Why I Quit the Republican Party
I have been a lifelong Republican. Today, June 23, 2016, after more than forty years, I changed my registration to “Independent.” In good conscience I cannot be a member of a political party whose leaders have made common cause with Donald Trump.
No political party is perfect. I have never supported every idea endorsed in Republican Party platforms. On the other hand, I’ve never been tempted to join the Democrats; on the whole Republican ideas make more sense. Over the years, I have voted for Republicans, Independents, Democrats, and assorted minor party candidates. I am not a policy purist quitting the Republican Party in protest over some minor detail.
Donald Trump is not a minor detail. Republican leaders in Congress, city governments and statehouses need to reckon carefully. The election of 2016 presents their party with a moment of truth. What does the Republican Party stand for?
Trump is wrong on trade. His protectionist ideas would greatly damage the U.S. economy. He wants to return to policies of the 1920s that helped make the Great Depression.
Trump is wrong—disastrously, mind-bogglingly wrong—on immigration. Deport 11 million people? This bizarre notion, if actually enacted, would provoke massive public resistance. Force Mexico to pay for a “wall” on our border? How? By military threats? Given the worldwide economic chaos resulting from Trump’s protectionism, economic threats would be idle.
Trump is wrong on international law. He openly said he would order U.S. military persons to “go after” the wives and families of suspected terrorists. Such orders would violate international law, laws ratified by the U.S. in accordance with our Constitution. Such orders would be completely immoral.
Trump is wrong about “making America strong.” Has he never seen the Statue of Liberty? We have often failed to live up to our beliefs, but America is a country that welcomes strangers. Excluding a whole class of people because of their religion and “profiling” people because of their religion—two ideas explicitly and repeatedly endorsed by Trump—are antithetical to American values.
Most important (for me at least), Trump is wrong about Jesus. Trump thinks that he can fool Christian Americans that he is a follower of Jesus, though Trump said he cannot remember ever repenting of sin. Never repent—despite failed marriages, multiple bankruptcies, countless lawsuits, and a history of bragging (on radio!) about his marital infidelities.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t oppose Trump because he is not a Christian. I have cheerfully voted for Muslims, Jews, atheists, and candidates whose religion I don’t know. My objection is that Trump tries to sell himself as a Christian with apparently no recognition of the first theme in Jesus’ preaching: repentance.
As far as I can tell, Donald Trump believes in nothing except Donald Trump. According to him, he has the world’s greatest memory, one of the world’s best brains, a more than adequate penis, and an easy answer for every one of the nation’s problems. What he obviously does not have is humility.
The leaders of the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Mark Hatfield should be ashamed—not that Trump has won the party’s nomination; Trump won the nomination, given the nature of the process. What is shameful is their willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with Trump in the hope of temporary electoral success. There are greater principles at stake here. Republican leaders must repudiate Trumpism; if the price is electoral defeat, so be it.
Donald Trump is now the titular head of the Republican Party. Therefore I cannot be a Republican. I hope to someday return to the fold, but not until the party has repaired this disaster.