As a new contributor, a lot of you probably don’t know my background. I have always loved politics and elections. I live for them. I’m a news junkie. I recently ran an unsuccessful campaign for the State House here in my home state of Georgia. I was up against a 6-term incumbent, one who was well known and well funded. It was my first official foray into the political arena, and it taught me quite a bit. That kind of loss hurts no matter what, but I ran an issue-focused campaign and I’m proud of that. I got my name out there, and put my beliefs on the line. One of the things most important things that I learned: people want to know what you’re for, not just what you’re against.
This particular point used to be one of my hang-ups with the Republican Party. The GOP has always been stellar at opposition, but doesn’t always perform at the same level when it comes to governing or providing a positive, policy-driven vision for America. That was one thing that was extremely attractive about the Democratic Party; they could make you feel much better about the future. The Democratic Party cornered the market on being forward-thinking and uplifting rhetoric. It took me a couple of election cycles to realize that “positivity” didn’t always equate with “success”, and it didn’t always mesh with the principles of the Constitution. My stepfather used to tell me that I was really a Republican, I just “didn’t know it yet.” As I got older, I figured it out. I purchased a home, paid property taxes, paid attention to the taxes coming out of my paycheck, and immersed myself in the meticulous detail of my conservative icons. I read book-after-book on Jack Kemp, Dwight Eisenhower, Calvin Coolidge, etc. I started paying attention to the principled suggestions of Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, Scott Walker, and Ben Sasse. I bought into the inclusive message of Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and John Kasich. I watched diversity take hold of conservative principles with Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, and Tim Scott. As a millennial, I developed a hopeful vision for the future of America. I had every reason to believe.
Then 2016 happened.
I watched every interview, press conference, and debate. Everything that attracted me to the Republican Party was being ripped to shreds before my eyes. The worst possible caricature of conservatism took the stage with 16 other candidates and burned the whole thing down. No positive future, no policy-driven ideas, no brighter future, no inclusive party; just the worst possible anger-driven campaign, coated with dark bigotry, and reveling in ignorant populism. As a millennial, Donald J. Trump has painted a picture of America that I refuse to hang in my home. We’re better than this.
Let’s review this past week…that’s right, only the last 7 days:
-Hillary Clinton has lead by an average of 10 points in the last 3 polls
-Hillary Clinton now leads by an average of 8 points (this uses the last 10 polls)
-Donald Trump suggested the fall of currency after the Brexit vote wasn’t that bad because it would help get more tourists to his golf course
-Two more top officials from State and Treasury Departments of past REPUBLICAN administrations have said they’ll be forced to vote for Ms. Clinton because DJT is truly that unqualified.
-George Will (HUGE intellectual, conservative writer) left the Republican Party
Secretary Clinton’s lead has been increasing each week, for the last three weeks. Larry Sabato is the only Electoral College genius I’ve ever seen; his new prediction? A bloodbath. 347 EC votes for Ms. Clinton, and 191 for Mr. Trump. That doesn’t even account for the new poll showing Arizona going blue. All of this comes as bad news for those of us who are #NeverHillary, #NeverTrump, and #DumpTrump at the convention. However, I have come to the realization that I’m falling into the same trap that I used to hate about the GOP. I am firmly against the top two candidates this election cycle, but I have failed at stating what I’m for. So, let me tell you what I’m for…
This brings me to my new favorite hashtag: #DraftWalker. Scott Walker, for those who may not know, is the 48 year old Governor of Wisconsin. He won 3 gubernatorial elections in 4 years, from 2010-2014. This included beating back a well-funded recall attempt from folks unhappy with his union busting. This man worked for the American Red Cross before jumping into politics. He knows service. He lost his first election for the Wisconsin State Assembly by nearly 40 points. He knows perseverance. His résumé includes time as a State Assemblyman, Milwaukee County Executive, and Governor of Wisconsin. His is firmly pro-life, has a 100% rating from the National Rifle Association, and turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit in Wisconsin into a budget surplus. Governor Walker implemented business tax cuts, dramatic collective bargaining reform, expanded the school voucher program, pushed through a voter ID law, and has been a strong advocate for free trade. He is truly the poster-boy for a conservative reform governor. He has poured his heart and soul into advancing the principles of conservatism, while reaching out to independents and young voters in Wisconsin. He has fought the good fight, and doesn’t mind putting the blood, sweat, and tears into winning elections and governing. There are issues that I don’t agree with Governor Walker on, but I respect his principle, and I especially respect his willingness to foster civil discussion and debate. He has vision and intellect. Basically, he is everything about the Republican Party that DJT is not. Most recently, Governor Walker has been open about believing that convention delegates should be able to “vote their conscience.” I agree. Hillary Clinton has some of the most uniquely disqualifying characteristics of anyone who has ever run for president…but her path to the White House looks more and more like a cakewalk every day. So (as a young person) what’s one more hashtag in my social media world? It’s an unlikely scenario still, but add #DraftWalker to my repertoire.
Oh and Scott, if it doesn’t work out this time, and the delegates in Cleveland choose to handcuff themselves to a loser who walks away with his tail tucked between his legs, I’ll still appreciate the Republicans who didn’t sell out for the sake of a party label. I’ll still be here in 2020. I hope you will too.