I think it will not be a surprise for most regular RedState readers to learn that I would place Donald Trump pretty near the bottom of my presidential preference list. However, he isn't the absolute bottom of the list, because that honor belongs solidly to Ohio governor John Kasich. Let me explain.
I get that Trump is not a conservative in any meaningful sense of the word. I have serious questions as to whether Trump believes literally anything, other than the fact that he is leading in the polls. I believe that, if elected, the people who supported him believing that he will build a wall, plus an alligator-filled moat in front of the wall, will be sorely disappointed. I also believe that if he is our nominee, he will lose at least 45 states and Republicans will suffer their worst electoral bloodbath in 50 years.
Against that, supporters of John Kasich note that he has been a relatively successful and popular governor of Ohio, which would put him in pretty good position to win the general, and he would doubtless be more conservative than whoever the Democrats threw at us. How on earth, the reasoning goes, could you then have Kasich dead last in a field that includes Donald Trump?
The answer is pretty simple. As much as I view Trump to be a symbol of a very serious problem for the GOP, John Kasich is the relentless voice of surrender from within - which I consider to be a more serious danger to the health of both the conservative movement and the Republic itself than Donald Trump's admittedly cringe-inducing bombast.
For whatever you think of Donald Trump - including whether you think he actually is a fighter (he isn't) - he is without a doubt encouraging his followers to fight. Granted, they are likely following a charlatan into a battle that even he likely does not understand, but they are still being encouraged to pick up their swords or whatever and join the battle.
Kasich, on the other hand, is out there basically playing Mouth of Sauron for conservative voters. The Mouth of Sauron, my fellow Tolkien nerds will remember, was the guy Sauron sent out to the black gate before the final battle to try to convince mankind to surrender to the will of Sauron rather than fight. His job was to ride out there and tell Aragorn and the rest of the assembled host that their cause was lost because Frodo was already captured anyway, so why even bother fighting?
This kind of counsel has always been more cancerous and dangerous than the danger presented by the fight itself. It is why the army has always punished desertion and cowardice with extreme measures. This is especially true at this particular junction, when we have as a movement finally come to realize what failure theater is and how often the GOP has lured us to sleep with it in the past. Right now the greatest danger we face is that we will once again be lured by the hope of victory into going back to sleep as a movement, so that the nation's slide into decay and fiscal insolvency will continue unchecked.
That is why a candidate who says that Jesus wants us to expand medicaid but Roe v. Wade is settled law must categorically be rejected. A candidate who says we spend too much time on abortion but not enough time on global warming is really a Trojan horse for the enemy. A candidate who hires John Weaver only does so because he's embarrassed to actually be a Republican and wants everyone to know it.
What these Planned Parenthood videos have shown us is that the issue of abortion isn't just one issue to be stacked alongside any other; it's an issue that goes to our very moral legitimacy as a nation. A country that allows this to go on right under its nose isn't worth saving no matter what our tax code says.
Giving up is always easy. Fighting is always hard. Maintaining the intensity of this uphill fight while the other side is scratching and clawing against giving even a single inch is hard enough when your own standard bearer isn't telling everyone to give up. I think, quite frankly, that the nomination of Kasich (or, worse, his election in the general) would just cement the final direction for this country all the way to its eventual collapse.
Which is why I'd rather have Trump over Kasich every day of the week. Regardless of how misguided and/or embarrassing he is, he's not out there telling everyone to just give up and accept what is happening in this country. And that's an improvement over Kasich any day of the week.