The 2016 Presidential race for the White House has certainly been filled with dramatic moments. Bernie Sanders, the self-admitted Democratic Socialist, is making waves in the Democratic Party and contending, probably more so than expected, for the nomination (although it appears Hillary Clinton has it locked up). Hillary Clinton’s campaign continues to suffer blow after blow when the Federal Bureau of Investigation in their investigation of the usage of a private email server by the former Secretary of State. Yet she still retains quite the lead over Sanders.
Of course, the biggest surprise of this election season is, you got it, Donald Trump. He has surpassed all expectations in his candidacy. He, slowly but surely, defeated each Republican candidate including my personal choices in Marco Rubio (who apparently has endorsed Trump according to TIME Magazine and The Hill’s Facebook page), Rand Paul (the guy who delayed a bill to actually read it), and Ben Carson (who also has endorsed Donald Trump). Donald Trump is causing waves in more ways than one. He clinched the nomination with record numbers, ticked off constituents in Congress (although has apparently made amends with Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan), other party leaders, and leaders of foreign governments. However, surprisingly enough, the Donald received a, well, “good” nomination form the dictator of North Korea. This is either a true nomination and Kim Jong-un knows the U.S. will slide into turmoil during the Donald’s presidency, or, they are playing mind games to frighten American voters. Either way, it made headlines all over the United States.
So, why not have the Donald as president? He does not use traditional campaign tactics (last I checked, insulting reporters on a daily basis in not a traditional tactic) or really hold to orthodox conservative views (a great description of beliefs for Conservatism versus Liberalism can be found here). Yet, Conservatives are bent on voting the business mogul into the White House all in the name of “Make America Great Again” and “Hillary for Prison” and “trumping” those who stand in their way. It seems, especially from a Conservative Evangelical position, we must choose between a criminal (presuming she secures the Democratic nomination) and a hateful, deceitful businessman. Admittedly, I would not vote for any of the candidates (my choices are out). If I told this to a Trump supporter, I would probably be labeled a traitor, Liberal, Democrat, or whatever names they could come up with. Should I choose to vote for Trump, I, well, let’s not even discuss that. Here are reasons why I will not vote for Donald Trump as president of the United States.
Disclaimer: many of my friends and family have said they will vote for Trump to keep Hillary out of the White House. Though I am stating reason why I will not vote for Trump, I have not ruled out the possibility of following in those foot steps. It would take serious consideration and convincing for me to do so. I have not weighed the consequences of voting/not voting for him. Until then, here are those reasons why, at the present time, I will not vote for him.
First, he is filled with such hatred to those who do not add up to his “standards” or decides to question what he wants to do. For instance, in his press conference concerning the money raised for veteran’s groups, Trump proceeded, quickly I might add, to name calling an ABC reporter. He also allegedly did so with other reporters as they challenged him on the true amount raised. This reporter asked if the money raised equalled the $6 million Trump boasted about, or $4.5-5 million with $1 million of that coming from Trump himself. Of course, the Donald does not like to be challenged. So then proceeded the hateful speech we have come to know to be spewed from his mouth. This is not the only run-in with the press. The Donald constantly complains the press is attacking him unfairly while “crooked Hillary” (his words) runs amuck trying to gather votes. Personally, Mr. Trump, you deserve it. When you bark at people, eventually the people will bark back.
Also, the guy cannot present to the American people a coherent, viable answer to policy questions. Why should we trust a man who has lied consistently to the American people and who has bankrupted four times. Albeit business expeditions, but nonetheless, he did file for bankruptcy. He has also lied about it! Now, my dad always says, “if a politician opens their mouth, they’re lying.” I believe that to be partially true. Trump is a special case. Any time he is about to be caught or forced to give a satisfactory answer he results to name-calling and aversion. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review wrote in his article of February 2016, “If you’re voting for Trump because you think he’s a straight shooter, you’re a bigger sucker than those chumps losing money on both sides of the table in Atlantic City” (read the entire article here). These are harsh words, and I definitely wouldn’t call anyone I know a “sucker” for voting for the Donald, but I would certainly question their motive for doing so. I want more substance to an answer than simply restating the question into a statement followed by “okay?” or “trust me.” Quite frankly, I don’t trust you. You have not proven to me that I can trust you. Stop trying to “Make America Great Again.” It is not working.
Secondly, Trump does not emulate classical, biblical Evangelical doctrines and principles as found in God’s Word. Now, I emphasize conservative/classic views because those are the views I hold to. You are free to hold to whatever theological views you wish. Trump has garnered support from one prominent pastor in the Baptist world, Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas. I must admit, I lost some respect for Dr. Jeffress in light of this news. He told Christian Post reporter Leonardo Blair in regard to Christians not voting for the Donald, ” ‘I think the Bible has a word for people like that — it’s fools,’ said Jeffress in an interview with The Christian Post Wednesday.” He [Jeffress] went onto say that Christians “would have a true friend in the white house” (read the rest of the article here). Really? Last I checked, Mr. Trump does not espouse Evangelical values. In fact, he has even admitted he does not need forgiveness with regard to repenting of sins. He has questioned multiple times the need for forgiveness. Although he is of Presbyterian background, he does not grasp a major foundational principle of the Christian faith: forgiveness. In fact he is quoted as saying, “Why do I have to ask forgiveness if I am not making any mistakes?” and, sadly, Evangelical Conservatives are buying into it. Am I? No, I am not. I attempt to, however, remain un-judgmental of the presumptive nominee, but when he says he does not need forgiveness I have to say something. Scripture speaks to this. Personally, I believe Donald needs to repent, if anything, for lying- lying to himself, his family, and to the American public. Oh, and view this nice video of him in an interview with Anderson Cooper concerning his “seriousness” for repentance and forgiveness in Scripture. “Why should I repent, I just try not to make mistakes”- well, Donald, because the Lord you claim to serve, and the Bible you claim to read (maybe not the book of “two Corinthians”) says to repent!
