Ted Cruz announced yesterday that he will, in fact, be voting for Donald Trump. In the Facebook post explaining his decision to vote for a man who treated him and his family brutally during the primaries, Cruz made the same points I’ve been making for months: First, that Hillary is infinitely worse than Trump could ever be and, second, that Trump has been carefully refining his campaign promises to assure Americans that he’ll put on the brakes before Hillary takes us over the same cliff that Obama has relentlessly edged us towards for the past eight years. Here are Cruz’s key points, although I do urge you to read the whole thing:
Six key policy differences inform my decision. First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance.
Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.
Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.
Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.
Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.
Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.
These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.
There are roughly six weeks between now and the election — and in those states that allow early voting, people are already casting their votes. We have very little time left within which people can make a choice between preserving what’s left of America or starting a Venezuela slide. At the beginning of August, I analogized our situation to that in The Bridge over the River Kwai. When a Facebook friend posted that the movie was being shown on PBS in our area, I went back, looked at the post, and decided that it’s good enough for a replay, although edited somewhat for clarity:
During the primaries, I was a #NeverTrumper because I preferred Ted Cruz’s more constitutionally pure political ideology. Unfortunately for me, Ted Cruz didn’t win the primary. The iconoclastic, highly eccentric, often bombastic, and really rather vulgar Donald Trump did.
What I did not do when Trump became the Republican candidate was go off in my cave and sulk that Trump will destroy the conservative movement’s purity. Instead, I looked at his political opponent and thought “She must not win. Our constitutional republic will no longer exist after another four years of a hardcore Leftist agenda; an agenda, moreover, that willfully denies that the West is engaged in an existential battle with nihilistic fundamentalist Islamism.” I’m no longer voting for a candidate or a party. Instead, my loyalty lies with my country, which means, of the two candidates on the ballot who have a shot at the White House, I must vote for the one who is least likely to do irreparable harm. That person is Donald Trump.
The #NeverTrumpers aren’t looking at the bigger picture, which is the battle for America’s soul. Hillary offers a continuation of Obama’s statist vision, one that sees Americans as useful cogs in a brow-beaten, self-loathing socialist nation. Trump’s admittedly iconoclastic candidacy is still premised upon an individualist vision in which Americans are still masters of their own destiny in a proud country with a constitutionally inclined Supreme Court, the right to bear arms, and a military committed to America’s protection.
Most of Trump’s political ideas hark back to a vague period encompassing everything from Jimmy Carter’s refusal to allow Iranians into America, to Bill Clinton’s welfare reform and promise to crack down on illegal aliens. It’s not pure conservativism, but it’s in line with functional American principles.
The #NeverTrumpers, however, are so focused on ideological purity that they’re blind to the chasm opening up before us if Hillary wins. They will bow to the altar of purity even as America follows Venezuela to starvation and ruin (and that downfall, you will recall, happened with remarkable speed, clocking in at about ten years).
When I look at the #NeverTrumpers, I realize that I’ve seen their movie before and, if it weren’t for a 30 second Hollywood finale, it would end really badly. As it is, before those last 30 seconds, a lot of good people die. The movie, of course, is Bridge on the River Kwai. The rest of this post will be spoiler city. If you don’t mind that fact, continue reading. If you hope one day to see this epic movie and still be surprised by the ending, STOP READING RIGHT NOW.
For those who have forgotten or never known the plot of Bridge on the River Kwai, here’s a summary of the salient points:
The movie begins in 1943, in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Burma run by the sadistic Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa). He announces to the prisoners that all of them, regardless of rank, will be working as slave labor constructing a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon. (The movie is based upon the true story of the Burma Railway, built from 1942-1943 at the cost of 13,000 POW lives and the lives 80,000-100,000 men from all over the Malayan peninsula whom the Japanese dragooned into working on the bridge.)
The senior British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), objects that Saito’s plan violates the Geneva Conventions and is promptly tortured for his efforts by being locked in a hot box in the blazing equatorial heat. At the same time, three prisoners attempt to escape, with only Commander Shears (William Holden) succeeding.
Despite the terrible treatment he’s receiving, Nicholson will not compromise. Meanwhile, the other POWs, who are already working have on the bridge, do their best to sabotage the effort.
Eventually, for reasons unimportant to this narrative, Saito releases Nicholson from the hot box, and Nicholson finally gets to see the bridge in progress. Perhaps a little bit unhinged by his torture, Nicholson is appalled by the shoddy Japanese plan, made worse by the prisoners’ sabotage efforts, and decides that British pride demands that he and his men build a better bridge. Over his own officers’ protests, he has POWs who are engineers design a better bridge, to be built on a better site, and then begins to supervise the POWs’ work in dead earnest.
Meanwhile, the escaped Commander Shears, whose back story is also irrelevant here, ends up as part of a secret, four-man commando team that has as its mission destroying the bridge. It is a life or death effort. Preventing the Japanese from having a stable, efficient supply line is absolutely necessary to help advance the Allied efforts in the Pacific theater. (This was true in real life, with the real Burma Railway as well.)
Even as the British and Americans are plotting the bridge’s destruction, Nicholson is increasingly obsessed with its completion. In his mind, a perfect bridge will prove to the Japanese how superior the British are, never mind that it will help the Japanese win the war. He is so focused on this goal that he even convinces Saito to lend him Japanese labor to make the project go faster.
The movie’s dramatic finale begins when two things happen: First, the inaugural train, filled with Japanese dignitaries heads towards the Bridge and, second, an unexpected drop in the water level exposes the wires that the commando team used to connect the explosives to the detonator.
