By Marcial Bonifacio
My friends and American countrymen, today I write in disappointment and dismay at so-called conservatives and evangelicals who supported Donald Trump in the states which logically and rightfully should have supported Ted Cruz. First and foremost, the term “Trump conservative” is an oxymoron, comparable to a Catholic Protestant, a Marxist businessman, a vegetarian carnivore, or a leftist Republican, although the latter seems increasingly accurate, considering the prevalence of those whom conservatives are unapologetic to call a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only). Such is Trump. Aside from that as the primary reason that conservatives should not support him, I have listed a few others below.
1. Trump is not a conservative.
He has recently been styling himself as a “common sense conservative.” Could that be his flexible version of a constitutional conservative? Semantics aside, conservatives support the principles of religious liberty, limited government, and a free market system. Based on that conventional definition, here are some of Trump’s unconservative positions:
Such government intervention in the private sector is scarcely conservative. By the way, Trump skipped out on a very important conference of conservatives (CPAC) in which all Republican presidential candidates speak. He did so on a short notice in spite of accepting CPAC’s invitation several months ago. Instead, he took it for granted that he did not have to answer questions by the attendees, and according to CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp, that was “disrespectful.”
2. Trump lacks basic understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law.
When asked by CNN host Anderson Cooper what the top three functions of the U.S. government are, he responded that “the greatest function of all by far is security for our nation. I would also say health care, I would also say education.” Every conservative knows that the last two are unenumerated powers reserved to the states.
Trump’s disregard for the rule of law can be illustrated in his support for restricting free speech by loosening libel laws, whereby suing newspapers would be easier. He also indicated that as commander-in-chief, he would coerce soldiers into waterboarding terrorists, even though the Obama administration has banned it.
3. Trump lacks good character.
On several occasions, he made a public display of his arrogance. For example, on the issue of Sen. John McCain’s POW status, Trump objected to his heroism, since his plane was shot down in North Vietnam. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” One could easily envision such arrogance displayed in other scenarios. The picture below (displayed on a billboard sign by a church) illustrates a similar point.
Credit: Conservative Tribune
When Trump refused to participate in one of the FNC debates, essentially because he could not dictate the terms, his arrogance became apparent again. He mistakenly took it for granted that he did not have to present himself, his policy positions, or his American vision before Iowans in order to get their vote. On another occasion, he was boastful of how loyal his supporters are, stating, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Do any of you sense Trump’s fear of the Lord or humility?
Aside from Trump’s arrogance, he has also made some inappropriate remarks, as well as exhibited ill-mannered behavior. In response to one of the questions (apparently unfavorable to Trump) of Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly, Trump disparagingly said that she had “blood coming out of her eyes and blood coming out of her…wherever.” Where could wherever possibly be?
In one of his rallies, Trump mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski (a unique creature of God with a congenital disability), emulating his body’s irregular posture and movements—behavior that even properly reared children are taught never to mimick. On another occasion, Trump publicly called Pres. George W. Bush a liar and called for his impeachment for allegedly misleading Americans to believe WMD were present in Iraq; Trump later stated he was uncertain whether or not Bush lied (putting his judgment into question as with other foreign policy positions). Clearly, a man of his temperament, making such an outrageous and unfounded accusation and acting inappropriately, is not fit to be America’s chief diplomat or statesman.
4. Trump is not an anti-Establishment candidate.
Contrary to popular (or rather populist) belief, he is the ultimate Establishment politician. He may never have held the official title of politician, but by virtue of contributing large sums of money to Establishment politicians (Democrats and Republicans) in order to affect public policies, he displays the term in action. That gives him the advantage for his business operations while trumping (pardon the pun) over conservative principles, perpetuating a large part of the Washington Establishment—namely, crony capitalism. His loyalty or, rather, disloyalty to both parties indicates he has no entrenched principles or political platform on which he can stand or predictably govern. Gov. Bobby Jindal summed up Trump’s position well when he said, “He is not a conservative. He is not a liberal. He is not a Democrat. He is not a Republican. He is not an Independent. He believes in Donald Trump.”
Even on the campaign trail, Trump emulates the cunning methods of typical politicians. For example, in order to galvanize evangelicals, he claimed that his favorite book (next to his Art of the Deal) is the Bible. If that were the case, it seems logical that he would know how to pronounce II Corinthians 3:17 or be able to state his favorite biblical verse when requested to do so, which was not the case. Another example of political expedience was raising the issue of presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president prior to the Iowa caucuses. For several months, Trump was silent on the issue, as if he were finally satisfied that Cruz was eligible. However, when GOP debate moderator Neil Cavuto asked why Trump continued to pursue it, he frankly admitted, “Because now he’s doing a little bit better [in the polls].” Such is the myth of Trump not being a politician.
