Now that the Donald Trump takeover of the Republican Party is complete and the businessman is the GOP’s official nominee for president in the November election, it is abundantly clear that the party that once was of Dwight Eisenhower’s, Ronald Reagan’s and even Abraham Lincoln’s is no more. Ronald Reagan once said that he switched from Democrats to Republicans not because he left the Democratic Party—he did it because the Democratic Party left him. Now, the Republican Party has left us, conservatives; now the Republican Party has left me.
I have always held dear the values of common-sense conservativism, compassionate conservativism, classical-liberal conservativism. I’ve always voted for candidates, wherever I’ve lived, that represent these values to me. I’ve always voted for political parties that represent these values.
The GOP has become a pro-regulation party
Now, after the horrendous travesty that was the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, and the past year of presidential primary campaigns, it is clear, more than ever, that the Republican Party no longer stands for those values I and other conservatives hold dear. The Republican Party, abducted, kidnapped by Donald Trump and his mentality, as saddened as I am to say this, is no longer my Republican Party.
It’s not only the persona of Trump that represents this metamorphosis of the Grand Old Party. It’s also that the party now represents values that are not quintessentially American, not guided by common sense, and have nothing to do with what the party of the Gipper, Ike and Honest Abe should stand for.
The best representation of what today’s GOP stands for is its 2016 platform, a 60-page document that sets the standards of the party for this election cycle and the next four years of government—should it be awarded the presidency and a congressional majority. It’s a document full of statements and clauses that firmly belong in the trash can of history, not in a modern, 21-century political platform.
One of the clearest shifts away from the conservative, center-right ideology is the GOP’s call to revive the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that draws a strict line between commercial banks and investment security firms. This is straight out of the left-wing playbook, something that Bernie Sanders would advocate (and, I think, in fact, does) for. The party that is supposed to stand against regulations that hurt businesses, free markets and the economy, actually calls for an outrageous regulation of the banking sector that would essentially end fee-free retail banking and put in place strict regulations what banks can and cannot do with their own money. This, for me, is incomprehensible.
The GOP has definitively abandoned “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
Another example of moving to the other side of the moon from common-sense conservativism is support for Donald Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexican border. The country that once proudly proclaimed, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is now, indeed, saying, “No vacancies.” This is not what a traditional American conservative party—a party that should firmly uphold the thesis of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—could in any serious measure even contemplate, let alone put it in its election platform. And yet, there it is…
And, of course, it’s not only Trump’s wall that is standing against this principle. It’s also the GOP’s call to apply “special scrutiny” to refugees and people from countries where Islamic terrorism has set its roots—essentially equating all the people from these countries, these regions with the small minority of those who wish harm upon the free world. Only in 2012, the Republican Party clearly said it affirmed “our country’s historic tradition of welcoming refugees from troubled lands.” Only four years have passed…
The aforementioned motto of “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—something that are supposed to be the unalienable rights, given to all human beings, according to the very basis of the United States, the Declaration of Independence—has also seemingly been forgotten when the GOP adopted the clause calling for overturning the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize equal marriage. This country has come so far in equal rights and the SCOTUS’s decision to grant every consenting adult the right to marry was welcomed by millions of people who, indeed, are pursuing their happiness—and yet there’s a party that urges the reversal of this decision. Let’s remember the words of another conservative, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron: “I don’t support gay marriage despite being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a conservative.” Isn’t it the time for the Republican Party to realize that “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other,” to quote Cameron again.
The platform goes on and on with ideas and principles that the GOP wants to implement—ideas that should have no place in today’s world, and, moreover, principles that have nothing to do with the traditional, common-sense, compassionate conservativism for which the Grand Old Party has stood for decades.
An entitled asshole for the nominee
And then, of course, we have Donald J. Trump. A New York businessman with an orange complexion—something that is called “the worst spray-on tan in history”—who has bankrupted more businesses than most people start in a lifetime. A wannabe politician who describes himself and is described by his supporters as an outsider—maybe there’s a reason he’s an outsider and should remain so—who can’t hold a steady position on anything for more than a few seconds (maybe he has the memory of a goldfish?). A person who wants to hold the highest office not only in America, but the entire free world, and yet can’t go a day without offending—and I’m not talking about political bickering, I’m talking about outright insults—anyone.
The Republican Party’s nominee for president is a man who is admired by dictators and who himself admires them back. He’s a man who has more than questionable relations with the Russian regime—the very regime the previous GOP nominee for president, Mitt Romney, called the greatest geopolitical foe of the United States, and rightly so. He’s a man who doesn’t like anyone but himself—and even worse, he likes to hear himself, and only himself, talking.
Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president in 2016—a man whose emotional intelligence is an absolute zero. He’s the perfect example of a person who thinks he owns the world and the people in it. He’s the perfect example of a person who thinks he’s too privileged to live by the norms humans usually live by. He’s the perfect example of an entitled asshole—someone who hasn’t worked a day in his life and seriously thinks everything should be given to him, even if it’s the presidency.
Even worse, Donald Trump, the man who could seriously end up running the world’s most powerful country, has more recently proven he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the treaties and commitments of the United States. A man who actually says he wouldn’t uphold NATO’s Article 5—the collective defense clause—unconditionally. This is a man who should be feared by every single ally of the United States—and is loved by every single enemy. Vladimir Putin is already preparing a feast for January 21, 2017.
We’re talking about a person who’s outright dangerous to the interests and wellbeing of the United States itself. A Manchurian Candidate, as Anne Applebaum put it, who for some reason is not feared, but oddly celebrated in the very country he is preparing to destroy.
Have we seriously lost our fucking minds?
I’m a conservative
Taking all this and all that has happened in the past year into account, I can unfortunately no longer identify myself as a Republican. It’s not because I left the Republican Party; it’s because the Republican Party left me. I have not changed; my views have not changed. I still stand for and believe in the conservative values, the conservative ideas and causes and I still identify myself as conservative. But it’s impossible for me to say I’m a Republican when I don’t agree with the core principles of the party.
I have already declared my support for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. He’s not an ideal candidate, but neither is he “the lesser evil” many seem to seek this election cycle. I continue to support principled conservatives with whom I find common ground, wherever they might run, and whichever party they might represent.
I continue to wait for the day I could again identify myself with a political party I agree with on most—or even most important—issues. This would have to be a party that once again stands up for freedom, free economy and markets and less regulations instead of more, individualism and individual rights, human rights, strong defensive foreign policy, outreaching domestic policy, reason and common sense, and the traditional American values and rights. A party that makes America what it is—exceptional.
Because I love this country with all my heart. I only wish for this country to love us as much as we love it.