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viewpoint

An alternative Republican view of the election

| Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I recently read a letter to the editor by Dylan Stevenson, the vice president of the College Republicans, titled “A Republican’s right of reply”, and I’d like to offer an alternative view on the 2016 election beyond blind partisanship.

Before I get lumped in with the average College Democrat, let me make clear that I am by no means “with her.” For credibility, I was the chairman of the short-lived “Students for Rubio” organization on campus, and I was a dues-paying member of the College Republicans my freshman year. I fell away from the club because I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the personalities that headed the group, but they did a lot to campaign for local candidates and spread awareness, and I respected the group enough for that. Moreover, we agree on at least one thing: A Clinton presidency would be something like an alcohol enema: unwanted, uncomfortable, invasive and, no matter what that obnoxious down-the-hall says, quite certainly bad for you.

Now, Mr. Stevenson would have you look at that and say, “Yeah, no thanks to the enema, Trump it is!” While that seems great from a not-injecting-fluids-into-where-you-don’t-want-them-to-be perspective, what you don’t realize in that moment is that you’re rejecting an alcohol enema in favor of what turns out to be a battery acid enema. Whoops!

Mr. Stevenson justifies this inglorious burning of your backside with some pretty shallow, classic-Republican talking points (I know, I’m a republican, I’ve used these too). Aside from failing to convincingly argue the merit of Trump’s positions, he amusingly chooses many positions on which Mr. Trump has shamelessly flip-flopped after planting his flag even with (or even farther left than) former Secretary Clinton. On gun control, Trump supported an assault weapons ban until he started positioning himself for 2016, and when he does talk about the Second Amendment, he reveals himself as totally out of touch with the issue, like back in August when he suggested that the Second Amendment supporters should stage an armed rebellion against a Clinton presidency (he was just “joking” of course, because we collectively judge Trump on the standards of a petulant toddler). He has no idea why people believe in a strict interpretation of the right to bear arms, because deep down he’s just like Hillary (to whom he made multiple campaign donations) and thinks every conservative is a gun-nut lunatic unworthy of his New York sensibilities.

On trade, Donald Trump has lifted a giant middle finger to the conservative traditions of capitalism and free enterprise by suggesting ignorant policies only Bernie Sanders would agree with, and, absent of all sense, former die-hard free traders like Mike Pence are falling in line behind the leftist lunacy. On taxes, Mr. Trump has already admitted he didn’t believe in the first tax plan he put out, and while he put out another one just this week, there’s little reason to believe he has any more fidelity to the newer version. This is the same guy who, while attempting to gain the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, once proposed a one-time 14 percent tax on the net-worth wealthy. But sure, he’s definitely going to take small government seriously. On most policies, Donald Trump is a big, orange, bloated mess, and to take the word of an obvious partisan that he’ll follow any sort of conservative orthodoxy is, at best, naive, and at worst, insane.

The letter ends with the honest admission that Mr. Trump is a jackass, and on this, I come in solid agreement. However, it’s a Yuuuge mistake to just glide past that fact. Character matters, especially for the leader of the free world. The orange-crusted mouth breather that heads our party has insulted minorities, the disabled, women, has cheated people through his sham of a university, has advocated for war crimes, praised dictators, suggested 9/11 was an inside job and so. Much. More.

People like Mr. Stevenson want you to believe this election is a binary choice between being eaten by a shark or a velociraptor, but we should definitely choose the velociraptor because hey, “He’s on our team!” Wrong. I defy anyone to tell me that it’s my responsibility to support that incompetent liberal or that lunatic con man. The indisputable fact is that you owe your vote to no one.

If you vote for a third-party candidate, you will not be voting for the person that will be the next president.

So what?

You’ll be a part of the more than one-third of 18–24-year-olds (based off recent polling) who are too smart for this b——- election and won’t have either candidate. Vote Johnson. Vote McMullin. Write in your cat. Regardless, if you don’t believe that our country needs either a failed secretary of state or a pudgy ignoramus, then make your stand. Declare your opposition. Be heard. Nothing will come of your acquiescence to blind partisanship, because either major-party candidate will be an absolutely garbage president. The parenthetical “R” that Trump has adopted behind his name does nothing to excuse his vileness, stupidity and gross intellectual unpreparedness for office. So rise above it, let the head of state be someone we can freely oppose, and let the world know that our generation does not endorse lies, does not endorse hate and will not tolerate a party system that peddles either.

