(Note: When I originally wrote this I was registered to the Republican Party. I am now a Democrat)

By voting Donald Trump for President, and telling others to do the same, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has deeply damaged the already rotting Republican party- (which, merely as a result of hope and optimism for a better future I am very reluctantly still a member of) and further, Speaker Ryan has tarnished his legacy.

A vote for Donald Trump is a mistaken one in my view, most of all, because Mr. Trump has a history of inciting violence- whether boasting about the sexual violence he has perpetrated (…) or telling others, that if they commit assault, he’ll defend them in court (…).

Critics might counter that that Hillary Clinton is no better- that folks connected with her campaign have also incited violence, which is true. (…) Clinton even jokes about droning Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange. (…) But that doesn’t make Trump worth voting for.

Neither of them should win a single vote. Unfortunately, unless there is some wild miracle, Gary Johnson will not be the next president, and both Trump and Clinton, despite their sociopathic approaches, will win plenty of votes and one will most likely become president. But just because some people are evading the totally unacceptable and violent natures of Clinton and Trump does not mean the Speaker needs to join in. He had the chance to be a Republican hero- actually a hero the entire country could unite around and embrace, however, alas he has destroyed it.

I understand that political pressures can run very deep- that the Republican Speaker of the House not voting for a fellow Republican presidential candidate could potentially alienate him, burn a lot of bridges, hurt his political career- his very job as Speaker of the House could be at stake as could alliances that might have been facilitating any presidential ambitions the speaker might have, but sometimes the magnitude of a wrong is not worth condoning just to keep one’s job or keep one’s alliances.

Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, understands this much, as he told us he could not vote for Donald Trump. In his own words, Trump fails to “offer a positive, inclusive vision for our country.” (…)

It is Republicans like John Kasich who preserve a shred of hope for the Republican party- a shred of hope that the party still can be led by men and women of conscience, and not be destroyed by bigots.

I do realize not all Trump supporters are violent, coarse, bigots. And they’re not all idiots either. They are not “deplorables” as Clinton would have us all believe. Some of my best friends, who I greatly admire, are Trump supporters, but I do believe those of you supporting Trump are failing to take into account the man’s truly violent nature, and what embracing him means for the future of the Republican party, and I think Speaker Paul Ryan is downplaying just how harshly history will judge him.

Let’s face it. The Republican party is losing popularity and legitimacy. It’s not Reagan’s golden decade of the 1980’s anymore.

It was a Republican president- George W. Bush- who led the United States into the war in Iraq, on a bogus claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. It was Republican President George W. Bush who led America into more debt in two presidential terms than the United States had ever accumulated in its entire history.

Meanwhile it is largely the Republican Party that is responsible for alienating homosexuals and women with their religious fundamentalism. (They complain about religious freedom only when it pertains to their religions!) Meanwhile, a large number of Republicans have sought to alienate the intellectual and scientific communities by denying their findings of climate change.

When Donald Trump sought the Republican nomination the Republican Party had a huge opportunity for a makeover. It had the opportunity to condemn bigotry and the inciting of violence. Ironically, during that primary, most Republicans did just that. Even though Trump won a plurality of votes, he did not win a majority! Sadly all he needed was a plurality, and in a race with so many contenders, he needed just the slightest plurality.

That much cannot be blamed on the greater portion of Republicans, however, the subsequent support earlier Republicans opposed to Trump suddenly gave him- on that point- by and large, far too many Republicans have let us down, despite having a chance to show they were truly men and women of principle and of moral conscience. Remember Ted Cruz? Trump had implied that Cruz’ wife was ugly compared to his own wife. (…) And Trump suggested that Cruz’s father might have been involved in the JFK assassination. And according to Cruz, Trump was “utterly amoral!” Yet Cruz and others, like Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, end up backing the utterly amoral man- thus lacking conscience and courage; voting for Trump anyway.

Cruz may have been on a path of self destruction anyway, but Ryan, who had such a bright future and great credentials- Romney’s VP Pick, Speaker of the House- now he’s in with the violence inciting ways of Donald Trump, and one might guess Ryan thought it was to his political advantage. But whether Trump wins or loses it’s not a win for the Republican party or Paul Ryan. If Trump wins this election it will only be because Hillary Clinton was such a bad candidate as well, and Trump has been better at playing the Jacksonian “populist”.

It will not be a long term victory for Ryan. Again- if Trump wins, essentially by default- after a Trump administration, Ryan will be one of the “utterly amoral” who helped destroy the Republican party, not the man of conscience who stood against the evil within his party, like John Kasich, among a few courageous others. And whether Ryan knows it or not, in the history books, that’s how he’ll be contrasted to those like Kasich- just like George W. Bush became so toxic that the family name hurt brother Jeb and destroyed his political ambitions.

I don’t know how long the Republican Party can hold out for. I don’t think the Libertarian Party is necessarily a serious competitor (I’m voting for Gary Johnson anyway, of course!) nor do I think the Green party has impressive prospects, but at some point I suspect some wise Republicans who will want long political careers passing reforms they can be proud of will eventually want to cut their ties.

In my personal fantasy, those wise Republican separatists, along with some Libertarian separatists who refuse to go along with the extremism and pseudo-anarchy will form a “Safety-Net Libertarian” Party. That may not be likely in the near future, but the decline in credibility within the Republican party is. What of the prospects of it’s potential destruction?

Just look at the most basic facts: most university professors are not Republican. Most media organizations do not lean Republican. That’s not because they’re totally brainwashed by a communist subversion scheme. It is because anybody who is watching the Republican Party can see it is destroying itself. It fails to compete and gain real legitimacy in the eyes of the people, who only go to the Democratic party, because at least the Democrats try to pretend they’re addressing more concerns that affect more people.

The Democrats are for the civil liberties of homosexuals and women. The Democrats at least claim to look out for the poor. The Democrats at least listen to the scientists who are concerned about climate change. The Democrats at least try to claim respect for religious diversity. That’s why they can get away with having a presidential candidate with such horrible judgement – one who votes for deadly war, astronomical debt, and violates state department policy.

Because they do a better job trying to reach out, where as Trump is the alienator in chief. Both the Trump and Clinton are disasters and that should mean something to Speaker Ryan and if rebranding and improving the Republican party meant anything to him, all he did by voting for Trump and voicing support for him was dramatically lower the odds of Republican Party’s and his own long term success.

Author: Sean O'Connor

Hi, I'm Sean O'Connor, a poet and writer pursuing my MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at William Paterson University, where I also work as a learning generalist and where I received my BA in Liberal Studies. Currently. I also work as a writing tutor at Raritan Valley Community College and Mercer County Community College.

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