Voting for Donald Trump was never an option. There was at one time a chance that I might have voted Republican in 2016. I’m still very much pro-life, but also believe we need a consistent and holistic pro-life ethic (including at least a just war view of war, opposition to the death penalty and the need to address the root causes of abortion, poverty, need for health care, etc).
I’ve felt politically homeless for a long time. George W. Bush’s war in Iraq was a decisive moment for me for a number of reasons (I was against that war at the time largely because of my faith and a long Christian tradition of either pacifism or at least some form of a just war theory. Darrell Gustafson, myself and a few others gathered in the lobby of our main classroom building to pray for peace and protest against the war). For a long time I've rejected the kind of ideological thinking which views the world as a set of unrelated but supposedly inextricably linked issues (you have to be against abortion AND for a unilateral war in Iraq AND against background checks for gun sales).
I’m kind of like the wandering son of the Republican party that wants to come home but the longer I stay away, the more strange home seems. I understand where a lot of conservatives are (especially on abortion), and I can almost understand the logic that leads some to still support Trump. But even understanding that on a purely intellectual level is difficult for me at this point. On a human, emotional level, I have no clue what is going on.
The strangest part for me is the extent to which many people don’t realize how devastating Trump and this entire cycle has been for the future (?) of the party. After Romney lost in 2012, the famous autopsy done by the Republicans themselves determined that they needed to broaden their base, appeal to Latinos, African Americans, young people, etc. There are so many ways that this could have been done. Whatever anyone’s best intentions were (remember when several Republicans supported comprehensive immigration reform instead of a wall and a deportation force but out of political expediency had to abandon it?), the result of the 2016 election was that the Republican party has taken out a second mortgage on the white vote, made its racism explicit (though dog whistles still abound) and has elevated the most unqualified major party candidate for the presidency in modern history.
The worst part of it all for the party is that so many of its leaders have shown themselves to be spineless, fearful and unwilling to suffer for the truth or for their supposed principles. The same people so offended by Bill Clinton’s behavior (myself included) have now changed their minds about the importance of character? (One of the worst indictments against white evangelical voters is this… it turns out that character doesn’t matter anymore? http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2016/november/this-is-what-it-looks-like.html )
I say all of this not as a person hoping for the demise of the GOP (or as a person unaware of the hypocrisies of the left), but as one hoping that the party would have appealed to its best instincts instead of its worst.
Any movement that can’t win hearts and minds without manipulation or appeals to fear and racism has no future.
Are you worried about the Supreme Court? What if no conservative wins the White House for the next 20 years?
By losing an entire generation of young people, Latinos, African-Americans and others (many of whom may have been otherwise predisposed to support conservative views for a number of reasons) the party that embraces Trump, embraces its own demise.