Thirdly, is the hatred of his supporters toward those of different faiths and races. Recently, we have witnessed protest after protest at Trump rallies where those of different races vow to insert, forcibly, their opinion. Don’t worry, I’m sure the Donald has a wise-crack comment to fire back at you should you disagree with him. As you may know, Trump University is under scrutiny and facing two lawsuits against the San Diego campus and one against the New York campus for “fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach real estate secrets.” Of course the American political nature would have it that the judge presiding over the court case is not white. Trump has taken notice. He has repeatedly commented on the judge’s race and how “what he is doing is a disgrace.” Trump also threatened to “come back in November” with a civil court case. Why? Because the guy is Mexican and attempting to topple the mogul’s franchise. These racially charged comments increased when the judge ordered the release of documents into the public (Note: He has since called those documents back to court to be “black-spotted). So, Evangelical Christians want the next president to be a racist, hateful, inexperienced politician? Yeah, right. Let me know how that goes. Donald Trump does not care about how he appears. I mean think about it, he openly admitted he could go on a shooting spree and still retain if not gain followers. We do not want that kind of maniac in charge of this country. I do not care how “big of balls” he has, he will destroy America.
With regard to Trump followers, Jonathan Wiseman of the New York Times receives tweets daily reflecting a growing view of anti-Semitism amongst the Trump camp. That is not in the Evangelical tradition. How can we say “support Israel” yet send hateful messages? Trump’s daughter and son-in-law are allegedly Jewish, so why has Mr. Trump, or for that matter his daughter and son-in-law, shamed those sending these messages? Probably because they do not really care about Jonathan, his job as a reporter, or the fact that he’s Jewish. Those feelings probably stem from a “hit piece” released in the Times, so Trump is playing his petty revenge game. Congratulations on the maturity level, Donald. Just one step under what’s needed to be President. The growing hatred of Muslims within the Trump camp is astounding. Why are Evangelicals hateful toward those of different faiths? I have talked to Muslims in my time at Hardin-Simmons University, and I sat shocked at how they simply want to practice their faith in peace yet face such ridicule from those who are called to love people because God first loved us. Where does that fit in Scripture? I’m not judging those who have made these comments, but I do want to ask why you are resorting to such measures. I’m also not saying I support those who have distorted the Islamic faith by becoming extremists (i.e. ISIL/ISIS/IS etc.). In fact, the Muslim community has denounced ISIL, Boko Haram, and other radical terrorists groups for distorting the true Muslim faith. Christian’s hate being labeled based on what the public sees from Westboro Baptist Church. I certainly do not care for them, but it pains me to tell people I’m a Conservative Evangelical and receive the response, “Oh, like Westboro.” No, not even close; but my biggest fear, as we’ve already noticed, is more of those like Westboro, those who falsely perpetuate the identity of Christianity, will rise and gain prominence in society. Back to my original point, Christians hate being equated to Westboro, so why on earth are we equating peaceful Muslims with ISIL? It makes no sense to me.
I am still attempting to figure out where the name calling and racism fits into the Evangelical position. Dr. Charles Gardner, a law professor at Indiana University’s Mauer School of Law, says he has “no problem with a presidential candidate or president disagreeing or criticizing judges, but throwing the judiciary, and this particular judge, under the bus is quite repulsive.” So how will Trump act when the present court makes a decision which he disagrees with? He cannot go after them, it’s unconstitutional. Oh, wait, that only applies to Liberal Democrats with whom we disagree. I would be first to admit our current president has made some questionable decisions. Make sure this standard applies to potential future president Trump as well. Make no mistake about it, if the Donald becomes president, in the words of Todd Starnes, “there will be hell to pay.”
A new article in the National Review released this morning says “Trump supporters cannot understand why the party is divided.” Why? Because a lot of us conservatives do not trust the guy. The article goes on to say that Conservatives “think his morals and personality make him not merely flawed but unfit for the presidency. He is cruel, impulsive, petty, and insecure.” To some degree, Conservatives seem to be in agreement with this statement. Trump does have a following of evangelicals, as already stated, and it is shocking to note they are encouraging constituents and congregations to follow suit. On the flip side, it seems some would rather see a unified Republican distaste against Hillary’s initiatives as president. The question that faces Republicans is “Would we rather have a unified Republican party against a Democrat president, or, would we rather have a divided party and a Republican president?” Republicans can either decide to deal with Trump and unify the party, or risk division and potentially have Clinton as president with unified Republican distaste. The consequences of either choice will be pivotal in deciding who to vote for. The author concludes that writing in or voting third party, such as for the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, could be the right choice “if combined with tolerance for Conservatives who make different judgements in this dismal year” (read the full article here). We are going to have to accept either way that one of these two candidates will be president of the United States. If we Conservatives, and even Moderates and Liberals, can agree to one thing: this is a dismal year for the presidential election.
So who am I going to vote for? I don’t know. I have contemplated swallowing this entire tirade to appease peers if it comes to a Trump/Clinton runoff. I have also, as stated earlier, contemplated a write-in. Regardless, I do not foresee myself voting for Mr. Trump, but, again, I am not above doing so to pick the “lesser of two evils”. We all know it is an incredibly tough choice with grave consequences. Should I choose to do so, I will listen to the wise words of one of my professors from the Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary in quoting another professor, “vote….then repent.”(unless you’re Donald Trump and don’t need repentance). All I can say as we approach the growing potential of a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency: God help us.