Nicholas Jeffers

senior

Sept. 19

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • tom2

    Someone needs to advise and convince America’s youth that voting is effective only if one votes for a platform, not an individual.

    • Brendan

      The Republican Party platform is great. It was primarily written by two groups of people: Delegates won by and appointed by Cruz and delegates from areas won by Trump but who were picked by the Cruz campaign (Trump’s lack of a ground game cost him dearly. The only reason the “free the delegates” movement was dangerous was because Trump failed to get enough supporters to represent states that he won).

      However, for Trump, the Republican Party Platform is a little more like guidelines. This is how platforms usually are for presidents, despite the fact most presidents are able to write the platform through their supporters.

    • Ognar

      Platforms do not hold office, it is the individual who makes choices and performs actions. A platform like a campaign promise is worth only as much as the individual candidate is willing to invest in standing by their words. Once elected it is the individual alone who counts; what they have shown through the way they have lived their life thus are most likely to do in the future, is our only means of predicting their actions once elected. Donald Trump has shown himself to be a democrat or at best a RINO regardless of any platform he is running on.

  • Brendan

    Finally! Trump is not the only option. By winning 1-3 states, Evan McMullin could deprive either candidate of the 270 electoral votes they need and send the vote to the House of Representatives. https://www.facebook.com/mcmullinforpresident/?fref=ts

  • João Pedro Santos

    You think that Trump is a leftist who opposes capitalism and free enterprise? Republicans are such good comedians.

  • Tom

    Thank you, Nick! Its incredibly encouraging to hear more and more conservatives rejecting Donald Trump, rejecting his hatred of Muslims, rejecting his substitutions of personal attacks and hatred for actual conservative principles. I will be voting for Evan McMullin.

  • Punta Venyage

    You character assasinate Trump while ignoring Hillary. Trump is someone who genuinely cares for the people of this country, has raised a wonderful family, and is working his tail off because our country needs the change.

    Matthew, you and other safe space republicans need to take a look past the next 4-8 years and think in terms of 20-30 years. This is a CRITICAL juncture in our history. If we lose this election, it’s over. At the very least consider the Supreme Court. Letting Hillary pick the nominees would be devastating for the next generation and our constitutional rights would be at extreme risk. Or does this not matter to you …? Ignore the urge to feel self-righteous by voting for someone like Johnson (who is an outright fraud in that he is NOT a libertarian) rather than taking a stance on the actual decision.

    You should watch a full speech of Trump’s. I can tell you are getting much of your opinion spoon fed to you from late night comedy talk shows, hollywood, and the news agencies. Most of your characterizations are false and you will see this if you actually take the time to listen openmindedly and not frame things under your preconceived impressions. We have a false subconscious belief that the information which is being presented to us (whether accurate or not) represents 100% of the relevant, must-know info, but in reality it is actually a distraction from the real decision-critical information.

    You must not make the mistake focusing on a molehill while ignoring the mountain. Even if you read a variety of sources, keep in mind, it is all “secondary” information (play telephone). One of the biggest insights I have realized this election cycle is that there is a massive gap between what actually happens and how it is reported. Please consider this and always err on the side of skepticism and viewing primary information (and in its totality, so that you see all slices of the pie, not just the one slice that is being presented to you as supposedly representing the full picture)

    Furthermore, I recommend you throw away your expectation of a Jesus Christ candidate. You mention you supported Rubio — he is a textbook quid pro quo politician, self-seeking, and a lobbied hack. If you did your research you could see this. I understand you are busy with school, but when having a strong political influence as you might have, it’s important to really dig deep.

    Trump may be unorthodox, but on a whole he has a good heart and good intentions. Hillary is an unconvicted criminal, souless, and will say and do whatever her masters tell her to do; she stands for nothing, and only one person this election cycle can take her down, stand up for Western values (free speech, equal rights, independence, etc.), protect the Supreme Court, and begin to bring meaningful change to the broken political system that has been amplified in the last four presidencies.

    • Ognar

      Watch the Colbert report and look at how many conservatives went citing it in social media, did all the things Stephen Colbert said make him a Republican? No, he was a life long democrat who was playing a role on tv saying outlandish foolish things. Trump is no different, he is saying what he thinks republicans wish to hear. But he has through how he has lived his life: making political contributions to democrats and paling around with the clintons shown himself to be definitely no a conservative.

      Every presidential election is a crucial and decisive turning point for America. We are always one incompetent fool away from disaster, and this time we are given two fools and told we have no choice except to choose one of them… Well how about we go past the fools and choose a leader instead? Why not at least stand in support of someone worth our faith like Darrell Castle, Evan McMullin, or Gary Johnson?

