The Dilemma Facing a Principled American

Patterico has a very good post at his blog today, examining both sides of the “Trump vs. the socialist” dynamic that is causing principled conservatives and constitutionalists in America to lose sleep as they look ahead to November 2020. For some time, he has been toying with the idea of voting for a Democrat (hopefully a “moderate” one) as a small stand against the Trump GOP. And yet, as he admits, he cannot yet swallow the prospect of voting for a nominee who openly advocates the worst system of government ever created by man, since socialism is, of course, just early-stage communism.

I urge you, particularly if you are a principled, freedom-loving American voter facing this same quandary, to read Patterico’s full discussion of the problem. The following, however, is my personal reply to the questions of conscience he raises.

I can’t help observing that the question at the heart of Patterico’s dilemma — “to Trump or not to Trump?”, or alternatively “to socialist or not to socialist?” — is stuck in the same old false dichotomy of American politics that has snookered the whole nation into feeling that there is “no choice” but to vote for one of two worst-case scenarios. This false dichotomy is the Washington establishment’s stage-managed fantasy of the “two-party system.”

If you hate what Trump represents — as you should — then don’t vote for Trump. If you hate socialism — as you should — then don’t vote for socialism.

If, as Patterico says, a vote for Bernie would (for him) be a symbolic gesture against Trump, since his vote wouldn’t make any difference, then a vote for a third- (or eighth-) party candidate would have the same effect without the after-dinner nausea.

For decades, principled conservatives and constitutionalists have writhed in anger at “their” party’s clever ruse of chanting “binary choice” every four years, the rhetorical whip they use to force everyone back into the Republican pen after foisting yet another establishment-friendly nominee on them. (Please don’t tell me Trump isn’t establishment-friendly. I’ve spent four years making the case that he was exactly what McConnell ordered, in the GOP’s fight to “crush” the pesky Tea Party constitutionalist movement once and for all. Anyone remember them? Anyone remember that Trump was a major donor and endorser for McConnell against the TP in 2014, and that Trump appointed McConnell’s wife to his cabinet?)

And every four years, those constitutionalists and conservatives, snookered yet again — Bush, McCain, Romney, Trump — invariably grumble and squirm and growl, and then drag themselves back into the fold and vote for “anything but the socialist.”

This GOP establishment ruse, and the sheer smug smirk with which they have exploited its effectiveness all the way to an inevitable second term for a man as absurdly repulsive, ignorant, and unqualified (and hence pragmatically useful to them) as Donald Trump, should be the last straw, shouldn’t it? I mean surely this time the “binary choice” rhetoric has to appear to every principled voter as the fraud that it is, and always was.

You don’t “have to” vote for Trump to beat the socialist. And you don’t “have to” vote for a socialist to beat Trump. Since either vote is — if Patterico is right, and I believe he is — a vote for tyranny, this is the election, if ever there will be one (actually, 2016 was one too), for conservatives and constitutionalists to say enough is enough. It’s time to break free of the two-party establishment machinery and illusion.

Does voting “None of the above” mean tacitly voting for a socialist? No, no more than it means tacitly voting for Trump. It means overtly, openly, sincerely, voting “No” to the Washington establishment’s corporate progressive ratchet to Hell.

It means voting as a free citizen, voting with your conscience and your independent mind, rather than as a useful statistic of tyranny. If the two parties are really this corrupt — and they are, or else 2016, the “binary choice” between the two worst humans in America, could never have happened — then the only freedom on the ballot in 2020 is spiritual freedom. That’s the freedom of the voter who votes for “A pox on both your houses.”

Yes, you’ll still live in an advancing tyranny the next day — a victory by either major party guarantees that — but your soul will be free, and your conscience clean. In an age of creeping soft despotism, that’s the only freedom an individual of the free-thinking minority can realistically hope for anyway.

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