Of course I am voting for Donald Trump. You should be too if you are a conservative. Let me break this down into three arguments, the first of which is Trump's trump card on the #NeverTrumpers.
If Hillary Clinton wins, the Left gavels in a solid, lasting, almost certainly permanent majority on the Supreme Court. Every political issue has a theoretical path to SCOTUS, and only self-imposed judicial restraint has checked the Court's appetite and reach for two centuries.
That restraint will be gone when HRC's first appointee is sworn in. Finished.
This is not hyperbole. I have the advantage of having taught Con Law for 20 years, of having argued before very liberal appellate judges like Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the very liberal Ninth Circuit, of practicing with the best litigators in the land, and I know what a very liberal SCOTUS means: conservatism is done. It cannot survive a strong-willed liberal majority on the Supreme Court. Every issue, EVERY issue, will end up there, and the legislatures' judgments will matter not a bit.
So vote for Hillary Clinton (or sit it out) and then prepare for the deluge of court-ordered solutions to every social problem, bench-drawn congressional districts and extraordinary deference to every agency of the federal government combined with a sweeping away of federalism.
Second, but much harder to see or understand, Hillary Clinton is thoroughly compromised by the Russians (or the Chinese, or the Iranians, or all of them). Deny the testimony of expert witnesses like former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell or Rudy Guiliani if you want, or the implications of the distribution of DNC emails via the WikiLeaks front, but just know everything she sent and received on her security-free "private" server is in the hands of the bad guys.
The influence they will have over her and all of her cyberassociates as a result will be complete even if unknown to the folks being worked and watched.
That's espionage. The Russians are very good at it. They are a GEICO ad of spying: That's what they do. They use what they steal to advance their national interest, sometimes crudely, sometimes with breathtaking sophistication. The consequences of her complete compromise haven't sunk in yet, but it is real, not reversible, and dangerous beyond description to the national security of the U.S. Trump critics worry that he's oblivious to Vladimir Putin's risks. Hillary is already a Putin pawn.
The first two arguments are negatives. But there is a positive case for Donald Trump, a third prong in the case for working for Trump's election: He brings 3,000 political appointees with him, and the first two — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as VP and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has chief of the transition — telegraph that the vast majority of his team in the executive branch (and his appointees on the courts) will be conservatives.
Yes, Trump is transplanting economic populism into the GOP, and parts of the conservative movement are struggling to reject the transplant (just as parts of the Democratic Party are denying that the principle of transference works when applied to their passion for/love of Bernie Sanders/President Obama and HRC.)
But Donald Trump, like it or not — like him or not— is the imperfect messenger of the perfect storm in American politics. He is the shuddering, convulsive conclusion to decades of perceived indifference to the American middle class combined with a conviction that the GOP is spineless, and if he is not to your tastes, too bad.
If the charges of elitism and weakness are unfair, too bad. He won fair and square. No one stopped him because he could not be stopped. And he picked a genuine, deeply principled conservative to partner with on the ticket.
Read or listen to the long interview I conducted with Gov. Pence on Friday morning, then put down your #NeverTrump pride and start working to save the Supreme Court and national security. Help Christie staff the new government. Explain to family and friends what Clinton's compromised status means. Argue for the future and make peace with the present.
I would not have picked Donald Trump as my party's nominee. But he is that nominee. And he backed away from the cliff of indifference to race of such massive proportions — the Judge Curiel episode which had me launching whatever rhetorical broadside I could muster against him — that it would have obliged me to surrender the election and the courts.
That demonstrated to me, as did the Pence selection, that Trump is learning that there are indeed third rails in politics and governing. In this process he is being assisted by his remarkable children and a growing team of, wait for it, conservatives.
And, a key and non-negotiable thing, Trump isn't a racist. He is simply monumentally indifferent to the language of race, and having interviewed him a dozen plus times and helped conduct four debates among the GOP candidates including him, I'm confident of this judgment.
He has many flaws and some strengths, but he isn't a racist, or a dangerous demagogue, a Mussolini-in-waiting, a Caesar off-stage. He isn't going to roll Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell or, most formidable of all, the Constitution. If he nominated a replacement for Justice Scalia who wasn't on his list of nominees — the most frequent of imagined future outrages I hear from #NeverTrumpers — the GOP Senate should simply refuse hearings as it has to Judge Garland.
In short, there is too much at stake to spend August fanning yourself and the fall fuming about foiled plans for a better nominee. It is Trump or Clinton. The choice is easy. If you have any doubts at all, take a course in Con Law. If Hillary wins, the casebook you use to do so will simply be a history book, not a guide to how the Supreme Court should decide things based on precedent.
To borrow from James Carville, who ran the first Clinton campaign in 1992 from a room adorned with a sign "It's the Economy, Stupid!": "It's the Court, Stupid!" Which means it's the Constitution. Think on that at the beach.
Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated talk radio host, law professor at Chapman University's Fowler School of Law, and author, most recently, of "The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary" and the "Coming of a Second Clinton Era." He posts daily at HughHewitt.com and is on Twitter @hughhewitt.