      • Punta Venyage

        So your first argument is that
        1. Colbert trolls conservatives
        2. Conservatives foolishly bite
        3. Conservatives are supporting Trump, therefore Trump is trolling them.
        ^not valid (It’s like saying if you drop an egg, it breaks. The egg is broken, therefore you dropped it <—illogical because the effect could have a different cause)

        Your second argument is better, but still incomplete
        1. If someone believed X in the past, they must believe X now
        2. Trump had Democrat views in the past
        3. Therefore, he must have Democrat views today

        ^Premise 1 is false, so your conclusion is false

        Your 3rd implicit argument is perhaps a further improvement, but still false

        1. If you donate to someone because your like their stance on issue A, you must also agree with them on all issues
        2. Trump donated to Democrats in the past
        3. Therefore Trump has agreed with the 100% leftist/regressive agendas

        (#1 is false)

        Furthermore, I would argue that Trump's main role prior to his engagement in politics is a BUSINESSMAN. A business person takes money and makes more money, essentially. This is the modus operandi. Empirically speaking, if a politician is supporting legislation for your industry that could help give you a competitive advantage, you would support that legislation.

        Visualizing yourself into someone else's situation and mindset is one of the most effective ways to better understand people's actions and life in general. But if you approach everything from the reference point that is "you", you will be severely limiting yourself.

        PS
        While every presidential election is important and impactful, they are not all equally critical. The nominations of the Supreme Court are relevant for THIS election. The internal divisions in our country have ESCALATED during that last 8 years of regressive rule, not diminished. Geo-politically, America's standing has been weaker than it has ever been in the recent past

        Based on current demographic trends and voting patterns, the hope for a future conservative is dwindling. More and more people want "Big Daddy" (the government) to take care of them. They want to be absolved of personal responsibility for their actions and find someone to blame, as that is the attitude incentives by the leftist platform.

        If you think these trends are more easily reversed 4-8 years from now (or decades…), you are mistaken.

        • Ognar

          My first premise is that Trump has all his life supported democrats and is now running for office using the exact same tactic that colbert used and is once again fooling those who refuse to see the charade.

          Second, that all politicians say what they think we want to hear and it is only by examining what a person has done that you can derive whether their current words match their past deeds. Trump’s words ring hollow, thus he should not be trusted.

          Third, That even if Trump has suddenly had a change of heart and has moved marginally to the right of where he started, that he is definitely not a conservative who supports the constitution as a control on government, and that his views on how government should be used are the same as both obama and hillary, thus he really only a very slight improvement upon them and that is assuming that we believe he will do what he has pledged once elected. Which I do not for a second believe.

          This presidential election was important for far more than just Judicial nominations, this was likely the last chance to get our budget under control, something that can only be accomplished by downsizing the government, neither Trump nor hillary have any intention of diminishing that power once they get their hands on the reigns.

          Without drastic budgetary change the debt we have become addicted to will collapse the US’s economy along with the rest of the worlds economy and so the selection of Judges who will only be in office for a few years before the end of these dis-United States.

          • Punta Venyage

            1) You are repeating the same in the argument in a different fashion, it’s coming across as circular to me. Let me just ask directly, how do you know that Trump is using a “charade” and “fooling” everyone? You’re claiming that you know his true intentions, and the main support you give is that he has given money to Democrats before (see above)

            2) There is truth in that Trump is a known unknown. He hasn’t been a politician before so there is no track record on issues. He does have a past of managing a successful multi-billion dollar enterprise and he is a master persuader with incredible savyness when it comes to sizing up the competition and analyzing strengths and weaknesses. His track record shows that he is very pragmatic and results-driven above all else.

            I understand the view of ‘we should be skeptical’, but I don’t know if the evidence supports a definitive “we should not trust him”

            3) I agree that in terms of spending he is not really a conservative (I would say that maybe a transitional figure like him is the appropriate vehicle for a future conservative.) However, to say he is only slightly different than Hillary or Obama I think is a gross misrepresentation.

