Why we abandoned Donald Trump (and why you should, too)

Note: this article was originally published in the Eagle in August. In light of current events, it is more relevant than ever. 

By a staggering margin of 76 percent to 24 percent, the members of American University College Republicans (AUCRs) have voted to withhold an endorsement of Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president. In an even more devastating repudiation of the Trump candidacy, 82% of our members voted to campaign for down ballot races to protect the Republican majority in Congress, as opposed to the 18% of survey respondents that desired to use AUCRs resources to campaign for Trump. I believe that’s what President Obama referred to as a “shellacking” after his party got decimated in the 2010 midterms.

I was elected as President of AUCRs at a contentious moment for the Republican Party. Our primary was still in progress, and Trump was fighting a two-front battle to secure the Republican nomination against Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich. After having worked for Senator Rubio’s campaign, I was a man without a candidate. After much deliberation, I submitted an absentee ballot for Donald Trump in my home state of New York.

I supported Trump for two major reasons. The first was that I earnestly thought Trump would pivot and act more presidential. I was among the conservatives that thought Trump was capable of pivoting to a more traditional candidate that cared about learning policy and campaigning. Foolish, I know, but you can’t blame me for being optimistic. I was excited at the idea of an outsider going in to fundamentally transform the way Washington operates. I thought he would run a smart campaign championing policy initiatives that would truly make America great again.

Furthermore, I thought Trump would unify the party. Going up against the Clinton machine is a formidable task. When the field cleared in the first week of May, I was ecstatic that we would have a chance to rally around Trump to beat Hillary. I thought he would work hard to unify the party around his candidacy. Since then, Trump has lashed out at countless Republican officials, often for the simple sin of not declaring ultimate fealty to his campaign. I had much higher hopes for someone who had a legacy for being a master negotiator and businessman.

Since Trump secured the nomination in early May, his campaign has been in freefall. Trump has failed to accomplish anything I thought he would do. Trump has continued to insult other Republicans, and has failed to focus on the many controversies surrounding Hillary Clinton. Trump shows absolutely no dedication to any of the qualities that makes a president great, much less any dedication to policies that would actually make America great again. You would be hard-pressed to fill a 3×5 index card with what Trump knows about public policy. And worst of all? By his own admission, he doesn’t care about winning the election. Trump seems more energized in attacking his fellow Republicans than attacking the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. Trump could have been a Kempian figure, advocating for a better path away from the last eight years. I am dismayed to see that he has embraced a campaign strategy akin to a primal scream steeped in blind rage. Trump’s campaign is built on fear instead of hope, and darkness instead of light.

As AUCRs president, I strive to create an inclusive environment for Republicans of all stripes. No matter what kind of Republican you consider yourself, you are welcome in our community. At the end of the day, we always unite around the common principles that make us conservatives. Since clinching the nomination, I have yet to see Donald Trump attempt to create such an environment for my party or our country, or display loyalty to conservative principles.

It is time to demand the RNC replace Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. Trump has not shown the willingness or the talent to beat Hillary Clinton, so it is imperative that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pressures Trump to withdraw, and replaces him with a candidate with the gravitas to unite the party and win this election. We deserve a fighting chance at winning this election, because Hillary Clinton would be a disaster as President.

I’m glad our members voted to dedicate our time and effort to protecting our Congressional majority. I’m looking forward to rallying our dedicated and talented volunteers to campaign for down-ballot races before Election Day. I’m honored to serve as the President of AUCRs, even during this tumultuous time. I will never apologize for taking the concerns of our members into account in any decision that I’ll make this year.

As a club, we’ve abandoned Donald Trump. Unless he miraculously changes course, you should too.

The Fall of Donald Trump: Why His Campaign’s Implosion Will Save the GOP From Itself

drumpf

On October 7th, 2016, The Washington Post released a tape in which Donald Trump made aggressive sexual remarks about women. With statements asserting “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” and that because of this he could “grab them by the p***y,” Donald Trump has shown a far darker side to his already sinister image. His disrespect for women and glorification of sexual assault have led to a mass exodus of Republican elected officials, with Reps. Joe Heck (NV-3), Mia Love (UT-4), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), Jason Chaffetz (UT-3), Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Crapo (R-ID), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune (R-SD) all either unendorsing the nominee or asking that he be replaced immediately.

While this may seem like a moment of sheer panic for the GOP, this may actually be the moment where Republicans across the country can unequivocally banish Trumpism from the Party of Lincoln and Reagan. When Trump clinched the nomination in early May, I and many others felt resigned to vote for him in the hope that taking the mantle of those before him would create a campaign turnaround. Controversy after controversy later, I now see this as our chance to save us from ourselves.

In 2012, Gov. Mitt Romney caught a great deal of flak for describing his hiring process as consisting of “binders full of women”—that is, he had binders full of résumés of qualified, accomplished women—in a soundbite that seemed to torpedo his candidacy. Four years later, the ardently #NeverTrump Romney fired back at Trump’s abhorrent remarks both in a statement, and at a campaign rally for Rep. Joe Heck, in which he offered a stunning rebuttal of Trumpism itself. Governor Romney declared, “We love all the people in this country regardless of gender or ethnicity or religion,” and that he hopes that “we will come together as a nation and stand as firmly as we possibly can for the principles that have made us the shining city on a hill.” These two very different incarnations of Republican Party nominees are exactly why I am hopeful in light of the recent campaign chaos. For me, the time has ultimately come to completely purge Trumpism from the party. The chorus of condemnation from every corner of the Republican Party should now be seen as Donald Trump’s swan song.

With his collapse all but inevitable, this latest mass exodus from the tar pit of Trumpism is only the beginning of the process of reconstruction that may hopefully serve to reignite the principles that Governor Romney and many other reluctant Trump-backing GOPers hold dear. Now that their calls to return to Reaganesque optimism are no longer being drowned out by the primal screams of Trump loyalists, the party must now begin the difficult-but-necessary process of rebuilding. We are a big-tent party that wants to create equality of opportunity for all with an inclusive message, which is why a movement built around one man’s cult of personality never stood a chance against a party of ideas.

The stain of Trumpism is one that will be difficult to expunge, but the growing list of honorable people like Carly Fiorina, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Mike Lee  gives me hope that we will save ourselves from the scourge of Donald Trump.The old saying goes that the night is always darkest just before the dawn, but for the GOP in a post-Trump world, there is cause for celebration that once Trump collapses either at the hands of the RNC or on Nov. 8th, the toxicity of Trumpism will be effaced by the “ideas party” that the GOP has always been.

I am confident that Trump’s campaign implosion will save the GOP from itself, and for all Republicans who have stumbled and held their noses throughout this raucous election season, it is time to show everyone else that in terms of bringing conservative solutions to the real problems facing our nation, they ain’t seen nothing yet.