Guest Opinion: Donald Trump is no Republican
What does it mean to be a Republican?
For generations, the answer had been clear: A belief in individual liberty. Free markets. Strong national defense.
But what does it mean to be a Republican today? With Donald Trump as the party’s new standard-bearer, it’s impossible to say.
Even before Trump’s name reached the top of the GOP presidential ticket, the party was pulled in different directions. Many Republicans held fast to the good-governing principles of the past, while a growing wing of the party yanked hard from the right to force a conscripted definition of conservatism.
Inexplicably, the presidential candidate who emerged from that ideological tug of war was the one who thumbed his nose at conservative orthodoxy altogether. Trump is — or has been — at odds with nearly every GOP ideal this newspaper holds dear.
Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly no conservative.
Individual liberty? Trump has displayed an authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates. This impulsive, unbridled New York real estate billionaire and reality-TV star wants to deport people who were born in the U.S. and don’t meet his standard for loyalty. He has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the country, even those escaping Islamist rule, and won’t rule out creating a database of Muslims already living here.
His open admiration of Russia’s Vladimir Putin is alarming.
Free markets? Economic conservatism? Ronald Reagan once said that “protectionism is destructionism.” Trump, on the other hand, has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership “a rape of our country.”
Businesses who invest overseas, he says, should pay a hefty fine on imports. (We’ll leave aside for a moment his hypocrisy in pretending that investing in hotels abroad, as he does, is somehow different from a manufacturer investing in foreign car factories.) His protectionism would likely force the U.S. into trade wars, increase the deficit and sink the U.S. economy back into a recession.
Trump’s idea of fiscal conservatism is reducing expenses by financing mountains of soul-crushing debt.
Strong national defense? Trump pledges to make our military “so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody — absolutely nobody — is going to mess with us.” But what does he want to do with that military? He says he supports killing the families of Muslim terrorists and allowing interrogation methods “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” And if the military balks at obeying such orders? “If I say do it, they’re gonna do it,” he says.
His isolationist prescriptions put sound bites over sound policy: Invite the Russians into our elections. Bomb the Middle East into dust. Withdraw from NATO.
It’s not easy to offer a shorthand list of such tenets, since Trump flips from one side to the other, issue after issue, sometimes within a single news cycle. Regardless, his ideas are so far from Republicanism that they have spawned a new description: Trumpism.
We have no interest in a Republican nominee for whom all principles are negotiable, nor in a Republican Party that is willing to trade away principle for pursuit of electoral victory.
Trump doesn’t reflect Republican ideals of the past; we are certain he shouldn’t reflect the GOP of the future.
Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.