What #NeverTrump Means to Me

Until this year, I can’t remember a time when I would have even considered opposing the Republican nominee for president. I’ve always marched in lock-step with the “lesser of two evils” argument and always championed the nominee of the party even if I wasn’t crazy about them. I never thought I would want to oppose the nominee and I never thought I would have to. But my beliefs, my principles, and my convictions are deeper than a party. I am not owned by a collective entity that has the ability to supersede my ability to think for myself.

Granted, I have been opposed to Donald Trump as a presidential candidate for five years now. I remember hearing his CPAC speech in 2011 and finding it rather interesting. Here’s a guy that can’t be bought, he says he’s pro-life, he’s brash, he’s aggressive, he could probably fight the left wing and the media with a vigor we’ve never seen before. I suppose at that moment I got caught up in what many people see in Trump today. But I never take a candidate’s sales pitch at face value, so I dug deeper. And I didn’t like what I found.

Here was a guy who wasn’t conservative at all, at least not from his actual record. He had lavished thousands upon thousands of dollars on left-wing candidates and causes. Based on that alone, I figured he would never win a Republican nomination. But there was more: piles of dirt that would sink any candidate like a rock. I knew that if I could find the scandals I did, the left would have even more stockpiled against him if he ever actually ran.

As we reached 2015 and the primary season wore on, I had to know if I could support him if a candidate like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz didn’t win the nomination. But what became clear to me as I researched him further and watched how he handled himself and his campaign was that this man should never take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There are three basic reasons for my opposition to him: his character, his stances on the issues, and his overall inadequacy to fulfill the role of Commander-In-Chief.

I could rehash the reasons why his character is deficient, but first of all, I’ve already done that before, and second, it should be plainly obvious to anyone who is willing to do the slightest amount of research.

He is not a conservative. He has openly distanced himself from being one. But more than that, there isn’t a single conservative stance in his life that he has remained committed to. Even his current stances are moderate at best. He supports putting American citizens on government lists, without due process, that will keep them from obtaining a firearm. He has no plan for entitlement reform. He is not committed to balancing the budget or reducing the nation’s debt. His stance on abortion has been known to change within a matter of hours. He has, however, consistently believed that government and businesses have the right to seize private property.

If someone is willing to run for President of the United States, I expect them to have a grasp on the issues, intellectual curiosity, and to understand the Constitution. Donald Trump fails at all three. On numerous occasions, he has failed to demonstrate a cursory understanding of issues like nuclear war, healthcare, foreign policy, or even basic civics. He has said he would fight to protect articles of the Constitution that don’t even exist. He has said he would “open up the libel laws” so that he can sue any member of the press that writes something negative about him. His ban on Muslim immigration and interest in creating a Muslim citizen database should be troubling to those of us who believe in the freedom of religion, even if said religion is not our own.

Perhaps one of the most troubling things to me about Trump is how he would plan to use our military. He has said that he would “go after” or “take out” the families of terrorists, essentially admitting that he would direct our troops to murder women and children, which is considered a war crime at best. He has said repeatedly that he would “bomb the oil and take the oil” of our enemies, using the phrase “to the victors belongs the spoils.”

But beyond these things, Donald Trump will taint conservatism and the Republican party. The demographics that the Republican party needs to make inroads with the most are the specific ones he has alienated: women and minorities. He has provided the media with the perfect, living caricature of a Republican. He is a wealthy white male who behaves like a sexist and a racist. The Democrats and the media will remind the American public of this for years to come. They are already using him to attack Republican members of Congress.

What’s even more troubling is the types of people that are attracted to Trump. White nationalists, anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis have embraced him en masse. Former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke has tied Trump’s success to that of his own. Nazi members of the alt-right movement are volunteering for the Trump campaign. Trump has even retweeted white nationalists. Without a doubt, they believe him to be their champion.

This is why he must be defeated and defeated soundly. The more Republicans embrace him, the harder it will be to remove the stench he brings. To support him, even reluctantly, is declare association with someone who has disgraced and embarrassed the conservative movement and our nation as a whole.

I’d note that this isn’t an easy decision. There is no consolation in the fact that Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood, will win the White House. She is an enemy of everything I believe in and I desperately wanted to see her defeated. But the reality is that the nomination of Donald Trump by the Republican party was act of forfeit to Hillary Clinton. This is something that my solitary vote has little control over.

The #NeverTrump movement, by design, is a temporary movement. After this election, many of us will return to the Republican Party. Some will not. Some may seek refuge in the Libertarian Party or try to build a new party. Yet, in spite of the transient nature of this movement, it is the embodiment of standing up for what you believe is right. It’s about not compromising in the face of pressure, even pressure from friends and family. It’s about thinking for yourself instead of being led by pundits. We aren’t purists, but we do have principles that aren’t subject to change based on who the Republican nominee is.

By the way, we’re not paid by some shadowy left-wing or Wall Street corporation to do what we’re doing. If we’re supposed to be, someone should point me to where I can collect my checks. For now, I guess we’ll just have to be principled for free.