SD Rostra

We Mean What We Say: #NeverTrump

Support your local and congressional candidates this election, but we’re better off without Donald Trump.

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, his supporters are attacking Republicans who refuse to vote for the Donald––Not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary! is their inevitable cacophony.

I dislike Hillary Clinton as much as the next Republican––she’s a flagrantly corrupt, morally bankrupt, and grossly incompetent liberal Democrat. Sadly, the record shows that Donald Trump is probably no better, and may be a whole lot worse. Indeed, Trump is an unstable, dishonest liberal populist with a poor moral compass and authoritarian leanings whose understanding of government fluctuates from mortifyingly ignorant to frighteningly authoritarian. I’ve taken the time to summarize some of his biggest frauds and failings with comprehensive citations just so we’re clear.

Trump used to be a registered Democrat who advocated such liberal policies as single-payer health care and a $5.7 trillion wealth tax. He called Ronald Reagan a “con man,” thought Bill Clinton was our best president over the past 25 years, considered George W. Bush “evil,” speculated that Hillary Clinton “would make a great President,” praised Barack Obama as a “strong leader” who understood the economy “on a comprehensive level,” and in 2012 depicted Mitt Romney’s illegal immigration plan as “mean spirited” and “maniacal.”

Trump has donated $1.3 million to politicians, and most of it has gone to Democrats. In 2010, he donated $10,000 to the Democratic Committee of New York State. From 1999 until 2015, Trump donated over $350,000 to New York Democrats, compared to $231,000 to New York Republicans. He donated $50,000 to former Obama aide Rahm Emanuel. He even donated $10,000 to Hillary Clinton. No need to ask Trump to put his money where his mouth is; if he put his mouth where his money has gone, his rhetoric would be entirely different. He defends his funding of Democrats by claiming it was a business decision, but doesn’t that make us wonder what else he would do to benefit himself while leaving the rest of us high and dry?

Trump’s liberal credentials are beyond dispute, but his supporters quickly point to Ronald Reagan as an example of a Democrat turned Republican. This is a flawed analogy, though, because Reagan’s ideology gradually evolved over the years, and he clearly and convincingly articulated why he changed. Donald Trump, on the other hand, offers no explanation for his quick and convenient transformation, and switches his positions so rapidly that we have no idea where he actually stands. Trump flip-flopped on the minimum wage and taxes less than a week after becoming the presumptive nominee. Who knows how else he’ll “evolve” as the general election approaches?

All indications suggest that Trump is a liberal pretending to be a Republican, but it really goes much deeper than that. He’s simply unfit to hold our highest office.

His desire to “open up” our libel laws to make it easier to sue people for expressing their opinions is unconstitutional and frighteningly authoritarian––that should immediately disqualify him from serious consideration. His interview with the Washington Post editorial board was so rambling and incoherent that he was running out the clock because he could not answer direct questions, or he’s in dire need of psychological evaluation. Seriously, read the transcript––it’s disturbing.

He most likely committed fraud in the Trump University case, and he even implied that a federal judge was biased against him because “he’s Hispanic.” He selected a self-described “white nationalist” as a delegate. He insulted Heidi Cruz’s appearance, joked about Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, and basically called Carly Fiorina ugly. He practically brags that the IRS has audited him 12 years in a row––and the IRS Commissioner’s statement that successive audits are rare suggests that Trump is either dishonest about the frequency of the audits, or his filings are extremely questionable. For crying out loud, he doesn’t even know what the GI Bill is.  And although free-market and liberal economists alike agree that free trade is good for the economy, Trump favors protectionism.

Some terrifying breaking news: Trump claimed he could reduce the federal debt by convincing creditors to take a haircut, and upon learning this would cause interest rates to climb, assured us we could simply print our way out of bankruptcy.

In other words, Donald Trump is authoritarian, volatile, misogynistic, racial, bullying, disturbingly ignorant, and downright vile. Someone with this background wouldn’t even pass cursory vetting for City Dog Catcher, so it’s mind boggling that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States.

As a general rule of thumb, I don’t vote for terrible candidates. Maybe it’s a matter of principle, or maybe I just don’t like the idea of terrible candidates making important decisions for me; I don’t know, it’s just one of those things. Either way, Donald Trump is a no-go.

Trump’s done nothing to earn my vote––and plenty to lose it––so why should I give it to him? Ah, that’s right; Not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary! is being angrily shouted into computer monitors and smartphone screens both near and far.

Well, let’s be clear: Trump’s supporters are nominating him despite our pledge to never vote for him, and now virtually every major head-to-head poll shows Clinton trouncing Trump. Therefore, it’s far more accurate to say that Trump supporters are electing Hillary. This is a self-inflicted wound, and his supporters can only blame their own lack of foresight.

Furthermore, both candidates are awful––and I would rather have an awful president hailing from the opposition party than mine. Otherwise, if Trump is elected and becomes the trainwreck we have every reason to expect, then we will own that failure, and it will haunt us for years or even decades to come. Hillary is bad, but the Bernie Sanders revolution indicates a far more liberal Democrat would replace Trump in 2020. Whereas, if Hillary is elected and turns out to be as awful as we fear, then let’s position ourselves to elect a true and principled reformer rather than a snake oil salesman. Supporting an awful Republican to defeat an awful Democrat is extremely short-sighted, and the bigger picture is far more important than sacrificing our entire future atop the Altar of Donald Trump.

Let’s make one thing very clear, though: Not voting for Trump should not mean staying home in June or November. To the contrary, there are too many worthy candidates running for important offices for us to ‘sit this one out.’

Instead, there is a third (party) option. If Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential nomination, then I will vote for Gary Johnson, the likely Libertarian Party nominee, and vote for Republicans down the ticket. This is a bold vote for fiscal conservatism and individual rights, and a tangible stand against the deplorability of Donald Trump. Let’s restore some sanity to our party and demand legitimate policymakers who can guide us from the Trump catastrophe to a New Republican future.

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