A Constitutional Conservative’s Principled Approach to Voting 2020

By Amy Wudel | Gilbert, AZ

“They are what we thought they were” is a phrase that was memorialized by the Arizona Cardinals NFL coach, Dennis Green, after they experienced an embarrassing come from behind loss to the Bears. Cardinal fans had hopes that maybe their team was underrated, but Green set the record straight, “They are what we thought they were” he said of the Bears and the Cardinals were what we thought they were — which was not a good team. These words ring true about the Republican Party under Trump.

For many years Republicans expressed passion and disdain when Democrats increased the deficit, legislated through executive order, gave bailouts to favored industries, politicized the courts, placated dictators, and did not follow constitutional order in Congress. I was hoping their impassioned criticisms were genuine and if they only had the power they needed they would act on these principles. As it turns out, they are what we thought they were — which is not a principled party.

Trump won the presidency using demagoguery about a wall, culture war platitudes, scapegoating immigrants and Muslims, attacks on the media and pitting Americans against each other. Trump doesn’t have principles to guide his governing style. His tariffs and subsequent bailouts are socialism directly picking winners and losers. When Obama bailed out the automakers Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican opposed the bailouts saying, “Unless Chrysler, Ford and General Motors become lean and innovative and competitive in the market place, this is only delaying their funeral.” (Reuters December 2008) Then later this same Senator wrote this on twitter on February 14, 2020 “Great news! Thanks to @POTUS and his administration, the @Airbus plant in #Alabama has been spared from the harsh impacts of additional tariffs on parts and components, protecting thousands of jobs in the #Mobile area.” It is not great news that Trump is picking winners and losers. I thought Republicans despised crony capitalism. They pretend to hate it only when it doesn’t benefit them. Republicans trying to convince Americans Trump is saving them from socialism is a ruse.

When Obama used executive orders for immigration, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) published an op-ed in Politico titled “Obama Is Not A Monarch” stating that such action was lawless and beyond constitutional authority. Trump used executive orders not only to limit immigration and refugee asylum, but on the pretense of a national emergency, he took unauthorized money from the military not approved by Congress to pay for his wall. Ted Cruz issued this statement on his website www.cruz.senate.gov in response “I voted to support the President’s [national emergency] declaration because, as Texans realize all too well, there is one.” I thought Republicans were against the expanding powers of the president and abuse of office. As it turns out, they are for it when it makes things easier for them.

Trump supporters often dismiss his many betrayals of conservative principles with the excuse “but the judges”. Mitch McConnell’s over politicization of the judiciary and break down of constitutional norms to get his pick of appointees will live in infamy. As Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who used his 10-minute opening statement in the Kavanagh hearing to say this about the Supreme Court: “Congress is set up to be the most political branch. This is supposed to be the institution dedicated to political fights, but in the name of politics, lawmakers have decided to keep their jobs rather than take tough votes. Most people here want their jobs more than they really want to do legislative work, and so they punt their legislative work to the next branch…If we see lots and lots of protests in front of the Supreme Court, that’s a pretty good barometer of the fact that our republic isn’t healthy. They shouldn’t be protesting in front of the
Supreme Court; they should be protesting in front of this body.” Where was Sasse when Trump said in an October presidential debate that an overturn of Roe v Wade “will happen, automatically” if he picks judges. “Automatically?” Wouldn’t that be judicial activism? Republicans have taken their talking points from Trump as they openly expect the judiciary to legislate for them. More than 200 members of the Republican House urged judges to overturn Roe v Wade. This is a far cry from an independent judiciary. Why are Republicans wanting courts to do what they will not? They could overturn Roe v Wade with new legislation, but they won’t do it, because like Sasse said “they decided to keep their jobs rather than take tough votes.”

Trump is the caricature Democrats have been accusing Republicans of being for years. He is the personification of the rich, out of touch, hypocritical, racist cartoon that, because of good people like Mitt Romney, I used to always disbelieve. If Republicans want Trump to be the face of their party, they own that caricature. They are what we thought they were. Trump has recklessly raised the deficit, abused the power of his office, bailed out industries that favor him, politicized the judiciary, licked the boots of dictators and despots, and has bullied Republican Congress people into worthless figureheads. The principles of conservatism can only now survive when they are divorced from Trump and by holding accountable all of his enablers who have perverted the Republican Party to cover for him. So, I will speak to them in the only language they seem to understand — losing.

I am voting for Joe Biden, not because I believe Democrats are better at governing with conservative principles than Republicans are, but because the only party that ever claimed to govern with them has so badly abused them, they are not even recognizable anymore. The longer Trump stays in power the more hard set the Trumpification of the Republican party will be set in and conservatism will be so badly damaged with hypocrisy, it will never resurface.

I hope in their losing, Republican voters will do a gut check about what Trump has done to destroy their party and weaken the country. If they can do this perhaps good conservative leaders will rise from the ash heap Trump has left the country in. The broken promise that yes, Republicans realized Trump is a moral degenerate and constitutional ignoramus, but he would be tempered by the good leaders surrounding him has been thoroughly debunked. Republicans have never made any serious attempt to temper Trump. They seem to be resigned to his run away presidency. Trump is who we thought he was — a failed casino owner, reality tv show faker, immoral porn star president whose governing decisions are based on one thought, “What’s in it for me?” Republicans, like Dennis Green’s Cardinals football team, is a failed party and they deserve to lose.

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