Photo credit: Tom Arthur (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Had Justin Amash been the Libertarian nominee for president, I would have gladly supported him. With his exit, it’s time to evaluate the state of the race for November. 

My view of the Libertarian race for president is as follows: Judge Jim Gray, the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, is the most presidential candidate running. The most likely nominee is the seventy-year-old ideological purist Jacob Hornberger. Vermin Supreme could win the highest percentage of the vote. The argument for voting for him says, “This race is ridiculous, let’s just vote for the guy with the boot on his head” may have more appeal to convention delegates than the case other candidates might make. None of them will have my vote due to their pro-abortion stances and general character. 

As I detailed a few weeks ago, Constitution Party nominee Don Blankenship is unfit for the presidency. With COVID-19 and social distancing requirements making a serious independent campaign for President impractical, we left with the two major-party candidates. There are cases to be made for a conservative voting for either one, but I think the case against in both cases is stronger. 

Donald Trump 

President Trump has nominated and had confirmed a host of federal judges of the best sort with the aide Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His administration has instituted several sound policies on religious freedom and the rights of the unborn and reducing regulations that harm American competitiveness. Also, Trump made several symbolic gestures, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and speaking to the March for Life. 

Trump supporters have rightly noted that the Democratic Party has moved far to the left in recent years, with party chairman Tom Perez suggesting the party has no place for pro-life Democrats. A Democratic victory would bring a variety of radicals who would impose a dangerous vision on the country. 

However, these regulatory successes have to be balanced against the many failures. The President’s COVID-19 response was an embarrassment. His ego, selfish political concerns, and carelessness have led to an administrative response that is as inconsistent as it is ineffective.

He’s continued to make false statements (such as the hollow promise any American who needs a COVID-19 test can get one) that have undermined his credibility. He also managed to continue his practice of staging reality TV catfights with governors and other public officials while Americans die by the thousands. He deserves credit for limiting travel to China in January, and other public officials and agencies certainly deserve a share of the blame for this catastrophe. But it’s hard to imagine the crisis could have been worse managed by any of the Republican or Democratic candidates for president in 2016. 

Also, there was his pointless trade war with China and the ballooning deficits he signed every year. His schizophrenic foreign policy had him abandon our Kurdish allies in the name of ending the war in the Middle East while increasing the number of troops in the Middle East. This lack of consistency has lowered U.S. standing and credibility while making the world less safe. 

Many books have been written on the president’s corruption. However, the most significant problem with the president’s corruption is how he corrupts those around him. At public cabinet meetings, every member of the Cabinet pours lavish amounts of high praise on the president. Such severe flattery and sycophancy are corrosive to good character and permeate the executive branch and the Republican Party. It is not enough to do a good job; one must do it while showering the president with praise that would make some despots blush.

Beyond that, there is the lying. Within the first week in office, Trump made his first Press Secretary go out and tell a verifiable lie about the crowd size at his inauguration, and that was the only start. People working for the president have been required to tell outrageous lies that would make the Clinton Administration blush. What good is Trump appointing conservatives to high government posts if service in his administration requires that they destroy both their integrity and credibility? 

Members of Congress frequently defend or ignore behavior and actions that they would be screaming from the rafters about should President Obama have done anything like it. America has had many corrupt leaders, but none could corrupt so many others. This has also extended to having a damaging effect on Christian witness. The continuing presidency of Donald Trump will only broaden and deepen this corruption.

Besides, conservatives who are voting for Trump on his record would do well to consider that the president has been on his best behavior (as odd that may seem) because he wants to be re-elected. The president has already shown an inclination to pass gun control legislation. If given a Democratic Senate Majority in second, it seems likely he’d sign gun control legislation. I also suspect he’d sign the anti-religious freedom Equality Act.  

Joe Biden 

The Conservative case for Joe Biden is reminiscent of the story about a crook dying and his brother bribing the minister to give a eulogy in which the minister promised to declare the dead crook was a saint. At the funeral, the minister exposed every crooked thing the dead man did, but toward the end of the eulogy, he declared, “But compared to his brother, he was a saint.”  

