I’ve been in the minority most of my life-literally and figuratively. I’m a conservative Black woman married to a White law enforcement officer who attends an independent Baptist church in the South. In my single days, I taught at a multi-ethnic Christian school in Hawaii and later worked as a legislative assistant at a Christian educational nonprofit in Washington, D. C. It’s safe to say that I’m accustomed to standing out in a crowd. Those unique experiences and my personal convictions help shape my political perspectives. I can’t vote for Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee but I, unlike many pundits, am not disavowing the Republican party completely. That nuanced position may place me in the minority of GOP voters but that is the decision I have reached after much thought.
I posted a few months back about the myriad of concerns I had with Donald Trump’s ever evolving policy positions and self-serving character. Like many, I gave him a fair hearing at the beginning of the race. I was a fan of Celebrity Apprentice and thought that his vast business experience/political connections might serve him well. Generally, I preferred candidates with a legislative or executive record but I was willing to hear him out.
At a political event in South Carolina in May 2015, I sat four rows away as he shocked/delighted/rambled his way through his time slot. It was hilarious and terrifying at the same time. For example, he said he didn’t want to live in the White House but maybe he’d get Ivanka to run it and live somewhere else. (She is an impressive lady but I’m pretty sure that’s not how its works.) He promised to beat China etc. That speech was tame compared to his more recent interviews though.
During the primaries, the way he reduced accomplished men with impressive resumes to caricatures and demeaning catch phrases was truly mind-boggling. The attacks on their physical features, idiosyncrasies, and families was appalling. Of course, the majority of them responded in kind which took the focus off of the issues and turned the primary season into a lunchroom free-for-all complete with your mama jokes (or something pretty close to that).
While his opponents were running conventional campaigns, Trump was employing a scorched earth policy. While they were playing chess, he was playing Battleship.
As a student of history, I’d like to remind everyone that campaigns are typically brutal affairs (see Alexander Hamilton v. Aaron Burr) but the 2016 election has raised (lowered) the bar.
I’ve listened to the #nevertrump pundits. I’ve read the #softnevertrump and #hardnevertrump articles. (Yes, those terms actually exist.) I’m not one to paint myself into a corner unnecessarily. A few months ago, I started considering what I would do if Donald Trump became the nominee. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that but I could see the momentum building and the yard signs in my neighborhood.
I’ve read all the arguments that not voting for the GOP nominee is a de facto vote for Hillary Clinton. I understand the sentiment. I’ll vote for the rest of the ticket and ballot measures. (By the way, the down ballot candidates and issues DO matter.)
As a former Beltway insider, I understand what’s at stake. I wrote about the misdeeds and targeting done by the Obama Administration for four years. Hillary 2.0 would be a continuation of the same disastrous policies. I get it.
I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican-in that order. I held my nose and voted for the GOP nominee in the past. There are no perfect candidates but I can’t support someone with whom I disagree on fundamental issues. All of the recent conversions, outright falsehoods, tabloid attacks, pettiness, and personal attacks reveal a deeply flawed character. I leave the door open to a change of mind in the future but for now this is my position. Some may take issue with my decision but as I said in my introductory paragraph I’m used to being in the minority and I have the courage of my convictions.
I close with a quote from Alexander Hamilton.
P. S. I have no plans to leave the Republican Party. I still believe in their platform. Several friends of mine work at the RNC and they are good people who work tirelessly to advance conservative causes. There are some in the Establishment (NRCC, NRSC, House and Senate leadership, etc.) who are less than stellar but overall I’m fine with the GOP. If you follow what our friends across the aisle are up to these days, then you know the vehicle of the GOP is the only viable way to stop them.