Four years ago if you told me I would be most likely voting for the Libertarian candidate in the 2016 presidential election, I would’ve laughed and thought you were crazy. Well, four years and a few tears later that’s my current reality. I first got involved in politics during the 2008 presidential election between now President Obama and Senator John McCain. Although I was only 14-years-old at the time, I quickly fell in love with the fast paced, ever-changing atmosphere of political campaigns.
In 2012, I was a sophomore in college and a Romney supporter from day one. When I turned 18 in January of that year, the first thing I did on my birthday was mail in my voter registration. A month later, I cast my first vote for Romney in Virginia’s primary election and that fall I would vote for him again. Because my university was located in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area (one of Virginia’s political hotbeds), Romney & Co. had events in our neck of the woods on a weekly basis that fall. Each week, my friends and I would phone bank, door knock, and help out at rallies for the Republican Party.
After months of truly believing Romney stood a good chance of stealing a second term from President Obama, the election night results in 2012 were extremely disappointing. However, the electorate had spoken and President Obama won, fair and square. Plus, 2016 was only four years away. After eight years of Obama, the Republican party was destined to pick an amazing candidate who would easily beat the Democratic nominee. While waiting for 2016 to arrive, I stayed busy with school, internships, campaigning, and running Red Millennial.
As the election got closer, I was excited about the future of the GOP. The people who were rumored to be running for the Republican nomination represented a wide array of conservative values that showcased how the modern Republican Party was different from it was eight and even four years ago. The GOP was modernizing and embracing the “big tent” approach that would welcome more and more young people to the party which was exciting after so many went to the Left in 2008.
Once Senators Cruz, Paul, and Rubio kicked off the election season by announcing their campaigns, I remained hopeful. Then Carly Fiorina and Scott Walker joined. Everything was shaping up to be an exciting election season.
That changed quickly. The announcements kept on coming. When Donald Trump announced his bid for the nomination, it was mildly surprising, but didn’t mean much to me at the time. With all of the seasoned politicians who were well-qualified, I never thought for a moment Trump would become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Now that this is in fact the reality we face today, I find it hard to put into words my disappointment in the GOP. Not just those who run the party (Preibus & Co.), but the voters who have made the rise of Donald Trump possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand how this has happened. The combination of angry voters, open primaries, and the Trump campaigns “Let Donald be Donald” game plan have led to him beating the men who were viewed not long ago as the future of the GOP. For many people, Trump has been a refreshing change of pace due to his openness and Washington outsider appeal. However, this does not negate my disappointment. The people who voted for Donald Trump have let a man who represents hateful, closed-minded backwards “republican” ideals to take on presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
If these people had merely researched Mr. Trump’s track record instead of listening to the promises he has been making on the campaign trail, they would have likely not voted for him. If one simply looks at the donations that Trump has made over the past 10-15 years, you’ll find thousands donated to the likes of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and even Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. While Trump has claimed this was just good business, it doesn’t absolve the fact that he has personally help elect Democrats in recent elections.
Likewise, Trump may claim that he now possesses a staunchly Republican ideology, but he has flip-flopped so much on extremely important issues (abortion, universal health care, etc.) it’s hard to accept the claim that he truly is a Conservative.
The other day, I saw a really great analogy regarding Mr. Trump on Twitter. If your church hires a new pastor who comes in and starts teaching lessons that go directly against the Bible, you don’t sit back and say, “Well, he’s the new pastor. I guess we have to listen to his un-Biblical advice.” You say something. You don’t blindly follow a leader just because they’re the new leader.
Don’t vote for Donald Trump just because he’s the Republican presidential nominee. Don’t vote Republican for the sake of voting Republican. Doing that is just as bad as Democrats voting for Hillary Clinton strictly because she’s a woman. If you truly believe in the Conservative values that you claim to hold, explore all of your options for this years’ presidential election. Don’t buy into the “I have to vote for Trump to keep Hillary out of office” plea. That’s just Trump supporters trying to justify their own support by begging you to join them. Don’t compromise your morals in order to save a dying GOP.