Presidential Campaign

Voting Trump because of the Supreme Court isn’t enough

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“Once he reaches in and gets hold of that tin, he’s caught, because he will never open his paw.” — Wilson Rawls, “Where the Red Fern Grows”

On his nationally syndicated morning radio show several weeks ago, Hugh Hewitt told a caller she’d burn in hell if she didn’t vote for GOP nominee Donald Trump.

The caller explained that, morally, she just couldn’t justify voting for the Republican nominee. She said she felt like she’d be damned to hell if she did. Hewitt told her (albeit in his jocular style) that she’d go to hell if she didn’t vote, before launching into what is by now a common refrain: not voting for Trump assures a more liberal Supreme Court.

So in the new spirit of borrowing words spoken by first ladies, my response to that is, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”

{mosads}The demand that disquieted conservatives should cast aside all doubt and pull the lever for Trump to save vulnerable red states from the court is the ultimate straw man — and thus the ultimate hypocrisy considering Hewitt and the celebrity Republican class have been swinging wildly at President Obama’s myriad straw men for eight years.

Yes, the Supreme Court should be an important consideration, but where should we rate its nominees in terms of everyday importance? How damaging would a more liberal court be to Lubbock, Texas or Topeka, Kansas; Mobile, Alabama or Ogden, Utah? Would a court weighted 6-3 in favor of liberal justices hurt those communities more than a trade war with China, an immigration plan built from tinder and flint, or a world market teetering on collapse under the uncertainty of the incoherent fiscal policies proposed by a President Trump? Why yell at the fireman for wasting water while the house is burning down?

In his novel, “Where the Red Fern Grows,” Wilson Rawls explains the easiest way to trap a raccoon: Drill a hole in a tree stump and place a shiny object inside. The raccoon, naturally attracted to bright, shiny things, will reach inside the stump and grab hold. He’ll trap himself because with a balled fist, he won’t be able to get loose. The raccoon, in the most peculiar scenario imaginable, will never let go of his treasure. Eschewing imminent death, his skewed priorities ensure that he will die with his prize in hand.

Sadly, the radio talkers and Fox News contributors, many of whom I’ve admired over the years, remind me of those silly raccoons. Granted, Trump gives them very little material with which to work, but they need something besides the “But the Supreme Court!” argument.

What the Supreme Court rules upon — or chooses not to hear — has little impact on average everyday Americans in the grand scheme of things. The court doesn’t make our commutes shorter, or help our kids get to bed on time. The court doesn’t feed hogs in Iowa or herd cattle in Oklahoma. It doesn’t open delis in Newark, New Jersey or help fisherman with their catch along the Gulf Coast. But the sophomoric approach to government that Trump has adopted will impact all of those things.

And not in a good way.

Simply put, the guy is off his rocker. In the last week, he’s suggested the U.S. stop supporting our NATO allies and remove ourselves from the WTO. He thinks Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) father helped assassinate an American president. And his most recent campaign commercial points out how many minutes were spent applauding him during his acceptance speech at the Republican convention. But, by God, we all better fall in line and vote for Trump because he’ll most assuredly save the Supreme Court!

There, too, is an unfairness in the attempts to burden responsible Americans with the weight of protecting the Supreme Court for all those on the Trump Train. After all, the balance of the court is the furthest thing from the minds of Trumpkins, and presumably, Trump himself. There are too many scores to settle and bridges to burn to concern themselves with the future of the court.

So why is it the responsibility of the millions of conservatives appalled by Trump to come in and save the day for them? What is the reward — what is the gratifying, reciprocating reason to do so? Why do the celebrity Republicans insist that we cast aside all doubt and trust a man with the Supreme Court when he is otherwise wholly untrustworthy? Most importantly, what the hell do we owe them?

Of course, the answer to all this is simple: electing Trump prevents Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from several nominations to the Supreme Court, along with all other levers of presidential power. I will never vote for Clinton. But Trump has done nothing to earn my vote. And it seems that every day he pushes me further away.

The celebrity Republican class, lesser-known Trump supporters and Trump himself have to give me — and millions just like me — more reasons to support him than they have so far. Whatever benefit earned from preserving a conservative majority on the court (one that has recently failed to rule conservatively, by the way) does not outweigh the negatives so many of us see in Trump. The importance of their demand does not overshadow the glaring fact that Trump is unfit to serve.

But yet, there they are, every day on radio and TV. The celebrity Republicans, like the raccoons in Rawls’s novel, their grip on the Supreme Court argument unflinching, telling us to fall in line. They’ve grabbed hold of the shiny object inside Donald Trump’s trap and refuse to let go, oblivious to how badly everything else will end.

Hale is a freelance writer who resides in San Antonio with his wife and three children. He has written for Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports but his first, true love has always been politics. The machinations carried out by otherwise good people are his glorious, guilty pleasure.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.


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