COMMENTARY: True conservatives don’t support Donald Trump
Throughout the rat race also known as the election of 2016, we sure have seen an interesting cast of characters. During the spring of 2015, I remember saying to myself, “Donald Trump the Republican nominee? I think I have a better chance.”
Oh boy did I predict wrong. When it eventually became clear that Donald Trump would be the nominee for the party I had supported for so long, I felt as though I had been betrayed. I felt that individual members of the Republican Party, and even the party as a whole had betrayed me. I’m sure I was not the only one with these feelings of betrayal and despair, which I began to see as time went on through factions such as the “Never Trump” movement. But it seems to me that more and more people are coming to terms with Trump being the Republican nominee, which worries me deeply.
As candidates began to drop out of the race one by one I wondered how any of these people could even consider endorsing Trump for the presidency. But the endorsements kept on coming, starting with our own Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). Our governor, who had labeled himself a “conservative, not a moderate,” had endorsed someone for the presidency even further to the left than moderate. This was just the beginning of self-proclaimed “conservatives” endorsing the leftist in disguise Donald Trump for President of the United States. But this is not the first time conservatives have endorsed a non-conservative for the presidency. I would argue that a conservative has not been the Republican Party’s nominee since 1984, but this year is different. This year is different because Trump is almost nothing like we have seen before.
The constant media circus surrounding him depicts him rightfully so as almost a Lindsay Lohan-esque celebrity in decline tabloid story. He is seen as a joke on the left, and either a fresh new face or a doomed candidate on the right. His constant blatant flip-flopping and highly controversial statements leaves those who have endorsed him scurrying to find the right words to attempt to defend him. His campaign rhetoric and frightening authoritarian tones have led to mass demonstrations and even violence. This is not the person I had envisioned to be the Republican Party’s nominee in 2016. As I watched prominent Republicans I had admired endorse Trump, I began to lose all hope. It is to those “conservatives” who I ask, where are your morals? Where are the conservative morals that you all had fought so hard for? What had led you to settle for a demagogue than to actually fight for what is right? It was author former Senator and author of the "Conscience of a Conservative" Barry Goldwater who once said, “Let me remind you a conservative is one who fights to expand individual liberty and resist the accumulation of power by those who claim they know best.” Goldwater was warning us about those on the left, and Trump could easily fit into that category, being someone who talks about himself more than the good of the country.
Yet when Trump does speak about how great he will be for America and how he will be the one to "Make America Great Again," it always somehow comes back to him. It always turns into a speech about how he will get this magical wall built or how he will be the one to stop Russian aggression or how he will bring jobs back to America. True conservatives do not want an authoritarian figure in the Oval Office, they want someone who will get government out of the way of the everyday citizen. Watching people attempt to justify Trump as being conservative breaks my heart more and more every time.
As I watch people like former U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) or Sean Hannity basically salivate over Trump on live television it frightens me to the core. These gentlemen are just a few examples of those who have perverted the true meaning of conservatism to justify Trump’s actions and statements. Many “conservatives” have endorsed Trump, yes, but there are also many who stand firm in their beliefs and refuse to endorse him. I applaud those people who stand tall against the Trump cult and stand for the morals in which they believe. Conservatism took a huge blow this past election year, but my hope is that it will come back stronger and actually make America great again.
Louis Ruziecki is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in history.
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