Vote–or Let the Constitution Die

This election cycle, I’m campaigning against Hillary Clinton. I’m campaigning for the Constitution. I’m—well, at the end of the day, no matter how I preface it, I’m campaigning for Donald Trump. I am not a fan of Donald Trump, which puts me squarely in the majority of Americans, I know. I certainly would never call him a Constitutionalist. I’ve found the argument that he’s a good candidate with flaws to be pretty unconvincing, and he’s certainly not a conservative—he’s barely a Republican. Yet when I explain why I’m not only voting for Trump but encouraging others to do so, I point back to the Constitution.

Run the Numbers

The person who takes the White House and nominates Supreme Court justices and hundreds of lower-court judges will either be Clinton or Trump. You might vote for someone else or not vote for anyone at all, but the outcome will be one of those two people. If we are looking at nothing but the probability for who will get those nominations and how much of a chance those nominations have of not being aggressively anti-Constitution, I think there is a solid bet that Trump will nominate far less damaging justices than Clinton. Let’s give it 10-20% that he nominates Constitutionalists. With Clinton, it’s 0%. With Gary Johnson, it’s 0%. With Jill Stein, it’s 0%. With Evan McMullin, it’s 0%, and with a write in campaign, it’s 0% –especially because every sane person knows none of the last four will take the White House.

I will take my 10-20% chance. Do I think Trump is a good man? No. I think he will be a bad president compared to many of the candidates he beat in the primary. But there are no good candidates with a shot of winning. You can choose not to vote. I understand that perspective. But there is no third choice in terms of actual outcomes.

My choice is predicated on actual outcomes, not pageantry, and not self-delusion–whether that delusion means thinking Trump is the greatest ever, or that abstaining or voting third-party will make the outcome better.

Count the Cost of Inaction

We’re in a lousy situation. Of course we’d like there to be some viable alternative. People are looking for a way to be at peace with whatever action they choose. If a citizen cannot bring himself to vote come November 8th, I understand that. I understand wanting that inability to be meaningful, to have it be something more than an inability. But I don’t think there is a productive alternative.

If you find yourself in this situation, perhaps the only comfort is that it was not a situation of your choosing, and you can only go by what your conscience dictates. Just as I am bound by reality to point out that Trump is not good, and that he will not be a good president, however, I am bound to say that abstaining from voting has no benefit—none whatsoever—to the fight for the future of our country. It is a concession some of us will have to make, finding ourselves in ugly circumstances. Yet it remains a concession, as inaction almost always is. In this case, such inaction may cost the Constitution its existence.

I don’t say this to guilt trip anyone or to make a case for someone being morally wrong if they don’t vote for Trump. It is irresponsible to deny what the collective outcome of that action might be, however. I don’t think anyone was morally wrong for voting for Ross Perot, but it undeniably cost George Bush the election and brought Bill Clinton into the White House. In this election, it is not just about keeping Hillary Clinton from taking the White House. It’s about what will happen on the Supreme Court, the lower courts, and the roughly 4000 appointments the next president will fill in America’s government.

Picture our Future with President Clinton

Imagine Clinton winning and the Senate rushing Garland through as less bad before she replaces Ginsberg with Justice Beth Robinson, the first lesbian justice on Vermont’s court. Kennedy and Breyer will be replaced with hardened leftist activists like Loretta Lynch, or even Barack Obama himself.

Let us be specific about how such a Supreme Court will act. RFRA will be rendered unconstitutional as an equal protection violation. Heller will be overturned, and the Second Amendment will mean a right to join the military (which the Supreme Court will desegregate by sex). The equal protection clause will empower courts to manage “disparate impact” instead of only striking down invidious state action. Roe will transform into an equal protection right to public funding for any elective abortion. The fundamental right to homeschool will be overturned. Citizens United will be struck down so speech can be curtailed if liberals don’t like it. The Fairness Doctrine will eviscerate conservative and alternative media. Executive law-making will be upheld.

To think the House of Representatives will remain Republican under such a Court is foolhardy: The Supreme Court can manipulate the Voting Rights Act to create a federal commission (led by Eric Holder, no doubt) to redraw congressional districts that Republicans had obviously gerrymandered for racial purposes. Goodbye, Republican House.

We will lose every case 6-3. These precedents would be hard to undo, and our top conservative picks — the Willets, Eids, Lees, and Pryors — will be a decade older by the time they have any chance at coming back to undo the damage, hampering any President Rubio or Cruz. Be cognizant of that future as you write-in a candidate instead of deploying every legal right at your disposal to forestall it. This isn’t about Trump. It’s about the Constitution.

It’s Too Late for a Third Party

I won’t decry the evils of ever voting third-party: I am really sympathetic towards the general objection to always voting for the two likely candidates every election. I do wonder what would have happened if there had been a conservative revolt back with McCain or Bush. Instead, the conservatives of the Republican Party are basically Charlie Brown, and the RNC is Lucy with the football. Historically, there have been times when the constituents have jumped ship and formed a new party, and maybe that could have happened earlier. Maybe it will happen this year, given the state of the Republican Party.

Even if we get a new, actually pro-Constitution party, I honestly think it will be too late. The next president will appoint up to four Supreme Court Justices, which means game, set, and match for the Constitution. Our founding document will either eke along on life-support, or Clinton see it brutally dispatched. The United States will become a place where the politically powerful oppress the rights of unpopular minorities, and there will be no recourse — because for all intents and purposes, there will be no Constitution.

Author: Virginia Phillips

Virginia Phillips has a M.A. in Religious Studies and an enduring interest in history and politics. In her spare time she writes opinion pieces on current events and theology. She enjoys speculative fiction, martial arts, dancing, and both consuming and preparing food and beverage pairings.

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