Why I’m Staying

If voter registration in Maryland were open on May 3rd, you might not be reading this right now.

You see, Maryland has a closed period for voter registration immediately before and immediately after elections. So after the April 26th primary election, voter registration was closed until May 9th. But on the evening of May 3rd, I was not a happy camper. For on that night, Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. You no doubt have read or have heard about my thoughts about Trump’s campaign and what it means for the future of conservatism and for those in Republican leadership. And if voter registration were open that night, I may very well have re-registered as unaffiliated.

But I’m going to stay a member of the Republican Party.

You may find it humorous, even hypocritical that I am going to stay a registered Republican for the immediate future. But hear me out on this.

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As I have said previously, I registered to vote in 1998. I registered to vote as a Republican when few of my peers were doing so. I registered as a Republican because I liked smaller government, I liked the second amendment, and I thought taxes were too high. I proudly went to the polls and voted for Ellen Sauerbrey in that General Election, and I’ve been a Republican ever since. I spent four years as Maryland Young Republicans Chairman. Four years on the Maryland Republican Party Executive Board. Five years on the Young Republican National Federation, including three as a National Officer.

Now I’m not staying a registered Republican out of loyalty, or convenience, or because 18 years is too much of a commitment to throw away. The Republican Party is still the party that, at the moment, best represents my political views. It is the party that values the sanctity of life. It is the party that believes in smaller government. It is the party that believes in a strong national defense. It is the party that believes in making sure that opportunities exist for every man, woman, and child in America.

But my continued membership in the GOP is conditional. The Trump campaign remains steadfast in standing for things that are not consistent with conservative values; tariffs to clamp down trade; higher taxes; universal health care; restrictions on guns; and, most disturbing of all, fostering of a virulent form of nationalism and bigotry. Those values and views are not part of the Republican Party platform. They are even not representative of the majority of Republican voters, many of whom voted for Trump solely because they were pissed off at the “establishment” for a variety of things, many of which are legitimate beefs.

And no, staying in the GOP does not mean I’m not going to vote for Donald Trump this November. I’m staying in the party, not losing my mind. There is still not morally justifiable reason to vote for him and he’s still the sh*t sandwich I’m not going to eat. More than likely, Donald Trump is going to lose the Presidential election this fall. It’s going to be a hard pill to swallow to for a lot of voters, and more than likely it will mean the exit of whatever “new” Republicans Trump brought into the fold. It will take many dedicated conservatives to ensure that the Republican Party, in the aftermath of a Trump defeat, continues to be the party of conservative ideas and values going forward. Dedicated conservatives will need to be stick around to rebuild a conservative GOP after the upcoming electoral disaster and to ensure as Streiff wrote that we do not allow Donald Trump’s candidacy to destroy conservatism. It’s easier to do that from within than without.

But there is a better reason to stay. It’s why I’m going to vote for Kathy Szeliga. Why ‘m going to help Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides get re-elected. I’m going to try to help find credible candidates for run for the Board of Aldermen in Annapolis and Frederick. And I’m already looking forward to helping Governor Larry Hogan get re-elected in 2018. And those races are worth sticking with the Republican Party. Why? Because far too often, people get caught up in the Sturm und Drang of federal politics. This is something that we have discussed here in the past. But we all know what the actual universal truth of politics is; that all politics are local and that what happens in your city, county, or state government often has more of a direct impact on our daily lives than anything coming out of Washington. And the Republican Party in Maryland is riding higher than it has in many years thanks to the strong leadership of Governor Hogan and his campaign team and the hard work of Maryland Republican Party Chairman Diana Waterman and Executive Director Joe Cluster. We have a tremendous opportunity to continue to change Maryland for the better, and there is no better way to do that than by continuing to elect more and more strong conservative Republicans.

Politics and affiliation is about more than what’s going on nationally. If the party begins to change from the top down, we will change with it. But specifically the Maryland Republican Party remains best positioned to make the conservative changes our state needs. And so long as it doesn’t go rogue, I’ll remain with it.

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