Last week, Charles Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Haley Barbour, former chair of the Republican National Committee, were asked by the folks over at Ricochet whom they would vote for in a potential Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton election.
The difference between their answers, while it might surprise you, sheds light on the current state of the Republican Party. Murray said he would prefer Clinton to Trump, because then the GOP wouldn’t be blamed for Trump’s mistakes.
Look, if Hillary Clinton is elected, and by the way I don’t think she’ll be nearly as bad as Obama, certainly not in foreign policy, probably not domestic policy, put aside that. If Hillary Clinton is elected, the Democrats own her mistakes.
If God forbid, Donald Trump should become president of the United States, the Republican Party owns his mistakes and you know what, there is every reason to believe from everything we know about Donald Trump’s prior experiences, successes and failures that he will make horrific mistakes, probably impeachable mistakes, the Republican Party will own them.
The idea that if you elect Donald Trump, you are in any way saving the Republican Party is delusory and it ascribes to Donald Trump an expectation of functionality in the president of the United States that is the ultimate triumph of hope over experience.
Barbour said he would back the GOP nominee, even if it is Trump, as he thinks Clinton would make an undoubtedly worse president. He said:
Well, I can tell you the idea of a third party is the Democrats’ fondest dream. A third party on the conservative side guarantees the election of liberal Democrats and will probably result in even more liberal Democratic candidates. I’ve seen what happens with Ross Perot, I’ve seen how invariably these candidates siphon off votes from the Republicans.
I am one of the guys, like our old friend Ed Rogers from the White House, Ed used to say ‘life is a series of choices’ and if the choice is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I’m going to vote for Donald Trump. I’m going to vote for the nominee of our party because I don’t think that, if we answer Rob’s questions, I don’t think any of the policy positions would be as bad, certainly none would be worse than Hillary Clinton.
I’m not going to vote for four more years of Obama’s policies and presidency, which is what electing Hillary Clinton would be. And the only person whose got any chance to beat Hillary Clinton is whoever the Republicans nominate.
Donald Trump’s not my cup of tea but if it comes down in November to have a choice between Hillary Clinton and whomever our party nominates, I’m going to vote for whoever our party nominates, even if it’s somebody I don’t agree with so much. I will just close by saying this: I’ve been chairman of this party, I am not one who believes I can substitute my judgment for the judgment of millions of Republican voters.
The day of the smoke-filled room, the elders and the wise men picking the nominee, has gone, Peter, before you and I were born, and it needs to stay gone. If you don’t trust the people and recognize they’re going to be wrong sometimes, but in this case their bad decision is going to be one I’d rather have than the Democrats’ candidate Hillary Clinton.
You can listen to more on the full episode of The Ricochet Podcast here.