Ted Cruz's manful speech puts us in the difficult question of having to ask whether, in good conscience, one could vote for Donald Trump for President. I am convinced he is personally unfit for the office, and that he would make terrible decisions if elected, and that he is without the moral character that ought ideally to accompany one into such an awesome -- or perhaps awful, in its Biblical sense -- set of responsibilities.
Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for him.
However, if his opponent should win, I am quite sure that things will be even worse. She will be able to effectively repeal any part of the Constitution she dislikes by replacing the late Justice Scalia with a fifth progressive vote. The "living Constitution" means no real Constitution at all: it just means whatever the left would like it to mean, even if it plainly says otherwise. One faces not merely political defeat of our understanding of the right view for a time, but a permanent end to the Constitution as a written document establishing hard limits on the government.
Likewise, she herself is corrupt and a corrupting influence. She is also completely without decent character, and not the least bit shy about lying through her smile to the American people whenever it is even slightly convenient. The FBI and the Justice Department have recently proven both her corruption and her deception, as much as they were trying to avoid prosecuting her.
So, if she is elected I can reasonably expect the American project as I understand it to die. There will still be a "Constitution," but it will not serve to restrain the powerful: it will serve only to produce occasional apologies from the Supreme Court for the government's continual expansion of power. The government will also become intensely corrupt at the same time that it is becoming completely unrestrained.
Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for her.
Of the remaining candidates, I think the Libertarians are simply wrong on the merits on a number of foreign policy issues, as well as immigration. Immigration is right now one of the most important of issues to get right, and they don't. The Green Party's candidate is a well-meaning woman of intelligence and forceful argument. I like her, and I respect her as a moral agent, but I disagree with her about nearly everything.
On the other hand, neither of them is going to win, so I could in good conscience vote for either. My disagreements with them won't matter if they are never elected, and they are probably both decent people. I would have exercised my very limited power as a voter responsibly by endorsing only someone with the right moral character for the office, and I will have caused no harm in any case.
This all comes back to a philosophical argument we've had here from time to time. In the infamous "trolley problem," one envisions a trolley speeding down a track toward five people. They will be killed if you do nothing. However, you are standing next to a switch that can route the trolley onto another track. Only one person is on that track. Is it morally better to do nothing, or to pull the switch?
Some of you have argued that it is better to let the five die, because you are not responsible for that. That's an accident. If you pull the lever to save them, you will be responsible for intentionally killing the one innocent life. Intentional killing of the innocent is murder, and murder is always wrong. Thus, you cannot pull the lever even to save five lives.
Others say that not pulling the lever is also a chosen action, and by allowing the five to die rather than pull the lever you are taking their deaths on your conscience. Thus, you cannot refuse to pull the lever under the circumstances.
At the moment, with the polls tight, this looks like a difficult decision that might come down to a difference of philosophical intuitions like these. It may be that, closer to election day, the race will have diverged so much one way or the other that it will be easier to vote in good conscience. But for now, one must think of whether or not to pull the lever.