An open letter to the National, Utah, and Salt Lake Republican party committees:
Over 30 years ago, as a high school student, I wrote a paper for an assignment lauding conservatism and Ronald Reagan and, by extension, the GOP.
After my 18th birthday I registered to vote and declared my party affiliation as Republican.
I was excited in 2000 at the opportunity presented America with a Republican president and Congress. Not that things would be easy, as there would still be those blocking the GOP platform at all costs, but at least there was more of a chance than ever.
I worked for a small independent talk radio station for several years during the George W. Bush administration. Even though I was somewhat unhappy with the direction of the party at the time, I would defend the party regularly on the air. Honestly defend what needed defense while being critical of those things that I felt deserved it. Things like spending far more money than they should.
I supported the initial efforts to turn around Afghanistan & Iraq through military force. I still believe to this day that the reasons were correct, and that faulty intelligence was to blame for most missteps. Unfortunately, sometimes intel is faulty.
In 2004 & 2008 I cast protest votes for third party presidential candidates. I believed George W. Bush was a better candidate than John Kerry, and I believed that John McCain was a better candidate than Barack Obama. Even so, I had the luxury of living in Utah where I was certain the Democrat would not win, and thus I could afford to vote for a third party to demonstrate in some small way my disappointment with what the GOP was becoming, effectively ignoring significant portions of their platform. As it turned out I was correct, my vote neither helped nor hurt the party's nominee. Had I lived in a solid blue state such as California or New York, I would have held my nose and voted for the GOP nominee. Even though I was unhappy with the party, I remained with the party, attempting to use my very limited influence to push for better candidates and conservatism (particularly fiscal conservatism).
Even though I consider myself to be fiscally conservative, I think I am also pragmatic. I don't like every Republican politician, but I appreciate there is strength in numbers. If electing the occasional senator or representative or other state or local politician helps move forward an agenda, even when I don't consider them worthy of my support, I can get behind that.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump is not running to be elected a member of a larger body. His nomination makes him the face of the Republican party, the de facto leader of the party that has been for decades the home of the conservative movement. For a host of reasons, including a huge field of mostly competent people who were seeking the nomination, open primaries where non-Republicans were allowed to vote, and insane delegate selection rules that award all delegates from certain states to a person based on a plurality of the vote (and not even a large plurality in many cases; a tiny plurality was adequate), Donald Trump wound up receiving the requisite number of delegates to receive the party's nomination.
Unfortunately, that was not enough. The party had to make things seem better than they were, to instill some false sense of party unity, so there were numerous delegates pledged to other candidates who wound up being counted as Trump delegates at the convention. Utah (where Trump came in third) delegates were counted as votes for Trump.
So many people in the party leadership who were critical of Donald Trump are now endorsing him. It would be funny if it wasn't my political home of the past 30 years. In reality, the party leadership is to blame for creating an environment that allowed this travesty to occur.
I do not want to see Hillary Clinton win the election this November, but I cannot and will not support a candidate like Donald Trump. Even if he were 100% correct in each and every belief he espoused (even the ones he later contradicts before subsequently contradicting them again), I cannot support a man as brash and crude and unpresidential as Donald Trump. I cannot support a man who is a misogynist, a sexist, a man who objectifies his own daughter. A man who lowers the quality of political discourse to something one would expect to find on an elementary school playground.
Further, I cannot in good conscience continue to support a party that promotes a system that can result in such a man winning the nomination of his party. Donald Trump is not a Lincoln or a Reagan. He is style over substance. I've believed for over 30 years that the GOP was about substance over style, but I can no longer believe that. Its actions loudly proclaim otherwise.
I'm just one person. I'm not a celebrity or politician who will move the needle very much. You really don't need me in November, and I certainly don't need the GOP if it has completely devolved into an organization that considers power and influence more important than principle. Washington's prophetic words from his farewell address about the dangers of parties and factions are completely true today.
For all the above reasons and rationale, effective this afternoon, I have changed my political affiliation with the state of Utah from Republican to Unaffiliated.
Many have already paraphrased Ronald Reagan, but I can't put it any better: "I didn't leave the Republican Party. The party left me."