Sometimes my kids bug me to buy a toy, or a cookie, or to take them somewhere, after I’ve told them no. They keep bugging me, then they bug my wife. Then they act sullen like we’re somehow abusing them. Then they bring up how other kids’ parents have bought this or gone here or given cookies.
Eventually it becomes a battle of wills, and the thing itself doesn’t even matter. Then it becomes an imperative to get the kids to just be quiet and stop bugging me. Then it becomes, “Oh hell, fine! Let’s go.” Anything to stop the constant nagging.
Even the Bible has a story about the value of nagging.
He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Luke 18:2-5)
The latest in the long line of, “fine, shut up, I’ll vote for Trump” has come from former NeverTrumper Mark Levin. To paraphrase Levin, he said “Trump doesn’t deserve my vote. He has not earned it. But oh hell, fine! Let’s go.”
“I’m gonna vote for Donald Trump. I’m gonna wind up voting for Donald Trump on Election Day,” Levin reluctantly admitted Tuesday on his radio show, noting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was a far better choice for the conservative electorate.
He did offer a few caveats, though, with his endorsement. Levin told his listeners, many of whom are sure to be frustrated by the announcement, that he takes “no responsibility for the dumb things” Trump or his surrogates say between now and Nov. 8.
There’s really a danger of NeverTrump becoming like my kids bugging me, or the parable of the widow bugging the judge. That being internally consistent, and standing up to promises made and principles upheld is no longer the “thing.” Now it’s just sticking to “NeverTrump” because I said “never!” I suspect that Levin came to this conclusion and simply gave in.
Jay Caruso profiled these characters, along with the class who joined the Trump train a bit earlier, and are now gently (or not so gently) shaming us who have not gone along. It almost feels like ex-smokers piling the “you shouldn’t smoke, you know” lines on their former smoke break buddies. Or “I haven’t seen you at the gym lately” coming from the former couch potato.
I mostly agree with Caruso, that “never” means never, and “no” means no. But that can’t be the core issue, because we all know that “never” becomes “sort of” and “no” becomes “oh hell, fine!”
The truth is that Trump has not earned my vote. And if you are struggling with casting your vote for him in November, or even if you’ve decided to vote for him because he’s not Hillary Clinton, or because you felt ashamed at abandoning the GOP, Trump hasn’t earned your vote either.
Candidates always tell voters that they “need” your vote, as if your vote is some commodity or building material from which dreams are made. “I can’t keep my campaign promises if I don’t get into office.” “I need your vote!” “I can’t Make America Great Again if I don’t win.” Donald needs your vote.
But he doesn’t need my vote, and he doesn’t need yours either. This isn’t some investment where you get to throw $10 dollars in a crowdfunding campaign and then get some product if they actually produce the thing. This isn’t a deposit on a new boat, or earnest money on a house, where you need to give something to get something.
The whole “it’s binary” argument is based on the false argument that somehow we are responsible for the outcome of a negative choice. It’s like saying God is responsible for evil because He failed to stop people acting on their own. If I had the power to keep Hillary out of office, I should also have the power to keep Trump out, but I don’t.
Another analogy: I am a Boston sports fan. If the Patriots make it to the playoffs this year, but lose to Denver in the AFC championship game, am I obligated to root for Denver in the Super Bowl? If the Blue Jays knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs and Wild Card contention, am I responsible for the Blue Jays losing if I don’t root for them? In the National League, I’m a Braves fan–am I responsible for their miserable season and therefore obligated to support the Cubs?
Trump is a miserable candidate. I am not responsible for him losing. As Jonah Goldberg has written so many times, if the election came down to Georgia, and my vote was the deciding vote of the entire election (like Florida in 2000), would I then own Hillary’s win because I didn’t vote for either of them?
No. That’s the argument of a young kid who wants a cookie. All the other kids have cookies, so maybe if I bug dad enough he’ll get one for me. And with my kid, I will do that. With my vote, I will not.
It’s not a matter of pride in “never” means never. I have to ask myself that question often, and if my answer ever becomes “yes, it’s pride” then I will have to change my position. I would rather vote for Trump than hold on to vanity.
If you are NeverTrump and are holding on to that position out of pride or vanity, then you should also reconsider. I won’t condemn you for voting for Trump. But don’t vote for him because “he needs your vote.”
I wish Trump could have earned my vote, but that’s pretty well impossible now (I previously wrote that the only way he could earn it is to drop out). So I will vote for someone else, or not vote in the presidential election at all. If Trump wins, I don’t have the embarrassing position of saying what Levin said–he has my vote but I don’t own the results–and if Trump loses, I don’t own that either.
Trump doesn’t need my vote, or yours. If he wants our votes, he should do like Smith Barney: earn it.