Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party. This means, of course, that the Republican Party—at least at the presidential level—has become unfit. There is no other way to look at this victory, which only became a certainty after Ted Cruz won a landslide victory in Wisconsin. Until that point, Trump was still only receiving an aggregate vote in the mid-3os among all Republicans. After that, he began winning states with margins north of 50 percent.
This means that when the GOP electorate had the chance to stop Trump in his tracks, its voters went the other way and made Trump’s triumph inescapable. Given the unambiguous choice between Trump and not-Trump, they chose a man whose ascension to the presidency of the United States would mark an unprecedented low for this country. What all this means for the conservative ideas that have undergirded the Republican party in the modern era is nothing remotely good.
Unless something dramatic happens and a deus ex machina in the form of a credible third-party candidate materializes from the ether, voters in November will be asked to choose between this repugnant, unprincipled, slanderous barbarian and Hillary Clinton. Her entire political career has been an unending dance on the sketchy lines between conflict-of-interest and illegal favor-trading, marked by a carelessness in service of her own convenience that led to the email scandal that would, oddly, have undone a politician less marked by decades of game-playing than she—decades that have given her a remarkable deftness in these matters she lacks in other political skills, like communicating with and connecting to voters.
Who is she really? The fact is that after 25 years as one of the most famous people in public life in the world, one has little sense of what she believes, what she might do as president, what constituencies in her party and on the Left she will try to flatter and which she will ignore. One must assume she would govern as a domestic liberal and that her Supreme Court would serve as a rubber stamp in that regard. What path she would take as commander in chief is far less clear.
For anyone who believes in conservative principles, Hillary Clinton will surely be a calamity as president. Trump has been one of the most famous people in America for as long or a little longer than Hillary Clinton, and by now it should be clear that when it comes to fealty to conservative ideas—or any ideas—he should provide absolutely no comfort by contrast. A year of his campaigning has made that revoltingly clear.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both devils we know. And because the GOP has become unfit, we will not be able to avoid the choice between them, except by literal avoidance—by staying home. Many, many millions of us will surely do so.