During the height of the George W. Bush administration, immigration reform became one of his stated goals. He was squishier than the conservative base, but seemed to genuinely believe he could push for a system which would expel illegals that had committed crimes beyond their illegal entry, while finding a way for those already here illegally to become at minimum, taxpayers who weren't hiding.
I recall some of the arguments I made against his proposals.
- Permitting citizenship to those who entered illegally is unfair to those who have patiently waited in our dysfunctional immigration system and remain unable to come to the land of the free.
- Rather than buy into the strawman that anyone is asking for mass deportation and rounding up of illegal aliens in paddy wagons, let's simply enforce the existing immigration laws and end catch & release.
- Creating such a system would create a rush for the border to get over here as fast as possible in order to make it into the defacto amnesty plan.
- These illegal aliens already committed a crime as their first action by coming here and as such should go to the back of line if not prevented from ever being allowed back in.
- Ronald Reagan instituted a reform of this type and we have more illegals here now then we did then.
- We must have sovereignty or our nation is doomed.
I'm sure you've heard a great deal of these arguments as well over the years. I don't hold all of them anymore and have found more than my share of nuance and asterisks among some of those bullet points.
Unfortunately, it seems that social media has put into place a bullhorn that has amplified and distorted these fairly rational arguments over the years, taking each one to the worst extreme. Over time the arguments over illegal immigration became cartoonish.
Once Donald Trump entered the field of candidates and appointed himself the voicebox of all those who had slowly distorted those rational anti-illegal immigration arguments, things went from cartoonish to apocalyptic.
Now we have an enormous group of people, claiming to represent the base of the Republican party, who won't admit they are xenophobic while at the same presenting every argument a xenophobe would argue.
- They don't want to simply prevent illegal aliens. They want shut down all immigration.
- They don't want to enforce existing immigration laws and end catch and release. They want to send out the paddy wagons and literally round up 11 million people for mass deportation.
- They don't simply believe illegal aliens committed a crime by coming here. They believe illegal aliens are criminals and rapists by nature.
- They don't simply believe sovereignty is vital to America's future. They believe it is the only issue worth considering, all the way to the point of being willing to elect a known liar with a liberal background who would destroy the GOP and dismantle conservative gain, all because he's "tough on immigration."
- And just for good measure, they've given new life to the birther movement, this time for Senator Ted Cruz.
Donald Trump is the embodiment of this evolution. The result of a decade of people finding their voice online, shouting at the top of their lungs, and creating the need for a character that Trump was more than willing to play. A leader of trolls. A guide to the blind, deaf, and dumb. Someone who would say whatever he had to say at any particular moment, regardless of how much it may have contradicted a statement he made earlier, or even within the same speech.
This disenchanted "base" was so upset with the Establishment and their attempts to go soft on immigration policy, that they latched on to Trump's brash attitude early on, declaring him the only hope.
As time went on and more and more of his conservative credentials died, immigration became the last pillar. The only one many of these fans cared about to begin with.
To call it detrimental to the party, to conservatism, to the nation as a whole, is an incredible understatement. This is a guy who finds more in common with Vladimir Putin than he does with Megyn Kelly.
So what does all of this have to do with my bombastic headline? It's really quite simple.
For a long time now, the media has attempted to present the Republican Party as a group of racist xenophobes who hold no real devotion to principles as much as they do to enriching cronies.
And now, in perfect alignment with their stereotypes, the base is pushing a xenophobic candidate who holds no real devotion to principles and is himself a crony who spent a great deal of time and effort enriching himself at taxpayers expense.
Let's be clear: I think Hillary Clinton would be equally detrimental. This isn't a question of choosing the lesser of two evils. Hillary and Trump are equally evil and untrustworthy in my estimation.
So in a situation where two devils are my only option, where I'm certain the outcome of 4 years will be bad for the country, where I'm positive the party responsible for nominating them will be held accountable and suffer the wrath of voters for years to come... I choose to let the other party take the hit.
I will not participate in destroying my own party's brand by helping to elect a dangerous and untrustworthy person to office and declaring him a representative of my ideological beliefs.
Instead, I will, should Trump win the nomination, work to make sure that the other dangerous and untrustworthy person, who has declared themselves to a representative of progressivism, takes the job.
When I've presented this line of reasoning before, some have pushed back and said "Congress would stop Trump."
No. They wouldn't.
They've barely stopped Obama. They would barely stop Hillary. They would, if history is a guide, put up almost no opposition to the president who has an R next to his name.
Not to mention, Trump has shown about as much concern for separation of powers as Obama has, so I see no reason to believe he wouldn't continue to rule by executive fiat.
So the result would be liberal policies being implemented with a republican president and, one assumes, a republican congress. The left can just sit back and watch and enjoy. Like it's a grand experiment. "Will the policies work? We'll see! If they don't, it's not us!"
Why in the world would I entertain being involved in such a thing?
For years we accused the Establishment of pushing Democrats with an R next to their name onto us. We declared in those instances that they must also be conservative, not just a Republican.
Donald Trump has shown us time and again that he is far from a conservative. He's a democrat donating, single payer supporting, eminent domain abusing, flip flopping, racist, sexist, temper tantrum throwing, xenophobic liar who will find ways to destroy what's left of post-Obama America.
If you vote for him just because that R is next to his name or just because you believe (with no evidence) that he will keep his work on his immigration policy prescriptions, then you are the definition of a RINO.