Trump, Ryan and Pence at a table looking at each other with flags in the back

Dear members of the Electoral College, 

You have a momentous decision in front of you. That your upcoming vote for the President of the United States on December 19, 2016 matters is an understatement. Your choice magnifies not only your duty to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, but also your conviction that the next president will in good faith do the same.  

Many of you reside in states where “winner take all” prevails, but in truth, no federal law requires an elector to honor that pledge. The Electoral College provides mechanisms by which you can decide what’s best for our country based on your conscience and your duty. 

No doubt, President-elect Donald Trump is a controversial figure. By what measures might you logically decide whether or not he deserves your vote? The three-part test – Right, Moral and Good – can be applied to many difficult decisions in life. (See original essay below.)  Let’s put Mr. Trump to the test. 

Right. Right, in this case, is synonymous with correct. The truth. The cold hard facts. Mr. Trump has time and again shown himself to be fact challenged. He has claimed a “massive landslide victory in the Electoral College.” … even before it met. He asserted that no one mentioned Russian hacking before the election, but the topic was covered in the October debates. Vaunted news organizations like the New York Times and Washington Post have widely criticized his disregard for the truth. Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame called Mr. Trump’s lies worse than Richard Nixon’s. Clearly, Mr. Trump fails the “Right” test. 

Moral. Moral conduct embraces the Golden Rule. It’s how you treat others and the opposite of lies, harm, theft and greed. Websites and news articles abound with Mr. Trump's offensive quotes, comments and tweets. From the Boeing corporation to a gold star family, no one is immune from his virulent attacks. More than a few of his 3,500 lawsuits resulted from refusing to pay contractors, workers or employees. Yet, he lives in a gilded 30,000 square foot, $30 million penthouse in the heart of Manhattan. Considering his conduct toward women, the disabled and minorities, Mr. Trump also fails the “Moral” test. 

Good. Good is two-part test of both beneficence and quality, often bridging to the greater good. The question becomes, is Mr. Trump “good” for our country? First, is he beneficent? The Washington Post contacted hundreds of non-profits with ties to Mr. Trump, but found paltry evidence of charitable giving. Secondly, is he characterized by quality and functionality? Certainly he is wealthy and owns beautiful buildings. But that’s not enough. His many conflicts of interest, refusal to reveal his taxes, failure to place his businesses in trust and so much more have divided our nation and induced the dysfunction of a constitutional crisis. Sadly, Mr. Trump fails the “Good” test. 

Clearly, Mr. Trump falls way short of being Right, Moral and Good. That should disqualify any leader from taking the reins. 

The United States has well over 200 years of experience with freedom, justice, tolerance and the rule of law. We have been the beacon of hope for the world because we believed in something greater ourselves. Our long history of striving for the right, the moral and the good are what made America great. Please cast your electoral ballot for someone who reflects and can carry forward our nation’s treasured values embedded in those three tenets. Please vote for someone other than Donald Trump. 


The Essay “Right, Moral and Good” published in 2008 for President Obama’s Inauguration. 


It has been said that we are living in a time of great change. There are new voices in Washington, the legislature, and even in the world of activism. If we could offer leadership advice at this pivotal moment, we wish that change, which has been given so much lip service, would be based on the principle of right, moral, and good. We encourage leadership to weigh decision making and subsequent action using this three-legged principle. 

Right, moral, and good means: 

Right: Right refers to the information on which decisions are made and asks if that fact base is correct. What are the holes in it and where might it be potentially wrong? Is the information on which actions are planned logical? Does it pass the smell or common sense test? Can it be substantiated by independent, third party sources? Right is not a feeling; it is the truth and cold hard facts that withstand repeated tests to discredit them. 

Moral: Morality concerns principles of conduct. For moral teachings, we often look to the Golden Rule or the 10 Commandments. The Golden Rule quite simply states, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." As most people don't seek harm, we should behave toward others as we would want them behave toward us. The 10 Commandments also provide a moral compass. "Do not bear false witness against your neighbor" - don't lie. "Do not steal" - don't take things that aren't yours. "Do not covet." - don't desire or scheme to obtain that which belongs to another. Morality doesn't equate to any specific religion or doctrine; all religions have their tests of moral conduct. Still, moral conduct pivots on the query: does action find its roots in lies, harm, theft, or greed? Would I want to be treated this way? 

Good: Good is actually a two-part test. There is the definition of good as beneficial and also good as of high quality. The beneficial test of good deals with well-being. Good draws a direct line to positivity, prosperity, health, and vitality. It easily bridges to its benefits to others through the greater good. Good being of high quality equates to functional excellence. When something is good, all parts work, all pieces fit together, beauty radiates, and intended results are achieved. In both definitions, good refers to a plural or to the larger whole. As a two-part test, good asks, is action both beneficial to and functional for the larger whole and for the greater good? 

The right, moral, and good paradigm of decision making is a three-legged stool that will topple when one leg becomes compromised. Actions cannot be moral or good if their fact base is lacking. They are neither right nor good if based in lies, theft, or greed. They can't be right or moral, if they function improperly or harm overall well-being. 

We encourage leadership both nationally and locally to weigh these three tenets in the decision making process and as it considers actions based on this process. If we are to engender change at this pivotal time, then change should mend the rips and tears in our culture. Engaging in thinking that is right, moral, and good - holistically - gives all of us the best chance of achieving the results that we all want and for which we chanted change in the first place.