I became homeless in March, 2016. Up until then, the GOP had been my political house. They could count on my support in every election, even though I was occasionally less than enthused about their candidates. I even served as a delegate for my district in the 2016 primaries.
But Trump happened. I watched in amusement, then disbelief, then horror, as a lifelong big-government liberal with the morals of a mob boss and the personality of a middle school bully steadily climbed in the polls. I watched the debates, trying to figure out what people saw in him, but all I saw were lame insults and half-baked policy ideas, delivered with comical bravado.
So many times, I thought he’d committed political suicide, that his campaign would surely not survive his latest offensive remark or clear exposure of his unfitness for office.
- He doxxed a fellow candidate on live TV.
- He promised over and over that Mexico would pay for a wall. (How did anyone ever take him seriously after this? How?)
- He said this about his only female fellow candidate, Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”
- He retweeted white supremacists when they praised him.
- He declined to disavow David Duke, claiming he didn’t know who he was. (He did.)
- He retweeted this image of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, alongside Melania Trump:
- He publicly repeated a National Enquirer tabloid story insinuating that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald assassinate JFK.
- He said this to Jeb Bush during a debate: “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that.”
- But even if we put all those aside, as long as I live, I will never, never understand how this was not the end of it:
And this is just the primaries, folks. I haven’t even touched on the presidential campaign, or his administration so far.
The point is, I stopped considering myself a Republican as soon as it became clear that the party was willing to allow a man like this to become their standard-bearer. I love this country too much. I respect myself too much.
I can already hear the outraged cries from many of you, dear readers. “But Hillary!” Bear with me. I have not forgotten her.
The most accurate way to sum up the 2016 election is that each side nominated the only candidate who could possibly have lost to the other. All Democrats had to do was not nominate Hillary Clinton. She was the most unpopular presidential candidate since they started tracking the statistic over 30 years ago (with the sole exception of—you guessed it—Donald Trump.) Not only did they nominate her, they screwed over Bernie Sanders in the process, angering his supporters and losing part of their base. Whine about the FBI all you want. If you don’t want the FBI involved in a presidential election, don’t nominate someone under FBI investigation. Denounce Russian meddling all you want—I certainly will. It happened, and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen again. But Russians didn’t force HRC to take Wisconsin for granted, or to call half the country “deplorable.” Most Democrats I know still have not admitted that they lost this election because Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. Embrace the truth, my friends. It will set you free—free to choose a better nominee next time.
Many of my friends and relatives, people I love and respect, voted for Donald Trump in November of 2016. A few were enthusiastic about it. I will never understand that sentiment. Most of them, however, held their noses and cast a vote against Hillary Clinton. I can understand this. I disagreed, then and now, but I understand.
I have Democrat friends and relatives, too, people I love and respect, who voted for Hillary Clinton. A few were enthusiastic about it. I will never understand that sentiment. Many of them weren’t enthused about her, but felt it was an easy choice to cast a vote against Donald Trump. I can understand this. I disagreed, then and now, but I understand.
I’ve seen Democrats on social media urging NeverTrump conservatives like me to vote Democrat just until Trump is out of office. To help restore some modicum of sanity to our government. I don’t blame them for trying, and I know some Republicans are planning to do just that. But other than opposition to Trump, what does the Democratic Party have to offer me? They call me callous and greedy for disagreeing with them about how best to fix health care, even though their last sweeping health care legislation has been the worst thing my government has ever done to my family. They virtually call me a murderer every time someone else shoots up a school. They tell me that if my young son experiences gender confusion, he is definitely, literally a girl, and I if I hesitate to give him irreversible, life-altering treatments, it’s because my heart is filled with hatred and bigotry—even that I am abusive, and the government should take him away from me for his own safety. Then the same people tell me that that same son I felt growing and moving in my womb was not a human being, and that I had a sacred right to kill him if I chose. All while claiming to be the party of science.
No. There is no place for me in that party.
So. I’ll wander for a while, here in the political wilderness. Maybe the GOP will be salvaged someday. Maybe it will purge the xenophobes and demagogues and hypocrites and outright racists from among its ranks. I’m not holding my breath.
I can wait. It’s lonely here, but I sleep well at night.