My friends, when there is a clear alternative candidate, who is a consistent conservative and has a successful record of defending Christian liberty (all of which I have documented), why don’t many conservatives and evangelicals in the southern states support him instead of Trump? Could they be confusing his sophomoric, vulgar, and arrogant demeanor (scarcely Christian, much less presidential) for being forthright or politically incorrect? Could it be that they are ill informed, gullible, or even irrational? Could it be that they are confusing a populist candidate for a conservative one?
Could the Trump evangelicals be of the same mindset as the evangelicals who temporarily subdued their intellectual judgement and Christian principles in order to satisfy a more superficial impulse via membership in Ashley Madison (the controversial, extra-marital affair dating site)? The renowned pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas First Baptist Church sympathizes with the Trump evangelicals and reasons thus:
Christians overwhelmingly chose Ronald Reagan not because he was the most religious candidate but because he had the quality people thought was most necessary at the time, and that is leadership…I think many evangelicals have come to the conclusion we can no longer depend upon government to uphold traditional biblical values…We need a strong leader and a problem solver, hence many Christians are open to a secular candidate like Donald Trump.
Indeed, Reagan served in the Army Air Forces as Personnel Officer, Post Adjutant, and Executive Officer, assisting in the production of training films for the military. He assisted the FBI in purging Hollywood of suspected Communists, and he served two terms as California governor (1967-1975) before he became president. Therefore, Jeffress was correct to point to Reagan’s leadership, and I would add patriotism.
What of Trump’s leadership? Could Jeffress be referring to being a leader in insulting American heroes, in mocking disabled people, or in his sexual performance of which he boasted at one of the presidential debates? Perhaps he is referring to Trump’s leadership in raising the issue of border security and immigration and making it the focal point of public discussion. In that case, I must mention that Ted Cruz has led the opposition against amnesty, which is precisely why the Gang of Eight amnesty bill was quashed in the House. Cruz also proposed several border security measures, including a wall in 2011—several years before Trump made his well-known pitch.
Hence, the leadership premise Jeffress raises is fallacious. Perhaps these so-called conservatives have consumed the Holy Communion wine, which is spiked with a bit of the Shirley Temple beverage the blogger Conservative Cyborg has written about.
Just think rationally for a moment and consider your two viable choices for the Republican nominee. One is a New York crony capitalist, who has changed his party affiliation at least six times (since 1987), and has done virtually nothing for Christian liberty, promoting constitutional principles or conservatism in general. On the contrary, Trump has supported liberal and unconstitutional policies, which largely benefitted himself (hardly patriotic), and boasts that he will compromise conservative principles in order to “get along” and “get things done” with the Washington Establishment.
However, the alternative candidate (Ted Cruz) is a proven conservative, whose record of defending the Constitution (namely religious liberty, rights of the unborn, gun rights, and state sovereignty) remains unmatched by any of the current presidential candidates, and is tenaciously unwilling to compromise on core conservative principles merely for the sake of getting along and getting things done, even in the midst of political gridlock (a situation for which the founders devised an electoral process as a remedy, not a hindrance to be bypassed by executive orders). By the way, should President Trump’s deals or compromises fail in Congress, would he resort to executive orders as Obama currently does?
My friends, conservatives are completely justified in channeling their infuriation and distrust of the Republican Party (whose members have constantly reneged on their promises in capitulation to Democrats) into a candidate who shares the same sentiments. However, shared sentiment alone does not qualify one to be president of the U.S. As conservatives, we must not be blinded by our anger and vote strictly out of emotion, a trait which is generally attributable to liberals, especially those who voted for Pres. Barack Obama. Instead, let us use our full reasoning capacity to see past Trump’s flimsy, populist rhetoric and elect a seasoned constitutional maverick, who seeks not to make deals with the devils in the Washington Establishment, but to defy them in defense of the conservative principles of religious liberty, limited government, and free enterprise.
As Cruz pointed out at a Texas rally:
It’s easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap. But the critical question is, do you understand the principles and values that made America great in the first place?
If you all do not understand, then please refrain from referring to yourselves as “conservatives.”
Victory to Sen. Ted Cruz for God and Country!