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OPINION: Why Clinton is the only prudent choice

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By Randy Patrick

Matthew Spandler-Davison, pastor of the Bardstown church I often attend, posted on his Facebook page a Los Angeles Times article about Evan McMullin, the independent presidential candidate recruited by the #NeverTrump movement.

A former CIA operative and GOP congressional staffer, McMullin is “our kind of conservative,” Matthew told me, and “the only one I can vote for in good conscience.”

I considered voting for him myself — although I’ve said in this column that votes for an independent or third-party candidate in a two-party system are, at best, wasted, and at worst, tilt an election toward one candidate or the other.

What if, though, one of the major candidates has a comfortable lead in the polls in a state where there’s no chance of an independent playing the role of spoiler? Then it might be tempting to vote for that candidate who is a better alternative.

A Run Switch Public Relations poll done hours before the FBI’s recent disclosure about new Clinton-related emails shows Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton in Kentucky by 56 to 32 percent. Trump is almost certain to carry Kentucky, but I’ve seen polls be wrong before, and I’ve seen circumstances change. It isn’t likely Clinton will carry Kentucky, but it’s less unlikely than Evan McMullin being elected.

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Many of us are unhappy with the choices.

Clinton demonstrated bad judgment in using a private email server for State Department business, though, apparently, national security wasn’t compromised and there was no criminal intent.

Also troubling is what amounts to the Clintons selling access to the secretary of state, but again, it wasn’t criminal.

Clinton’s policies resemble President Obama’s: more regulation, more debt, more foreign intervention, more socially liberal stances on controversial issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage.

And there’s Hillary’s acerbic personality. Let’s just say she is no Bill Clinton.

Trump, however, is a real piece of work.

He has said he loves war. That alone should disqualify him.

He wants more nations to have their own nuclear weapons.

He expresses admiration for ruthless tyrants such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

He insults women and brags about sexually assaulting them.

He insults Mexican-Americans, Muslims, mainstream Republicans and the media.

He incites violence at his rallies, telling supporters to punch protesters.

He believes in crazy conspiracy theories and brings in the crown prince of propaganda, Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon, to run his campaign.

He says America’s elections are rigged and that he may or may not support the voters’ decision Nov. 8. He’ll keep us in suspense.

Every time Trump opens his mouth, he says something untrue. He is clearly uninformed or misinformed about almost everything.

A host of former national leaders — most of them Republicans — have said he is woefully unqualified to lead our country and would endanger our security.

Michael Gerson, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, said it best: “America has two bad choices, but not equally bad.”

“Trump operates by a materialistic, Nietzschean ethic — an ethic of dominance and revenge in which power and success are worshiped and the weak are treated with contempt and cruelty. And Trump is deeply and defiantly ignorant, with no basis or background to make informed choices on complex issues,” he wrote.

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In two days, either Clinton or Trump will be elected president. I would have preferred a moderate Republican, somebody like John Kasich or Jeb Bush. Or a centrist Democrat like Jim Webb or Lincoln Chaffee. But of all the candidates, we ended up with the worst. Gerson is right, though: Trump is the worst of the worst.

My heart tells me to vote for McMullin, but my head tells me the risk is too great.

Richard Nixon showed we could survive a vindictive and disingenuous president if he or she is intelligent and a patriot.

I’m not sure we could survive an ignorant demagogue with sociopathic tendencies.

Trump doesn’t believe America is great, and with him as president, both the country and the presidency would be diminished.

This great republic, this city upon a hill would no longer be the beacon of hope it has been to the world — this one nation, under God, indivisible. Trump’s America is about divisiveness, about “us and them.” It’s not the America I love. That’s why I will vote for Clinton and trust we will have a better choice in four years.