When Nicholson notices these wires, instead of keeping silent or otherwise aiding the commando team, he is so focused on his bridge that he promptly notifies Saito. Armed with this information, The Japanese immediately attack the British commando squad.
Although Saito dies in the fighting, so do three of the four members of the commando team. Only Shears remains to try to detonate the explosives. Fatally wounded, he nevertheless manages to swim across the river, dying at Nicholson’s feet before he can trigger the explosives. Nicholson then realizes that Shears is his former, escaped campmate.
Only at this moment, with three commandos dead, a fourth dying, and a train full of Japanese dignitaries heading for an inaugural ride across the beautiful bridge he built, does Nicholson suddenly become aware where his obsession has led. That results in the famous close-up of a horrified Nicholson saying “What have I done?”
This being a Hollywood movie, rather than real life, the movie doesn’t end with Nicholson watching the Japanese train travel successfully across the river, tortured with the knowledge that he handed the Japanese a victory in an epic showdown between civilization and tyranny. Instead, Nicholson gets hit by mortar fire and, mortally wounded, stumbles towards the detonator, collapsing on top of it in time to blow up both bridge and train. It’s a happy ending that only Hollywood could devise:
In my analogy, the #NeverTrumpers are Nicholson. Even as we speed towards a terminal election with only two available candidates — one who definitely will destroy the America we know and one who probably won’t — they are focused obsessively on ideological purity. They’ve lost sign of the fact that their unwillingness to sully themselves by associating with a man as crude and unintellectual as Trump will hand victory to an ideology that will make America so dysfunctional that it will take decades before ideological purity can return and repair our nation’s torn fabric — assuming that such an ending is even possible.
Worse, this is not a Hollywood movie which allows our purity-seekers to avert disaster in the last seconds. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, if Hillary wins and the #NeverTrumpers have their “What Have I Done?” moment, nothing can be fixed. There is no 30-second taking the bullet and detonating the Hillary campaign train. The #NeverTrumpers need to have their “What Have I Done?” moment now if we are to prevent disaster.
And make no mistake: If Hillary wins, we are looking at an epic disaster. As Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt, Victor Davis Hanson, and now Ted Cruz, not to mention many other committed, principled, highly intelligent conservatives have realized, the time for ideological purity is over. In an existential situation, with a binary choice between bad and dead, morality demands that you choose bad.
We know with certain that President Hillary Clinton will:
- Turn the Supreme Court into an activist, hard-Left engine of permanent change;
- Narrow the First Amendment to the point of meaninglessness, giving government the final say over who gets free speech (and you can see what this will look like by visiting any college or university in America except for Hillsdale);
- Narrow the Second Amendment to the point of meaninglessness, giving government the absolute right to seize all privately held arms;
- Grant full amnesty and voting rights to all the illegal aliens already in America;
- Abandon any effort at controlling our Southern border;
- Continue to turn the American military into a vast social justice and climate change experiment;
- Continue to destroy the American economy by (a) funding crony-style climate change initiatives and (b) making it impossible for ordinary Americans to get affordable energy from clean coal, oil, and natural gas;
- Raise taxes to pay for her war against the climate;
- Deny the existence of Islamic fundamentalism, something exceptionally cruel, not only to non-Muslims killed by Islamists, but to those peaceful Muslims who need someone to partner with them to help bring about an Islamic reformation;
- Cultivate her close ties with rich, radical Islamists, aided by Huma Abedin (scion of the Muslim Brotherhood) and by all of her other long-standing Islamic funders;
- Turn her back on Israel, a nation she’s always approached with hostility, abandoning it to the Islamic/Arab savagery that surrounds it;
- Destroy the last remnants of a free market in America by tightening her cronyist connection to Wall Street and her regulatory control over businesses and individuals;
- Be exceptionally vulnerable to blackmail from all those nations that are sitting on her emails, both the 30,000 she destroyed, as well as the ones already in FBI hands; and
- Continue to divide America by focusing on victim groups in order to retain those groups’ fealty to the Democrat party (as we’ve seen with her recent pandering to the Black Lives Matter movement).
Nothing Donald Trump does can or will be as bad. While Hillary, as the “first woman” president, will get full cooperation from all Democrats and all RINOS (which means most GOP Congress critters), Congress will rediscover the separation of powers when Donald is President, reining in his greater excesses. In addition, Donald has promised that he will:
- Appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court;
- Look to conservatives for advice about his executive management;
- Control our out-of-control bureaucracy (and his management experience indicates that he can do this);
- Reinstate enforcement of America’s existing immigration laws and border policies;
- Maintain Americans’ right to keep and bear arms;
- Maintain Americans’ right to free speech;
- Continue to chip away at the mind-control that is political correctness;
- Stand by Israel;
- Acknowledge that we are at war with radical Islam and turn to the best minds to help us wage that war successfully; and
- Speak to all Americans, not just special-interest groups.
Trump will be an imperfect president, but all presidents are imperfect. Even Ronald Reagan, in his heyday, did stupid things or things that his supporters disliked. It is inconceivable, though, that Trump could ever be as destructive as Hillary most certainly will be.
Don’t be a #NeverTrumper. Don’t get so caught up in ideological purity that you forget that we’re fighting a real war of ideas with only one winner and one loser. Do not be Colonel Nicholson and focus so obsessively on your purity that you hand victory to the political enemy. This is war and we get once chance not to destroy America. Vote Trump, no matter how much you wish you didn’t have to.