I'm sorry, I tried.
In print, on air, online and in person, I urged GOP primary voters to send to the White House — chronologically — Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. It seems they didn't listen.
That leaves real estate magnate Donald J. Trump as the Republican Party's standard-bearer. He will not run next fall against the ghost of Thomas Jefferson, the reincarnation of Ronald Wilson Reagan or even Nebraska's former US Sen. Bob Kerrey, a thinking Democrat — all tantalizing alternatives.
Trump most likely will battle Hillary Rodham Clinton — a far-left, borderline serial criminal whose presidency would be rocket-fueled by revenge.
Hillary will spend four to eight years auditing conservatives, stripping pro-freedom groups of their tax-exempt status and curbing their free speech. She will grab the guns of law-abiding citizens. She will pick Americans' pockets so she can gild those of her Big Labor pals, starting with the teachers unions.
A President Hillary would order liberal lawyers across the federal bureaucracy to sue "global-warming" skeptics under the anti-Mafia RICO statute, an idea US Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she has "discussed" and "referred to the FBI." Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general already are suing those who refuse to genuflect before the "global warming" altar.
Hillary's leftist lawyers will double down on President Obama's crusade to strip college men of due process when liars accuse them of sexual harassment or rape on campus. And Hillary will nominate left-wing federal judges to high-five all of this — until death do them part.
Many on the right accurately chide Trump for not being "a consistent conservative." Among others, Trump's trade and entitlement-reform positions confirm this. But Trump's enthusiasm for the Second Amendment and his embrace of a 15 percent corporate tax, ObamaCare repeal, health savings accounts, waterboarding and securing the southern "border" demonstrate that he's quite conservative — if not every time, then many times.
Clinton, however, is not a consistent conservative. She is not even an occasional conservative. She is an anti-conservative. Nowhere is Hillary to the right of Lincoln . . . Chaffee. She favors devolving power and tax dollars to the states . . . never.
This is the verdict that 10,924,682 GOP primary voters have reached: On one side, an inconsistent conservative who will stand with the right — not always, but at least sometimes, and perhaps often.
On the other side, either a self-avowed socialist from Vermont (who wins primaries but gets swamped by undemocratic superdelegates) or, more likely, a stealth socialist who is nearly as far-left, but also deeply, irretrievably corrupt.
One of today's enduring mysteries is why Hillary isn't already wearing a prison-striped pantsuit after abusing 2,115 classified emails, the Wall Street Journal calculates, and benefiting from the bribes-for-favors pump called the Clinton Foundation. She's under active investigation by "fewer than 50" FBI agents, the Washington Post reports.
But, phantasmagorically, this bothers the left about as much as if she acquired 49 new Facebook friends.
And remember the Supreme Court seat so unexpectedly vacated by the late Antonin Scalia? Assuming that vacuum persists, Trump might fill it with federal appellate Judge Janice Rogers Brown, Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick or US Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
There is zero chance Hillary even would glance at the résumés of these committed constitutionalists. The best-case scenario is that she would nominate former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz to the Supremes. Conversely, she could reward Obama for keeping her unindicted by tapping him to occupy Scalia's chair — for life.
Thus, on Election Day, I will pull the lever for my fifth choice for president: Donald J. Trump. He's the only thing standing between America and the woman who would turn our exceptional country into Christina Kirchner's Argentina, if we're lucky, or Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, if we aren't.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.