There is no longer a major conservative party in the United States.
As a conservative, I have always found it increasingly difficult that Donald Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee. Since my involvement with politics began in the 2008 elections and skyrocketed in 2012, I’ve been attracted to the Republican Party’s platform of small government and conservatism. Until 2012, I was a staunch Tea Party conservative, mainly attributed to Michelle Bachmann’s debate performance and speeches. After the Republican convention of that year, I was gravitated strongly towards Mitt Romney’s style of “Establishment Conservatism” that generally valued shared bipartisanship over party loyalty. With his eventual loss and the GOP’s post-mortem dissection of his campaign, I was subdued to the liberty wing of the GOP. Libertarian-Republican Senator Rand Paul had the shared bipartisanship that Romney could employ but, unlike Establishment Conservatives, he generally employed this theory in social politics as opposed to fiscal policies. Also, Paul wasn’t afraid to stand-up to those within the Republican Party, unlike Mitt Romney (at the time). Paul’s style of conservatism pushed my social stances towards the left and my economic stances towards the right, while also preserving my sense of a necessary bipartisanship.
My evolution from the typical “Tea Party Conservative” to the “Conservative Establishment” and the eventual “Liberty Conservative” cemented my belief that the Republican Party was the welcoming, “big tent” party that it had preached. I was amazed at how the party would stomp out then President Obama’s multiple policies of tax increases, greater government spending, and lack of military communication. The Party would zero in on President Obama’s issues and deflect them head on, never skipping a beat. We seemed poised to nominate a big name conservative for 2016. We had Tea Party names like Ted Cruz and Scott Walker. The Establishment of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The Liberty Conservatism of Rand Paul. The outsider of Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. Then came the unstoppable Trump, ramming through the primaries, blind to the destruction his campaign cause.
When Trump became the nominee, the big tent came crashing down. The conservative party of Ronald Reagan became the helm of the nationalist populist message of Donald Trump. The scariest thing isn’t that the Republican Party committed a 180 switch, it’s that it actually worked. Donald Trump, someone who has zero political or governmental experience, has been repeatedly caught in a lie, has bragged about the sexual assault of women, has alienated entire groups of American citizens, won. When President Trump took office, he and Press Secretary Sean Spicer touted about Trump’s inauguration that it “was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period both in person and around the globe.”. A lie. The campaign and party ran on the principle that Hillary Clinton was unfit for the job due to her failure to tell the truth, while doing the same in office. I saw the alt-right not only become the preferred news source of the President of the United States and the Republican Party, I saw it come into the White House in a newly created position for Breitbart head Steve Bannon. I saw the intelligence community of the United States being second to our enemy, Vladimir Putin.
More recently, Republican congressman, and vehement Trump stumper, Steve King became the poster boy of the alt-right in the House. The Iowa congressman uttered that we “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”, in a direct contradiction from the American dream. The President and his staff directly insulted and threatened the most conservative caucus in the House, the Freedom Caucus. With the nomination and eventual election of Donald Trump as a Republican, I can now confidently and definitively say that there is no longer a conservative political party in America.