Conservatives have fought against over-reaching government attempting to control every aspect of citizens’ lives. Donald Trump has made a living through that kind of government. He brags about bribing officials and manipulating the government to serve him. He supports the Kelo decision, which held that the government could seize property from a poor person and give it to a rich person, on the grounds that the rich person would pay more in taxes. This is, essentially, voting against Mafia corruption in Chicago by electing Al Capone to mayor.
Conservatives have fought against higher taxes. But Trump has taken the approach of Bernie Sanders, in raising taxes on the wealthy. Because Trump inherited his wealth, he assumes that everyone can absorb higher taxes, and doesn’t even realize the punitive effects of high taxes, both on upstart businesses and as a deterrent to new businesses. This has been a core tenet of the Republican Party for at least fifty years.
The foundational principle of the Republican Party was racial equality, first expressed as abolition of slavery and later as civil rights. Democrats founded the Klu Klux Klan to stop blacks and Republicans from reaching elected office in the South. Trump has embraced the quasi-ethnic nationalism found in fringe parties in Europe. He’s attacked Mexicans for border security, Muslims for terrorism and Chinese for sneaky trade deals. The only things left are to accuse African countries of laziness and Israel of being greedy.
Republicans have rejected otherwise strong candidates for insufficient or insufficiently sincere opposition to abortion. These same Republicans, who have tanked viable candidates on this one issue now back a man whose lifelong position was a mainstream Democratic “personally opposed”. Only after Trump started running for President did he flip to pro-life. But even that was a ham-fisted parody of a pro-life politician, talking about punishing women and other absurd things pro-life people never say, on top of his regular praise for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
As for party loyalty, Trump has attacked successful Republican leaders in Democratic states as poor leaders and ineffectual. Not because it’s true, but because they failed to bend the knee to Trump. (And sometimes, just because he could) But Trump has made it clear that he feels he is entitled to the Party’s respect and loyalty. Il Duce doesn’t give respect, he only demands it.
Even on issues where he, apparently, agrees, with the GOP, he sounds like a parody. From promising to make Mexico pay for border security to suggesting criminal penalties for women who abort their pregnancies, Trump sounds like a “Republican” from Family Guy or The Simpsons. His anti-terror program is to ban all Muslims, possibly including US citizens, and to murder women and children because they are related to enemies of the US. His trade policy is basically a temper tantrum of tariffs and import taxes, likely resulting in a destructive trade war. Trump has essentially promised to continue President Obama’s foreign policy of embracing America’s enemies and distancing the US from America’s friends. He promised neutrality on Israel and talks with the North Koreans. The end result will be the same as the talks President Obama had with the North Koreans and President Obama had with the Iranians. I withheld my support from Governor Hogan* out of fear that a lack of philosophical grounding would cause him to support Democratic failures. Here, Trump is promising to emulate the biggest foreign policy failures in the last thirty years.
Given Trump’s complete rejection of the entire Republican platform, and his embrace by the base the same party, why would I continue to be a member of the party? Why would any serious liberty-minded individual remain?
*Governor Hogan has, during the drafting of this piece announced that he would not even vote for Donald Trump. Governor Hogan has demonstrated a willingness to fight on issues he promised to fight on, and now a willingness to take on a popular leader within his own party on principle. I will be donating to his re-election campaign as a result.