Some Thoughts on Election Day 2016

The final phase of voting today could result in one of three outcomes:

(1) Hillary Clinton is elected President. Until a week ago Friday I would have said this outcome was virtually certain, and that we could expect a landslide. The FBI bombshell that was dropped on the campaign has shaken up the race significantly, but I still believe this is the most likely outcome. The margin of victory probably won’t be considered a landslide, but Trump’s path to victory remains, even now, very narrow.

From my perspective, a Clinton victory has two major advantages. First, it could bring the Trump movement to an end, giving the GOP a chance to rebuild itself for the future, hopefully with more wisdom next time. Second, a Clinton presidency doesn’t present us with anything approaching the level of uncertainty that a Trump presidency would. Trump is unpredictable, and unpredictable men can be dangerous. Hillary Clinton may very well be the most corrupt person ever to occupy the oval office, but our consolation prize is that at least we can predict the kind of evil she will pursue.

The downsides to a Clinton victory are numerous and severe. The leftists who have infiltrated the federal government over the last eight years will only find themselves further entrenched, or possibly replaced by other leftists. The Supreme Court (not to mention the various lower federal courts) will almost certainly end up with a majority of progressive justices, further pushing our culture in the direction of expanded government power, restriction of individual rights, curtailing of religious liberty, maintenance of abortion rights, etc. On top of that, Mrs. Clinton has been in government for decades, and it is abundantly clear how well she knows how to pull the levers of power for her own advantage, even when that means putting the security and well-being of her country at stake. There is no reason to expect this pattern of behavior to change once she becomes the chief law enforcement officer of the federal government. Whatever corruption already exists in Washington will metastasize over the next four years, but Hillary’s status as the first female president (and one with the news media playing its role as her lapdog) will make her virtually immune to impeachment from Congress. She will have free rein to bend, break, and disregard the law (as has been her pattern) without consequence for the duration of her presidency. The rule of law will be further weakened, public virtue will continue to vanish, and average Americans will expect less and less from their leaders as they become more awakened to the nature of politics as an amoral power struggle in which the strong survive by destroying the weak by any means necessary. With no apparent means to hold the elite accountable, the cynicism of the average American will lead him to view his political involvement as merely an act of aligning himself with a tribe that can protect his interests, rather than standing for principles he holds dear.

A second possible outcome:

(2) Donald Trump is elected President. This less likely, though entirely feasible, scenario would at least entail the possibility of a kind of “house cleaning” in government, at least with respect to all of the positions of power appointed in a given presidential administration. I have no assurance that Trump would consistently choose reliable people for these positions, but there remains a possibility, at least, that his administration would move the government in a different ideological direction than Clinton would. Especially as it pertains to the courts, this is a major possible upside of a Trump victory.

The downside, of course, is that we would have Donald Trump as President. Moreover, the GOP would be saddled with him for the next four years, and most likely would make him the nominee again in 2020. How might such an arrangement degrade the party, further alienate it from younger generations, and help ensure future Democrat gains? And would the amoral power struggle really be any different under a President Trump than it would be under a President Clinton?

One final possible outcome:

(3) Neither candidate reaches 270 electoral votes, leaving the decision to the House of Representatives. Under this scenario, if Evan McMullin happened to pick off Utah’s 6 electoral votes, he might actually stand a chance of being a compromise choice between Republicans and Democrats in the House who would ultimately choose the President. The chances of this happening are probably less than 1%, but it’s nice to imagine.

McMullin would govern, more or less, as a traditional Republican, which is certainly better than the other two possible scenarios envisioned above. But if he is elected in this crazy manner, there would be one major downside: since McMullin is a Mormon, I have little doubt that Mormon apologists would proclaim his victory a fulfillment of Mormon prophecy, a claim that would give them a platform to use to promote their false gospel and hold more people in spiritual darkness.

With these three possible outcomes in view, I don’t really know what to hope for or how to pray for my country. I am thankful that the Spirit intercedes for us in these situations (Rom. 8:26-28). I am, furthermore, thankful that the question of who occupies the position of the head of one branch of our federal government for the next four years is not the most important issue that we face. Whoever it may be, let us pray for God to bless him or her with wisdom, restrain whatever is evil, and bring whatever is good to fruition, so that we may live quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way (1 Tim. 2:1-4).

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