How #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary can make an election statement that matters


While engaged in yet another Facebook debate with an irate Trumpkin, I realized my #NeverTrump spirit may be strong, but it isn’t directed toward any discernible goal. That is, I’m steadfastly against Trump and Hillary … but what am I for? Do I have a candidate?

I would like to be able to vote for Gov. Gary Johnson. I still might, if he’d just shut up from reminding me how awful he is on religious freedom (I’d also need someone to hand William Weld a dictionary and have him look up ‘libertarian’). I guess I might vote for the Constitution Party candidate, if I ever get around to googling who that is.  Or, I could write in someone who’s earned my respect during this election-year fiasco – perhaps U.S. Senators Ben Sasse or Mike Lee. But, while these options may appeal to my conscience, I can’t really call any of them ‘my candidate.’ Not that having an alternative choice matters.

I have to come to grips with the horrible reality that our next president will almost certainly be the Demon Rat or the Repugnant One. It’s probably going to be Hillary. But maybe Trump can get his pal Putin to check Russian hacks of her unabridged emails, and then share which State Department favors were being auctioned off via the Clinton Foundation. Such a scandal might be enough to derail Hillary’s campaign. Then again, even if Trump had such information at his disposal, he’d probably ignore it and go stomp puppies instead.

In any case, if you live in a deeply ‘blue state’ or a deeply ‘red state,’ their respective electoral votes are already in the bag. For example, the only way Trump could lose here in Alabama is if he said something bad about the Crimson Tide. Neither my pathetic vote or my yammering words are going to make an appreciable difference. This is pretty much the situation for all conservative #NeverTrumpers. It’s also the sad state of affairs for principled Progressives who can’t stand Hillary’s corruption … or the DNC hijinks that ensured her nomination.

So really, what is the committed #NeverTrumpers’ reason for continually slamming the GOP nominee? Is it fear that someone might mistake us for the hateful alt-right rabble that infect much of Trump’s ranks? Or is our sole purpose to make other conservatives feel ashamed for buying into the “lesser-evil” con? Maybe we’re just positioning ourselves for a heckuva “I told you so” when Trump proves to be a disastrous disappointment to his deluded worshipers (win or lose). I admit these have indeed been great motivations for ranting against Cheeto Jesus, but I’m beginning to experience diminishing returns on my efforts. I need a new purpose.

And I think I have one.

We need to work hard to see that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton get 40% of the vote, and that requires casting ballots for anyone else. So yes, principled conservatives, vote for Johnson-Weld, write in Cruz or write in SMOD.  Or, if you’re left of sane (but have scruples), vote for Stein-Baraku, write in Bernie or write in Cthulhu. And all you people who’ve long said “a pox on both your houses” … this is your chance to vote for Pox. If we work together, we could do it!

Really. It’s not that far-fetched. Let’s say the (so-called) Libertarians get 16% of the vote. Then we get eight percent for the Greens; if we just got another three percent from all the assorted write-in possibilities and other minor parties. At that point, we could theoretically see Hillary at 39% and Trump at 38% (or vice versa).

Simply keeping either Trump or Hillary under 50% would be nice, but not that rare (Bill Clinton never got to half). By contrast, the 40% level is truly significant. The last time a winning candidate polled that poorly, it was Abraham Lincoln … and we ended up with a Civil War. Think of it this way: It takes 60 Senators to overcome a filibuster. While we couldn’t stop either Hillary or Trump from taking the oath of office, we would be symbolically filibustering this awful election. Plus, a score that has Trump/Hillary 39% – Other 61% would look fabulous! Such results would be a stunning repudiation of what either candidate represents. Essentially, we would de-legitimize this entire election.

Best of all, the Less-than-40 plan doesn’t merely give thoughtful people a reason to show up in November; it makes it imperative that we do so. That’s because every anyone-else vote increases the difficulty of the ‘winner’ remotely claiming a mandate. Here, at last, we have a mission that lets us serve our consciences, while striking a blow for electoral decency that will reverberate through history.

Let’s do it!

Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll is a freelance writer and marketing consultant living in Eufaula, Alabama. During a communications career spanning nearly 30 years, Jim has worked as a radio deejay, producer and commercial copywriter; a newspaper journalist and editor; and a marketing communications manager and creative director for a major direct mail advertising company. A libertarian-leaning conservative, Jim’s first published work was a ‘letter to the editor’ of the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger- Enquirer at the age of 11 in support of President Richard Nixon. Apart from The Bible, he lists Milton Friedman’s "Free to Choose," and Stanley Milgram’s "Obedience to Authority" as the greatest literary influences in his life. Jim is a 1985 graduate of Auburn University.