The year was 1980. I was all of 6 years old. I asked my dad if he was going to vote for Jimmy Carter to be re-elected. He asked me why he would do that, and I responded that “things didn’t seem to be going too bad” for our country.
Ah! The innocence of youth!
Dad quickly gave me my first crash-course in economics. There were other things going on then, too, but I wasn’t paying attention. I did, however, get an eye full of the posters (with a silhouette of a woman with a rolling pin getting ready to hit something) that were hanging from the ceiling at the supermarket which said “Beating back inflation.” The explanation of how Carter’s fiscal policies were behind those posters was all of the convincing that I needed. I’ve been a Republican ever since.
Today, Donald Trump became the “presumptive” nominee of the Republican party. And so I have come to the conclusion that I didn’t leave the party — the party evidently left me.
Let me explain: I am both a social and a fiscal conservative. My “hot button” issues are economic. While my social conservatism certainly informs my vote, I find it far easier to pin a politician down on economic issues than moral ones. But, that doesn’t matter anymore. The Republican party’s standard bearer is neither socially or fiscally conservative.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s look at the record. How does Donald Trump stack up as a conservative? I was going to list a whole bunch of issues and discuss each. But, I think that these two articles by the Daily Caller sum things up pretty nicely:
And, when you get down to it, the typical Trump voter wants MORE government, not less of it. And if Donald Trump is the Republican party’s nominee, then the Republican party must now stand for… yeah, MORE government, not less of it.
That’s not my party. And as long as Donald Trump is the standard bearer, I can’t, in good conscience, vote for the party. I voted in the primaries for Rubio. I could have voted for Fiorina, or even held my nose and voted for Kasich or Cruz (although his selling point of “I don’t work well with others” isn’t a strong one in my book). But, the rank-and-file have spoken and I’ve now discovered that this party doesn’t describe my politics. Its ideals are no longer my own. Its aspirations are no longer my own. It’s no longer the Party of Reagan.
So, what does that mean for me in 2016? I’m still not entirely certain.
I don’t think that I can vote for Hilary Clinton (to say nothing of Bernie Sanders) for the same reasons that I can’t vote for Trump — they’re just too far left for me. So, that means I’ll need to find a 3rd party or I’ll just have to leave the space to vote for President blank.