Why I’m a Democrat in 2016

I love the Republican Party.

As the natural party for those on the right, I watched with great pride in 2012 as Mitt Romney took to the stage to accept the Republican nomination for President. In fact, I’ve re-watched all acceptance speech since Ronald Reagan’s in 1980 and most since Barry Goldwater’s in 1964 — and each time I’ve always felt a tinge of fondness and proudness.

And in 2016, there were 17 candidates who sought the Republican nomination, and I would happily support all fourteen of them with the exception of Rand Paul, Donald Trump and perhaps Ted Cruz, although I probably would’ve come round by November.

And the guy I was jockeying for in 2016 was Rick Perry — the former Texas Governor. And today, even though he may have joined the Trump Train, I still hold on to his words he spoke during the campaign — that Trump is a cancer on conservatism, a racial demagogue who is unfit to be President.

I still believe in the two policy speeches he gave — one of the need to spread equal opportunity to all people, especially African-Americans who, for far too long, have been left behind as well as to take a stand against the corporate greed occurring right now in Wall Street. 

If we want a fighter for the little guy, contrary to what was said at the Republican nomination, Donald Trump is the exact opposite. He was born into immense wealth, though not a sin, calling a $1million dollar gift from his parents as a “small gift” demonstrates how out of touch from common America he is. And he has often fought the little guy — the mighty and powerful guy who fights and manipulate the little guy. And we’ve heard stories of how Trump pays contractors less than what was promised after threatening them to accept it or drag it out for years in the courts.

And the once gallant party of Lincoln — the champions of equal opportunity — has now become unrecognisable as it embraces a platform of isolationism and protectionism as it embraces Trump in record numbers despite his stances on the TPP and NATO.

Radical ideologues also now come to dominate the party in the halls of power — unflinching and uncompromising on matters of great importance to the American people. On gun control, they have refused to pass common-sense legislation on expanded background checks and denying terrorists the ability to buy weapons despite wide bipartisan support. They continue to deny Merrick Garland his constitutional right to hearings in the Supreme Court, despite being the so called ‘defends’ of the constitution. Even if majorities in both Congress and the Senate, it cannot govern effectively.

And in 2016, it has nominated a man who calls for an outright ban on Muslims and the advocating of building a physical wall. It has become a party driven by hate and fear. Even when a Muslim was on the stage supporting Donald Trump, he was booed. This is no longer a party which I can associate with when it cuts down specific groups and races. Conservatism, as I believe, is still an ideology which lifts people up towards success, not excising them from society.

Its leaders who once gushed with criticism of Trump and how he does not embody modern America were swift in their endorsements and praise of him once he secured the nomination, exposing a lack of moral backbone as they sacrifice their values at the altar of power.

The party also remains fundamentally out of touch with modern America. Despite an autopsy after its disastrous 2012 defeat saying it must deal with immigration reform and engage with minority groups like Hispanics and African-Americans, it has failed to do so, instead lurching towards the path of mass deportations.

It refuses to deal with the issues which has dominated modern America and the world — matters such s immigration reform, gun control, equal rights for all and climate change. Instead of being the ‘pro’ party, it has become the party now known for what it opposes.

And I’m not turning against the party because I hate it — I admire its rich history and the leadership and direction that Speaker Paul Ryan is taking it — “A Better Way” for America. But it does not deserve to win the presidency so long as this party remains lost in the wilderness, struggling for an identity.

After 2016, the party must rebuild from the ground up because the current status quo should not define this party.

And that is not to say I agree with everything that the Democrats say or propose. But I do agree with most of the issues they are raising — issues such as a 21st century Glass-Stegall. Gun reform, climate change, racism in America, poverty, equal opportunity and corporate greed on Wall Street.

Some of their proposals I do not support and cannot support. But so long as they’re speaking on the issues, they’re raising the issues, the compromises and approach to take can come later.

I hope the Republican Party will rebuild — I really hope so. But as it stands, I cannot support it and that is why I’m with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats for the White House in 2016.