I have been a Republican my entire life, which has not been easy as a university professor. Not only am I a Republican, I consider myself to be a conservative. I have served as a Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, America’s leading conservative think tank.
I will never vote for Donald Trump. Never!
Why won’t I support Trump? As a Republican and conservative, I find Trump to be neither. Yes, he has been a Republican since 2012, but he has spent more time as a Democrat, independent and Reform Party candidate than as a Republican. In 1990, Trump said that if he ever ran for public office, he’d do better as a Democrat. In 2000 he ran for the presidency as a member of the Reform Party, after leaving the Republican Party and calling it “crazy right.” It would be nice to have a real Republican representing the party.
His political views have aligned more with the Democrats than the Republicans. He once considered himself to be strongly pro-choice, and he pushed for a single-payer health plan opposed by conservatives. Trump has also opposed entitlement reforms that most conservatives believe are essential to get the federal budget under control.
The fact that Trump is barely a Republican and hardly a conservative is important to me, but it is not the most important reason to oppose his nomination. Does anyone know Trump’s position on the major political issues? Instead, Trump offers simplistic solutions to “bomb, build and ban.”
“Bomb the s___ out of ISIS.” Problem solved. Build a wall and that will end illegal immigration. Even better, he promises to get Mexico to pay for the wall. I would like to take a bet on that happening. Ban 1.6 billion Muslims from entering America. If only the world was as simple as Trump.
Trump promises to make the military strong again. Sounds good, but how will he do that? No one knows.
Trump promises to be the best jobs president ever. Have you heard his plan for job creation? Neither have I.
I oppose Trump because he brings out the worst, not the best, in the American people. He encourages violence at his events. He refuses to denounce a hate monger like David Duke. He demeans anyone who disagrees with him. Instead of “making America great again,” Trump encourages policies to “make America hate again.”
Trump consistently degrades women, but says he loves women. He calls Carly Fiorina ugly and says Megyn Kelly has “blood coming out of her whatever.” Do we want our daughters and mothers treated like this?
Trump attacks members of the party he wants to lead. John McCain is not a war hero because he was captured. George W. Bush should be impeached for lying about weapons of mass destruction. Ben Carson is labeled a “child molester,” and Ted Cruz is “Lying Ted.” Never mind that Politifact designated Trump as “the lie of the year” for grossly distorting the facts on three-quarters of his campaign statements.
Trump and his supporters point to the fact that he has won more votes and more delegates than any other Republican candidate. That is true.
What they don’t mention is that Trump is the most unpopular presidential nominee since David Duke. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 67 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of Trump. About the only thing that Trump beats Hillary Clinton on is being more unpopular than she is. Her unfavorables are at a dismal 53 percent.
When two-thirds of Americans see you as “unfavorable,” it is hard to conceive how Trump could develop a successful campaign strategy. Even if he could, he is among the least qualified individuals to run for the presidency.
Trump’s emotional immaturity, at the very least, disqualifies him. If Trump responds to foreign leaders like he does to his opponents in America, he would destabilize relationships with many allies.
In addition to the damage that Trump would do to our friends, he would devastate the Republican Party for decades to come. His supporters are loyal to Trump, and not to other party candidates. “Down-ticket” Republicans would be wiped out in a disastrous Trump defeat.
So, what choices are left to Republicans and conservatives who find Trump unacceptable. Some won’t vote. Others will vote for Clinton. Some may hope that a conservative alternative will be on the ballot under an independent party or Libertarian Party label.
As a partisan, it is never easy to reject a candidate of your party. If Trump is the nominee, I will not let him turn the party of Abraham Lincoln into the party of fear and hate.
For me, the choice is easy.
Darryl Paulson is Professor of Government at USF St. Petersburg. Column courtesy of Context Florida.