A final appeal to Goldwater-Reagan-Kemp Republicans

An election-eve appeal to Goldwater-Reagan-Kemp Republicans. Please share.

You’ve spent years arguing for a free-trade, free-market agenda as a key to hope, growth, and opportunity.
You’ve spent years seeing Hillary Clinton as an implacable opponent of that agenda. And you want to stop her from becoming President.

But you’re not going to stop her from becoming President.

The question you face is: will you cast a losing vote that you’re going to be ashamed of? One that betrays your ideals, in the service of a man who either doesn’t understand them or spits on them or both?
Reagan said “The freer the flow of world trade, the stronger the tides of human progress and peace among nations.” He didn’t look forward to self-destructive trade wars.

He said that accepting an election loss and the peaceful transition of power shows the world that “we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty,” and praised our tradition of it as a “nothing less than a miracle” in the world’s eyes. He didn’t dabble in the idea of destroying that tradition.

“If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.”

“We need protection for people who are in this country and who have not become citizens.”

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

He wanted to “make the border something other than a locale for a nine-foot fence” and maintained that “Latinos are Republicans; they just don’t know it yet.” He didn’t want to drive them away from the party for a generation.

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.” Harmony, peace, commerce, people of all kinds, and the doors are open: Ronald Reagan’s dream is Donald Trump’s nightmare.

As if he saw the fate of 2016 Republicans from Paul Ryan to Ted Cruz, Reagan warned about the temptation to “go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last -but eat you he will.”

He spoke for a Republicanism that called for walls to be torn down, not built up.

I don’t think that a Reagan Republican can feel anything but shame in voting for Donald Trump. Reagan always said that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; it left him. This year the Republican Party has left you. You don’t want to strengthen the forces that took it away.

Now, I think the right call for a #NeverClinton Reagan Republican who has spent years believing in that open-trade, free-market agenda of hope, growth, an opportunity is to vote for longtime Republicans turned Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, to keep a flicker of that vision alive for the next time around. “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism,” Reagan said, after all. But I can see a case for Evan McMullin. If you can’t bring yourself to either of those, not voting, or doing as people like John Kasich and John McCain have done and writing in your favorite current Republican could both be defended. You’ve probably already thought about one of these, sometime this year, but you may have abandoned the idea in favor of a “realistic” option of stopping Clinton.

It isn’t.

And casting a losing vote for Donald Trump only serves to put your stamp of approval on what he’s made of the Republican Party. The better he does tomorrow, the harder it will be to retake the party from him the day after. You will have, in the truest sense, wasted your vote; you’ll have signed up for a cause you don’t believe in, to no good effect. Don’t do it.

Think hard about what Donald Trump stands for.

In your heart, you know he’s wrong.

Published on:
Author: Jacob T. Levy
  • msetgrl

    Republicans have been pandering to “what he has made of the Republican party” since at least Reagan. Trump didn’t make this. He just exposed this hideous underbelly and gave his supporters
    permission to voice their disgusting views for all the world to see.

    • Sean II

      Damn right. Recognizing that the people you disagree with are hideous and disgusting is the key to a healthy outlook on this election.

  • DST

    I decided long ago to vote for Johnson, if for no other reason than to boost visibility of the Libertarian party, so this article isn’t targeted at me. But the hand-wringing over Trump has convinced me that the gulf between libertarians and bleeding-heart “libertarians” is about as big as that between libertarians and progressives. The idea that Trump voters are more deserving of this kind of condescending whining than are Clinton voters is laughable, given Clinton’s decades-long rejection of constitutionally limited government and rule of law.

    Jacob, in your heart you know you’re wrong.

    • jtlevy

      I think that a higher ratio of us bleeding-heart types are voting Johnson than is true for the more orthodox libertarians over at Volokh, a plurality of whom are voting for Clinton. And an unprecedented number of conservative and libertarian legal scholars haave joined them, either in affirmatively supporting Clinton or in negatively insisting that Trump is a distinctive kind of threat to the constitutional order.

      I’m not voting for Clinton. But we can recognize with PJ O’Rourke that our disagreements with her are the normal stuff for libertarians– of course we disagree with the people who run the state. Trump is wildly outside the normal parameters of liberal constitutional government.

      • DST

        First, the writers at Volokh are more conservative than libertarian; even Eugene has described himself as such. And the writers there that have come out in favor of Clinton (Orin Kerr and David Post) seem to be voting for the establishment candidate more than anything, which doesn’t seem particularly libertarian. And both of them are under the delusion that Clinton has some respect for the rule of law, which should tell you how respectable their judgment is.

        That the fact that “our disagreements with her are the normal stuff for libertarians” is taken as an endorsement of Clinton shows how spineless her recent supporters are.

        Trump is wildly outside the normal parameters of liberal constitutional government.

        I don’t even have to disagree with this statement, and I won’t. I just have to point out that Clinton can be relied on further gut constitutional protections, including those of the 2nd amendment, and perpetuate the disrespect of others, such as the 1st, 4th, and 5th. If that’s operating within the “the normal parameters of liberal constitutional government” then those parameters deserve as little respect and support as she does.

        • Theresa Klein

          And this is how the two party duopoly hooks you – the other side is always so horrible, so egregious that you MUST vote for one of the two parties. As long as both sides can convince you to believe the other side is evil incarnate, neither side ever has to be anything better than the lesser evil.

          • DST

            Agreed, which is why I’m not voting for either, and why I think libertarian arguments for voting for either, or for voting against one but not both, are crazy.

        • Sean II

          Right you are.

          What Clinton represents: a well organized attack on individual liberty, which will advance behind a smoke screen of message discipline and bureaucratese.

          What Trump represents: a badly disorganized attack on individual liberty, by a guy so crude he actually uses the word “Mexicans” when referring to Mexicans.

          Anyone who claims to be uniquely terrified of the latter is comimg out of the closet as a more Pinkerian than Libertarian.

      • Sean II

        This whole “distinctive threat to the constitutional order” thing is pretty silly.

        First, because the constitutional order is allegedly built to withstand just this scenario. And if it can’t, why worship it so?

        Second, because the constitutional order is obviously deteriorating quite nicely under the care of its alleged worshippers, like Bush, Obama, and the guaranteed to be worse than both Hillary.

        Third, because “says dumber shit than other candidates, and says it way more openly” does not get us anywhere near a verdict of “distinctive threat to constitutional order”. Indeed, it mostly predicts that Trump would be clumsy and impotent in the post election political process – i.e. not much a threat to that process.

    • Theresa Klein

      WTF are you talking about. This article is about Trump and the Republican Party’s abandonment of free-market, free-trade principles. It literally says nothing about Trumps supporters.

      • DST

        I referred to Trump voters in my post. The article addresses people considering voting for Trump. That’s WTF I am talking about. Are you still confused?