By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

I will vote against Donald Trump. There, I said it.

Donald Trump in 2011. Photo (cc) by Gage Skidmore.

Donald Trump in 2011. Photo (cc) by Gage Skidmore.

Donald Trump represents a challenge on many levels. One of those challenges is to the traditionally independent role of journalists—even opinion journalists like me. Because I’m in a position to express my opinions freely, I am not violating any ethical standard by saying that I think Trump is a racist demagogue who advocates violence and who is, in my view, the greatest threat to American democracy since the Great Depression.

What I always refrain from doing, though, is saying whom I’ll vote for. If you read me (thank you), you can probably guess at least 95 percent of the time. But I don’t take that last step. I have opinions, but I support no one. Nor do I make political donations, or put signs on our lawn or bumper stickers on my car.

Trump, though, is a clear and present danger to our country. NPR recently tied itself up in knots because Cokie Roberts—a commentator who is supposedly free to offer her opinions—wrote an anti-Trump column co-bylined with her husband, Steve Roberts. Like a lot of observers, I found that to be incredible. So let me tell you right now:

I will not vote for Trump. Assuming that Trump wins the Republican nomination and there is no viable independent candidate whom I prefer, I will vote for the Democratic candidate, most likely Hillary Clinton. If Bernie Sanders somehow manages to wrest the nomination from Clinton, I’ll vote for him.

I also hope the Republicans somehow find a way to deny Trump the nomination at their national convention this summer, which could happen if he’s ahead but commands less than a majority of the delegates. Trump has threatened us with riots if he’s spurned in such fashion, but that’s all the more reason to keep him off the ballot, not to retreat.

No, I’m not going to send Clinton a check or put a bumper sticker on my car. But I’m abandoning my independence just this once to make it clear that I will vote against Donald J. Trump.


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  1. I’m shocked that you would admit to, much less display, this blatant bias. 🙂

  2. The problem with democracy as it exists in the United States is that people are constantly being forced to vote AGAINST things rather than for things. When you’re constantly voting against things, you start to feel powerless because nothing gets done. Worse yet, you start to lose sight of what you want done. Then a guy like Trump comes along and says he’s going to win, win, win and make America great again and it all sounds good. Win what? What’s great? Who cares? Let’s just vote against everything by voting for this Trump guy.

  3. Of course as an opinion writer you can (and should) provide opinion. But there seems to be fuzziness about “journalism” and being a blogger, columnist, or whatever you (and others) wish to call yourselves.

    Perhaps because we have never had a candidate of Trump’s ilk I don’t recall some many writers willing to drop all pretense of impartiality. We had the Jim and Margery show (talk show? news? hybrid) where Mitt’s laundry list of Trump’s shortcomings was acclaimed as if it were the Gettysburg Address. The NYT had, on Sunday, a story about “How Trump Might Redecorate the White House” that was in the opinion section, but was still, either poorly researched or deliberately misleading (depending on how charitable you want to be). (God only knows who they’ll find to attack on a daily basis once Trump is history) even actively solicits more submissions of “bad things at Trump rallies.

    Now, this is all well and good, and yes, The Donald is a reptile. But there can be quite a slippery slope. It may be easy to accept this now because we all think Trump is awful, but I suspect that if some of these tactics were used against other candidates, it would be part of the “rants” on Beat the Press. If, for example, the NYT suggested that if President, Hillary Clinton would add a waiting room for Bill’s rendezvous, or make the Blue Room over into a walk-in closet for her collection of pant-suits, you would probably call them out on it.

    I think in the end, the lesson the media will learn from this, is that if they treated him as they would any other candidate, it would have probably deflated his campaign far more quickly than any of the more snide and vicious writings.
    So, no, if you wouldn’t think it proper to endorse/declare your vote in other elections, it should be the same here.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @forthill35: It’s not a slippery slope to me. I’ve already been invited to make a similar statement about Ted Cruz. I won’t.

  4. My hypothesis is that the mainstream media, believing Trump had no real chance, essentially egged him on by letting him abuse the preconceived frontrunners; in short, doing the press’ job for them. “Now look what you’ve done…”

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