Republican vs. Conservative: Why I no longer want to call myself a Republican

Well it is now 2017 and we have put the 2016 election behind us, right? Yeah didn’t think so. It’s only been a few days since the 45th President was sworn in. This new President of the United States was elected by one of the most controversial President elections in recent history, even beating out the 2000 Presidential Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore which was decided by a little more than 500 Floridians.I was only a small child then but I know my parents remember it well.

Now fast forward to 2016 and 4 Presidential Elections later and we have a new President. One who failed to win the popular vote, but won the electoral vote. This has lead to things like protests, the spread of the #NotMyPresident hashtag, and even cancelling college classes after the election. Following the weeks of the election there have been a new story every day involving Cabinet picks, the possibility that the Russians hacked the US election, and even Twitter wars over SNL. Stuff I couldn’t possibly make up if I wanted to. Additionally the 45th President has been controversial before, during, and after the election to many prominent Republican figures in the Federal Government, State Governments, and even the Republican Party as an entity.

So what does all of this have to do with me and the topic of the post? Well I assume you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year and that you already knew all of this information, but I this leads to how this election has effected me on a more personal level. I grew up in a Conservative household where both of my parents voted Republican. We watched the local news almost every night flipping between CBS, NBC, and FOX news. In high school I liked history even though I was never good at remembering people’s names or important dates while also being really bad at geography. It wasn’t till the end of high school/beginning of college that I really defined myself as a Republican and identified with the conservative ideology. I believe in shrinking the government, making the US more business-friendly by lowering taxes, balancing budgets, giving more power to the states, the 2nd amendment, and many other conservative ideas. (I’m sure you’ll hear plenty of my stances as we go). In my first election I voted for mostly Republican candidates and I supported my Republican governor in their re-election.

But now there’s a new leader of the Republican party. One I did not support during the primaries and one I did not vote for during the 2016 general election. Even though I voted for Republicans up and down the ticket, I voted for the Libertarian Gary Johnson for President. I’ve always considered voting third-party as “wasting your vote” but I no longer hold that stance after this past election. One one hand I want America to do well. I think everyone in America wants America to do well. We shouldn’t hope that the pilot crashes the plane we’re on just because we don’t like the pilot. We’re all in this together. On the other hand I can’t stand the guy. The terrible things he has done and said. And his hardcore supporters are sometimes worse. I still have many of the same beliefs I had growing up and I still call myself a conservative, but I don’t want to be a Republican if the current President is the new definition of “Republican.”

I know some people out there probably think that the 45th President is the definition of a Republican. Maybe you see Republicans as people who care about the 1% more than the poor people in our communities or you see them as wealthy, white men who hate women, people of color, gays, and other minority groups. Personally, I can tell you that 99% of Republicans (especially young Republicans) aren’t like that. Yeah we do have some racists, misogynists, and generally terrible people in the Republican party, but if you think that’s happening only in the Republican party, you’re lying to yourself. Both parties are large tents that attract all kinds of people too them, good and bad. It’s up to your party to wrangle in your crazy and put up candidates that can bring the party together. Hopefully this leads to the nation coming together and can bring on positive change. I think both parties really dropped the ball when it comes to the 2016 election.

So here I am. A young conservative who actually likes many prominent Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Ohio Governor John Kasich,  former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, and many other of these more “establishment Republicans.” I know the Republican party truly is a big tent that includes the TEA Party and the alt-right but I just don’t identify with either of those movements and I feel like they are taking over the party and leading them down a trail I don’t recognize.

For right now I’m going to continue refining my political beliefs, stay informed as much as possible, and try to wait and see what the 45th President will do during his first 100 days. I’m hopeful that America will be prosperous and that we can fix many of the problems we are facing as a nation. However, I’m still worried about the future of the Republican party. Maybe we’ll learn our lesson, or maybe next Presidential election I’ll consider myself a conservative-Democrat or a Libertarian. Who knows?

I hope you enjoyed some insight into the Republican party through my eyes and I hope you continue to read pieces of mine whether or they are political or my creative writing.

-Allen_The_Writer

Reminder: Keep all discussion civil and on topic. I do not want to shut down free speech but I will if the speech is hateful and/or not-constructive. Thank you.

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