Principle Over Party: Why I Refuse to Support Trump

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As a high school debater, I was exposed to news, information and philosophy constantly.  I was forced to think critically about the issues and be able to argue an affirmative and negative case on complex issues like limited government versus totalitarian government, United States involvement in foreign policy, the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law and national security versus limiting individual rights, to name a few.  Because of that experience I think critically about both sides of an issue before deciding what my stance will be.  This is an important trait that I'm thankful for. I always knew I was a conservative.  My beliefs aligned best with a limited role of government.  When I joined the College Republicans of UTSA I found it difficult to stick to party lines.  There were several stances the Republican Party took that I simply couldn't agree with.  Besides that, the College Republicans would not endorse candidates in the primary, but they would ultimately support the Republican nominee in various races.  This was a huge problem for me.

I decided to leave the College Republicans and start a chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas.  The organization had me from the beginning because of their belief of principle over party.  Their competitive primary endorsement process means they don't always endorse Republicans and sometimes they will offer no endorsement at all.  When I served on the State Board, we had a mix of board members that encouraged discussion, debate and most importantly: a belief in principle over party lines.

The Republican Party, if it were to nominate Donald Trump, is not the party for me.  It would send a clear message to this Hispanic conservative that racism, fiery language, misogyny, poor management and lack of knowledge and understanding of political issues means more than the principles of conservatism.  As candidates began dropping out of the 2016 primary and it became clear that Mr. Trump would be the GOP's presumptive nominee it saddened me to see so many of my friends decide to go along with the party and back the nominee.  That's not how this should work.  Principle should far outweigh the decision of a few primaries to select a candidate.  Especially one who can't even raise enough cash on hand to make a decent ad buy in a small battleground state.

I've spent countless years defending conservatism, with a passion for making the apathetic care about politics.  Mr. Trump has instead made politics a circus and has likely increased apathy because those who never cared for politics see the circus and think indeed, my vote did not matter and this is a sad level of discourse we are left with.

I've always considered myself an independent.  In most cases I've supported the Republican candidates.  In many cases I have voted Libertarian.  I've never blindly followed party lines.  That's what makes the party evolve.  That's what gives us good public policy - a focus on principles instead of raking in a win for a political party.

The 2016 election cycle seemed really exciting.  A diverse mix of candidates with great ideas.  Looking at Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio I thought, wow, we might actually have a Hispanic President who shares my story as the child of an immigrant family.  I didn't agree with them on every issue.  But I found in Senator Rubio a person willing to compromise to get things done, build bipartisan coalitions to make good public policy and was just outright relatable.

I'm a proud Hispanic conservative and Mr. Trump couldn't be further from the picture of a leader. The GOP should release the delegates so they can work to get the party back on track and send him back to running his own businesses into the ground instead of a political party.