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Story highlights

Anti-Trump Republicans oppose him because his temperament and values do not make him qualified to be president, says John Stubbs

Even if Trump has a 1 in 30 chance of being president, we are not comfortable with those odds, he says

Editor’s Note: John Stubbs is a founder of Republicans for Clinton in 2016 and was senior advisor to the US Trade Representative in the White House of George W. Bush. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) —  

Steve Moore has unleashed a wild jeremiad against fellow Republicans who have said they can’t back Donald Trump and want to defeat him by voting for Hillary Clinton this year.

John Stubbs
John Stubbs

Under the nasty headline, “The Republican Turncoats,” Mr. Moore begins with the sort of ad hominem attacks that he’s avoided throughout his career. He claims Republicans who plan to vote for Clinton – and according to polls, there are at least six million of us – “believe their anti-Trumpism is a principled act of heroism,” reeking of “self-righteousness” and “defiance.”

He says we are “subversive,” that we’re sore-loser Bush and Romney “operatives” doing it to appeal to the Washington Post and the New York Times. All, utter rot.

Then he rolls out three straw men and sets them afire. He says we’re voting against Trump because he “can’t win,” that he is “not for free trade,” and that Republicans need to concentrate on the Senate and the House.

Actually, few, if any, anti-Trump Republicans oppose him because they think he can’t win. We are motivated, in large part, by the fact that if Trump has a 1 in 30 chance of being president, we are not comfortable with those odds. But he is not running as a fringe third party. He is on the Republican ticket and his chances are far better than 1 in 30.

More to the point, we oppose him because, for example, “he lacks the character, values, and experience to be president” and that he “would be the most reckless president in American history.” Those are comments from a letter signed by 50 national security experts who served in Republican administrations, including two former Homeland Security secretaries, two former deputy secretaries of State, a former CIA director, and so on.

On trade: Sure, I’m troubled by Trump’s protectionism. So is Steve Moore. A year ago, he and Larry Kudlow wrote a piece in the National Review, criticizing what they call “Trump’s Fortress America Platform,” finding the candidate’s trade policies similar to those of Herbert Hoover, and positing that the “recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade.”

Moore and Kudlow added, “Trump is also running full throttle on an anti-immigration platform that could hurt growth as well as alienate the GOP from the ethnic voters it needs to win in 2016.”

Trump’s trade and immigration policies derive from isolationism, fueled by race-baiting fearful white supremacists, which should be repugnant to any Republican. I was four years old when Ronald Reagan was elected, and his vision of optimistic globalism is what shaped my childhood and attracted me to the party in the first place.

It’s why I vote Republican and why I later worked for Jack Kemp, Rob Portman, Susan Schwab, Josette Sheeran and Bob Zoellick, among other Republican leaders very different in worldview, fitness and preparation than the current nominee.

Trump, by contrast, has touted an approach he calls “America First.” Who knows whether he has read enough history to recognize this term? It was, of course, used by the pro-German, anti-Semitic organization that in the 1940s tried to get the U.S. to sign a treaty with Hitler and stay out of World War II.

On the third straw man: I could not agree more. Republicans should focus their on congressional races. That’s why we asked the RNC to shift resources to those races. That’s why we asked Republicans giving money to Clinton’s campaign to stop, and give it instead to House and Senate races. Because of Trump, and only because of Trump, the GOP may lose control of the Senate and suffer significant losses in the House.

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The New York Times now has the likelihood of Republicans losing their 4-seat majority in the Senate to the Democrats at 60%. Prior to the conventions the forecast was 60% for Republicans. I would encourage Mr. Moore to not discourage ballot-splitting, and instead, help us get the millions of Republicans disaffected by Trump to the polls.

I don’t agree with all of Clinton’s policy positions, but I am confident she will be a better president than Trump. In my admittedly limited experience – I worked for Republicans in my 20s and not as an operative but as a nerd, writing memos – he simply does not have the temperament for a serious job, and she does.

Often in foreign policy we focus on least worst options. And there are no heroes. There is only living to fight another day.