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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Opinion: Why I am a Republican in the era of Trump

Dear Grinnellians,

I’m writing this letter not as a representative of the Grinnell College Campus Republicans nor due to pressure from outspoken individuals, but as a preplanned personal statement regarding my ideologies and values – both of which seem to have been called into question over the past several days.

Our organization has been stuck between a rock and a hard place recently; as the only right leaning political group on campus, we felt that it was our duty [to at least attempt] to represent all ideologies falling under the umbrella of the Republican Party. However, as our membership contains competing ideologies, we have found it increasingly difficult to come to an agreement. The result of this has been an organizational platform unintentionally built around neutrality: we are unable to either support or condemn certain officials, which has led to negative attention from certain members of the Grinnell College community.

Beyond the necessary constraints of our organization, I wish to make my personal position clear in no uncertain terms. I harbor strong feelings of ambivalence towards the Trump administration. His actions as to now have not aligned with traditional conservative ideals, begging the question of whether the man himself is truly a Republican, to which I would say that no, he most certainly is not. His rise to power was propelled not by the unanimous and emphatic endorsement of the established party, but instead rode on a wave of nationalist and populist support. I am deeply uncomfortable with a fringe movement gaining control of the executive office; however, what is far more troubling to me is the lack of resistance which it has received from more traditional Republicans in the House and Senate. These are the men and women who were charged with the responsibility of protecting the larger American government against abuse of power from within, and over the past month, I have reached the unsettling conclusion that the lack of action within the Republican party leadership has resulted in a resounding failure to perform their duty.

President Trump has taken tremendous liberties just days after inauguration. His new racially motivated changes to policy imposing a 120-day suspension on the admittance of refugees and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. for citizens of seven nations (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan), continued harassment of our neighbors to the south, review of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law with the intent of abolishment and official statements indicating an impending U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (and possibly the North America Free Trade Agreement) – are antithetical to my values not only as a Republican, but as an American. The xenophobic, fear based rhetoric espoused by President Trump is not consistent with what I hold to be conservative principles, and his repeated disregard for time-honored Republican values is increasingly perturbing.

In answer to a question I’ve been asked repeatedly over the past several weeks, I consider myself to be a Republican not because I support the current administration, but due to my longstanding belief that change is inevitable. I fervently believe that we will see drastic adjustments in the official platform of the Republican party within the next five to ten years; a shift away from the current conservative social policy towards more of a libertarian social ideology coupled with the injection of a younger, more open minded leadership into the party will result in a partisan shuffling – Trumps “silent majority” will revert to their historical roles as the Blue Dog Democrats of the South, while more fiscally conservative individuals who currently identify with the socially liberal attitudes of the Democratic party will slowly begin the shift back to a younger, more socially moderate Republican party. I wholeheartedly support the Republican Party I see rising out of this impending rearrangement; a party grounded in fiscal conservatism yet socially accepting through a policy of complete individual freedom of expression.

Quite frankly, I do not consider Donald Trump to be a Republican. His bastardization of traditional conservative ideals to suit his personal needs has demonstrated a complete lack of commitment to the party which – I would argue, unfortunately – rallies behind his name, and begs the question, if he has in fact rejected the Republican party, then to whom is he loyal?

In the words of the Harvard Republican Club, “He [Trump] isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency.”


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