“If we must have an enemy at the head of government let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.” – Alexander Hamilton
A friend sent me a recent article by Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of San Diego’s Skyline Church, addressing the reasons one might vote for Donald Trump, and the reasons he believes it is imperative that we do. What follows are the points Dr. Barlow makes in his article, and my responses to them.
I disagree with most of what Dr. Garlow writes, and for specific reasons. While I share his love for God and concern for the direction this country is heading, and while I agree that a Hillary Clinton presidency would take us further down the cancerous road of progressivism that we have seen under Barack Obama, I disagree that Donald Trump is a reasonable alternative. The reasons why will become apparent in my responses to Dr. Garlow.
- The Democratic and Republican party platforms are as different as night and day, in my opinion, as far apart as evil vs. good. The 51-page Democratic platform is the most leftist ever. (I don’t care for the “right vs. left” nomenclature. I am far more concerned with “right vs. wrong.”) The Democratic platform contains many points which are anti-biblical. (Time does not permit me here to identify what is meant by “anti-biblical,” which is covered in my new book Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today’s Tough Issues.) It is thoroughly socialistic (a socialist is a communist without a gun). The 54-page GOP platform is one of the strongest GOP platforms ever. A biblically alert person could be comfortable with almost all of it. Party platforms are a big issue to me. Although some “blow off” party platforms, I do not. Nor do many people up and down the ballot who are running for office. This is a serious and very important item. I have a hard copy of both platforms in front of me now. Most people have never checked out what the party platforms say. They should. If a person is not drawn to the “top-of-the-ballot” candidate, they ought to at least consider voting for the candidate attached to the best party platform.
This is probably the strongest point that Dr. Garlow makes in his article. Platform is, indeed, more important than an individual candidate when choosing one’s party affiliation (I first heard that from a Christian Libertarian friend, by the way). As far as voting for the candidate attached to the best platform, even if they aren’t a great candidate, this is generally a fair statement. In fact, it’s why I supported McCain in 2008, Romney in 2012, and Cruz after Marco Rubio dropped out this year. This reasoning, however, assumes that the candidate is committed to upholding the party platform. Given Donald Trump’s recent conversion to conservatism after being a lifelong avowed democrat, there is no track record to make one confident that he is a genuine convert, let alone a stalwart supporter of his recently-adopted conservative positions.
- Analogy #1: Both candidates are flawed. We all know that. But permit me an analogy: As a pastor, I would rather deal with a church attendee who is blatant and brash in his sinning than one who is devious, lying, cunning and deceptive. Both are problematic, but one is easier to deal with than the other. If I were a pastor bringing correction to a parishioner, I would prefer dealing with a “Trump-type” any day over a “Hillary-type.” The chances of making progress with the “Trump-type” is many times greater than the “Hillary-type.”
If I were considering being pastor to a blatant, brash sinner versus a cold, calculating manipulator, I would, like Dr. Garlow. However, the comparison of who one would rather bring correction to as a pastor is hardly a fair one when we are talking about selecting a leader, and especially one whose response to those who would attempt correction is mocking, ridiculing, and intimidating.
- Analogy #2: When my (late) wife’s remarkable and much loved oncologist said, “Don’t take Carol to that alternative (non FDA approved) treatment.” I asked, “Why not?” He said, “The unknown.” I said, “Doctor, your ‘known’ is much worse than the alternative treatment’s ‘unknown.'” (I took her to that alternative treatment. One year later that same oncologist went to the alternative treatment doctor to see how it was that Carol had improved so much. While this alternative treatment did not ultimately save her life, it likely stretched two to three years of life to six years of life—by the admission of another one of her brilliant young oncologists who later said, “Without any medical training or scientific fact, you have put together a protocol of treatment that has moved her into the top fraction of 1 percent of survival rates of all patients with Carol’s particular cancer). Application of the analogy: Hillary’s “known” is considerably worse—many times over—than Trump’s “unknown.”
This is, perhaps, the most troubling of Dr. Garlow’s points. I’ll tread carefully here since it is couched in such a personal story. To say that Trump’s “unknown” is better that Clinton’s “known” is logically nonsensical. Imagine I gave you two packages. In one, I told you there was a dangerous rattlesnake. The other remained a mystery. Which box is the safer one to open? Sure, the mystery box could contain a puppy or a laptop, or even a million dollars. But it could also contain anthrax, small-pox, or the Zika virus. Can we really say that the mystery box s safer? Hardly. Additionally, the analogy assumes we know nothing about how Trump would act once in office. In reality, we have decades of history on Trump’s behavior, temperament, and ethics in both his private life and business dealings. And the evidence reveals someone who is self-absorbed, take advantage of others at nearly every opportunity, is abusive toward women, lures his ‘enemies’ into traps of his own devising (as described in The Art of the Deal), and whose behavior is morally reprehensible.
