Anybody But Trump

We write as two native North Carolinians who love our state and our country. Both of us are studying Government at Harvard University, and each of us intends to devote a substantial portion of our life’s work to public service. But there the similarities end. We hail from small towns on opposite ends of the state and from opposite ends of the political spectrum. One of us spent Election Day 2012 phone-banking for the Obama campaign while the other was coordinating a team of poll-watchers for Mitt Romney.

We believe in different solutions to the issues that our nation currently faces, but we share broadly similar goals. We believe that America is an exceptional nation, but that in this election Donald Trump poses a severe threat to our future prosperity, our national defense, and our beloved constitution. We implore our fellow North Carolinians to vote against Trump on Tuesday for the sake of our generation and all those who will follow us.

We admit that we understand Trump’s appeal. We’re angry, too. We want to believe in our political system, but even in our short lives we have already seen so much brokenness in Congress and at the White House. We often hear from friends and family who are considering Trump that he ‘can get things done.’ But at what cost? For conservatives, belief in the virtue of limited government is paramount. Trump does not for a second believe in limited government or the primacy of the Constitution. He believes that the power of the government ends wherever his ambitions do. Trump’s campaign rhetoric and outlandish proposals have been steeped in authoritarian rhetoric, and he has made it clear that he thinks there will be no limits on his power. When asked how he would get American soldiers to kill and torture the families of terror suspects, he responded, “They won’t refuse me.” This is not the America we want to inherit and certainly not one that we could ever be proud of.

We ask you to consider the possibility that Trump’s made-for-TV persona may not be all it appears. Trump is undeniably a rich man. But Trump’s record reveals a personal empire built on legally and morally dubious foundations: four bankruptcies in the last 25 years, perversion of the legitimate power of eminent domain for personal gain, and the routine utilization of the backbreaking labor of undocumented immigrants whenever it suited his purposes. These are all well-documented facts. His threats to levy 35% tariffs on Chinese goods, an action that would severely increase the price of consumer goods that many Americans use everyday, make us wonder whether he truly understands how a free market works. Trump might take care of his own bottom line, but he would be disastrous for your family’s.

Trump’s ‘straight-talking’ style is appealing, especially in contrast to the inflated campaign promises that we have unfortunately grown used to. However, although Donald Trump may speak his mind, he also changes his mind all the time — and on important issues. He supported the Iraq War, an assault weapons ban, partial birth abortion, and a litany of other policies…until he suddenly didn’t. If you ever hear Trump say something that you agree with, just wait a few days and we guarantee he will change his mind. How can voters ever know what they’re bargaining for? We believe that North Carolinians deserve more than a smooth-talking flip-flopper — we deserve a candidate who respects the American people enough to follow through with our demands.

Our greatest Presidents are remembered for uniting — not dividing — the country. How would a man who has demonized women and minorities — groups that make up more than half of our country — ever begin to unite us as a nation, or to stitch our broken political system back together? The idea that Trump could succeed as President is about as crazy as believing that attending Trump University would make you a billionaire. That Trump has the gall to call these abhorrent tactics ‘leadership’ would make Reagan and Kennedy turn over in their graves.

North Carolina’s state motto is Esse Quam Videri — “to be, rather than to seem.” Donald Trump promises more than any President could ever deliver, and promises things that no President ever should. To elect him would be to forsake our founding ideals for the cheap authoritarianism that Trump is peddling like snake oil. We reject Trump because we celebrate America’s long tradition of constitutional governance, a tradition that we want to ensure future Americans will also enjoy. Let us prove that we are the people and this is the nation that we claim to be. Let us be, rather than merely seem.