The first of the 2020 primary polls are being released, and the launch of many 2020 election campaigns will soon follow, if they haven’t already. Many 2016 #NeverTrumpers will have to come to a decision if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee (as appears likely). As for me personally, I remain #NeverTrump, and there is almost nothing Trump could do that would convince me to vote for him in 2020.
I say “almost,” because it’s possible (though, if history is any guide, extremely unlikely) he will work to earn my vote. It’s possible he will sincerely apologize for all his past behavior; promise to treat people with respect — even when he disagrees — and follow through; make genuine attempts to right past wrongs; drop his tariffs and end his trade wars; work to improve relations with our allies; want to denounce the alt-right and neo-Nazis, rather than be pressured into doing so; place more focus on the Russian and North Korean people being wronged than on complimenting their leaders; treat asylum-seeking individuals, legal immigrants, and, yes, illegal immigrants with compassion, not cruelty — even when enforcing the law; take initiative to control our mounting debt crisis instead of dismissing it; and stop tweeting, among other actions.
But none of that is likely to happen. So, with that in mind, I do not plan to vote for Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2020.
Many #NeverTrumpers have stated the label, and the opposition, ended with Trump’s victory in 2016. That makes sense, and it’s important to note I wanted Trump to succeed because I wanted the country to succeed. Unfortunately, two years into his presidency, I do not believe Trump has made America great again. In fact, I think he’s doing far more harm to the country (and the Republican party) than good.
Nothing Trump has done in the last two years has shown me he respects the office or understands its importance to our country and in the world. Nothing Trump has done in the last two years has shown me he cares more about the American people than he does about the way he personally is treated. Nothing Trump has done in the last two years has shown me he is willing to learn.
And, perhaps more importantly, nothing the Left does will ever change the reasons I was #NeverTrump. The reasons I opposed Trump were independent of the Left. Furthermore, the Left does not represent me, a registered Republican; Trump, as a Republican and President of the United States, does.
And, although some RedState readers may question — and have questioned — my conservative bona fides, the Republican Party is where I first found a home because of the conservative principles I believed in, such as limited government, the free market and free trade, individual responsibility, liberty, and American’s morality and strength. I’ve written before that my identity was intertwined with being a Republican, but if the Republican Party doesn’t represent those principles anymore, I still remain a conservative who opposes government overreach, believes in the individual’s ability to best make decisions for him- or herself, and resists many progressive policies and their unintended consequences. (The last point is why Democrats do not automatically receive my vote now.)
Vacancies on the Supreme Court may have pushed Trump to victory in 2016, and the possibility of more Supreme Court vacancies may do the same for him in 2020. Although I believe the Supreme Court is consequential, both the Left and the Right have placed too much importance on it. The mindset should not be “win the Supreme Court at any and all costs” but on outreach to millennials, independents, and non-Republicans. How effective is the Supreme Court if half the country doesn’t respect it? What good is the Supreme Court if the people do not understand or believe in its decisions? That’s the direction we’re headed — and frighteningly quickly. It’s more important to change minds than to rely on judicial activism.
To be honest, it would surprise me if Trump wants to run in 2020; he will be 74 years old at that time, he seems to prefer spending his time golfing, and most of his business organizations are now under investigation. But it will surprise me more if Republicans choose not to primary him.
Wouldn’t you rather not have to go to bed at night dreading what tweets will come in the morning? Dreading having to explain to your children why the president talks about people the way he does, why he’s under investigation, why he’s cheated on his wives? Dreading the way his tariffs are hurting the American people? Dreading the way he compliments dictators who arrest, torture, and murder their own people? Dreading the way he isolates America while insulting our allies? Dreading the way he seems to enthusiastically pit Americans against each other rather instead of attempting to unite us?
Donald Trump should not run again in 2020. He should step aside for the good of the country and return to his businesses and his family. But, since it’s unlikely he will see it that way, I will not vote for him in 2020.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.