The man is vile.  There is no question about this.  He is a demagogue, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, and fundamentally unfit to hold elected office (and possibly a seat at anyone but David Duke’s dinner table.)

This is clear to me. It is clear to Muslims. It is clear to Hispanics.  It is clear to Blacks. It is clear to (most) women. It is clear to Democrats. It is clear to some moderate Republicans.

But it is obviously not clear to 35% of Americans.

35% of American choose Trump. No matter what.

This is about the number that holds.  We know this because no matter what he does, no matter how outrageous the things he says, he always gets about 35% in the polls. For about 35% of Americans, the racism, xenophobia and misogyny aren’t bugs- they’re features.

35% of Americans choose Trump in two-way and four-way match-ups.

But I am interested in the 7-10% who choose Trump in a two-way match-up but someone else in a four-way match up.

As depressed as I am to discover that a third of my fellow citizens harbor racist, xenophobic and misogynistic sentiments, I am not actually all that surprised.

I am curious however, about those who know in their hearts that Trump is dangerous and vile, but in the end cannot bring themselves to vote for Hillary.

I assume many of them to be decent people in their day-to-day lives.  And yet they are willing to support a man who they know to be dangerous.

I could rail against them that this is a choice that says as much about their character as Donald Trump’s, but it’s too easy to do that, and frankly, unfair.

My question to liberals is this:  with the court in the balance (and the rights of women and minorities tied to the court), what would you be willing to tolerate?

It’s easy to demonize Hillary Clinton.  Clearly.  But for all the hyperbole about her, she remains a solidly moderate to progressive Democrat who lies and behaves unethically at about the same rate as every other politician (an admittedly low bar).  For the most part, even those for whom Hillary was not their first choice, she remains a candidate who essentially does not violate democratic values.

But what if Hillary Clinton were not the nominee and instead our nominee was someone as vile and dangerous as Donald Trump is?

What if we had nominated someone who you felt violated the norms of decency and posed a threat to the Republic?

What would be your calculation?

What would it take for you to vote for a Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney?

For Rand Paul?

For Chris Christie?

For John Kasich?

For Ted Cruz?

If you are like me, you feel that these men’s values and policies are diametrically opposed to what you want for this country.

Who would our nominee need to be for you to vote for one of these men? To cast a vote that would bring another Scalia, the roll back of rights for women and minorities, the unification of church and state?

If it is hard for you to imagine someone so vile, if you find yourself arguing that our candidate couldn’t possibly be worse than the Republican nominee, then you find yourself in the position of that 7-10% of the population who choose Trump when the third parties are taken away.

Have some compassion for them.  It may be easy to say put your country before your party, but for most Republicans (as it is for most Democrats) they have chosen their party because of their view of what is right for the country.

I do not agree with the values of the current Republican party, but I feel for those who must make this choice.  I know if our places were reversed, I would be struggling.  Buy your moderate Republican friend (if you have one) a drink.  They need it.