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5 Conservative Reasons to Vote for Donald Trump

donald trump flag illustration

The 2016 general election puts true ideological conservatives in a bind. I find myself in the unusual position of being able to respect a vote for any of the five presidential candidates, as I will lay out. I have decided to start a series giving reasons for each choice: the Republican Donald Trump, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Libertarian Gary Johnson, the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and the independent candidate Evan McMullin. Sorry, Vermin Supreme — I am discriminating against ponies.

None of these articles is to be taken as an endorsement of the candidate in question, or a full endorsement of the arguments laid out. I am only presenting arguments I can respect for each candidate, from a conservative perspective.

Without further ado, here are five reasons a thinking conservative can give for voting Donald Trump on November 8.

1. The Supreme Court.

There's a good reason the Trump campaign keeps bringing up the issue of the Supreme Court. Upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (may he rest in peace), congressional Republicans drew a line in the sand, stating that they would not vote for any nominee President Obama chose in the last year of his tenure. It is entirely possible they will deeply regret this decision, should Hillary Clinton prevail in November.

Donald Trump has famously presented not one but two excellent lists of possible Supreme Court nominees. Indeed, the second list included Utah Senator Mike Lee, whom some conservatives wished had been on the first list. Naturally, Donald Trump has a long and rather impressive track record of flip-flopping on key issues and on violating pledges (that's what a marriage is, after all). But even if he chooses someone whose name did not appear on either list (ahem, like Ted Cruz), his pick is likely to be more conservative than any of Hillary's.

Unfortunately, Scalia's death has already had a powerful impact on the Supreme Court. Shortly after his death, the court split on the issue of workers being forced to pay dues to a union they had not joined. Because the court was divided, the lower court's ruling upholding the union — and violating the property rights of non-members — stood. The Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio, Ted Strickland, declared that "the death of Scalia saved labor" and "came at a good time." These noxious comments deserve censure, but from a liberal perspective they seem sadly accurate.

Some of us would argue that the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of constitutionality, and that it should not be quite as political as it is. But that's not the world we live in, and when five unelected justices can fundamentally alter the laws of this country, every one of them is important.

2. Mike Pence.

This week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence delivered a masterful debate performance against Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (who only interrupted about 70 times). Pence reminded conservatives why they don't want a third term for President Obama, and he did so with a quiet and logical clarity that Republicans can be proud of.

Of course, Pence's critics also had one limited point — they argued that the governor could not defend Trump's antics. He did not defend them, he explained them by saying that Trump is not a polished politician. This justification cannot apply to all of Trump's statements, but Pence's support goes a long way in reassuring conservatives about the Republican nominee.

After all, this is the same Mike Pence who led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, who described himself as a Christian first, and who has led the state of Indiana to fiscal success while lowering taxes. It is heartening to think that, should Trump win in November, Mike Pence would be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Next Page: Unpredictability on the world stage.