OK. The Donald is an uncouth bully with the morals of an alley cat with a platform more flexible than Betty Spaghetti. What else am I leaving out? Oh, an unhealthy dose of nativism and a bad authoritarian streak.
Anything else? OK, that will do for now.
That being said, he seems to have won the GOP race fair and square. His foes have ceded the field after last week's Indiana result, and only a technicality is likely to get in the way of his securing the nomination.
However, pulling that "the party decides" card would be a scorched earth tactic that would would result in a decade-plus of Democratic rule, given that Trump and his supporters would go third-party in all likelihood. A history of the Reform Party in Canada would be a good start for anyone thinking of going that route; the resulting split of the right-of-center vote gave the Liberals the run of Ottawa for a decade until the factions got back together.
At this point, you have three options. Trump, Clinton or some sort of protest vote, counting not voting at all in order not to encourage them as a protest vote.
If you like the status quo, then Clinton is your choice. You'll roughly get an Obama third term where the rule of law is merely a suggestion. You'll also have the fringe benefit of a first dude who makes the Donald look good; Trump at least has better taste in women and lies with more panache than either of the Clintons.
However, I'm assuming most of the Peanut Gallery isn't thrilled with the status quo.
What protest vote do we choose? Constitution Party? They're Trump as a Baptist deacon, or maybe Catholic deacon, since Pat Buchanan fans like the CP. Too minarchist and too nativist for me to stomach.
Libertarian? Generally clueless on foreign policy and on a lot of moral issues, although the last few years have reminded us that government often doesn't wear the white hat. If they can get a renegade Republican to jump ship, they might have an outside shot at a few states, but the usual tin-foil-hat brigade among the capital-l Libertarians isn't much of an upgrade.
I think I'll pass on that protest vote, unless some much more viable options are presented between now and November.
That leaves us cycling back to Trump. For the moment, let's leave the style behind and look at the content.
We have a guy who is a businessman with an bachelors from Penn's Wharton school, one of the more respected business programs in the country. He has been a critter of the left for most of his life, donating to more Democrats than Republicans, but it's a good question whether that was fitting in with the east-coast elites that he was selling and renting real estate to or his personal beliefs.
So, on balance, he's somewhat of a limousine liberal with a nativist streak. That's an improvement or a wash when compared to a 70s feminist with an internationalist streak.
To the extent that Trump would apply business savvy to politics, it would be a positive step over more centralization of control by Washington in a Clinton administration. It likely won't be as full-bore Hayekian as conservatives would like, but it's the best offer on the table. Trump would at least tack somewhat right on economics compared to Clinton.
Trump's foreign policy leaves a bit to be desired, but so would Clinton's. Trump might look to start a trade war with China and would not likely be looking to decrease trade barriers, but a increasingly left-leaning Hillary Clinton is hostile to such deals as well, splitting with her husband who shepherded NAFTA and the WTO treaties through Congress in ways that a second Bush senior term wouldn't have been able to. Also, candidates tend to talk tougher about China than they actually govern, so I would expect Trump to take a bit off his rhetorical fastball in Sino-American relations.
Taking a tougher line on ISIS might be helpful. Trump seems primed to over-react and do any number of war crimes in dissuading jihadis from continuing their behavior, but one would assume that cooler heads would prevail, especially when Pentagon folks will note that they have to refuse illegal orders. On the flip-side, a Clinton policy would likely continue the Whack-a-Mole approach of being seen to be doing something without actually doing the hard work of putting "boots on the ground" to oust Daesh from their strongholds.
On immigration, Trump also leans towards overreacting, but the congressional power of the purse will rein that in a bit. Unless he's willing to self-finance his wall, he'll need to get Congress on board to get that done. Souped-up regulation to track down those folks overstaying their welcome and better compliance with labor regulations designed to check one's ability to work here legally would also require an OK from Congress.
A literal round-up of each and every illegal immigrant would require a round up of each and every American as well, so that everyone was accounted for and the ones that aren't good to stay are shuttled off, keeping only the "legit" folks. That's not going to happen, since that's even beyond the scope of the most nasty police states to pull off.
However, if Trump would overreact, rigor mortis would set in on the Clinton team, who has little interest in enforcing the law on that front.
The caricature of Trump as Hitler 2.0, running roughshod over the rule of law and common decency, is unlikely to happen without starting a civil war. The political system will reign in those excesses... I hope.
Thus, my informed reaction would be to get a clothes pin, stick it over my nose, and vote for the skunky GOP nominee as a modest improvement over the alternative. Trump would seem poised to do less damage than Clinton when the system as a whole is taken into account.