- Trump has lots of sins in his past (actually, we all do), and—in the present—says things he should not say. I make no attempt to defend any of the things he has said. There is no need to rehearse the wrong things he has said. We know what they are. He should not have thought or said them. But there is no need to rehash them here. So we won’t. But let’s turn to the other candidate. Although America has had some scandal-ridden candidates in its history, we have never seen any one major party candidate more constantly scandalous as Hillary (along with her husband). She seems to exceed all previous boundaries for wrongdoing. The scandals just don’t stop. In the same way we did not take time to list all of Trump’s misstatements, neither will we here rehash the seemingly continuous string of horrific scandals of the Clintons.
This starts off well, acknowledging the sins in Trump’s past, but it quickly devolves into a case of willful blindness. Garlow writes, “Although America has had some scandal-ridden candidates in its history, we have never seen any one major party candidate more constantly scandalous as Hillary.” Please do not misunderstand. I agree with Dr. Garlow’s opinion of Hillary Clinton. But certainly he has forgotten scandals of mistresses, Trump University, child rape allegations, close relationships with known pedophiles, bankruptcies, lack of financial transparency, and the others that have riddled Trump’s life before and since his candidacy for President.
- Trump is slowly being surrounded by increasingly good people. From time to time, I receive encouraging calls regarding this. Can these good people impact Trump? We will see. In contrast, I see no reason for any encouragement regarding the people who surround Hillary.
It is true that surrounding yourself with good people is a wise thing to do. Whether Trump will actually listen to these people is quite another matter. Additionally, surrounding a bad candidate with good people does not make them a good candidate. Never in the history of elections, as far as I can tell, has this argument been used. The quality of the individual running for the office has always been crucial. It seems an argument along the lines of, “Okay. We’re stuck with him. How do we make the best of it? By surrounding him with people more suited for the job than he is.”
- Trump is right on approximately 75 percent of the issues. I wish it was 100 percent. It is not. I am in hopes that those beginning to surround him can help him connect the dots on more issues. Hillary is wrong on 100 percent of the issues.
Trump has indeed said things that I, as a conservative, agree with. However, his statements on many issues have been so outlandish that they overshadow the conservative patina he has worked to construct around his candidacy. These include a willingness to prosecute women who had abortions, to support transgender bathroom laws, to ban immigration based on religious affiliation, to torture the families of terrorists, to impose a state-run healthcare system to replace Obamacare, not to mention inciting violence, suggesting the murder of politicians and judges, and more.
- This next issue might be one of the most important, but I suspect few will understand its significance. Trump opposes globalism. Hillary thrives on it. Globalism is far more than “geographical” or “eliminating national borders and boundaries.” It is spiritual, that is, demonic at its core. Few—very few—understand this. This is quite likely one of the main reasons why Trump is hated. Do your homework on this one. Think “principalities and powers.” Serious. Extremely serious.
There’s really not much of an argument here, and Trump’s anti0globalism is not particularly reliable. He has, for years, acted and spoken as a globalist. This is just another convenient flip-flop in his ideology. Mark Levin writes: “The fact that Trump’s political rhetoric runs directly contrary to his own globalist actions as a very successful and wealthy businessman requires a better explanation than he has given thus far.”
- Not voting is not a viable option, contrary to what the “purists” claim. It is not my intention to begin a war of the issue. I know that some radically disagree with this. My view? They have the right to be wrong
This point reveals a very poor understanding of what a vote is. I vote is more than choosing between the less-distasteful of the options. Voting is making a positive statement of support. Literally, the voter is throwing his lot in with the candidate he votes for. Voting is more than saying ‘a’ is less bad than ‘b.’ It is saying, “As a citizen and co-ruler of this land (popular sovereignty) I believe that this is good for America.” To say that not voting isn’t an option holds the voter captive to the major parties and undermines liberty of conscience in every way.
- Voting for a third party candidate is—regardless of what is said—a complete “throw-away.” No third party candidate will be elected, or even come remotely close to being elected. And yes, that matters to me. And for the record, the Libertarian ticket—Johnson and Weld—is nearly as bad on many issues as Hillary. When I listen to them, I am stunned people of their ability have ever made it to elective office.
See my response to #8. Additionally, Dr. Garlow contradicts himself on this point, because he refers to Johnson and Weld as being “nearly as bad as Hillary” on many issues, which is in direct contradiction to his admonition in #1, where he advises voting for platform, not candidates.
- Trump has moved pro-life. Hillary is pro-baby killing, and prides herself on that, and honors the organization—Planned Parenthood—that actually traffics human parts from dead babies whom they have killed. This is below anything we have seen since Nazi Germany. The gall of Hillary! The Clintons have evaded justice for decades and likely will continue to. But they will someday stand before the Great White Throne. They will have to give account of their support of the ripping babies to shreds in the womb. For the record, those who vote for those who support the genocide of pre-borns will also have to give an account.