Joe Biden has many things in his past, which would typically disqualify him from the presidency. Yet, he has the advantage of running against Donald Trump. The former Vice President empathizes with others. He has suffered through the loss of his wife and daughter at the age of twenty-nine, and then he had to watch as his son died slowly from cancer. Biden is known to offer his number to grieving people struggling with loss.  

Empathy alone would not usually be considered a qualification for the president. Still, Biden is running against a man who has touted the strength of his ratings and taken victory laps even while the death toll rises from COVID-19. Joe Biden would never do that. Biden also would not have done hundreds of thoughtless, cruel, and careless acts that Trump has committed as president. 

Even Biden’s scandals look tame compared to Trump. The decades-old plagiarism allegation? It seems prosaic compared to a man who invented fake identities to pretend to be his own press agent.  

Biden’s family members (most notably his son Hunter) seem to many to have gotten wealthy through no merit of their own and only advanced because of Biden’s office. At least Biden’s not putting his unqualified children and their spouses in charge of the Middle East policy and COVID-19 while having taxpayers fork out a fortune paid out to properties that he owns. 

Biden might insult a young woman as a “lying dog-faced pony soldier,” tell a union worker that he’s “full of s**t” and called yet another man a “damn liar…and fat.” Still, at least he won’t carry on the petty late-night cyberbullying and rage tweeting on Twitter and constant stoking of religious and racial hatred and will look presidential by comparison. 

A prudential case can be made for voting for Biden. Contrary to GOP propaganda, Republicans cannot always win the White House. Sooner or later, a Democrat will be elected. Should Biden fail, the Democrats will reach the conclusion they lost because they didn’t go far enough left. If history’s any guide, in a Trump Second Term, there’s a great chance the 2022 U.S. Senate elections will see a massive GOP loss. If a Democrat wins 2024, they will have a large enough Senate Majority to abolish the filibuster and pass a large variety of dangerous legislation such as court-packing and acts that would undo every pro-life bill in the country.  

It would be far better for Biden to win in 2020 and deal with a Republican Senate or a slight Democratic Majority where moderates like Democratic U.S. Senators Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia hold the balance of power rather than a majority so large that radicals will be able to call the shots. 

And yet, it’s hard to see how a Biden presidency would work out well. People on the right advocating for Biden imagine Trump’s defeat will mean the downfall of Trumpism. The problem is Trump has given a megaphone to dangerous and dishonest people who will not go away if Trump loses. Also, a defeat in 2020 is not necessarily the end of Trump as he could attempt a comeback in 2024 when he is younger than Biden is now. Besides, several high-ranking members of Congress are ready to carry forth Trump’s race-baiting, populism, and grievance-mongering, among them Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR). Trump’s children would also seek to carry on his legacy. 

Biden will be part of the problem. He will not “restore the soul of America” as he preposterously claims. Biden is not a moderate; he just not as radical as the rest of the 2020 primary field. He moved further to the left during the primaries to accommodate his party’s left-wing, such as when he embraced the radical position of supporting taxpayer-funded abortion. I see a Biden presidency in which he takes steps to appease his party’s extreme progressive wing, but infuriates them by not going far enough while also creating fear and anger on the right for trying to appease the radicals at all. 

Under Biden, we would face twin rising tides of anger and chaos with an aging President who will have to lean heavily on his advisors due to diminishing capacity. That’s a recipe for disaster. 

In the end, America is at the crossroads, and both roads lead to disaster. There is no reason for optimism about a Biden presidency or a second Trump term. The only question is which administration will be the least awful, which future will be the least catastrophic for America. 

I will not vote to bring further catastrophe on our country or cast a protest vote that in no way represents the type of government or values that I share. While I respect those, who try to pick the best from these awful options, count me out. I will either write in “None of the Above” or write in a ticket on my ballot. I hope that in 2024 COVID-19 will be behind us, and we’ll see Americans come together to form a new party and clean up this mess. 

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