Look upon the face of America, ye Mighty, and despair.
Donald Trump now has the endorsement of Ted Cruz, the man who just two months ago – on the center stage of the Republican National Convention – ended his rousing, patriotic ode to liberty and sound governance with the plea to vote your conscience. Everyone following the Republican knife fighting knew exactly what that meant. Senator Cruz made it crystal clear, in unabashed conservative terms, that credibility and integrity of character matter. And Cruz was not going to sully his own reputation by mixing his name and face with the candidacy of the blusterous man-boy who grotesquely attacked his wife and conspiracy mongered that his father was involved in the assassination of JFK.
So much for that.
Conservatives who had initially pledged to never support or vote for Donald Trump have about six weeks to rationalize scattering their words to the four winds as Cruz has now done. Let’s not kid ourselves: a lot of them are going to do it. Trump has rebounded from his awful month of August and his campaign has been hitting most of the right notes lately. The better he looks, the greater the temptation to hope. Peer pressure is a tough beast to conquer, and Ted Cruz is, for many, a compelling peer. The impulse to follow him, to give in however reluctantly, is one that I really do understand, however much I resist. It is a feeling common in all of us that the tree that doesn’t bend will eventually break. But as Cedric Daniels of The Wire said in response to that, “Bend too far and you’re already broken.”
Voting for Trump is bending too far to the point where I am broken.
When I said that I will not vote for Donald Trump, I meant that I will not vote for Donald Trump. When I said, right here on this blog, that I detest as insidious and vain his movement and his new brand of political correctness, I meant it.
No, this does not mean that I will be supporting or voting for Hillary Clinton. There is no conservative or even American case for her, whatever the more polemic #NeverTrump conservatives believe. Nor is there one for any of the asinine sideshow candidacies. One way or another, the next president of the United States will be a crypto-maniacal left-wing hack, further sowing and watering the seeds of schism in the attention-deficit, hyper-materialistic culture that we find ourselves living in.
Voting for Trump does not fix this. It ensures only that my conscience will never forgive me. My heart has hardened and my head remains high and unyielding above the cacophony of the rabble. It is the only place a true conservative can be, and it is the grace Ted Cruz has now fallen from with many of you sure to follow.
There will be no such fall from me, however much I lament what happens next. Never Trump means Never Trump. And in the wasteland of animus that modern American democracy has become, that pledge – that mountaintop of conservative conviction – remains my final word.