All of my adult life I’ve been intrigued and involved in the leadership aspects of presidential politics in the US. Why?
First, I’m simply wired by God to care about leaders of nations. It’s a calling–a passion. Secondly, I’ve been a leader all my life and teach university courses on the subject. Third, I wrote my first book on presidential elections in 1976–and have followed them ever since. Finally, I believe that the president of the United States has a unique role to play in global morality, security and world missions.
I was very excited about this year’s election because many fine governors, senators, and business people had a chance in the presidential race. I believed five or six of them could make excellent leaders of an American renewal. One by one they were rejected by the voters.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now appear to be the presumptive candidates.
Why will I vote for Donald Trump?
He was clearly not my first choice–not even close. That’s because my measure of presidential leadership, and all other forms of civic affairs, comes done to three vital characteristics (in order of importance).
1. Does the candidate have strong godly character? Character is the number one quality of leadership because leaders reproduce what they are and demand trust. Trust only comes from proven character over time.
2. Does the candidate have the necessary competence for the job–a resume of accomplishment? If the first quality focuses on the heart, the second analyzes a person’s skill set. A good leader is a strong motivator and delegator. They have a solid track record of accomplishing things through other people. They manage both resources and people well.
3. Does the candidate possess strong biblical policies (worldview)? After heart and skill, their mind-set is key. They need to see the world through a truthful, common sense lens and enact policies that serve people. Their job, on the highest of levels, is to protect the country from evil, elevate people to their God-given destinies and promote a strong social fabric.
Character, competence, and ideas. When we think of great presidents from Washington to Lincoln and Roosevelt to Reagan, these are the three pillars of the leadership triad we remember.
A year ago, I took this tri-focal lens into the 2016 presidential race and concluded that a number of Republican candidates were worthy of consideration. Over the months as I watched the campaign unfold, I settled on Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz as my top picks. Both were strong on all three facets, Hispanic (an historic novelty), and young (a plus for electability).
In the end, the Republican voters chose differently and elevated Donald Trump to presumptive nominee.
Here’s my quick take on Trump’s “triad” of qualifications:
- Character – Often weak, childish, and inconsistent. Strong points are work ethic and perseverance.
- Competence – High marks for business acumen and savvy. Low grades on some business principles including questionable ventures (casinos), bankruptcies, and frivolous lawsuits.
- Policies – Talks conservative but has a history of being liberal. Definitely not guided by principles or a moral code–and probably a mixed bag in the end.
Then there is Hillary Clinton. Character? Corrupt. Competence? Little leadership experience and a poor Secretary of States. Policies? Secular progressive, maybe a little more hawkish than President Obama on terrorism.
Yet, some who normally vote Republican may be voting for Hillary. Or staying home. They call themselves the #Never Trump folks. One that I respect is Erick Erickson. Here is his take on Trump:
“I still, however, will not be voting for Donald Trump. The choice between Clinton and Trump is like choosing smallpox or anthrax. I’ll pass on both.”
That’s a powerful metaphor. Small pox or anthrax. Sounds like two evils to me and the prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon, was fond of saying “Of two evils, choose neither.”
But people are not evils. I agree with Spurgeon that when forced to choose between murder and stealing, then it’s right to do neither. But people are not simple evil choices–unless you’re choosing between Hitler and Stalin. Then I might agree.
Let’s be honest and clear: Neither Hillary Clinton of Donald Trump are evil personified. They both have strengths but also many weaknesses. It would be more honest to say that they are not the best choices in character, competence, and policies.
“If the election comes down to a single vote nationally and that single vote is in Georgia, I will gladly accept the blame for Donald Trump losing. But I still suspect Trump will lose and that he will lose disastrously. The only thing, however, that will be more disastrous for the GOP than a Trump loss would be a Trump victory. It would be a win for sheer jackassery by the American public.”
“I would rather take blame for Trump’s loss…than endorse a candidacy that has done nothing but bring out the worst in people, elevated the petty vanities of narcissists, and emboldened a white nationalist subculture best left in the roach motel of American politics.”
I disagree with Erickson and all the other “NeverTrumps.” They’re reacting, not thinking long-term, and caught in the “pride” of their movement. It was started to stop Trump–a noble task during the primaries. But they failed. In things like this, Ronald Reagan reminded us a generation ago to “never say never.”
The #NeverTrump folks need to drop their pride. And here’s why. There is one primary reason that I will vote for Donald Trump on November 8, 2016:
The United States Supreme Court.
I don’t deny that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could be bad presidents due to the lack of the leadership triad. They are secularists–one a progressive and the other a regressive. They both drink from the pond of worldly principles and aspirations.
But here’s the big difference: If Hillary Clinton becomes president (or Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden if Hillary is indicted), the morals and security of our nation could be lost for a generation–or forever–with the 1-3 Supreme Court justices that she will likely choose. Any Democrat will choose a flaming liberal that will increase secular tyranny in the land.
Under a Clinton nominee: Abortion? Safe. Gun rights? Gone. Religious liberty? Poof! Obamacare? Saved. Secular progressives are trying with all their might to tear down the God-given rights of our Christian-based republic because they are motivated by dark forces and desire a one world government (no borders).
For all his faults, we know that Donald J. Trump will elect better justices than Hillary Clinton. Maybe far better.
Last week Trump released a list of eleven judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court. The list includes several people often found on conservative wish lists, including Diane Sykes, William Pryor and Joan Larsen. Several of the judges were appointed by President George W. Bush, and many serve on state supreme courts with distinction.
Early reaction from congressional Republicans was positive, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) praising the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as having put forward an “impressive list of highly qualified jurists.”
“Understanding the types of judges a presidential nominee would select for the Supreme Court is an important step in this debate so the American people can have a voice in the direction of the Supreme Court for the next generation,” he said.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the second-ranking Republican in the upper chamber, said Trump made a “smart move” releasing the names. “It’s reassuring for conservatives to know what he’ll be looking for were he elected president,” Cornyn told CNN.
I don’t like Donald Trump’s morals, marriages, personality, and many policies. But I’m going to pray for him and vote for him because of the importance of
The United States Supreme Court.
And I agree with the perspective of Pastor Carl Gallups, who’s also voting for Trump:
“There are many real questions for Christians. Who will best give us the opportunity to be real Christians? Which choice for president will best defend the Christian heritage, ideals and foundation of this nation? Which candidate will best defend America’s borders and security? Which candidate will most likely work hard to improve the economy and return industry, corporations, and jobs to America?”
“Which candidate is most likely to be most ‘friendly’ to the Christian community at large – as well as with Israel? Which candidate will most likely give those of us who are Christians and pastors the opportunities to address, fight, and possibly defeat some of the moral insanities that have been inflicted upon this nation in the last eight years? Which president do you want to see sitting across the table from the diabolic regimes of the world trying to hold back the flood of evil they wish to inflict upon the United States – Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?”
Donald Trump is not a savior, Cyrus, or Nebuchanezzar. He’s the best of two questionable candidates. But, who knows. Maybe God could grab a hold of this man and use him for Kingdom purposes–especially if he surrounds himself with a great supporting cast.
Of course, what we really need in America is Jesus–in many more hearts and homes, an explosion of salvation and discipleship! In the meantime, it’s “occupy until I come” which includes the duty of voting.
I’ve made my civic decision on how I’m going to vote.
Now it’s your turn.