Many of you across Virginia know me. You know that I am as anti-establishment as they come. You know that I have a libertarian background. If you’ve followed Virginia Right since the Dave Brat v. Eric Cantor campaign, you’ve seen me become increasingly involved in Republican Politics. If you need someone to blame, blame Dave Brat, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mark Meadows, Ted Cruz, and a dozen more Congressmen and Senators who are sitting Republicans. They ran as Republicans and they won as Republicans and they fight their battles within the Republican Party – indeed, within the Republican Establishment itself.
I want a better Republican Party. I want a more conservative, more libertarian, more constitutional Republican Party; and I cannot serve to effect that change from outside of the party, lobbing grenades every time the Republican voters nominate someone I don’t like. The one condition requisite to being a member of the Republican Party is that you “support the nominee”. That’s it.
But that’s the real catch, right? That’s the real problem that Donald Trump poses liberty activists (and, in this case, the establishment) fighting within the Republican Party to effect change. We’re all required to support the nominee – even if that nominee is Donald Trump.
So we have to ask ourselves, is it right for the Republican Party of Virginia to mandate that members of the Republican Party support the eventual nominee? Being instinctively opposed to this kind of control, my desire is to argue that it is, in fact, not right. I want to argue that you cannot require members of the party to ignore their conscience, their morality, their integrity in the case that the voters nominate a liberal democrat and billionaire playboy that stands for everything our Republican Party stands against.
I have struggled with this issue for the last eight months; and by struggle I mean I have sat up all night pondering it and arguing with myself as if I was in the midst of some Edgar Allen Poe poem. It’s been that kind of intense. Here is my conclusion.
The time for principle and personal politics is in the primary. For the last 7 months I’ve volunteered, I’ve collected petitions, I’ve staffed precincts, I’ve written vociferously on behalf of my candidate, and I’ve written caustic opinion after caustic opinion in opposition to Donald Trump. The primary is the battle where you fight for your candidate, where you put in your time, your money, and your energy. However – Once you have your nominee, it’s already over. All you’re voting for is the party.
In November, we’re not voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. We’re voting for the Republican Party or the Democrat Party. In November, a vote for Donald Trump is not a vote for Donald Trump, it’s a two-fold vote against the Democrat Party and for the Republican Party. If the people of the Republican Party nominate Donald Trump as their nominee, I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to retract a single stinging point I’ve made against the man. I don’t have to pretend as if now, all of sudden, I’m a supporter. I don’t even have to pretend as if I don’t despise him and everything I think he stands for. I just have to vote Republican.
There is more at stake in November than showing all those Republicans who voted for our nominee how pissed off we are with them. Do we want a President that will work to get the REINS Act signed into law? Congressman Rob Wittman and Senator Rand Paul are desperately hoping for a Republican President, so that the REINS Act can pass the Senate and be signed by the President of the United States and become law. This is important legislation that will not pass if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders sit in the Oval Office.
In fact, after the party’s have their nominee, their names shouldn’t even be on the damn ballot. It should say, “Republican Party. Democrat Party. Libertarian Party”. Select which one you support.
I will be furious with my fellow Republicans if they see fit to nominate Donald Trump, but I will support the nominee. I’m not sacrificing the principles I’ve fought so hard for over the last 7 months. I won’t have to sit with members of my church and ask God for forgiveness. I’m not voting for Donald Trump or Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz in November. I’m voting for the Republican Party. I can do so without feeling the slightest bit of guilt because I know that I fought as hard as I could for my principles, for my candidate, and to advocate my own political philosophy, and there isn’t a damn thing Donald Trump can do to take that away from me.
Now, why it is so important that we vote for our party in November?
If members of the Republican Party didn’t have to support the nominee, Republicans wouldn’t ever win an election. Truly, after Dave Brat beat Eric Cantor, if all the Cantor Republicans stayed home in November – pissed that their guy lost – then Virginia’s 7th District would be represented by a Democrat today.
“Oh, well, that’s not fair”, you might say. “You can’t compare Dave Brat to Donald Trump”. It doesn’t matter.
All you folks who invested time, money, and energy into Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio – hell, those 8 crazy guys that volunteered for Lyndsey Graham, and the 5 of them who actually voted for him – if your candidate wins the nomination, would you not expect your fellow Republicans to support the nominee? If not, then why fight? Why spend so much time and energy and money into something if all the supporters of the folks who lost can say, “Nope, screw you, I’m not supporting your guy”?
If that were the way it worked, there would be no Republican Party, because there would be no grassroots, no activists, no door knockers, no phone callers, no precinct captains, and no donors. If we don’t support the nominee, what’s the point in having one?
We fight for our principles all year long, but in November we vote for our Party. Sometimes this feels great. Sometimes it makes us feel sick. But that’s why we fight so hard, to make sure our guy is the guy the rest of party rallies around. No one said this would be easy and no one promised it would feel good. We’re Republicans and it can be painful. Don’t feel so bad…There’s probably a 92 year old, Obama-voting, Chicago Cubs fan praying to God that this is their year. Disappointment is relative.