pragerI devoted many hours of radio and many columns to criticizing Donald Trump. His virtually assured nomination has therefore caused me grief as an American, a Republican, and a conservative. That his character defects, gaps in knowledge on some important issues, and having no set of identifiably conservative principles came to mean little to so many Republican voters has been quite troubling. (Though I might add that the fact that virtually all Democrats ignore the even worse character of Hillary Clinton and the idiotic ideas — and the rejection of everything that has made America unique — of Bernie Sanders is even more troubling.)

#NeverTrump conservatives such as (in alphabetical order) Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Ben Shapiro, Bret Stephens, and George Will, are not merely people I admire. They are friends and colleagues. Jonah Goldberg, Bret Stephens, and George Will have made multiple videos for Prager University — videos with many millions of views. Ben Shapiro and I have spent Shabbat together. I have had the privilege of writing for Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard and having him on my show many times. And I have enthusiastically promoted their books. These people are special to me not only as thinkers but personally.

But in the final analysis, I do not find their arguments compelling.

Take the argument from “conscience.”

I don’t find it compelling because it means that your conscience is clear if you made it possible for Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat to win.

In fact, the “conscience” argument is so weak that, to his credit, Jonah Goldberg, in a column published two days ago, titled, “Sorry, I Still Won’t Ever Vote for Trump,” wrote:

“If the election were a perfect tie, and the vote fell to me and me alone, I’d probably vote for none other than Donald Trump.”

Shouldn’t all Americans vote as if their vote were the deciding vote — even those whose votes “don’t count” because they live in states so left-wing that if Lenin headed the Democratic ticket, those states would still vote Democrat?

The choice this November is tragic. As happens often in life, this choice is between bad and worse, not bad and good.

But America has made that choice before. Forced to choose between bad and worse, we supported Stalin against Hitler and supported right-wing authoritarians against Communist totalitarians.

It seems to me that the #NeverTrump conservatives want to remain morally pure. I understand that temptation. I have it, too. But if you wish to vanquish the bad, it is not possible — at least not on this side of the afterlife — to remain pure…

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