Do you really think 74 million people "sold out" by voting for Donald Trump?
Presidential elections are a binary choice. The only two candidates with any realistic chance of winning are the Democrat and the Republican.
Donald Trump is a divisive political figure even among Republicans, and even many of his supporters admit he is a flawed candidate. There is no need to go over his flaws again here, as most people are well-versed in the arguments against him - especially from a traditionalist conservative perspective. That is why some "Never Trump" Republicans have consistently argued for eight years that Republicans who line up behind Trump have "sold out."
Yes, some have abandoned their principles. I am not addressing those people here. But when some anti-Trump Republicans focus only on Trump's flaws when making the "sellout" argument, they are ignoring the reasons why people would vote for him. Trump won 62.9 million votes in 2016 (more than any Republican in history) and 74.2 million votes four years later. The notion that every single conservative who voted for Trump is a "sellout" is laughable.
First, Presidential elections are a binary choice. Yes, you can vote for one of the minor party candidates as a protest vote, but realistically the only two candidates with any chance of winning are the Democrat and the Republican. In 2016, the two major parties combined for 94% of the vote. In 2020, that increased to 98% of the vote.
Second, and most importantly, Trump ran and then (mostly) governed as a conservative. Trump's biggest weakness on policy was (and is) his fiscal irresponsibility. That weakness is not limited to Trump, however, as Republicans often run on fiscal restraint and then break that promise. Trump took steps to protect religious freedom, protect due process, and protect the unborn. Trump signed a significant tax cut that boosted the economy. Trump started his term by repealing burdensome regulations on business put in place by the bureaucracy. Do I personally trust Trump to govern as a conservative in 2025? No, but I understand why tens of millions do.
You also need to consider the opposition. As someone who had been politically active for 20 years at that point, it surprised me how many people truly did not understand how much many Republicans hated Hillary Clinton. Joe Biden did not stir up as much antipathy in 2020, but he is approaching that level in 2024. With Clinton, one of the big policy concerns was gun rights. That is also the case with Biden, as well as his petulant refusal to do his job and protect our southern border from an unprecedented flood of migrants. Biden radically exceeded his authority with his COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
As I have said before, do not like Donald Trump. I do not trust him to govern as a conservative in 2025. I find his personal character utterly abominable. I will not vote for him. But there are plenty of solid, policy-based reasons why tens of millions of people will vote for Trump in November, and I fully understand why people would make the same choice I made in 2020. Balancing Trump's strengths and flaws, comparing him to the alternative, and then voting for Trump does not make someone a "sellout." It makes that person a rational actor dealing with a limited set of options. "Never Trump" Republicans need to have a lot more grace with Trump supporters.
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