This election cycle stinks. There are two choices and they are both corrupt, seem to be filled with hate, and have deplorable lifestyles that do not represent myself, nor America. But, still, my favorite day of the year is election day. This is because election day is the day where every American over the age of 18 is allowed to go to the polls and cast their vote for what they believe in — for whoever they believe in. It does not matter if that person is voting for someone whom I disagree with. What matters is that in this country, each person has the right to voice their opinion and participate in democracy. This does not mean that I will not fight to the end to convince others to vote for a particular person. But it does mean that at the end of the day, I have respect for the other person, as they are partaking in the same democratic activity as millions of others — the act of voting.
Most of my life involves politics. I began my first internship for the Republican Party of Virginia in 2012. That year, I campaigned for Mitt Romney nearly every waking hour that I was not in school. After that, I campaigned for Pete Snyder in 2013, state Sen. Waugh, and a plethora of other candidates. Now, I’m working on a master’s degree in political management. In short, politics is part of my daily life.
I know what I believe in, and I know why I believe it. I’m a Christian and a conservative. This is exactly why this race has been so hard for me. Knowing what I believe, and being constantly surrounded by politics, I usually make up my mind early in the race. But this election has been different. This election took me until just recently to confidently make a choice.
When Donald Trump first announced his candidacy, I was asked whether I would vote for Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, if that hypothetical match-up were to exist. I laughed off the notion with no true answer. I thought there was no way our nominee could be Donald Trump, and thus there was no reason to have to contemplate my support for him. But now, the notion that I once laughed off has become a reality. The Republican nominee is Donald Trump, a man who has lived his entire life contrary to the principles of the Republican platform.
But this November, like every other election, I will vote. And like every other election, I will vote based on who I believe will best help the country, whether or not I believe they will win. If I voted because I knew my candidate would win, I would have voted against my conscience many times. I want to be able to vote for someone who I can one day tell my children about, and not be ashamed. I want to vote for someone that I can go to my God to and say, “This is who I voted for and I voted for this person to bring glory to you.”
I will not vote for someone who is tied so heavily with Planned Parenthood. I will not vote for someone who is corrupt. I will not vote for someone who is morally bankrupt. I will not vote for Hillary Clinton, and I will not vote for the person who thought she would make a great president just eight years ago. Mistakes are one thing, but when mistakes become repetitive actions, they become more than mistakes – they become a lifestyle.
I cannot condone Donald Trump’s lifestyle. If I one day have sons, I will not want them to think that Trump’s lifestyle is the standard for the type of man they should grow up to be. If I one day have daughters, I will not want them to think that Donald Trump is the standard for what type of man they should marry.
On top of his lifestyle, Trump’s personal beliefs on the issues are shaky at best. He has switched parties at least five times since the late 80s, only recently becoming a Republican again in 2012. If Trump were to be the Democrat nominee, Republicans would be using his lifestyle and his constantly flip-flopping views as major leverage. If we wouldn’t condone his behavior if he was labeled a Democrat, why should we condone it just because he is labeled a Republican? He could have easily run under a different party, and if he did, his current base would probably be tearing him to shreds.
I will not vote for someone simply because of the label they have chosen. I will vote for someone because their lifestyle backs up the label they have chosen. I find being forced to vote for a Republican, simply because I am a Republican, to be contradictory to the core beliefs of freedom that are espoused by the party.
But just because I am not voting for Donald Trump does not mean I am not voting — and it definitely does not mean I am not voting for a conservative. I will vote. I will vote for a conservative who I believe in. I will vote a pro-life candidate who espouses conservative principles and has CIA experience. I will vote for someone who is either on the ballot or registered as a write-in in at least 40 states. I will vote my conscience. This election, I will be voting for Evan McMullin.