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It’s hard in the chaos and Bedlam of the Trump era, the chaos of 2020, to take stock of the enormous losses we’ve had as a people. Between the hundreds of thousands dead, millions unemployed, and the untold amounts of human suffering caused by a necessary yet terrible isolation, we might not recognize just how many towering figures of history and culture have been lost in the interim of this era of American politics.

In many ways those we’ve lost represent the end of an era of America, and the birth of a new one. That this has happened under the auspices of the most unworthy leader we’ve had in modern history is a tragedy. …


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Republicans have prided themselves in being the party that viewed America as the “shining city upon a hill.” This pride was rightly deserved considering America’s unique and exceptional role in human history. That being said, the beauty of America is that we are a nation in constant refinement, looking to create a more perfect union. At some point, Republicans stopped caring about creating a more perfect union, content to look to yesterday for perfection, rather than boldly charting a course for our descendents. Any new party for conservatives must contribute to the market of ideas to create America’s future. …


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Extolling the litany of hypocrisies the Republican Party engaged in over the past years is a cottage industry, and something that everyone reading this should be familiar with. However, taking an honest look at the failure of American conservatives remains necessary so long as a majority of Republicans in power insist nothing is wrong or needs to change. The current state of the party is reflective of a political group that has lost its way, reaping the consequences of disconnecting from issues its voters cared about, and abandoning hope it can win over new voters. …


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One of the pivotal failures of the Republican Party was refusing to provide a positive, forward looking vision for America’s future. Conservatives by nature look to the past to chart a course for the future, but that reverence for our past cannot substitute for a clear understanding of America’s future. Any new center right party will not just have to be a home for conservatism, but work in concert or tension with progressives, liberals, libertarians, and the far right to responsibly govern. Moreover, every American has a unique vision for what America is and should be, and these visions will always be in competition with each other as we strive towards a more perfect union. …


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America is an idea worth fighting for. Time and time again in our history as a nation, when we were at our most divided, despondent, and uncertain, we heard these words. America is an idea worth fighting for. The idea of the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. That everyone, regardless of race, creed, sexuality, or nationality can pursue their lives free of persecution. That everyone has the right to self-determination. This notion is such an ambitious prospect that it deserves the devotion and work of all Americans in order to achieve our ideals. …


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To say that the Trump Era is a transformational moment for America is so common as to be cliche, but it is true nonetheless. With the passing of American Hero John Lewis, this truism has never been more apparent.

Over the course of the Trump presidency, I’ve sat and watched as American icons and heroes passed one by one. George Bush. John McCain. Elijah Cummings. John Lewis. Prince. Aretha Franklin. Toni Morrison. Stan Lee. Barbara Bush. Charles Krauthammer. C.T. Vivian. Billy Graham. Chris Cornell. Chester Bennington. Carrie Fisher. Adam West. George Romero. Bernice Sandler. These are men and women who through their professional and personal lives made America a better place. These were flawed people all, but people who strove to do good and give unto others. And with their deaths, it feels as if an era of American History has been closing on us. …


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In the process of growing up, one of the most important skills a child learns is how to admit when they made a mistake and to learn from it. This same ability is held by countries and political apparatuses. Some of our most celebrated moments in American history come from admitting past faults and working to remedy them. The passage of Brown vs Board of Education and the ratification of the 19th Amendment both took that ability to reflect and admit past fault. This capability as a country is core to American Exceptionalism and our historical uniqueness. Very few countries have so readily been able to admit fault and change their behavior accordingly. …


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Recently, Heath Mayo put out a Twitter poll questioning where Never Trump voters would like to see their efforts: Influencing the Democrats, Reform the Republican Party, Join a Third Party, or Start a New Party. There are obvious merits and challenges facing all four possible options, and through this article we’ll examine them in order to help Never Trump and Principles First voters discern the best option moving forward.

Option 1: Join the Democrats as the new right wing of their coalition

This is the option that I believe is the least tempting for a Principles First voter. Many of us are currently in a political alliance with the Democrats because Trumpism is perceived to be an existential threat to the welfare of the republic. However, that does not mean that many, if any of us, have subscribed to liberal tenets or policy. …


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Following the chaos of the Revolutionary War, the first priority of our country’s founders was to provide peace and stability. In a world that was used to monarchy and about to be plunged into revolution after revolution, the founding democracy of the modern era had to prove that it could govern and care for the people’s needs as effectively as any Old World power. America had just won its independence from the most powerful cultural and military force in the world; now it had to justify the existence of a new form of government to the citizens of the colonies.

It was with these concerns in mind that our Founding Fathers created our system of government. The separation of powers, the freedoms granted by the constitution, and our civil society were all built to ensure that our freedoms were both enshrined in law and provided transparency and accountability to the citizens. …


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My family came from a country destroyed by communism. My grandparents brought my mother to America as a child, fleeing the oppression of the Castro regime. For Cuban-American community I grew up in, the words “revolution” and “socialism” are synonymous with “tyranny” and “oppression.” As I’ve noted earlier, I grew up in the conservative media bubble, living in fear of the day that America would elect a socialist as president. And then, an amazing thing happened.

It turns out Republicans, the party of Eisenhower and Reagan, were totally cool with socialism, as long as it was disguised as “capitalism.” You see, Trump, in a political bind, promised billions in bailouts to farmers for their “loyalty” in his poorly thought out trade war with China. He routinely uses tariffs and government bailouts to decide winners and losers in the economy, as we see with his bailouts of coal mines and industrial jobs. In combination with his tax cuts, disproportionately focused on the upper class, what we have is Trump using the government to redistribute wealth and gain more control of the means of production. …

About

Christian Thrailkill

Writer on the intersection of Art and Politics

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