I’ve always supported the Republican. In 2008, I was only 14-years-old, but I supported McCain-Palin because they upholded conservative values. When I turned 18-years-old as primary season of the 2012 election kicked off, I was excited to give my first vote to Mitt Romney. Throughout off-year elections, I’ve consistently supported Republicans.
As 2016 dawned, I was a fan of Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio. I openly supported and voted for Sen. Rubio in the Virginia presidential primary. To my and many others dismay, Donald Trump defied the odds and became the presumptive nominee in early May.
Since Mr. Trump bested his 16 Republican competitors, I’ve been very vocal in my censure of him. Never in my lifetime has the Republican party seen anything like this. A man who has absolutely no political experience and lacks a consistent track record of supporting Republican values is now the parties only hope at keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House come November. It’s truly appalling.
Even though Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, I will not be voting for him in the general election this November.
Before you start spewing the “not voting for Trump is supporting Hillary” talking points, let me clear up a few things. Just because my set of beliefs aligns with that of the Republican Party does not mean that I am beholden to it. I vote based on principles, individual issues, character, and a myriad of other factors. If someone doesn’t fit with the values I deem crucial in a candidate– especially one running for Commander-in-Chief– I cannot and will not support them.
I’ve received a lot of flack from family, friends, readers, and random #TrumpTrain trolls on Twitter attacking me for daring to not fall in line and support Mr. Trump. “But the Supreme Court,” people say. “His advisors will hold him accountable,” others chime in. “It’s about stopping Hillary,” another will add.
While each of these points are valid and carry weight, none of them justifies me casting my vote that I take very, very seriously for someone whom I do not believe will honor the office of the President and his promises made on the campaign trail.
I find it rather humorous that so many people vow that even though Trump has no experience, he’ll hire “the best advisors the world has ever seen” who will help him be a GREAT president. Have these people paid attention to this election cycle at all? Donald Trump answers to Donald Trump and no one else. People may suggest for Mr. Trump to follow the map and turn left to get home, but there’s a 50/50 chance he’s going to turn right just for the hell of it. That’s who Trump is. No amount of advisors will change that.
With the threat of ISIS growing each day, it becomes more and more evident that Mr. Trump’s lack of foreign policy knowledge and experience make him an actual threat to the presidency. Advisors can come up with hundreds of plans, but if the person making the final decisions doesn’t truly comprehend the consequences of their actions, there’s a pretty big chance we end up making more than one costly wrong turns.
A lot of the time, Republicans attack members of the #NeverTrump movement all while claiming it’s a small crowd of defectors who won’t make a difference (I can’t wait for them to blame us for costing Mr. Trump the election when Hillary wins in November). Supporting the #NeverTrump movement hasn’t always been easy. Never once have I considered supporting Mr. Trump, but I’ve received more hate from fellow Republicans for refusing to support the nominee than I’ve ever received from Democrats.
As election day draws near and the end of this infamous election cycle is within sight, I’m both relieved that it’ll finally be over and also scared for the future of the conservative movement. Before the 2016 primaries, the GOP was making waves in minority outreach, Millennial branding, and an ideological revamp to make the Republican party a big tent. The candidacy of Donald Trump has set the party back years, if not decades.
More than ever before, young people specifically are rejecting party establishment and supporting Independent candidates. This election cycle has made me and many of my fellow Millennials realize that while I uphold conservative values, never will I ever be bullied or coerced into voting for someone because of their party affiliation. That’s just as bad as people who say they’re voting for Mrs. Clinton simply because she’s a woman.