Why I Cannot Vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

I have voted in all 12 presidential election cycles since 1968.  During this 48-year period there were choices I enthusiastically supported, such as Ronald Reagan (I worked as a volunteer in his campaign) and others, such as Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, whom I voted for solely to defeat the Democrat nominee.  I consider myself to be first and foremost a constitutional conservative and not a Republican, yet I have been registered as a Republican for nearly 40 years only because there was no other home for conservatism due to the two party nature of our government.  Nonetheless, in 2016 for the first time in my adult life I will not be able to vote for a Republican nominee if it is Donald Trump.  Nor will I vote for any Democratic Party nominee.

My reasons are two-fold.  The first are Trump’s character traits and the second his ideology.

When I look a Donald Trump, a man who will be 70 in a few months, I see someone who is an unfettered narcissist.  His entire life has been spent promoting himself and casually using, defrauding and discarding people along the way.  I see someone who cannot accept and recognize his personal failings and mistakes -- rather it is always the fault of others.  I see someone who revels in and expects adulation and loyalty befitting a cult leader and is petulant and threatening when he does not receive the fawning attention he expects.  I see someone who is willing to say or do anything, regardless of how egregious, false, inflammatory or manipulative, in order to further his ends. 

But most frightening, I see someone who has successfully mastered the ability to stage-manage large crowds by feeding them the red meat that is the basis of their anger then telling them that he and he alone is their savior.  There is no question that a large segment of American society rightfully feels forgotten and manipulated by the so-called Ruling Class.  Their anger and frustration is justified.  However, it is morally wrong and unethical to play upon those sentiments and thus manipulate his followers while he offers only platitudes and vague assurances that he will make America great again.  This strategy is a clear indicator that his quest for the presidency is solely a matter of self-aggrandizement.

Donald Trump displays far too many of the megalomaniacal and totalitarian traits found in some of the despots of the past century.  Thus, I am absolutely fearful of Donald Trump occupying the most powerful position in the land.

On a secondary level, Donald Trump is not a conservative.  He is in reality, per his own pronouncements, a Progressive at home with populist rhetoric.  He never discusses the Constitution or limiting the leviathan that is the federal government, which is choking the life out of this nation.  Rather he intends to make government work “better” as he expands the imperial presidency begun by Barack Obama.  His economic policies of high tariffs, quasi-central planning and expanded social spending will further cripple the nation and continue the downward spiral in the standard of living for all, but a select few, Americans.  If he were to win the presidency, which is extremely unlikely considering his overwhelming negatives,  conservatism would be relegated to the wilderness.  The Republican Party will no longer be a home to conservatism as the party will assume the long discredited mantle of progressive populism and protectionism.

Therefore, Donald Trump is not only someone with a myriad of dangerous character traits.  He also espouses a wrong-headed political philosophy that will eventuate in the United States, with a volatile and imperial president at the helm, further evolving into a Euro-Socialist nation.

There are those that will say if I do not vote for Trump, if he is the nominee, then I am ceding the election to the Democratic Party nominee.  I have heard that argument many times before and I dutifully responded by voting for: Gerald Ford in 1976, Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, all of whom were middle of the road moderates. (Another common thread among all these men-- they lost their elections.)   Despite my misgivings regarding all these candidates and their political leanings and policies, they were men of character and did not posses any authoritarian traits.  If the only objection I had to Trump was policy-driven then I would vote, albeit very reluctantly, for him despite his progressive pedigree in order to try and prevent Hillary or any Democrat from winning the presidency.

Today the president of the United States wields enormous power.  Whether it is the IRS, the EPA, the NSA, the Justice Department or an alphabet soup of other agencies, the government has grown tentacles that can smother any American at any time.  Donald Trump has openly declared war on First Amendment freedom of the speech and has spent much of his adult life terrorizing others he considered disloyal or insufficiently acquiescent by either physical threats or unleashing the legal system as a machine of intimidation.  If president, what would he do with so much power at his disposal?  Would the Democratic Party nominee be equally as bad or worse?  Perhaps or perhaps not, but this has been an unpleasant part of my decision making process.

Over the years elections have been won chiefly because most people voted against someone rather than for someone.  It now appears that 2016 will be another sequel as a plurality of primary voters, the elites of both parties and the media may well foist a near clinical narcissist, Donald Trump, and a pathological liar, Hillary Clinton, on the electorate.  If I must face that Hobson’s choice, I will not vote in the presidential contest focusing instead on congressional and down ballot candidates.

I cannot vote for someone that strikes fear in my heart.  I cannot, with my vote, place the fate of this nation and generations yet unborn in the hands of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  My conscience, forged in the rubble of World War II, will not allow me to do so.

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