To the GOP Delegates to the Cleveland Convention:
I have been a Republican since 1989. Whether I—and millions like me–remain one after July 21st is entirely up to you.
You have been chosen to select the nominee of the Republican Party to bear its standard on the battlefield of the 2016 Presidential election. You, and you alone, bear this burden. The Republican Party is a private institution, and it is permitted by law to make its own rules. At this moment, there are no rules for the 2016 Convention. The Rules Committee of the Republican National Convention will meet the week prior to the Convention itself to make those rules.
Yet, even if the Rules Committee fails to make explicit that you are free to vote according to your conscience, the Supreme Court has already made the determination that no state law can direct your convention vote, and the rules of the GOP have only once bound the delegates—in 1976—by a rule that was explicitly repealed prior to the next convention. You are not obligated to agree with the preference of Democrats and Independents voting in open primaries. You are not obligated to enshrine the object of affection of a plurality of name-only Republicans who have succumbed to the charms of a first-rate con-man. Your conscience is all that binds you—your sense of patriotism, of fealty to the principles of Republicanism, and your duty before God to do the right thing.
I do not presume to tell you what to do. I can only remind you that you are free to do what you believe is best. However, I want to tell you, from my perspective, what I—and, I believe, millions of other Republicans at the grass roots level—am thinking as you prepare to go to Cleveland and make this weighty decision.
When I became a Republican, it was because I had become a Christian, and I was deeply convicted that my former allegiance to pro-abortion, anti-family, hyper-pacifist, globalist principles were wrong. I became a Reagan Republican when Reagan was no longer president. Until 2004, every election night was miserable (I voted for George W. Bush both times, but face it—nobody enjoyed election night 2000).
For me, the Republican Party stood for a specific set of principles: human dignity, private property, personal responsibility, a strong defense of the nation that was deserving of our love and loyalty because of its singular documents and its honorable roots. All of this inevitably led to the need for small government, federalism, a balance of power between three branches of government that all stayed in their own lane.
The current presumptive nominee seems to share none of my values. I know you have heard this before, but I feel I must say it to you because it is so important to me. While he pays lip-service to conservative principles now, he has never in the past paid his dues as a conservative warrior. While others were fighting desperately for House and Senate seats, the presumptive nominee was massively funding the push to put Nancy Pelosi into the Speaker’s chair. When Republicans were fighting to end partial-birth abortion, the presumptive nominee was telling his media audience he would not ban it because he was “pro-choice.”
The man you have before you, asking for your nomination vote, does not represent the dignity of the Republican Party. He denigrates fellow Republicans, as well as his Democratic opponents (the former more than the latter). He divides Americans, and continues the Democratic practice of Balkanizing our citizens, labeling them by race, gender, and religion. This is not what Republicans are. This will never lead us to be what Republicans can be—a majority party of individuals who believe in and stand for individual rights, human dignity, personal responsibility, and small government.
The presumptive nominee seeks to use the power of the Executive to restrict the First Amendment, infringe the Second, and eliminate the Fourth. (As far as we know, he has no plans to quarter troops in our homes, but give it time.) He asks you to endorse a theory of government (if “theory” is not too grandiose a word) that looks more like Roman imperialism than American Constitutional Republicanism. He wants to “open up” the libel laws—demonstrating not only that he leans toward fascism, but that he also doesn’t have a basic understanding of how laws work. He wants to “loosen up” the Geneva Conventions. He wants to give the government permission to restrict Second Amendment rights based on a secret list of names compiled by the same government that used the IRS to harass Tea Party groups.
As a party, we cannot boil down the complexities of immigration policy, drug and human trafficking, and terrorism to the single word “WALL”. We cannot be associated with a nominee whose commitment to the principles of our party is 15 political minutes old. We must not put our future in the hands of a man whose policies drive away more than half of potential voters and whose intentions cannot be clarified.
You are obligated to choose a candidate that will carry the principles of the Republican Party to contest the general election, defeat all others, and govern with those principles.
You have until the 21st of July to do so—or betray our history, destroy our future, and lose the most important election of our lifetime.
Image: Joseph Sohm /Shutterstock.com;107339225