Why I, a conservative, voted for Joe Biden

Polls in Georgia opened for early voting on Monday of this week. After considerable thought about how I, a Trump-critical conservative should exercise my right to vote, my wife and I braved an hour-and-half-long-line to vote on opening day. In the end, I decided to do something that I have never done in the seven presidential elections that I have been of voting age. I voted for the Democrat.

As a conservative and constitutionalist, I arrived at the conclusion that anyone who values our constitutional system and wants to keep it should vote against Donald Trump. President Trump is the most corrupt and incompetent president of my lifetime, which is no mean feat. If you didn’t like Barack Obama’s abuses of power (and I didn’t), then you shouldn’t like Donald Trump’s either. Trump learned from Obama’s example but has pushed the boundaries of the tradition, propriety, and the law much further than Obama ever did.

Donald Trump is corrupt, incompetent, and needlessly divisive. The great deal-maker has been an abject failure at building coalitions to pass laws and had instead concentrated on trolling the left and making claims of absolute power.

On many occasions, President Trump has claimed that the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants. Such a claim should immediately exclude the president from consideration by anyone who values the Constitution and the rule of law without even considering his other faults.

And his other faults are many. I have too many reasons for voting against Trump to provide a complete list. A few of the biggest reasons include:

  • His blatant dishonesty- A reasonable person cannot believe a word that comes out of Trump’s mouth without checking. This is bad enough in normal times but worse in a life-threatening pandemic.
  • His abuses of power- If a Democrat abused his office the way Trump does, Republicans would form a pitchfork mob. However, Donald Trump is allowed to intervene on behalf of his friends, obstruct federal investigations, profit from federal contracts, hire unqualified family and friends, and subvert the Constitution by ruling by decree through Executive Orders and national emergency declarations with nary a peep from Republicans.
  • His incompetent handling of the pandemic- Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine health authorities and admitted that he downplayed the pandemic even though he knew it was serious. After seven months of the pandemic, Trump still does not take the threat seriously. His own bad choices caused him and many others at the White House to become infected.
  • His incompetent handling of the economy- Trump’s trade wars and tariffs constituted one of the biggest tax increases on American consumers and businesses in generations, offsetting the benefits of tax reform. Although the stock market is up, Trump’s economic policies caused a recession even before the pandemic worsened the economy.
  • Many of Trump’s former officials have left the Administration to warn voters that Trump is unfit for office on numerous grounds. John Kelly, James Mattis, John Bolton, Rex Tillerson, and former Coronavirus Task Force member Olivia Troye are among the members of Trump’s inner circle who have sounded the alarm against a second term. About 500 former admirals and generals have endorsed Biden over Trump.
  • The president has undermined systems put in place to hold him accountable. He has fired four Inspectors General, who are supposed to be independent and objective arbiters of truth, when they presented unflattering or embarrassing findings about the president and his cronies. This is another way of undermining the checks and balances that prevent abuses of power.
  • After months of public knowledge, he still has not condemned Russia for offering bounties to terrorist groups who kill American soldiers.
  • His refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and attempts to undermine faith in elections should be disqualifying for an elected official of either party.
  • His threats to prosecute and jail political opponents on “trumped-up” charges. If there are legitimate reasons to lock up certain people critical of Trump, why wait four years until just before the election?

What we are left with when we look at the big picture of Donald Trump is a corrupt and incompetent individual who is not up to the challenges of his job and refuses to be held accountable. Even worse, his leadership represents a threat to the foundation of the American Republic.

I’m no Democrat or liberal. I’m a conservative and was a lifelong Republican until Donald Trump took over the party. I have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and opposed Obama when he acted the same way Trump did. In the past four years, I’ve seen my former party abandon its small government, constitutional principles to follow Donald Trump with a cult-like zeal. The party of Lincoln is now rife with conspiracy theorists and people who view Donald Trump as a messiah (as in this picture, which I have researched and is apparently real and not satire).

I agree that Joe Biden has faults. I disagree with most of his policy positions, in particular his support for abortion (which is in long-term decline regardless of who is president), but I do believe that he is an honest man and not a socialist, as the Republicans claim.

The claims that Biden is a socialist and has dementia seem to be vicious lies that say more about the new Republican Party than they do about Biden. In fact, after Biden’s strong debate performance, the mental health slur has been replaced by the baseless claim that Biden will immediately resign and hand the presidency to Kamala Harris. There are many problems with this conspiracy theory, but it is essentially a pre-election bogeyman like 2018’s caravans, which is intended to scare voters to the polls. It feels as if Republicans were set to run against Bernie and just substituted Biden’s name when he won the nomination.

I had hoped that Republicans would hold Trump accountable, but they have failed miserably on that score and aren’t even trying at this point. If the Republicans had done their constitutional duty and removed Trump for his blatant abuses of power, I would probably be voting for Mike Pence. Unfortunately, I don’t have that option.

I voted for Biden this week even though I seriously considered the possibility of voting third-party as I did in 2016. However, I came to the conclusion that if I really believe that Donald Trump is a national security threat — and I do — I needed to put aside my partisan differences with the Democrats to remove him. At least for one election.

Joe Biden is the most moderate Democrat who could have been nominated while Donald Trump is a far-out (in which direction I’m not sure) Republican. If Joe Biden is rejected, the Democratic Party will reject moderates and move further left while the Republican Party will move further… Trumpward. Neither would be good for the country.

That doesn’t mean that I want Biden (or Kamala Harris) to have free rein. I support Republicans for Congress and hope they retain control of the Senate. This is difficult as well since I believe that the entire party needs to be taken to the woodshed, but they will probably do a better job of holding Biden accountable than they did Trump.

I hope that my Christian friends will look beyond the issue of abortion and consider the effect of supporting a man like Trump on Kingdom issues. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 reads like a checklist of Donald Trump’s character… and not in a good way. Embracing a man of such poor character reflects poorly on Christianity as a whole and the end-justifies-the-means attitude contradicts the Gospel’s claims of absolute truth. Further, the sad truth is that too few of Trump’s Christian supporters push back against the messianic claims about the president and too many pastors encourage this sort of blasphemous thinking. “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

I’ll add that Joe Biden is a legitimate Christian who attends church and doesn’t merely use Bibles as props for photo ops. I don’t know Trump’s heart, but I can judge his character by his actions.

I always said that I’d be a Republican as long as the party represented my beliefs. At this point, it no longer does. I still have the same principles and beliefs that I held when I opposed Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the Republican Party abandoned its principles to become a rubber stamp for Donald Trump. I have not regretted my 2016 decision to become a political independent for an instant.

If the Republicans want my vote in the future, they’ll have to earn it and not rely on a default tendency to pull the lever for the (R) candidates as I did in the past. I’ll consider their candidates in the future, but, for now, the Republican Party needs to spend some time in the wilderness reflecting on where it went wrong.

As a most-of-my-life Republican, the thought of voting Democrat was difficult at first. However, when I considered the past four years, it wasn’t all that hard. If the Republican Party doesn’t return to its roots, it will probably get easier.

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