            He is a nationalist where they are globalists
            He is direct and addresses the most relevant issues (which “conservatives” had been avoiding) where they hide and reframe the truth
            He succeeded in the private sector where they succeed (?) in the public sector

            4) I agree that Trump seems like he will spend a lot; however, I do think he has a genuine desire to manage the debt as opposed to ignoring it like the others. Furthermore, he wants to bring the military back in and stop our policing of the world (which I genuinely don’t know if it’s better to do this or for us to maintain our influence), which would certainly cut costs as military is our second largest expenditure category. Furthermore I think a lot of our tax revenue is being spent corruptly (just think about how most politicians become quite wealthy, while only making a ~$150k salary), and people on both sides of the aisle are scared that shenanigans will be exposed with Trump in office

            5) Yea, don’t know what to tell you. I think a decline/collapse is almost inevitable unless you inject a big shock to the system. I think Trump offers the greatest chance for a shock to the system. I think his current wealth makes him less corruptable than your average politician, since he doesn’t really have anything to gain. What would be his incentive to grant favors against the will of the people? For most people it would be money, but for him, what does a few million $ matter when you have already amassed yourself a fortune through business. Other politicians, even “conservatives”are easily corruptible. Just look at many of the Republicans in office now; many are worse than the regressives

          • Ognar

            (1) Trump has a track record of 20-30 years supporting democrat politicians financially, that is a known proven fact. All we have to go on that he has changed is his words which you want to believe despite the fact that they are not congruent with his past known actions. So it seems to me that I do not need to furnish proof that he is running a charade. Reasonable people who hear a person saying something that stands in contradiction to their past deeds should be suspicious that they may be being conned. The fact that people are being charged as supporters of the opposition for challenging what looks incongruous with the truth should be even more concerned that there is a game afoot.

            (2) Trump’s business savvy… do you mean that he has bankrupted the majority of the businesses which he has run? His savvy as far as I can see is that he is a shameless self-promoter who has only seen real success in business when he affixed his name to a project but allowed others to take over control of the decision making. That not only supports my first concern but it also describes a person unsuited for the job of President.

            (3) I am a Conservative-Libertarian, I care about my freedom and my rights, I do not believe we need a bigger government spending even more money to make America great again, all we need to do is get rid of all of the government obstructions to business. I believe in Capitalism, not crony-capitalism which is what gets passed off as real capitalism but is actually destructive to markets. Trump’s businesses have more often than not embraced the cronyism, in fact that is his defense for the donations to democrats. Once again not someone who I see as good for America.

            (4) If you look at both the fall of Rome and England as world powers it was because they allowed their military’s to grow to large and try to control too many people who did not want to be controlled. We too have fallen into that trap. And we can not; just as they could not, afford to pay for it. Further The people who we claim we are protecting resent us for doing it. We have become the bullies of the world where we go around telling people what is good for them rather than letting people take care of themselves.

            The only way to make governments less corrupt is give them less money to spend. The constant idea that if we don’t spend our whole budget we lose it next year has lead to relentless spending on things that are not needed, and far too often not used. Going smaller is the only solution.

            (5) Money is simply a measure of power, and you will very seldom find a rich or powerful person who does not seek more. If money was not a motivator to Trump then Why didn’t he stop his efforts to gain more when he had 90% of what he has now? The answer is because he craves the power that it affords. As president a person can effectively blackmail anyone in the world, to gain even more power, some of which they may even be able to retain once out of office. What America needs is another George Washington, and unfortunately Trump is more of a P. T. Barnum, and our country has become too much of a circus already!

          • Punta Venyage

            Friend, you perpetuating some false claims.

            (1) Trump has given money equally to Republicans and Democrats over the year (slightly more to Republicans in recent decades), so your premise is false.

            And again, as a business person you don’t give money because you support an ideology, you give money because you expect your business to benefit from the legislation being proposed.

            (2) “Bankrupted the majority of business which he has run” –
            False. Try six out of hundreds (that’s a smaller bankruptcy rate than the average business man by FAR………) . Also, bankruptcy ≠ failure (something people who don’t work in business or finance seem to misunderstand)

            (3) I support conservative and libertarian principles as well, and I am also a pragmatist understanding that you have to play with the hand you are currently dealt with; you can’t sit around and wait for a royal flush. Again playing the game and succeeding at it does not mean that you are unwilling to change the rules.

            (4) Ok, so you are in agreement of Trump’s foreign policy stance with regard to American military influence – great.

            (5) Certainly people who have become rich are more likely to have a mentality of wealth accumulation. However, do you not agree that the degree of motivation and susceptibility for corruption varies depending on how much you already have?

            Take the typical story of a corrupt politican (actually look at the Clintons for this, they are the textbook case)…. they come in to office with rags and then leave with riches. If someone is coming into the office with riches they are less vulnerable to being controlled, which is partially why the current ruling class is concerned.

