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Republicans and Trump...Clinton...and the choices we will make

It is rare, all but unheard of, for me to have occasion to applaud George Will. Last week the arch-conservative columnist broke with the Republican Party over the presumed nomination of Donald Trump. Trump, being Trump, twitted, "George Will, one of the most overrated political pundits (who lost his way long ago), has left the Republican Party.He's made many bad calls," whereupon Will responded, "He has an advantage on me, because he can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters and I can't." (George Will: Trump's judge comments prompted exit from GOP).

Will joins a growing list of prominent Republicans who have said they will not vote for Trump. A few have gone further to state they will vote for Hillary Clinton. Notable among them are Brent Scowcroft and Richard Armitage, grey eminences of the foreign policy establishment who served in Republican administrations. Some have pounced upon these endorsements as evidence that there is no difference between the two parties, providing a convenient rationale to sit out the November election or cast a ballot for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate.

I have long been more wary of Clinton's inclinations in the arena of foreign affairs than I am than about her on economic policy, where the prevailing winds may push her to adopt more progressive positions. The endorsements of Scowcroft and Armitage tell us nothing about her that we did not already know. Scowcroft, by the bye, opposed the 2003 Iraq War.

Is it not possible that Scowcroft, Armitage, and others are acting honorably? Doing what we call on political figures to do, putting country above party? They are in no way Democrats of Clintonian or any other stripe. They come out for Clinton not because there is no difference between the parties but because their party's presumptive nominee is so beyond the pale that conscience dictates they must do what is within their power to stand against him. Their support is no reason to denounce Clinton. To the contrary, their recognition of what a Trump presidency portends is all the more reason for individuals and factions on my side of the great divide to think long and hard about the consequences of the choices we make in this election, whatever reservations about Hillary Clinton we may harbor.

David Weigel, Brent Scowcroft endorses Clinton for president, Washington Post, June 22, 2016

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