A year ago, I declared on these pages that despite being a Republican my whole life, I would not under any circumstances vote for Donald J. Trump for president. Since then, I’ve been asked by other Republicans if I kept that promise (I did) and whether I regret it (I don’t).
Republicans who disagree with my stance make the following argument: Mr. Trump, while flawed, is preferable to Hillary Clinton. His cabinet appointments, they say, have been reassuring, and it’s true that several of them are. In addition, the nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court is certain to be more of an originalist than a Clinton appointment would be. On top of that, Republicans are in control of Congress, meaning they are likely to drive much of the agenda, particularly given Mr. Trump’s notable lack of interest in policy. Whatever misgivings anti-Trump conservatives might have had about him, he’ll undo much of the agenda of his liberal predecessor while Mrs. Clinton would have built on it.
This case is hardly irrational, and over time it may be proved right. President Trump may govern well and in a conservative manner, and my concerns about him may eventually look misguided and silly.
But I doubt it.
To understand why, it’s worth keeping in mind that my chief worries about Mr. Trump were never strictly ideological; they had to do with temperament and character.