which Nixon decided not to challenge because it would have been too disruptive to our national solidarity. That kind of thinking is just clean gone now.
So for Christians, voting for Biden is out of the question for a host of reasons, but his abortion stance makes it a settled issue. It is not possible to vote for him without voting for a man who actively supports the continued slaughter of the unborn. It is not possible to support Biden and be right with God. But at the same time, this election needs to be not even close because a close election this time would tear the country apart. If we have anything remotely resembling the Bush/Gore fiasco, all of our problems will start circling the drain.
Another reason the election needs to be not even close is that a decisive win for Trump would likely have downstream results in the House and Senate. A mandate win would take “swing vote” power away from the squishy Republicans like Romney, Collins, and Murkowski. That would mean that Trump, for his next Supreme Court nominee, could nominate someone who openly takes a vow of eternal blood enmity against Roe, and still be confirmed. As it is now, everybody has to tip toe through the hearings, which is what allows nominees through who have the option of flaking later. Some of them don’t flake, like Alito and Thomas, but some of them do flake. An election that is not close will be an election with coattails, and that means the possibility of far less compromise on the issues that matter.
What God Is Up To
In the midst of all the turmoil that we are going through, one of the most remarkable things I see in it is the mercy of God. Not only is God having mercy on us, He is doing so in a way that excludes any possibility of us taking pride in it. Many conservative Christians, yours truly included, actively fought the chemotherapy treatment that God was giving us. Having started to see good results from it, I do not want to stop the chemo treatment halfway through. Trump is our chemo, and he is toxic. But he is not the cancer that has been killing us.
In saying all this, I know that there are many Trump supporters who are invested in the man himself, and in ways that are spiritually unhealthy. I am not with them. Put not your trust in princes. Just don’t do it. So nothing I have argued above would be altered if one day Trump hauled off and said, “is this not the great Babylon that I have built?” for which God struck him down. All the arguments remain, just like Daniel remained.
I also know there are some in NeverTrump world who will point to my reasoning above, and say that similar reasoning could have been used to support voting for Hitler in the 1932 elections in Germany. But I would reply, somewhat tartly, that reasoning similar to theirs could easily have been used to justify a refusal to support Hindenburg, Hitler’s only viable opponent. Hindenburg, after all, was by no means perfect. Did Hindenburg meet the qualifications of Ex. 18:21? Hmmm?
Coming back to the top, my vote is an indication of nothing more than what direction I would like us to go from here. I am not voting for the Access Hollywood tape. I am not voting on the attractiveness of Stormy Daniels. I am not voting for odd tweets at 2 in the morning. I am not voting on whether the voice of the CDC is sacrosanct.
And I am certainly not voting for the perpetuation of a civic ideology that sees voting as an American sacrament.