Letter to Republican Leaders
Below is an open letter to Republican leaders, one that I will likely send in hard copy to select men and women whom I judge to be receptive. Realistically, I think Republican voters—and leaders—have pretty much resigned themselves to Trump. But citizens of God’s Kingdom do not always yield to earthly realism, especially when God’s standards and the well-being of their family, nation, and world are at stake. So join me in dreaming a little, and praying a lot. d
May 10, 2016
Dear American Leader,
The current presidential contest has caused me to fear for the future of my party, my country, and my world. I am writing to give you my assessment of the situation, and to offer my best thinking on the way forward.
As any number of conservative leaders have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt, Donald Trump, like Hillary Clinton, is unfit for office. His words, deeds, and ever-shifting policy recommendations show us that Trump is an ungodly man without character, competence, meaningful accomplishments, abiding principles, self-control, intellectual depth, or emotional stability. No principled conservative American could ever vote for such a man (or for Hillary) with a clear conscience. Moreover, it is evident that a Trump presidency would wreak havoc upon our nation and beyond. Why? As our Declaration of Independence states, God has ordered his world according to certain natural and moral laws. One of them is that good ends (e.g., stopping Hillary) never can justify the use of evil means (e.g., electing Donald); another is that we cannot choose an evil leader (even if he is supposed to be the lesser of two) and still hope to secure good results. In sum, we simply must find an alternative to Donald Trump.
This brings me to my recommendations. The great need of the moment, as I see it, is for a Republican leader, or team of leaders, to come forth and vocally spearhead an outspoken No-Trump campaign. Ideally, one or more respected Republican statesmen would be the ones to launch this movement, supplying a center around which other leaders could gather. Men like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, George Bush, Jeb Bush, or Ted Cruz come to mind. Certainly they have the stature to fill this crucial role; whether they have the wisdom and moral courage to do so, I do not know.
Such men, and such a campaign, would not walk alone. There are multitudes of No-Trump leaders in the conservative and evangelical community who would gladly get on board. They could use their bully pulpits to advance the cause, and to motivate concerned citizens to take action. Here I think of men like Erick Erickson, Mark Levin, Russell Moore, David French, Kevin Williamson, Ross Douthat, James Dobson, and (hopefully) Franklin Graham. The troops are abundant, but they are waiting for a commander to lead them.
What would be goal of this coalition? Very simply, to use the next few months to plead with Republicans everywhere—but especially with the delegates to the national convention—NOT to vote for Trump, but to choose a reasonably conservative alternative around whom all traditional Republicans can comfortably coalesce.
Would this project be messy? Would it elicit strong emotions? Would it result in deep divisions, and cries of cheating, and claims of rigged conventions? You bet. And yet, in light of the terrible and completely unacceptable alternatives, there is no other choice. The delegates must be made to see that the plurality of Republican voters have made a mistake in voting for an unstable and unprincipled demagogue; and that as the elected representatives of all Republican voters, they (the delegates) have a positive moral obligation to protect our party, our nation, and our world by choosing a man (or woman) of good character, demonstrated competence, and firm commitment to the conservative principles that have made our party great and given it such success in the past (e.g., during the Reagan presidency) and the present (e.g., in states overseen by Republican governors).
As radical as this proposal may seem, a little consideration of the alternatives should make it appear both reasonable and compelling. If the delegates go along with the pro-Trump voters and media, the great likelihood is that Hillary will win, a true calamity. If, on the other hand, Trump is elected, multitudes of true conservatives (such as myself) will leave the party once and for all, and in the end the new faux-Republican party will perish, since, like Trump himself, and like the Democratic Party, it will stand for nothing other than money and power. This too would be a calamity, but far worse than a temporary Hillary presidency, since it would mean that in subsequent elections there would no longer be a united, principled Republican party to stand against the rising tide of secular progressivism, which has left—and will increasingly leave—our country defenseless against the evil powers now at work in the world.
Some No-Trump leaders are mulling the idea of a third party, a party that would give conservatives a home and a vote in the 206 election, and possibly even a win if the election were thrown into the House of Representatives. For any number of reasons, this seems to me an unlikely scenario. I judge, then, that our only real hope lies in what I have proposed: A No-Trump coalition that works hard over the next few months to persuade all Americans—but above all, the delegates to the Republican National Convention—to say “No” to Donald Trump, and to give us a principled conservative nominee who will go on to win the general election in November.