Donald Trump has become quite the polarizing figure in American politics. Over the course of the last year, he’s gone from being the candidate nobody thought could win to the candidate who won with the most votes in party history. The picture between the starting point and the present is also a collage of bad controversies. He’s taken positions that have been at best uncomfortable for many Republicans, and just downright shocking to others.
For this reason, many Republicans have joined those outside of their party in rejecting Donald Trump. Trump believes Edward Snowden, the controversial National Security Agency whistleblower, is a traitor. He also has vowed to restore torture, threatened to execute the families of suspected terrorists, and made a series of questionable statements on top of it all.
There is a perfectly legitimate reason to reject Donald Trump for President.
With that said, there’s a point where the #NeverTrump crowd has hit a point of absurdity. Many have expressed shock and dismay at the fact the Republican Party could elect such a questionable character. Burning Trump hatred aside, why? He endorses some fairly wild authoritarian views, but this really is not unusual for the Republican Party.
Like Trump, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a storied history of being on both sides of an issue. The contrast between the Romney who tried running for U.S. Senate to the left of Ted Kennedy in a blue state and the newborn conservative running in 2012 is enormous. The candidate formerly supported abortion and an assault weapons ban. He was often criticized by opponents in the 2012 Republican primary for providing the framework of Obamacare with Romneycare.
Global interventionist Mitt Romney also is a strong supporter of the surveillance state, once referring to Patriot Act opponents as conspiracy theorists while stating the legislation protects our “life and liberty.”
In 2008, the Republican Party ran Senator John McCain against then-Senator Barack Obama. Senator McCain numerous times voted in favor of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was the beginning of the massive surveillance state expansion of the post-9/11 era. He repeatedly pushed for war and has supported big government in his years in the Senate.
This followed eight years of President George W. Bush, which saw a hard trampling of the Constitution. The invasion of Iraq without a declaration of war from Congress was unnecessary and destabilized the region, leading to the rise of ISIS. The escalation of the so-called War on Terror was used to justify passing various pieces of legislation that expanded government surveillance powers, including the USA PATRIOT Act. Issues like indefinite detention of United States citizens had become prominent and spending rose significantly under President Bush as well.
The point being that the Republican Party isn’t as conservative or pro-freedom as many #NeverTrump people would suggest. The descent into supporting tyrannical policies didn’t just happen in 2016, it’s been going on for a long time.
If these individuals are seriously opposed to larger government, oppressive policies, and more war, the larger question is why they’ve been enrolled in the Republican Party to this point. Through the Bush years and the answers to Barack Obama being Senator McCain and Mitt Romney, it’s quite clear the Republican Party is anything but pro-liberty.