Croaky Caiman 🐊🇺🇸
May 14, 2024

Within the modern balkanized conservative movement, mixed with populism, platitudes, and conflicting goals and ideals, the current issue at hand is the 2024 election. We can call this election “The Least Important Election of Our Lifetimes” to counter the hyperbolic claims often used to force opinions and compromise moral and principled stances. Therefore, it’s imperative to address a critical issue that threatens not only the Republican Party but also the essence of conservative thought itself: the support for Donald Trump and the MAGA movement.

Voting for Trump is a betrayal of conservative principles not only due to his policy failures and profound moral deficiencies, but also because of the corrupting influence it has on those who cede their own integrity and intellectual honesty to back him. The damage wrought by Trump extends beyond political missteps, undermining the moral integrity of those who excuse his actions out of fear of another Biden term.

Policy Failures

Conservatism, at its core, is about preserving the best aspects of society while prudently managing change. In the United States, the modern conservative movement advocates for limited government, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and the preservation of individual liberties. However, Donald Trump’s presidency often diverged from these fundamental principles. Many, including those who once extolled these virtues, now argue it is “important to give this up or else we have four more years of Biden.” The irony of this push is that they ignore what, and more specifically who, got us Biden in the first place.

Trump’s approach to governance was marked by erratic and impulsive decision-making, undermining the stability and predictability that conservatism values. His trade wars, particularly with China, resulted in economic volatility, hurting American farmers and consumers. Instead of fostering a free market, his tariffs disrupted international trade, contradicting the conservative commitment to economic freedom. Yet, if you ask the average Trump supporter, they’ll claim this was a raging success despite its detrimental effects on the economy and specific business sectors, all so Trump could claim he was “being tough on China.”

Trump’s fiscal policies have been anything but responsible. Despite inheriting a strong economy, his administration saw a significant increase in the national debt, exacerbated by tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the wealthy without corresponding spending cuts. This unsustainable fiscal path is antithetical to the conservative goal of reducing government debt and ensuring long-term economic stability. Any benefits gained from tax relief in an already improving economy were offset by the negative consequences of Trump’s increased spending and arbitrary foreign policy decisions.

Trump’s foreign policy often undermined traditional alliances and emboldened authoritarian regimes. His erratic behavior and inconsistent policies weakened America’s standing on the global stage, contrary to the conservative principle of maintaining a strong and respected national defense. Any complaint one might have about Biden’s handling of foreign policy is again due to Trump’s political ineptitude and corruption.

Moral Failings

Conservatism traditionally places a high value on moral integrity and ethical leadership. A leader’s character is crucial to their ability to govern effectively and inspire trust. A flawed leader is not easily followed, nor is he respected among other leaders, as we saw throughout Trump’s presidency. His tenure was riddled with scandals, dishonesty, and a blatant disregard for ethical norms.

His behavior, characterized by divisiveness, personal attacks, and a lack of respect for others or institutions, undermined the social cohesion conservatism seeks to preserve. The numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, leading to his current trial in New York City, where his supporters have to defend whether the logistics of hush money payments to his mistress and a porn star he had an affair with constitute a bookkeeping violation tied to a federal FEC violation constituting a felony. This is all made worse by Trump’s total disregard for the truth, which further highlights his moral deficiencies.

His attempts to undermine democratic institutions, such as the judiciary and the free press, pose a significant threat to the rule of law, a cornerstone of conservative thought. His refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and the subsequent incitement of the January 6th insurrection exemplify his dangerous disregard for democratic principles and the moral secession he creates in his followers or even in those who fear another Biden term and look the other way.

Damage to Conservative Thought

Supporting Trump means ceding moral principles for short-term political gains, which ultimately damages the conservative movement. True conservatism is built on a foundation of ethical leadership and principled decision-making. By aligning with a figure who embodies the opposite, conservatives risk eroding the very values they seek to uphold. Many are choosing to side with Trump against the abstract notion of future liberal policy that may be enacted under another four years of Biden while ignoring the erosion of their own ideals and principles.

This is akin to a moral infection, much like how the institution of slavery was viewed in the past. Slavery was not only a horrific injustice to those enslaved but also a profound corruption of the moral integrity of the slave owners. Just as slavery degraded the character and humanity of those who perpetuated it, excusing and endorsing Trump’s behavior compromises the moral fabric of conservative individuals and the movement as a whole. In the antebellum South, slavery was seen by some as a necessary evil, justified by economic benefits, societal stability, and the delusional belief that they were performing a service for the slaves by civilizing them and providing for them, which they viewed as a favorable condition to “free market capitalism of the North, which robbed men of their souls.” However, this justification came at a grave moral cost. Slave owners were compelled to suppress their own empathy and rationalize inhumanity, leading to a deep moral rot. The institution of slavery infected the entire society, fostering an environment where cruelty and injustice became normalized.

Similarly, in today’s political landscape, supporting Trump often involves overlooking or rationalizing his moral failings and policy missteps. Just as slave owners had to contort their moral compass to justify slavery, Trump supporters frequently find themselves excusing his divisive rhetoric, ethical breaches, and attacks on democratic institutions by using the words “But Biden.” This moral compromise not only damages individual integrity but also corrodes the ethical foundation of the conservative movement.

Conservatism, like any ideology, relies on a set of core principles and moral guidelines. By aligning with Trump, conservatives risk infecting their ideology with the same moral decay that afflicted societies reliant on slavery. The long-term consequence is a weakened and corrupted conservative thought, stripped of its ethical underpinnings and credibility. Without these, conservatism is objectively meaningless.

Rejecting Trump, therefore, is akin to the abolitionist stance against slavery—not merely a political position but a moral and principled imperative. It is about preserving the integrity and righteousness of conservative values, ensuring that the movement remains a beacon of principled leadership and ethical governance. By taking a stand against Trump’s moral failings, conservatives can prevent the moral infection from spreading further, safeguarding the movement’s future and its foundational principles and, with it, that of the Republican party. The argument that another Biden term would be catastrophic ignores the long-term damage Trump’s leadership has inflicted and continues to inflict on conservatism. When conservatives tolerate or even celebrate Trump’s behavior, they normalize moral compromise and undermine their credibility. This not only alienates potential allies but also weakens the moral fabric of individuals who look the other way.

A Principled Stance

Voting for Donald Trump is not just a political choice; it is a moral decision that has profound implications for the future of conservatism. His policy failures and moral shortcomings make him a poor representative of conservative values. By rejecting Trump, conservatives can reclaim their principles, restore ethical leadership, and ensure the movement remains a force for good in American society. It is time for conservatives to prioritize the long-term health of conservative thought and the Republican party over short-term political expediency, which itself has been and continues to be an abject failure. Many ask or imply how I can call myself a conservative for my choice to not back Trump and to move against him, when in reality, doing so is why I can call myself a conservative. I don’t have to rationalize or justify; I know what I’m about. If your decision is different, just ensure you can do the same before you try to attack me on my conservative credentials. Your choice is your own, and you can be prepared to own it every time you have to justify yet another Trump failure, breach of ethics or trust, or another scandal. To paraphrase Kendrick Lamar: “A small percentage who I’m building with, I want the credit if I’m losing or I’m winning—that’s the realest shit.”

So rationalize how you like; I’ll still be here building up that small percentage and working on a conservative coalition.