For the record, I am as pro-life as they come, and I have been for as long as I have been aware of the topic. That being said, Trump’s pro-life stance may be genuine. I hope it is. But history shows us that he has been vocally pro-choice every time the topic has come up, until he started running for office. This makes his position untested at best, and suspect at worst (see my response to point #1).
- Trump wants to defend the nation (which is the purpose of government). Hillary has a horrific track record as Secretary of State, and due to hundreds of millions of dollars given to her and her husband’s foundation, she is beholden to those who want us dead.
I actually agree with him on this point, though Trump’s penchant for overreaction and willingness to violate the constitution for the sake of national defense are troubling to say the least.
- Hillary claims “everything is fine” in America. This defies every single fact, but facts have never been an interest of Hillary’s. Trump understands that it is 11:59 p.m. on the “cultural clock.” America is near the end—morally, economically, militarily and, sadly, spiritually. There are very clear identifiable indicators—measurable ones—that America is no longer the world’s leading power. That day is over. Hillary will hasten the final destruction. Trump could either slow that down—or possibly, with God’s help—reverse it. Maybe.
This is only partly true. The fact that Trump sees a bleak situation in America plays well into his “only I can save you” mentality (see his nomination acceptance speech). However, Trump clearly does not represent a contrast from the moral, economic, and spiritual malaise that Dr. Garlow correctly observes in American culture.
- Trump will address the massive government spending. Hillary will expand it above the existing unsustainable debt the U.S. currently is carrying (almost $20 trillion plus unfunded liabilities to Social Security, etc).
This has always been one of the few bright points in the Trump campaign – a hope that he would reign in government spending and get the nation on the path to eradicating our tremendous national debt. Just today, however, this hope has been tarnished by Trump’s own statements. Speaking to CNBC, Trump said that because interest rates are “so low” that “this is the time to borrow, and to borrow long term, so that we can have money to rebuild our infrastructure.” There is really little evidence that Trump will (or can) make good on his promise to eliminate the national debt.
- Trump will expose—and I pray, bring down—”the systemic evil” (crony, deceitful, misuse of capitalism) that reigns among many high-dollar lobbyists. Hillary thrives because of them.
Here Dr. Garlow writes of “crony capitalism,” the influence of “high-dollar lobbyists,” and corruption that he feels Trump can expose and, perhaps, bring down. However, Trump has admitted to using lobbying and donations to grease the wheels of his business enterprises, and is even going back on promises to fund his own campaign in order to stay out of that system.
- Trump will stop the massive overreach of government. Hillary will extend it.
Donald Trump has a history of reaching as far as his pocketbook and attorneys will let him. Nothing has been outside his grasp, and he has grabbed all he could (even when it belonged to others). His high regard for imminent domain and other big-government tactics are hardly what one would call conservative, even if they are less expansive that those of Hillary Clinton.
- Freedoms come in “threes.” Political freedom, economic freedom and religious liberty coexist together. Take one away and the other two will eventually disappear. One cannot exist without the other two. The genius of America is that it had all three, until recently. Trump fully grasps the loss of religious liberty. I have heard him speak on it in person on several occasions. He knows that economic and political freedoms are evaporating. He will reverse that. Hillary will decimate all three.
Donald Trump, according to Dr. Garlow, “fully grasps the loss of religious liberty.” This has, perhaps, been the greatest feat of pandering to Christians that Trump has pulled off. However, does he really understand what it is to have your religious liberty threatened? Has he ever been faced with the decision to compromise his faith in order to run his business? Has his faith ever been evidenced in his personal or business life? Additionally and, perhaps, more significantly, Trump clearly does not understand that religious liberty must apply to all if it is to apply to any. His comments regarding Muslims make that abundantly clear.
- Every rational person knows the Supreme Court appointments are paramount. Trump has listed 11 superb potential nominees. Hillary’s appointments would snuff out the tiny vestige of the three freedoms that are left (mentioned in the statement above).
The Supreme Court is indeed an important issue. It is possible that Trump would indeed appoint constitutional originalists to the court. It is also possible that he would appoint his liberal sister to the court, who once wrote a decision defending partial-birth abortion. Additionally, even a Clinton presidency would not necessarily have the cataclysmic effect that some have predicted. Ian Tuttle has written an excellent article on that here, so I won’t rehash his observations.
- I make no excuse for wrongdoing or wrongful, hurtful words from either candidate. Candidly, I want King Jesus. He rules in my heart. And yours too, I suspect. And I want him to rule here—now. But that day is not fully manifested—yet. In the meantime, we prayerfully, carefully navigate this challenging election season, with great concern that above all, we honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in every arena of our lives, including the voting booth. That is my hope. It is yours as well.
I agree wholeheartedly with this point though, as I trust is apparent, it has led me to a different conclusion than Dr. Garlow.