Several months ago when the editors of The Tribune decided to give me this biweekly column, they asked me to provide a short biography to introduce myself as the paper’s new conservative columnist.
As they were preparing it for publication, they dropped me a note, asking if I was a registered Republican and, if so, if they could add that fact to the bio. I was mildly surprised I’d failed to include that fact, and replied that I was and that they could.
With the decision Tuesday night by the GOP delegates gathered in Cleveland to nominate Donald Trump as their candidate for president of the United States, I’m done.
When next my name appears on the voter rolls at my polling place, I will be listed not as a Republican, but as having no party preference.
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The party of Abraham Lincoln is no more. The party of freedom. The party of limited government. The party of free trade. The party of a strong military and robust foreign policy. The pro-life party.
It is gone.
It has sold its soul to a TV pitchman. A crony capitalist. A man who praises a strongman like Vladimir Putin and the butchers of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. A man who supports the use of eminent domain, not for the common good, but for private gain.
Over the years, I’ve held my nose and voted for candidates whom I oftentimes felt were RINOs — Republicans In Name Only.
I voted for Arizona Sen. John McCain who had proudly attached his name to a law called the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act — I may have the technical name wrong — which was designed to stifle criticism of candidates for office in the days leading up to elections.
I voted for “severe conservative” Mitt Romney, who, as governor of Massachusetts, created what was to be the forerunner to Obamacare (which, by the way, will raise rates 13 percent in 2017 in California).
It is clear to me now that Romney, McCain and many others I voted for — for offices high and low — weren’t RINOs. I was the RINO.
The party platform is a fraud, abandoned by party functionaries high and low at the first sign of opposition or inconvenience.
The GOP establishment isn’t for limited government. It doesn’t want to get rid of crony capitalist programs like the Ex-Im Bank, earmarks for favored groups and failed renewable energy ventures like Solyndra.
It doesn’t want to expand freedom by reducing government. It just wants control of the government leviathan created by the Democratic Party.
When the GOP controlled the Congress and the White House, government didn’t shrink. It grew.
Trump supporters have praised their man for his rhetoric slamming the Republican “establishment” and his promises to defy them, big donors and lobbyists, and “make America great again.” You’ve been suckered.
Once it became clear that the nominee would be either Cruz or Trump, the establishment coalesced around the one they hated the least. The one they thought they could control. And that man is Trump.
Seventeen Republicans ran for the party’s presidential nomination. Sixteen I would have cast a ballot for this November — some more enthusiastically than others.
I cannot vote for Donald Trump. He is a tiny-fingered, thin-skinned, egotistical, narcissistic authoritarian with little respect for the Constitution. He is aggressively ignorant. He possesses no guiding principles and less wisdom.
I cannot vote for Hillary Clinton. She is a secretive grifter who, had she not been the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, would certainly be facing charges for her reckless handling of classified information. She is dishonest. She is conniving. She is unworthy to occupy the highest elected position in America.
Instead, I will do what Texas Sen. Ted Cruz encouraged people to do in his speech Wednesday night that ended in choreographed boos and shouting. I will vote my conscience. I will write in the Sweet Meteor of Death for president and vote for conservatives down-ballot. Justin Fareed for Congress. Palmer Kain for state Senate. Jordan Cunningham for state Assembly.
I hope that, one day soon, a conservative party emerges in this country, but right now there just isn’t one.
Conservative columnist Matthew Hoy is a former reporter, editor and page designer. His column appears in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks. Read Hoy’s blog at Hoystory.com. Follow him on Twitter @Hoystory.