[caption id="attachment_280777" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs during a campaign rally in Concord, N.C., Monday, March 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)[/caption]
This Trump phenomenon has been a difficult one to accept. It closely mirrors the mania surrounding Obama in 2008. Like that one, it is based on emotion and grounded in how a candidate makes voters feel, instead of the experience and substance they bring to the table. The result has been downright infuriating and embarrassing
If those of us who are conservatives, and who realize Trump is not one of us, honestly look at the situation, though, we'll see that we are partly to blame for the current crisis within the party. It's an uncomfortable realization, but a necessary one.
The wave which has propelled Donald Trump is made up of the very worst that a portion of those on the Right side of the aisle have to offer. It's unbridled emotionalism, thinking uncritically, and immediately assuming the worst of those with different backgrounds or ethnicities. It's those on the Right who, when they see Hillary Clinton supporting abortion, respond with, "Your mother should have aborted you!" It's being leery when an immigrant of a different color seeks to start a life and/or has success here, even ones who identify politically as (R). Really, these are the ugly sides of the Right. They exist, and left unchecked, have resulted in what you see before you - Mr. Trump.
Do I think being on the Right side is better? Absolutely. I believe in limited government, lower taxes, free trade, fewer entitlements, encouraging others in their hard work and self determination, a strong military, the worth of the unborn, the right to bear arms, freedom of religion, etc. But we are absolute fools to believe with these noble pursuits there are not shreds of the ridiculous.
If anything, this election cycle has not shown we're a pure party seeking to reject "the establishment" as much as it shows we're a flawed party. I'm wondering if we've been so blind to those flaws in recent years, and recent election cycles, that we've unknowingly created our own version of the ludicrous "hope & change"? Now that it's in our laps, a good portion of us want to push it away, while others begrudgingly accept it and many fully embrace it.
As I've stated before, I will not support Donald Trump even if he is the GOP nominee. I cannot and will not forsake conservative principles for a win at the ballot box. I do believe the ultimate responsibility is on those who have helped Trump rise through the candidate ranks and defeat other - actually worthy - candidates. However, part of the blame for where we find the party should be directed at us, for we have been silent when we should have called out that which has been festering in the GOP.