With both the Republican and Democrat nominating conventions now over, we reaffirm that we remain #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary. Nothing has changed for us.
We have taken this position because our duty as citizens and conservatives compels us. We take no joy in standing against the Republican Party, a Party that has been a home for our resolute belief in the founding principles of limited government, religious liberty, freedom of speech, sanctity of human life, and a strong national defense.
It is a fact of record that a majority of Republicans participating in the primaries did not vote for Donald Trump. Many of those who do support Trump have done so with good intentions, born out of a shared and deep frustration with the direction of our nation and a yearning to reclaim the Constitutional Republic we see slipping away.
We had a deep and strong bench of Republican presidential candidates – inspired by the increasing lawlessness of the Obama Administration and its many actions trammeling the liberties guaranteed us in our Constitution. It turns out that our bumper crop of excellent candidates has provided an opening for one who is a pretend-Republican, and barely that.
We see no small irony in the fact that the Republican Platform Committee produced one of the most deeply conservative platforms in modern electoral history, but nominated a candidate who has taken positions contrary to its central tenets. Donald Trump is a contradiction to most everything the Party states as its core beliefs.
Trump begins as a liberal Republican, arguably more liberal than any other Republican presidential candidate in recent memory. He repeatedly praises Planned Parenthood. He has donated significant money to liberal politicians – including Hillary Clinton. He wants the government to run health care. He opposes entitlement reform. He supported the Obama stimulus spending plan, the auto bailout and the banks bailout. He opposes free trade agreements. Trump is much closer to the Democratic Party than the Republican. He is a man whose deepest creed is himself.
We expect he will become still more liberal now that he has won the nomination. This pretend Republican has preyed on misunderstandings, ignorance, and sometimes violence and rank bigotry. He has been vulgar, coarse, demagogic, and cruel. He has mocked disabled people, lauded dictators, and insisted that military leaders would follow his lawless orders should he attain the Presidency. He has been slow to condemn racists – the very reason the Republican Party was founded. He has praised torture as a form of punishment and promised to extend retribution to the innocent.
Some of our fellow conservatives have augured that the Supreme Court vacancy compels them to vote for Trump. We respect them and their reasoning, but we do not agree. We do not trust that Trump would appoint a good Justice or, if he does, would fight for a conservative jurist against an adversarial Senate.
Furthermore, we would be gambling on a good Supreme Court nomination at the price of constitutional integrity – and this coming from a Republican President leading a party that prides itself on originalist jurisprudence.
We do not trust Donald Trump to bow to the authority of the Constitution or the laws of Congress. He is running on a platform of strength and action, and our Constitution was formed to hobble not just quick lawmaking, but the very kind of strongman governance Trump embodies, despite the angry clamor from a justifiably frustrated electorate.
The Founders feared the passions of factions and temporary majorities. They constructed a democratic republic precisely because they wanted to check our passions and elevate our more noble and enduring will. They rejected vox populi vox Dei – that the voice of the people is the voice of God. And so must we.
We allow for the fact that the character of the American citizenry is changing in some dangerous ways. The pernicious impact of a compromised and, thus, degraded media is slithering into our souls.
We suspect a portion of the electorate is tiring not just of “Establishment Republicans” but also with the inherent strictures of limited government, checks and balances, and the Framers’ predilection for compromise. We are a divided country, and that leads inevitably to a divided polity. Impatience with the messiness inherent in forging e pluribus Unum – “out of many, one” – may be leading erstwhile defenders of the American experiment to prefer the strongman who can get things done, constitutional limits be damned.
The antidote is to put forward leaders who will appeal to our reason and virtue, not our instincts and vices. We are committed to the principles of the Republican Party, not because they belong to the Party but because we believe they are right and just. We are conservatives before we are Republicans.
We believe that politics is about the art of the possible. We have often been in a position of supporting the lesser of two evils. But Donald Trump appeals not to our better angels but to our baser instincts.
We will not compromise core principle for the sake of Party allegiance.
We will not allow vulgarity to stand in the place of virtue.
We will not allow Trump to be the face of the nation to the world – not with our votes.
We will not sit by idly and allow conservatism to be hijacked by a man who shares none of the values of Reagan and Lincoln.
We will support conservative candidates down-ballot.
We will vote our conscience because we believe such a vote is our right and duty as citizens and is never wasted — whether that be voting for another conservative candidate or a write-in.
We will continue to speak out on issues important for our nation. We will seek to impact the newest generation of voters and educating them on the Constitution, the role of faith, family, and freedom as the basis of limited government.