I’m also really not sure I can look at myself in a mirror after voting for Trump. It is one thing to walk with Trump, on a transactional basis, thanking him when he does right, criticizing him when he does wrong, and hoping and trying to make him the best servant of the public we can get while he serves the term to which the voters have elected him. We can all do that with a clean conscience; it is a civic duty. We can do it again, if he is reelected. But it is another thing entirely to voluntarily choose four more years of this. Somebody has to stand up for the things we always said we believed; it should fall to those of us who still, publicly, believe those things.

On the other hand, when I watch the two sides together, I must admit as well: I still want Trump to beat Biden, because I truly believe that a Biden-Harris administration would do things on almost every front that would be worse for the country than a second Trump-Pence administration, and at the cost of many innocent lives. Maybe, if I was alone in a voting booth without the need to justify my vote rationally, without the need to stand for something, without having to ask what my vote means to the things I stand for, I might be able to pull that lever. I see the grave consequences of a Biden-Harris victory. I see the many good and dedicated people, some of them friends, fighting the good fight and doing things in this administration that make me proud to be an American. I do not wish to see them replaced by people who despise everything I believe in, and are coldly serious about using power to get what they want. I cannot regard a Biden administration with indifference; I cannot regard a Harris administration with anything but horror. She put the icing on the cake Sunday by tweeting out a video demanding “equity,” explicitly defined in the clip to mean equal outcomes in life. We all know where this sort of thinking leads, and it is not America. Could I ever forgive myself if we get President Harris, and Court-packing, and I did not do everything I could to stop them?

So, my principles demand that I stand with Trump-Pence against Biden-Harris. My principles also demand that I stand against reelecting Donald Trump. One thing is easy: I will not vote for Joe Biden. So is this: It is urgent that Republicans hold the Senate, to check Biden or ensure that Trump can continue to appoint constitutionalist judges. But in the end, we all must choose. The choice between Trump and another protest vote is a hard one, and my conscience recoils at either option. And yet, in the end, thinking about what it means to affirmatively choose Trump, I can’t do it. It is, after all of it, my vote. Trump is unfit for the job by every measure, and I know it. All the political teamwork in the world cannot change that. I cannot convince myself that this is something we should accept. I cannot make it my choice to keep him there. I will continue to respectfully dissent.