Dear Commons Community,
David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, chairman of Policy Exchange and a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, penned an essay in The Atlantic entitled, The Conservative Case for Voting for Clinton. He describes his own Republican Party/conservative leanings, severely criticizes Donald Trump, and concludes that for the good of the republic that he has to vote for Hillary Clinton. Here is an excerpt:
“That Donald Trump has approached so near the White House is a bitter reproach to everybody who had the power to stop him. I include myself in this reproach. Early on, I welcomed Trump’s up-ending of some outdated Republican Party dogmas—taking it for granted that of course such a ridiculous and obnoxious fraud could never win a major party’s nomination. But Trump did win. Now, he stands within a percentage point or two or at most four of the presidency of the United States.
Having failed to act promptly at the outset, it’s all the more important to act decisively before it’s too late. The lesson Trump has taught is not only that certain Republican dogmas have passed out of date, but that American democracy itself is much more vulnerable than anyone would have believed only 24 months ago. Incredibly, a country that—through wars and depression—so magnificently resisted the authoritarian temptations of the mid-20th century has half-yielded to a more farcical version of that same threat without any of the same excuse. The hungry and houseless Americans of the Great Depression sustained a constitutional republic. How shameful that the Americans of today—so vastly better off in so many ways, despite their undoubted problems—have done so much less well.
This November, however, I am voting not to advance my wish-list on taxes, entitlements, regulation, and judicial appointments. I am voting to defend Americans’ profoundest shared commitment: a commitment to norms and rules that today protect my rights under a president I don’t favor, and that will tomorrow do the same service for you.
Vote the wrong way in November, and those norms and rules will shudder and shake in a way unequaled since the Union won the Civil War.
I appreciate that Donald Trump is too slovenly and incompetent to qualify as a true dictator. This country is not so broken as to allow a President Trump to arrest opponents or silence the media. Trump is a man without political ideas. Trump’s main interest has been and will continue to be self-enrichment by any means, no matter how crooked. His next interest after that is never to be criticized by anybody for any reason, no matter how justified—maybe most especially when justified. Yet Trump does not need to achieve a dictatorship to subvert democracy. This is the age of “illiberal democracy,” as Fareed Zakaria calls it, and across the world we’ve seen formally elected leaders corrode democratic systems from within. Surely the American system of government is more robust than the Turkish or Hungarian or Polish or Malaysian or Italian systems. But that is not automatically true. It is true because of the active vigilance of freedom-loving citizens who put country first, party second. Not in many decades has that vigilance been required as it is required now.
Your hand may hesitate to put a mark beside the name, Hillary Clinton. You’re not doing it for her. The vote you cast is for the republic and the Constitution.”
Amen and let’s hope others heed his advice!