Richard Armitage, adviser to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; Henry Paulson, treasury secretary; Doug Elmets, former Reagan spokesperson. Such names comprise the concise list of big-name Republicans who have endorsed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, over the highly contentious presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Yet, disconcertingly, the list does not seem to be growing fast enough. Plenty of prominent Republicans have publicly condemned the ways of Trump’s controversial nature, but only few have acted further in not plainly endorsing the businessman and reality television star host. Some have vaguely stated they would endorse whomever the Republican nominee is, avoiding a direct endorsement of Trump himself, to support the democracy that should ultimately underlie American political elections, especially presidential ones. Others, like former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, favor a third-party candidacy to sustain a clear conscience.
The reality is, however, that the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency has shaken up the state of American politics, and certainly the coalition of conservatives who find themselves members of the Republican Party. In such a polarized and harshly partisan political climate, one may seek refuge in tribalism adhering wholly to one’s party while villainizing the other—choosing party. While trust in like-minded individuals secures the bonds of political alliances, today it also invokes a blindness and indifference to the well-being of American politics and the nation as a whole. Allegiance to one’s political party must not trump one’s ultimate and profound dedication to one’s country—choosing country.
For the majority of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, a compromise must be made in choosing each party’s respective candidates—Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Major players and a general consensus in both fields criticize their own candidates—Hillary Clinton for a lack of trustworthiness, the handling of the Benghazi attack, and the scandal concerning the use of a personal email server for classified state business—Donald Trump for his narcissism, lack of experience, and questionable character.
At such a moment of turbulence in American politics and the 2016 presidential election, the necessity of a good enough, qualified enough candidate must become ever-clear not for the sake of one’s party, but for the sake of the American people and the future of the nation.
For the better part of 2015, the entire Republican party disavowed the Trump candidacy as an abuse of the conservative platform and a disgrace to the integrity of Republican political policy.
Anti-Trump super PACs, like the Our Principles PAC, mostly reigned supreme, yet their power waned as key Republicans, like Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, eventually conceded in offering their endorsements of Trump.
In the summer of 2016, “Never-Trump” Republicans, former GOP nominees like Ted Cruz who implicitly rejected a Donald Trump endorsement at July’s Republican National Convention and received ostracizing feedback from his own party, or organizations, like Republican Women for Hillary, who secured a speaking slot at August’s Democratic National Convention, are villainized as traitors who disgrace the nature of American democracy and flout the imperativeness of averting “four more years of liberal cronyism,” according to Speaker Ryan.
But for those conservatives whose clear conscience guides them to choose their country over the Republican party by repudiating Donald Trump, a recognition must be made that the most likely means of securing a national well-being until the current political storm passes is to vote for former Secretary Clinton.
Despite an inherent difference in her liberal policies, a conservative’s vote for Clinton would act not as a Republican betrayal, but as a statement of disapproval for the evolving Republican party and a deeper allegiance to the United States of America—a steadfast sign of strength in convictions and conservative beliefs, and the possibility of a new era in American politics in which the identifier of “conservative” and “Republican” are no longer synonymous.