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Conservatives Caught on the Horns of a Dilemma

Don't Blame Committed Conservatives

August 15, 2016

As expected, Republican voters quickly coalesced behind Donald Trump once he secured the party’s nomination. His support among that group quickly rose from less than 50 percent to more than 70 percent. But even that level would not be enough to defeat Hillary Clinton in the polls. Worse yet for Republicans, his support has been vacillating in recent weeks. Some are now urging the party to divert its resources from the presidential to the congressional races.

Trump’s decline in the polls could be attributed to any number of recent events, including his reluctance to endorse prominent Republicans facing re-election, or his attack on the “gold star” family who criticized him at the Democrats’ convention.

But embarrassments like those shouldn’t surprise anyone. From the beginning, Donald Trump has been consistently unpredictable. It’s always been part of the package. That, along with his convenient and timely conversion to the Republican Party, are just two reasons so many Republicans opposed his nomination.

So Republicans now generally fall into one of three categories: those who eagerly jumped aboard the Trump Train before it began its long journey, those who now tentatively support Trump, and those who fiercely oppose him on principle.

That last group, the never-Trump conservatives find themselves berated nightly by ardent loyalists like Fox News personalities, Sean Hannity and Eric Bolling. They sternly warn that disloyalty to Trump and the party will cost Republicans the election, and they point to the impact Clinton’s election would have on the Supreme Court.

They’re absolutely right about that. A fractured Republican Party can never hope to defeat the Clinton machine. But that concern should have been addressed a long time ago.

During the primaries, none of Trump’s qualified and competent opponents displayed any of the temperament issues that have been so damaging to Trump’s campaign. More importantly, at least three of them consistently polled better against Clinton than did Trump. But the fawning support of those talking heads, along with those countless hours of free airtime helped propel Trump’s political career. His bombastic style, nationalistic rhetoric, and vow to build that wall seduced a sizeable number of Republican voters. Though they were in the minority, it was enough to give Trump the nomination. Most conservatives looked at the big picture, and saw a weak candidate, a bad candidate, and those who maintain that position are now branded as disloyal. They are no more disloyal than those impassioned supporters who vowed to reject any nominee other than Trump.

The chaos became inevitable when Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring. When he entered the race, the Republican Party could have made it clear that it would never support a candidate whose liberal positions contradicted the conservative values of the party. But the party was afraid - fearful that Trump might run as an independent candidate. It made a fateful decision. It acquiesced, hoping, expecting that he would be eliminated during the primaries. So now, conservative Republicans are faced with a dilemma.

Hillary Clinton’s election would guarantee at least four more years of policies that have decimated our military and weakened America on the international stage. Her mass, unregulated immigration and refugee plans would certainly lead to increases in crime and terrorism, and radically change America’s demographics, just as similar policies have impacted Europe. Clinton’s election would complete America’s transformation into a bankrupt welfare state, and yes, it would ensure a far-left slant in the Supreme Court for decades to come.

Worst of all, considering Clinton’s history of self-serving deception and influence-peddling, her election would perpetuate the widespread corruption that has permeated throughout virtually every government department and agency under Barack Obama’s Administration. It’s been exposed in the State Department, the IRS, the VA, and even the DOD. Most obviously, we saw it in the Department of Justice, which has completely abdicated its core responsibility - equal justice for all.

Most voters, even honest Democrats, understand that Hillary Clinton’s election would be catastrophic to the country, but she enjoys the support of committed Democrats, radicals, freeloaders, feminist zealots, and anti-American malcontents. Unfortunately for Republicans, Trump’s nomination has given her another support group - those who are more fearful of Trump than of Clinton.

Donald Trump has proven to be resilient and can still defeat Clinton, but he will have to allay the fears of his political opponents and convince a lot more conservatives to compromise their values. If he loses this election, though, don’t blame principled conservatives. Blame those who fought so hard to nominate such a deeply flawed candidate. Blame the Republican Party for being too timid to stand by the conservative principles that once made it great. And blame the nominee, who seems to be playing a parlor game, rather than running a presidential campaign.

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Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.