What happened to the Grand Old Party? What happened to the conservative party of Senator John McCain? What happened to the party of “family values” and conservative morals? Well, the group of House Republicans who stormed the impeachment inquiry Wednesday, Oct. 23 cannot be called conservatives. They are not of the same Republican Party of which John McCain was a respected member even to his political rivals (Today, “Barack Obama pays touching tribute to former political opponent John McCain,” 08.26.2018). To sum it up, that Republican Party has been dying off since the day Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
Trump has effectively fractured “the party of Lincoln” into two: those who value their positions of power over the health of their country (and frankly over the health of their party), and the “never-Trumpers.” The former ally themselves with Trump in the hope that the president will give them cover for their worst behavior, and stand by and fight for them and, of course, their jobs. The latter merely wish for a return to normalcy; that is, a world where reasonable people can have policy disputes without resorting to personal attacks, and where people try their best to elevate the country instead of just lining their own pockets and hurting their political opponents.
The group of Republicans who stormed the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) during the impeachment inquiry did not wish to protect their country. They sought to protect Trump’s presidency and thus, their own asses. These senators are not patriots, and they sure don’t deserve to be called Republicans. If they were even either one of those things, they would never have walked into that room to defend Trump let alone have brought their cell phones, creating a risk of malicious foreign surveillance (CNN, “Everything you need to know about the secure room at the center of the impeachment inquiry,” 10.23.2019).
The Republican Party has always been the party of morals and values. It has always been a party about respecting the rule of law and law enforcement. How can a party aligned with these values support a president who has openly mocked the disabled, repeatedly made disgraceful sexist and racist remarks, been found to have paid hush money over an affair with a porn star and engaged in a quid pro quo exchange with a foreign government to gain dirt on an opponent? The simple answer is that you cannot while still calling yourself a Republican. Those who back President Trump are not members of the Republican Party but members of Trump’s Party. This is where we see a divide. There are some who see the threat that Donald Trump poses to the integrity of the Republican Party, and there are those who swear their loyalty to him.
But the line between the two has become all-too blurry. Take Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has until lately positioned himself as an ally of Trump, but has now taken a stance against Trump by refusing to back Trump’s lies about the infamous Zelensky call. Even McConnell, whose spineless attitude towards Trump earned him the moniker “Moscow Mitch,” now refuses to continue aligning himself with a man who degrades the title of Republican on a daily basis. As Seth Abramson said in a Newsweek article, “a law-and-order party cannot suddenly declare a war on law enforcement and coddle criminals in and out of government. A party of ‘family values’ cannot suddenly declare that anything goes—legally, morally, ethically, and spiritually—as long as the culprit has the ‘right’ views on immigration” (Newsweek, “Stop Calling It The Republican Party,” 10.30.2019).
Donald Trump is not a Republican. He never was a Republican. Donald Trump is not a man with any values except those that benefit his wallet or his ego. To those of you who voted for Trump because you thought he was a Republican who could finally bring some real change to Washington, I’m sorry to tell you, Donald Trump is not your man. The only change this man has brought has been for the worse and has made the United States an international laughingstock.
The traditional Republican Party’s future seems doomed. As I see it, there are two paths that lie ahead for the party: continue down the path of Donald Trump, or reject this path and return to core conservative beliefs that the party aspired to at its creation. Conservatives, I am speaking to you now. As long as Donald Trump calls himself a Republican and a portion of the party backs him as such, I implore that you cast aside such a title. You are a conservative, be proud of it if you want, but if Donald Trump is a Republican, you are not. Remain true to your values before the title of your party.