            Furthermore, when you make a big business bigger, you could say it is all about more money, but I think there is a larger component of simply wanting to make the company bigger – more territory, more people, more market share, etc. – just a primal instinct. Let’s apply his pride in his business to his pride in our country.

          • Ognar

            I disagree with your premise that we have to accept a falsely narrowed pool of candidates, the whole “lesser of two evils” argument. This is the ploy the GOP party has been using to support RINO’s who once elected vote in favor of the same damn legislation that the democrat that ran against them supported.

            I too am a pragmatist, but I have come to the conclusion that we the voters may need to suffer the bitter medicine of loss to compel our politicians to understand that we choose them and they work for us, and that we will no longer accept the false dichotomy of choices which they use to get party insiders who will put the party’s interest ahead of American citizens interests.

            We have seen over the last 2-4 years how little it has mattered that the GOP has controlled both houses of the legislature by the actions of our effete RINO leaders. We have seen our desires for conservative representation winnowed down till we were presented with people like Romney and McCain as our presumptive leaders.

            At this point I believe that only through dedicating my vote to the principles of freedom and liberty; as represented currently by the Libertarian Party, can we reassert our control over those who seek to represent us in office. I see the vote which may have very low odds of winning to be an act of sacrifice and devotion to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, akin to signing up to serve in the armed forces.

            I believe that if we do not stand up and assert our dominance over the system that we will fall further into the dystopian future foretold by George Orwell in 1984…

          • João Pedro Santos

            Bingo, a conservative quoting Socialist Orwell!

          • Ognar

            Thinkers evaluate information on the validity of the information, not the source. Tyranny is tyranny whether it comes from Crony Capitalism or Government Bureaucracy, I seek to be free and preserve my rights to live my life unmolested and unconstrained by those who seek power over me. That includes those who seek to tell me what I am allowed to think, say, or ideas I choose to value!

  • Brendan

    I disagree with Gary Johnson on my top two issues (abortion and religious freedom), but I respect that you won’t be pressured into the false choice between Clinton and Trump. I love the mugger analogy. It reminds me of Hank Rearden’s trial defense.

    • João Pedro Santos

      Do you disagree with Gary Johnson because he supports religious freedom?

      • Brendan

        I’m not aware of any cases when he supported religious freedom, only the ones when he opposes religious freedom (i.e. When he said he supported forcing Christian bakers to bake cakes for gay weddings, despite the fact that they are willing to bake cakes for gay people, just not for a gay wedding).

        • João Pedro Santos

          That isn’t opposing religious freedom. At most it would be opposing conscientious objection. Though it’s a weird conscientious objection because the only result will be losing money and getting bad reviews from their costumers.

          • Brendan

            It’s absolutely religious freedom. Statist idiots confuse Freedom of Worship for Freedom of Religion, believing that the the first contains the entirety of the second rather than one of many parts. Religious Freedom doesn’t just belong to one faith, the ordained, or within the building’s where religious services are held.

            It’s true that bakers, florists, caterers, etc. may be making an economically poor decision to refuse to violate their faith. A person who was denied service for a gay wedding is unlikely to return for a birthday party or another reason. Also, those who dislike the baker’s faith and these decisions will probably boycott if they are aware. It’s not going to be easy, but Christians were promised by Christ that coexistence with the world would be brutally hard.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Are you implying that all Christians are homophobes? That’s a faulty generalization.

          • Brendan

            We clearly have a very different idea of what makes someone a homophobe, although I would say that every faithful Catholic fits your definition (Defense of Traditional Marriage, heeding Pope Francis’ call to resist modern gender theory, protecting religious freedom).

            Obviously I don’t know your actual definition, but I believe you would characterize all these as homophobic.

            So essentially very few Catholics are homophobic according to me, but I must assume that all faithful Catholics are homophobic according to you.

          • João Pedro Santos

            What an intolerant comment. You’re saying that Catholics should oppose LGBT rights, thus contribution to the oppression of people who can be their friends, classmates or coworkers. Not only you’re being intolerant of LGBT people but you’re also being intolerant of Catholics when saying that they should subscribe a far-right ideology. Luckily a lot of Catholics don’t think that way.

          • Brendan

            At this point there’s not a lot to be said, except thank God for Pope Francis and the coming ascendancy of African Catholics. We have the hierarchy, save a few ancient Germans in their dying dioceses, and the expanding parts of the Church are religiously conservative. And we will not cave in the U.S. in the meantime.