On May 3rd, having just lost the Indiana primary, Senator Ted Cruz suspended his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Thus began a rather frenzied discussion in conservative and Republican circles about how things got to the place we find ourselves in, who’s to blame, and what we should do now.
The finger pointing came pretty quickly, and it appears that some of the more “establishment” type Republicans are convinced that the blame for the triumph of Donald Trump should be laid at Ted Cruz’s feet. After all, for months Cruz and his campaign kept things cordial with Trump, failing to “take him out early while they had the chance”. I remain convinced that those who believe that’s what happened simply fail to recognize the nature of the political phenomenon that Trump has been. Any other candidate saying and doing the things Trump has would have been gone from this race months ago. I predicted his demise last July after he made some ridiculous comments about Sen. John McCain, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, nearly every time Trump said something outrageous during the months that followed, he would go up in the polls rather than down. Trump had become something different than perhaps anything we’d seen before: He had become the singular voice of thousands of angry, frustrated voters who were sick to death of being disappointed by politicians, and just as sick of being told that what they believed and said was insensitive and bigoted, and thus they need to shut up.
As Peggy Noonan observed several months ago, the rise of Trump “rests on two issues: opposition to illegal immigration to the U.S. and an obvious and visceral rejection of political correctness and the shaming and silencing it entails.”
Cruz couldn’t have taken out Trump early. No one else could have either. The two issues Noonan referred to simply run too deep with Trump supporters.
So, here is the GOP with Donald Trump as its presumptive nominee. And there is much gloom, doom, and despair in conservative circles.
Dr. Joel McDurmon, with an air of “see I told you so”, wrote on May 4th that the problem Christian conservatives have, among other things, is pessimistic eschatology. “…the leadership of nearly every conservative and/or Christian pundit out there (yes, your favorite one, too) who has been leading people in these throes of pessimism, compromise, confusion, and defeat, is to the same extent irrelevant, and yet we keep listening to them.”
Apparently not seeing any reason for despair, some evangelical leaders immediately called for Trump’s support, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who not only said he was “all in” with the Trump nomination, but was critical of those who weren’t. He referred to them as engaging in “…hapless ‘Never Trump’ nonsense.”
The said “hapless” Never Trump crowd, for its part, saw no reason to change its collective mind. Trump was still no option for them, GOP nominee or not, and I don’t think they were very happy with Huckabee’s criticism.
Observing the political disarray and seeing a grand opening, the Libertarians came calling. According to the Washington Examiner, there was an immediate uptick in party membership applications:
“In the hours after the polls closed in Indiana and it was announced that businessman Donald Trump had won the Republican presidential primary — thereby ending Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign — the Libertarian Party saw a doubling of its new membership applications. Between 7 p.m. Tuesday evening and noon on Wednesday, the Libertarian Party received 99 new memberships. For the same time period a day earlier, the LP received only 46 new memberships.”
Libertarian presidential hopeful Austin Petersen looked especially attractive to some of the many disgruntled GOP members. His views on abortion and a culture of life, while not identical to their own, are views they may be able to tolerate. His promise to “leave everyone alone” also resonates with conservative voters. That sort of thing certainly resonates with me.
I probably couldn’t bring myself to vote for Peterson. I’m probably going to cast a write-in vote. But truthfully, I’m not sure it matters to me much anymore. Sure, I’m disappointed that Cruz didn’t win the nomination. For the matter of that, I’m disappointed that nearly anyone else in that field of GOP hopefuls didn’t beat Donald Trump. When we have the best field of GOP presidential candidates in my lifetime and end up with Donald Trump as our nominee, it is more than merely a missed opportunity. It’s a signal that perhaps the GOP is no longer a viable political party for people like me. However, the carping, the hand-wringing, and the finger pointing the last two weeks hasn’t been particularly useful. Perhaps there will be a third party option that develops that will be attractive to me and to other conservative Christians as well. Who knows? In any case, I won’t be excited. Here’s why:
Politically speaking, I have come to the conclusion that it’s highly unlikely that the Executive or Legislative branches of the Federal Government will ever stop the evil course that our government as a whole is pursuing. To the contrary, they will likely make things worse.
As I have said before, I think our last and best hope, humanly speaking, is an Article V Convention of States. We have to do what our elected officials won’t, and the lawful, constitutional way to do that is through an Art. V Convention. All we need are 34 states to submit applications for an Article V convention. These applications must all deal with the same issue.
Here are just some of the things that could be done through this process:
- We could mandate term limits for Supreme Court justices.
- We could stop the federal spending and debt spree.
- We could stop the overreach by federal courts and other abuses of federal power.
- We could restore real sovereignty to the several states.
And the real beauty of all this? Congress cannot stop this. Neither can the President.
If our country stays on its present course, things will not end well. We must pray for the mercies of God upon our nation, and at the same time work as hard as possible to bring about dramatic change without bloodshed. The best (and perhaps only) way to do that is through an Article V Convention of States. Again, humanly speaking, this is our last and best hope in my opinion.
I remain hopeful that things may yet turn around spiritually and politically. My eschatology is indeed positive (I’m what you might describe as a classic post-millennial), but that hardly means I don’t think some very bad times can’t occur along the way. My hope for our present time lies in the fact that God has demonstrated how gracious He can be with wicked people and wicked nations. Consider His willingness to spare the entire city of Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people. Or, when we yearn for righteous civil leaders and we are disappointed as so many of us are right now, consider righteous King Josiah who rather surprisingly came after so many generations of wicked kings. God has shown that, when we might least expect it, He is pleased to show mercy. Therein lies my spiritual hope for our nation.
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. – Psalm 67: 1-4