Before we, the traditional Constitutional conservatives, say anything else, let us just say this: We love you, angry conservatives. We loved you from the day you were born on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Rick Santelli crying out against the moral hazard of Obama’s new housing bailout. We loved you when you took your first steps, rallying against high taxes all over America. We were so proud when you found your electoral voice and elected Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley and Rand Paul.
In the 2012 elections, when you got your first taste of defeat, we were still proud, because those candidates stayed true to their principles, even if they stumbled in their language. It’s better to fight and lose than not to fight, we said. Because we’ve been there before. Yet, even then, there was the miraculous victory of Ted Cruz to celebrate, and that made it better.
As time went by, we celebrated with you, as we put Republicans (some even conservative) into positions of governance in historic numbers, up and down the ballot–but still not enough to overcome a president that obeyed neither the law nor the courts. We shared your disappointment, watching too many of our victors go to DC and become politicians, seeing our gift to them of strong majorities in both chambers seemingly thrown down the sewer for no other reason than to keep the president and his media from being mad at them. And we seethed right along with you at the chicanery of Mitch McConnell and the spinelessness of John Boehner.
We, too, were angry. But we understood, to a point, that even majorities often cannot get what they need in a system that maddeningly requires two-thirds votes to move legislation. We, like you, waited for our chance to elect a conservative president in 2016.
Then, when Ted Cruz declared his candidacy for president, all of us together were overjoyed that a true conservative was finally in the race. As months went on, a multitude of great candidates offered themselves. Several were acceptable to our entire conservative family. All was well.
And then it happened.
Out of nowhere (well, physically out of a curiously downward-moving escalator), came Donald Trump.
And you, angry conservatives, flat-out lost your minds.
As you may have guessed by now, this is an intervention.
The rest of us conservatives are very concerned by your recent behavior. In your disappointment with all things Republican, you have abandoned your conservative family to run off with a progressive con man who plies you with his promises to “make things great” and shower you with unspecified things that “you’re gonna love so much.”
Frankly, we barely recognize you anymore.
Trump isn’t a conservative. He isn’t much of a Republican. He isn’t what the rest of us have been waiting for all these years in the wilderness. We are trying to use a rational process of elimination to choose between at least a half dozen deserving conservative candidates. Conservatism is, first and foremost, about ideas and principles.
To be blunt, we are worried that you have abandoned all your former principles—small government, for just one example. Trump has no apparent interest in small government, proposing a system of not-Obamacare that sounds astonishingly like “Obamacare!—now with single-payer!” We are also very concerned about Trump’s demeanor, and especially the effect it is having on you.
Trump is a bully. You say he “tells it like it is,” but that’s not the same thing as insulting people and (I’ve seen the Youtube clips) dropping F-bombs in the middle of a public speech. The way to defeat, say, Carly Fiorina’s ideas is to have some of one’s own—not to denigrate her face in Rolling Stone magazine (although to be sure, she hardly needs us to defend her).
It doesn’t seem to matter what in particular he says—you just agree with it. He says single payer works in Scotland and Canada (it doesn’t), and you just nod your head and attack anyone that tries to show you facts to the contrary. You have no objectivity about this relationship. You just blindly accept everything about him—his past as a Democrat (until about six years ago), his friendships with people you despise (like the Clintons), his love of using eminent domain to obtain private property for his own use (you hated the Kelo decision, remember?)
You are conservatives, and you were raised to be better than this. Your opponents may be wrong, misled, or even lying—but they should not be called “losers,” “stupid,” “idiots,” “dum-dums,” and “dopes”.
We are conservatives—people of integrity and decency, that argue with grace and power. The longer you stay in the Trump cult, the more your own arguments, in every corner of social media, degenerate into name-calling.
Let’s be clear: people who don’t want your candidate are not automatically “establishment” “RINOs”, probably did not vote for Obama, and disdain Jeb(!) Bush. Don’t tell me in your bio that you are a “conservative Christian grandmother of five, love the Lord with all my heart”—and then spend five paragraphs spewing vile racist anti-Semitism, profanity and obscenity in defense of your idol.
We still hope you come back to your conservative family. There are so many good possibilities this time around. We beg you—open your eyes, and pick one.
It’s never too late to recover.
Image: Gage Skidmore, courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/ 5440392565/