The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Why Republicans should vote for Hillary Clinton

We can't have President Trump, and she could do more to advance conservative ideas than he would.

Donald Trump introduced his wife, Melania, on the first day of the Republican National Convention. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

With the theatrics and tumult of the Republican National Convention behind us, many Republicans remain steadfast in their opposition to Donald Trump to be president of the United States. The reason is simple: Their conscience says he does not reflect their principles, nor those of our Republican Party. Trump’s isolationist  approach, bombastic rhetoric and ignorance of issues are not things we can be proud to support. The president is the commander in chief, a role model for our children and America’s top ambassador to the world.

Republicans can either allow Trump to rebrand the GOP as unstable, xenophobic and crude, or they can regain control of their party. It may mean losing this election, but if they want a principled, rational agenda that reflects American values and promotes liberty, prosperity and security, there is no other choice: Writing in or staying home puts Republican control of the Senate at risk, and a libertarian protest vote could toss the election to Trump.

The last remaining option is an extreme option: Vote for Hillary Clinton. If the millions of #NeverTrump Republicans could bring themselves to make the leap to Clinton, she may even meet them in the middle.

Clinton’s record of working with Republicans in the Senate suggests she would. Although she’s taken criticism for overstating her record of bipartisanship, she was hardly a partisan shill in the Senate. Sixty-eight percent of her bills had GOP co-sponsors. And she worked closely with such Republican lightning rods as Tom DeLay (adoption issues), Sam Brownback (human trafficking) and Jeff Sessions (veterans’ benefits) to pass legislation that mattered. Further, Clinton’s sometimes-close relationships with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey O. Graham suggest that their influence will lead to a more muscular foreign policy agenda than not only the current president’s but the GOP nominee’s as well.

With a strong constituency of support for Clinton, Republicans could call for the appointment of fair, balanced nominees to promote an impartial Supreme Court that transcends administrations. After the court’s recent decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which shored up Roe v. Wade, Democrats should have more space to be moderate on judicial appointments. Besides, who would believe what Trump says about individuals he has promised to appoint?

We may also get something done. Sensible major deals on government programs that are crucially in need of reform, such as infrastructure, immigration, corporate tax repatriation, veterans affairs, entitlements, trade and health care, could all be in reach for a Democratic president willing to work closely with Republican leadership (hopefully) in the House and Senate.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said this week, “It’s a binary choice.” Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey followed that up with, “Every Republican who is not working for Trump is working for Clinton.” He’s exactly right.