Evolution of a Trump Conservative
January of last year I wrote a column to decry the oft-used liberal pejorative of “racist” towards anyone that disagrees with them. In that column, I also stated that I was not, and never would be a Trump supporter, but calling him a racist was unfair because it was untrue. Later that year, on November 8th, 2016 I proudly cast a vote for the Republican ticket of Donald Trump for President and Mike Pence for Vice President (incidentally, I also voted for all of the state-wide Republican candidates, so I had a very good night).
I’m sure you are wondering, if you are reading this, exactly how this evolution happened. Was it, as some have said, that Republicans had nowhere else to go so they begrudgingly voted for their nominee? Did I answer the call from then Governor Mike Pence to Republicans to “come home” and like a diligent party soldier I did as I was told? Was the possibility of Hillary Clinton so repulsive to me that it motivated me to make a vote for someone I wouldn’t have otherwise voted for? The answer to all of these questions is no. Fortunately for you, and your reading pleasure, I am much more complicated than that.
Too many times in politics we search for the easy answer. We want things to be simple. If someone says A and they change their mind to B, there has to be a simple reason. Well, I’m human, and as such I reserve the right to change my mind based off of new information, and during his campaign, and in the first few weeks of this administration, I have become a strong Trump Conservative.
First, we need to start long before Donald Trump was a candidate for President, and I was a young conservative working for then Representative Christopher Chocola in Indiana’s 2nd District. I can remember during one contentious national debate, Chocola said that he would rather lose an election than compromise his principles. This stuck with me, and since then I have tried to apply that to my life in general. I would rather lose a job, a relationship, a friendship, a client, than sacrifice my principles. People that will only tell you what you want to hear can’t be trusted, and if nothing else, I at least want those in my life to know that I am trustworthy and honest.
In January, when I wrote that I wouldn’t support Donald Trump, I meant it. I meant every word of it. At that time the only thing I knew about the candidate was that he had given interviews defending abortion and had supported liberal causes in the past. Oh, and he wanted to build a wall, and while that garnered lots of media attention, I didn’t take it seriously. I thought building a wall was a publicity stunt. Then something happened, he kept repeating it. Not only did he repeat it, despite the negative press he received, he also took a strong stand on national security, pro-life issues, and not letting America be the doormat of the international trade world. The media storm around him was brutal, but in the face of that he didn’t change and he didn’t apologize.
By the Indiana primary, I was no longer anti-Trump, and I found myself often in arguments with people who said that there was no way they could every vote for him, and would vote for Hillary. Listen, I can understand if you are a Republican who says that you can’t vote for a particular Republican candidate, but to vote for Hillary was supporting the opposite of every established modern conservative principle.
When Republican Nominee Donald Trump chose then Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate, I knew for sure he was for real. Even if I had previously had reservations about statements he had made when he was younger that were pro-choice, even if I had been skeptical about his past donations to Democrats and support for liberal causes, you don’t choose Mike Pence to be your running mate because you are anathema to conservative principles, you choose Mike Pence because he is a reflection of the conservative principles you want to bring to Washington.
So that did it. My conversion was complete and my confirmation day was November 8th. Since then I can’t imagine a world in which I could’ve been happier with my choice. As President, Donald Trump has shown a conviction to his principles that he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for. In an era where we are used to our politicians doing extensive polling, focus group testing, and floating trial balloons in order to gauge public opinion before announcing anything, Donald Trump has been something we haven’t seen before. You can disagree with his actions, his words, his plans, his nominees, his choices, but you can’t say he’s insincere, and to me, someone who will do what they believe, despite the consequences, is something our country needs right now.