PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ok, let’s just start at the beginning. The tape of Trump talking about women is gross. It’s disrespectful. It’s embarrassing. It’s nothing I’d want my kids to hear or participate in. It shows poor character. And I’m still voting for him.
Also, please don’t say stupid things like “that’s how all guys talk,” or “it’s just locker room talk.” This tape is bad, it’s embarrassing, and it’s not anything we want to hear a future Commander-in-Chief saying on a hot microphone. And I’m still voting for Trump.
Finally, please don’t give me the “I’m sure you and your friends have said things like that before, Stigall” bit. Yeah, I’ve seen, heard and said lots of crude stuff in my day. And guess what? Neither I, nor the guys I’ve overheard or seen doing those things are running for the highest office in the land. So, just stop it.
This tape was REALLY bad. It may cost him the election. And I’m still voting for Trump.
“How could you,” anti-Trumpers will gasp. Simple. It’s the conclusion I came to from the day he secured the nomination. There’s nothing he’s said – nothing – that is worse than what Mrs. Clinton and her husband have done. That’s how I live with my vote next month.
“But Republicans are leaving him in droves,” you may be shouting. True, but most Republicans weren’t with him to begin with. If they were, it was soft support at best. In fact, guys like Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey – just below Trump on the ballot next month – never endorsed him. Friday’s tape release, and there will surely be more to come, demonstrate Toomey’s savvy political acumen.
Look, if I were running for office I probably wouldn’t get near Trump either. Hell, a good third or more of the party, including the former presidents shunned their party’s nominee at the convention. But that’s not what the Trump candidacy has ever been about. He’s a plainspoken, bull-in-a-political-china-shop and the voters who love him will rally to his side no matter what.
Now, that said – Trump needs far more support in November than his base of support. Has he lost any possibility of growing support? I don’t know. I’ve stopped predicting anything. Trump could win or lose in a landslide and I won’t be surprised either way.
But as I sat in church this weekend, ahead of the second presidential debate, it struck me. We’re exactly where the political parties and the media have driven us as a country and they don’t get to pretend they’re outraged about it now.
For years, conservatives like me have been told, “We’re not electing a preacher! Get off your high horse. Quit pushing your morals, values, and ethics on me. Stay out of my bedroom!” And so on.
Not just from liberals and Democrats. That’s obvious. I’m talking about leaders within the GOP who’ve said we’ve got to stop standing for families and values. We can’t sound “evangelical.” Pro-life and pro-marriage advocates are so “divisive.” “We have to get off the social issues or we’ll lose women,” they say.
Well, ok. Here we are – the corrupt, law breaking spouse of a man she shielded after he took advantage of countless women versus a vulgar, cad of a guy with no real core values or political issues except a wall and trade deals. So, what do you want from me?
I have a vote to cast next month. Donald Trump reminded the American public in the second debate Mrs. Clinton is the embodiment of thirty years of corruption, failure, and cronyism. While Hillary Clinton reminded the American public Donald Trump is a vulgar, ill-tempered, pop-culture celebrity.
Ok. Fine. I choose Trump. It’s what he’s said versus what she’s done. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s where we are. But spare me the phony outrage and sanctimony from GOP party leaders, Democrats, and liberal TV pundits about Trump’s candid words.
You people brought us here and I have a vote to cast. I’m not sitting at home. I’m not writing someone in or staying home in protest. And I’m certainly not going to listen to a lecture as to why Mrs. Clinton is less objectionable, because you can’t make that sale and you know it.
So, I vote Trump knowing none of this is as I wanted it but it’s the hand I’ve been dealt. Will there be more tapes of Trump saying gross stuff? Probably. Will Trump make me cringe again? Definitely. And will I defend him when it happens? Nope, and I haven’t thus far.
I’m voting for Trump because he’s not Hillary Clinton and he’s the best shot at stopping her. He may not get there, but I’m not going to aide in her victory. Anything he’s said doesn’t come close to what she’s done.
After all, as I’ve been reminded repeatedly over the years – we’re not electing a preacher. Ok, so I’ve made a decision. I won’t defend Trump, but I’m voting for him. I won’t vote for her because she’s worse. I’m capable of carrying two thoughts in my head at the same time.
Now excuse me for sounding preachy, but I have some praying to do.