Why I Left the Republican Party: A Warning

I come from a consistent Republican family (though not a prototypical one: my parents are vegetarians, don’t own guns and I’ve never lived in a state carried by the GOP nominee during a presidential election.) After college, I got a job with a Republican Member of Congress, eager to begin a career in Republican politics.

I left that job last December, though, in part because the party I joined, in the blink of an eye, became an angry mob proclaiming as Savior of America a buffoonish TV star known for his ridiculous hair and bombastic firings of thirty-somethings on his phony NBC reality show.

We ripped President Obama for being buddy-buddy with celebrities, now we’ve nominated one for President?

But this is more than a kooky, unconventional presidential campaign, like Goldwater in 1964 or McGovern in 1972: it’s the moment the Republican Party, around since 1854, completely and irreversibly went off the rails.

The GOP’s Become a Cult

Issues and facts no longer matter, only Trump: If Trump is for it, Republicans are for it. When Trump turns against it, so do they. Take self-financing, his key selling point during the primaries and his main line of attack on rivals. Now he’s begging for donations, which should open him up to the same charges of corruption he leveled at other Republican candidates. Do his supporters care? Not a bit. They’re suddenly fine with him taking money from special interests. Trump can do no wrong.

This is a cult. Even he’s noticed.

Take him out of the movement and what’s left? Nothing. What ideas remain without him? The Wall? What does Trump propose to solve America’s problems? “Winning,” by way of his own sheer amazingness. Trump’s IQ is so high, he’s such a brilliant businessman, he’s so tough, he’s such an ace negotiator — of course he’ll Make America Great Again.

There is no plan, only the self-evident Genius of Trump — after all, he’s Really, Really Rich. Trump himself is the solution to America’s problems, not policies or ideas. When he offers policies, he changes his mind on them a week later. It’s clear he’s winging this whole campaign, counting on his supporters’ unbreakable attachment to him.

Everyone has their line in the sand, a candidate they would refuse to support even if he or she won their party’s nomination. For us former Republicans, the race-baiting Trump is far past the line.

Trouble is, for so many Republicans, Trump isn’t a bridge too far. It’s fantasy to think the party will go back to normal if and when Trump loses.

Formerly respectable Republicans are, after slamming Trump as a narcissist, fraudulent con-artist and third world-style strongman, now singing his praises. Some even call Trump the new Ronald Reagan, which is like saying Kim Kardashian is our generation’s Marilyn Monroe.

Republicans won’t come to their senses if he loses — it’ll be worse. The anger, racism and cynicism gripping the base of the party will not abate, it will intensify. Trump is not going anywhere after 2016.

And that’s just if he loses.

What if he wins?

Trump is how fascism comes to America. A flamboyant, egomaniacal cult-figure with delusions of grandeur and an unhealthy, insatiable need for adoration and glory has taken over one of America’s two parties by explicitly trashing the party’s professed ideals, like limited government, free markets and constitutionalism.

Vehement supporters will go to the ends of the earth for him, believing his lies, apologizing for and excusing all of the awful things he’s done and said, and viciously demonizing any who dare question the almighty Cheeto Jesus. This is a recipe for disaster, a disaster the Republican Party will own 100%. There is no coming back from that.

The hope of the Trump movement is to install him as America’s dictator and let him do as he pleases, hoping he delivers on his promises to punish enemies and shower the faithful with the spoils of war. He will be America’s Putin, a revanchist, authoritarian bully. The best case scenario is he merely becomes an international laughingstock, like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.

His presidency would be the greatest test yet of the Founders’ constitutional system: can it withstand and constrain a president like Donald Trump? Do we want to test it?

Democrats By Default

Once it became clear Trump would be the Republican nominee, I quit the party. Trump changes everything; he must not be inflicted on the world.

Ultimately, you’re either a Democrat or a Republican in this country; voting third party is an indirect vote for the Democrat or Republican. For this reason, I will vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall, which would have been unthinkable a year ago. I don’t feel great about it, but stopping Trump has become the most important issue in the 2016 election.

Millions like me probably won’t return to the GOP. The Republicans who voted for the demagogic reality-TV circus act won’t disappear if he loses in November. They won’t realize how foolish it was to nominate Trump.

Their hero will receive no blame for losing, even though he’s unpalatable to Hispanics, blacks, women, whites with degrees and the independent voters required to assemble winning presidential coalitions.

The Republican Party belongs to Donald Trump now.

Be Warned

This all might sound like wonderful news for the Democratic Party; the only competition has effectively set itself on fire and decided it is totally unserious about winning elections, much less governing and leading the free world.

But suppose polls tighten as November approaches. Maybe some ride-or-die Bernie fanatics go for Trump. The Democratic coalition is not in as great of shape as it seems; it only seems strong in the afterglow of the convention bounce and relative to the burning porta-potty fire that is the GOP.

Politics has a funny way of surprising you. In 2004, Democrats were introduced to Barack Obama, who seemingly came out of nowhere. Four years later he would lead his party out of the wilderness of the Bush years and back into the White House.

In 2016, Republicans, far from getting their own Obama — a conservative savior — got Donald Trump. None of us saw him coming until it was too late.

Don’t assume the next sensation to burst onto the Democratic scene will be like Barack Obama. You could get a Trump of your own.

Trump Must Be Stopped

If you’ve made it this far, you probably agree with me about Trump. But if you are considering voting for him, please click on this link and read through all the deeply alarming things he’s said. These are not run-of-the-mill mini-scandals, like “Trump says something insensitive” or “Trump offends such and such group.” These quotes paint the picture of an American fascist.

The common thread through most of those quotes is that Trump lusts for violence and war. From the beatings (and Hillary Clinton assassination attempts) he encourages at his rallies to his schoolboy crush on bullying Russian “kletpocrat” Vladimir Putin, and his praise of genocidal monster Saddam Hussein, Trump clearly craves power and yearns to abuse it.

His defenders will say “he didn’t mean it” when he utters these awful things, but the sheer volume of quotes is undeniable. How can you not take a presidential candidate at his words? Trump backers wish the disturbing reality away when they blithely respond, He doesn’t mean it.”

He’s either lying or he truly means what he says — either way, it’s a terrifying prospect for the world that he’s a major party nominee.

This is why I left the GOP. There is something wrong with the party that nominates Donald Trump for president; it didn’t begin with Trump. In fact, Trump is the result: he couldn’t have won without the voters, and, of course, the party officials who quickly gave in to him. He didn’t ruin the party by himself; it was dysfunctional well before he arrived. That’s what made it so easy for him to take over.

There is no hope in urging his supporters to abandon him, so it falls on the rest of us to stop him, or else he will be the whole world’s problem.

Democrats, don’t take this lightly. Don’t be like Republicans who assumed reason would prevail and Rubio or Kasich would ultimately be the nominee.

Before you know, it’s a cold day in January. And there he is, on the west front of the Capitol, sun shining off of that violently blonde hair, scowl firmly affixed to his orange, spray-tanned face, right hand raised and repeating after the Chief Justice, “I, Donald J. Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States. . .”

Blink again and it’s 2020, time for Emperor Trump’s reelection battle.

And Kanye West is the Democratic nominee.

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