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If I Am a Republican, Why Am I Voting for Donald Trump?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 28, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 28, 2016 |

As a thought experiment, I often try to put myself in the shoes of those with whom I disagree politically. In the case of voters for Mitt Romney, John McCain, or even George W. Bush, it isn’t that difficult. Giving them the benefit of every liberal doubt, maybe I would vote for them because I wanted to keep more of my own money and spend it more wisely and efficiently than I believe the government can, and that includes being able to hire more people, funding my own retirement, or channeling some of that money into the charities of my choosing. Maybe I would vote for them because I am a deeply religious person. I have a more literal interpretation of the Bible. I do not believe in abortion, and I believe homosexuality is a sin. Maybe outsourcing has cost me my manufacturing job, and I believe the Republican party knows how to return it to me. Maybe I also believe in the limited role of the government, and I do not want elected officials making decisions that I can better make for myself and my family.

Ultimately, however, I am a good person. I go to church on Sundays. I hunt during deer season. For my children I want to be able to choose schools that reflect my own values, and I just want a well-paying job and an opportunity to support my family.

I know these people, and though we have our differences, I know they are largely good, well-meaning people who preach forgiveness, have a deep and abiding faith in God, and they’ll bake a casserole for me if someone in my family is sick. If I say I disagree with them, they might even say that they’ll pray for me. I’m OK with that, because as atheist as I am, what if they’re right?

What I can’t seem to do, however, is get myself inside the head of a Trump supporter. If I am that person, I cannot square my beliefs with those of Donald Trump. He is not a man of faith. He is not forgiving. He’s not charitable. He is not kind. His words may suggest that he will return my manufacturing job to me, but his personal history of outsourcing and of employing underpaid immigrants suggests otherwise.

Moreover, Trump is not interested in the idea of a more limited government. In fact, wants to expand the powers of the president and in some cases, use them to spy on his political enemies. He would reject our friends and allies, and that is not the actions of a Christian man. He has treated his own employees poorly. He’s taken advantage of those who were only trying to get ahead. If I am a Republican, those are not my values.

In fact, if I am a true Republican, some of what President Obama said in his speech last night might appeal to me. I’d like what he said about core values from the heartland, because those are the things I believe in. “True things. Things that last. The things I try to teach my kids.” I believe in honesty and hard work, and I don’t see that in Donald Trump. I do not see a man capable of humbling himself under God’s hand. I also don’t cotton to braggarts and bullies, and that’s something I see every day from Donald Trump.

If I’m a Republican, I’m a patriot. I do not believe in fascism or demagoguery. I believe in the might and power of the U.S. military, and I would never think to refer to those brave men and women as a “disaster.” I would show them my unconditional support, even when they were fighting wars I did not believe in.

If I’m a man of faith, I’d have cried when Obama sang “Amazing Grace” at the Charleston funeral, because there’s no more sacred place than a church. I’d be praying for those children killed in Newtown, and I’d be willing to sacrifice my right to an assault weapon in the next deer hunting season if it meant saving a few more innocent souls. I may also believe that homosexuality is a sin, but I also know that Jesus preaches forgiveness, and that we are all — “black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young and old; gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities” — part of God’s creation.

If I am a true conservative Christian, I am lost right now. The man leading my party is talking about an America unfamiliar to me. I don’t see the America Donald Trump is talking about in the church pews every Sunday morning. I don’t see that America in my children’s schools, in the PTA meetings I attend weekly, or in the aisles of the grocery store. I do not see that America reflected in the good, kind people around me.

If I am a conservative Republican, I do not fear the future, because God has laid down a path for me, and with his guidance, I will “shape [the future], and embrace it” with my fellow man. If I am a true man of faith, I may not agree with those of other religions, but I would not reject them, and I would not deprive them of the same opportunities that I have.

If I am voting for Donald Trump. I have to think long and hard about whether I am on the side of good or evil, because Obama and Clinton are preaching values, hard work, humility, inclusion and love, and I don’t even know what Trump is preaching anymore besides self interest.

When I look out my window, do I see a shining city on a hill or “a divided crime scene,” because the Republicans I once knew combined their faith in God with hope and optimism, and all I see in Trump is bluster and hate. That’s not the party of Reagan. If I am a Republican, that’s not my party.

If I am a Republican, how much longer can I continue to vote for a label?

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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