Battle for the Title of Least Terrible Presidential Option

How many people who were adamant that they’d never vote for Donald Trump are reconsidering after the experience of actually watching Hillary Clinton avoid consequences for her trademark blend of corruption and incompetence?  It was one thing to know that such an outcome was possible, even likely; it’s another for it to actually happen.  It’s one thing to find the legal maneuvering of Miracle on 34th Street to be a clever way for a politically motivated judge to avoid ruling against the existence of Santa Claus.  It would be another to wake up knowing we live in a world in which that’s the standard of law for a person who soon may occupy the Oval Office.

Two items for the substance of that experience.  First, Andrew McCarthy, who is about as well positioned as anybody on the political right to comment, suggests that FBI Director James Comey essentially rewrote federal law to ensure that Clinton could be seen as not having violated it (emphasis in original):

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

Second, to make that intellectual argument more visceral, watch Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy (South Carolina) argue, to Comey, that Clinton’s multiple and demonstrable lies about her use of private email proves that she had intent in about as clear a way as it is possible to prove intent.

I suspect a great many anti-Trumpers have at least moved a step closer to Kurt Schlichter’s delicately phrased headline, “You Need To Suck It Up And Vote For Trump“:

Think of it. A Congress that finally finds a spine in the face of the president. And that’s not just Democrats – even the posing goofs on the Republican side of the aisle would be falling over themselves to take a whack at the orange executive. What court would shrug and defer to El Presidente Little Digits? Even the mainstream media would rediscover the curiosity about West Wing wrongdoing that disappeared back in January 2009. Imagine their delight to once again be able to preen and strut while babbling about how they speak truth to power instead of groveling and bussing the rear of their White House master.

America will have never seen checking and balancing like President Trump would experience. And that is exactly, precisely what America must have right now.

Hillary Clinton will roll into office unhindered and unaccountable. We know what Clintons do when there is oversight; any sane person should shudder at the thought of them not merely unaccountable, but actively abetted by the entire elite. If you want to tear this country apart – not figuratively, not metaphorically, but with the real violence and bloodshed she will blunder into provoking – then hand that aspiring pants-suited Chavez wannabe the keys to the Oval Office.

In evaluating the moral and politically far-sighted path through this year’s apparent choice, my reasoning for being on the #NeverTrump side has been that he’ll carry the conservative tag, albeit unjustly, making it better to have the bad government be clearly of the opposite brand.  With President Clinton, conservatives could rebuild as a unified opposition; with President Trump, we’d be under constant assault for things that are not conservative at all, and we’d be torn apart as we battle the conflicting imperatives to protect our integrity and to protect our allies.

Now, I’m thinking maybe Schlichter is correct and the thing to do is to take this rigged system to the next level of absurdity and allow several generations of Americans to learn the error of the progressive approach to government (i.e., big and controlling).  (Note that the difference is not in the harm done, but in the near-certainty that major institutions like the news media and judiciary will work overtime to ensure that the lesson is not learned with Clinton.)  Yes, it’ll be some work to prevent progressives from tarring small-government folks with Trump, but there’s work no matter which way we go.

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