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Like Trump Or Not, Republicans Must Accept The Reality Of The Imperfect Candidate

Are voters blind to Trump’s flaws? His legal situation? Nope. It’s that they have decided perfection isn’t the goal.

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Political purity contests are fantastic for social media and cable news, but not so great for conservatives who prioritize winning over perfection. On Monday, Iowa voters chose Trump, despite all his flaws. They didn’t just hand him a razor-thin victory, it was more like a historic tsunami.

Why did they do that? DeSantis is more normal, Haley can bring the much-coveted college-educated suburban women that CNN is infatuated with, yet they broke hard for Trump. Are they blind to Trump’s flaws? His legal situation? Nope. It’s that they have decided perfection isn’t the goal.

I have been wearing the GOP hat since I could vote. Don’t get me wrong, I have donned the jersey of my favorite primary candidate every four years, but I have never taken off my hat. My voting record reflects that philosophy: Bush, Dole, Bush x 2, McCain, Romney, Trump x 2. I am not the first person to say this, but for me, electoral politics is purely transactional. I don’t need a friend, parent, pastor, therapist, role model, hero, or savior when voting for a politician. My vote is cast for who is aligned closest to my views at every stage, first in the primary and then in the general.

Who makes it out of the primary isn’t solely up to me or you. We are presented with a binary choice at the end of each cycle for the general election, and none of my personal choices have ended up being the eventual nominee on the GOP side in my voting life (except Trump in 2016). But as stipulated, we have to vote on who is left standing, with our GOP hat on, not the jersey of an individual candidate. It’s like going to a steak house, and the waiter says they are out of Japanese Wagyu. You don’t become a vegan. You ask for the filet mignon. If that’s gone, order the hamburger, not the tofu.

Perfect Is the Enemy of Good

Perfect candidate? Please. No such thing. We are a complicated people, all of us, and our preferences are equally complex. My perfect candidate would be a mash-up of Donald Trump (foreign policy, media relations, energy policy), Gov. Ron DeSantis (hiring cabinet members, results-oriented governance, and homelessness), Sen. Rand Paul (all things health and federal spending), Steve Forbes (flat tax), Sen. Ted Cruz (border, constitutional issues, and judges), Dr. Ben Carson (servant leadership, welfare state, and abortion), Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (military-industrial complex lobby and armed forces recruiting), Mark Cuban (reduction of federal agency workforce, technology implementation, and AI matters), Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton (Diplomat protection and earthquake rebuilds … joking of course), and an open slot for law enforcement-related issues.

Notice who isn’t on my mash-up list: Bush (both), Dole, McCain, or Romney, yet I voted for them anyway because all of them were better than the alternative. If Haley were to become the nominee, she would have my vote. No offense to Tucker Carlson, but Haley as vice president or president is infinitely better than the alternative. I won’t like it, but I will do it. Your list of what makes an ideal candidate is different, and that’s to be expected. We are rugged and unique individuals, but (hopefully) united in a larger purpose of living in a great country that is prosperous and peaceful.

The Right’s Purity Tests

Ann Coulter is wicked smart, she correctly predicted Trump would be the likely nominee in June 2015 to much laughter on Bill Maher’s show and among professional political pundits. Her 2007 book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, was both brilliant and prescient in many ways. She isn’t helping the average voter with the rants about Trump not living up to her political purity tests. Trump is deeply flawed, but he isn’t alone in that space.

All charismatic leaders are flawed. That’s the nature of the beast when we only have humans to nominate. I agree with much of what she detests about Trump, but let’s remember that come Nov. 6, 2024, a flawed individual will be presiding over our great nation, and it might as well be one who is closer to our values than not.

One thing is certain, when a president (or any politician really) is termed out or loses office, his most ardent supporters have a list of things they didn’t like about his administration. It makes no difference which side you are on or who the person was, guaranteed you weren’t as happy with them when it was over as you were when it began. Political perfection is a myth, useful for those profiting off covering the races but unproductive for the citizenry.

What does that mean for conservatives now post-Iowa? Love Trump, hate Trump, or indifferent to Trump, it’s becoming clearer by the day he is the likely GOP nominee. If the DeSantis and Haley voters refuse to back him in the general, we deserve four more years of Democrat ineptness.

Does that mean we get four years of conservative bliss? Not a chance. Trump moves back into the White House dragging all his known baggage. We will get four years of chaos to be sure, but if he can stem the tide at the border, lower energy prices, reverse inflation, make mortgages more affordable, and unentangle us in Ukraine, it’s worth it to conservatives. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth it.


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