For true conservatives, no matter their disdain for Trump, Trump has proven to be the real deal as a conservative, so a vote for Biden is a bridge too far.
If you’re interested in understanding events in the Middle East from a viewpoint that is neither anti-Semitic nor Leftist, the Middle East Forum is one of the go-to publications. Its founder, Daniel Pipes, is not only pro-Israel, but he’s also committed to true constitutional conservatism. Pipes’ problem beginning in 2016, when he watched Ted Cruz fall before the Trump juggernaut, is that he found Trump to see so unappealing he could not make himself vote for Trump.
Pipes has now had a revelation: While Trump may be eccentric, crude, volatile, and many other things a rarefied person finds off-putting, he is also a true conservative. The majority of his political instincts are more conservative even than Reagan’s. In the balance sheet comparing Trump’s personality and Trump’s policies, the honest conservative has to support Trump.
In his article, which originally appeared in Newsweek, where the hate-filled, fact-free comments are amazing, Pipes freely admits to loathing, even being disgusted by, Trump the man. He believed Trump to be unethical, egotistical, litigious, bigoted, and vulgar. He feared Trump’s impulsiveness and thought he had fascist tendencies. He also worried (as many conservatives did), that Trump would be a RINO who would quickly fall in with the Democrats if elected.
Then, something happened:
Nearly four years later, Trump’s character still troubles and repels me. If anything, his egotism, disloyalty and bombast exceed those vices when he was a mere candidate.
But, to my unending surprise, he has governed as a resolute conservative. His policies in the areas of education, taxes, deregulation and the environment have been bolder than Ronald Reagan’s. His judicial appointments are the best of the past century (thank you, Leonard Leo). His unprecedented assault on the administrative state proceeds apace, ignoring predictable howls from the Washington establishment. Even his foreign policy has been conservative: demanding that allies contribute their fair share, confronting China and Iran and singularly supporting Israel. Ironically, as David Harsanyi notes, a potential character flaw actually works to our advantage: “Trump’s obstinacy seems to have made him less susceptible to the pressures that traditionally induce GOP presidents to capitulate.”
Pipes’ real epiphany is the realization that you don’t have to like a person to support his politics. Elections should not be popularity contests. They should, instead, lead us to focus hard on the politician’s vision for his (or her) country. Trump loves America; Biden, through his support for America-hating Democrat radicals, does not. For that reason, Pipes confesses,
Slowly but inexorably over the past three years, my approval of the policies has outbalanced my distaste for the person. Finally, knowing that Joe Biden will represent the radicalized Democrats in November, I conclude that I will do my small part to help Trump get re-elected by writing, giving and voting.
I reached this conclusion reluctantly but unhesitatingly. Emotionally, esthetically and intellectually, I would prefer to keep my distance from Trump and inhabit a neutral space between the parties, as in 2016. But I will vote for him as the politician who represents my conservative views. I urge other reluctant conservatives to do the same.
If only all NeverTrumpers could be as wise as Pipes – and as willing to look beyond their prejudices to the facts and values that really matter.