The 2016 Republican presidential primary season was brutal, to say the least. It was a political roller coaster that shook the status quo of American politics to its core. At the end of it all, out of 17 nationally prominent and influential Republican candidates, Donald J. Trump emerged as the party's nominee for President of the United States.
Yes, that Donald J. Trump. The Donald Trump that said, "You're fired" to countless competitors, celebrity or not, on The Apprentice. The same Donald Trump that
I've always had a passion for American history and American politics. Raised a conservative, I've taken to reading, listening and studying the ins-and-outs of the American political system- from the ratification of the Constitution through FDR's New Deal to the corrupt and broken status of Washington today.
It's not a hobby or interest I would recommend to anyone unless you enjoy pulling out your own hair. But I love my country, I love the American experiment and I know that the world is where it is today because of the United States and the truths enshrined in the Constitution.
So today, I'm choosing to say those three little words that so many people, especially high-ranking politicians, political commentators and thought leaders refuse to say:
I was wrong.
I was wrong about Donald Trump's candidacy for President of the United States. I was wrong about his campaign, his supporters and the Trump movement overall.
Most importantly, I was wrong to say I was #NeverTrump.
I was so wrong about millions of Americans. I misunderstood them in a way that was so wrong that it sickens me to realize I was just as bad as the elitist Progressives, liberals and establishment cronies I so despise.
In August, I criticized him for his fiery and divisive rhetoric. I presented him as the embodiment of a liberal flip-flopper, with little principle and the record of a shallow opportunist. In February, I got on my high-conservative-horse and linked every article of proof I had that he wasn't a "true conservative".
Finally, in March, I was stupid enough to propose that I wouldn't even vote in November because there was little to no difference between Donald Trump and Democratic party nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Throughout the primary, I was a die-hard Ted Cruz supporter. I believed he was the embodiment of a true, conservative patriot. He fought on the floor of the Senate to defend our rights and defend the Constitution. Trump's personal attacks against Cruz hit me personally, as I interpreted them as attacks on my principles and what I thought was the only way to save the US from its descent into big-government madness.
I bought all the lines that Trump was a dangerous Nationalist, maybe even a fascist, even though there was little proof to back those statements up. I bought into the divisiveness and the rhetoric and even turned my anger and frustration at Trump supporters.
I called Trump supporters uninformed and unintelligent. I somehow tricked myself into believing that because I listened to conservative talk radio every day, had a fairly strong understanding of American history and followed news and politics morning, noon and night, I knew better than them.
What I unknowingly chose to ignore, however, was that those people knew better than me. The many Trump supporters across the United States, who've had their lives turned upside down and inside out over the past 8 years. People who've lost their jobs, seen their industries shut down and shipped overseas and have to fight every day to keep their families together.
I chose to ignore the number of Americans that feel so crushed by the weight of political correctness, and for just a moment bought into the idea that because Trump said things that hurt people's feelings, he was somehow dangerous.
As someone who claims to live under the banner of conservatism, common sense and the Constitution, I don't know how I became so ignorant that I was swept up by the media narrative. A media narrative pushed by even popular conservatives, that somehow voting for Trump is just as bad as voting for Hillary Clinton, an idea I've come to realize is grounded only in lunacy.
Are we talking about the same Hillary Clinton? The Hillary Clinton that has lied under Oath in front of Congress, a banner carrying 20th century Progressive, with a disastrous record as a Secretary of State and a history of corrupt, corporate Cronyism, with international ties to governments and monarchs throughout the world, especially the Middle East, that look to destabilize the United States at every turn.
There is too much at stake in this election to just sit on the sidelines, and smirk with "I told you so's". We have too much to lose to continue bashing Trump while Clinton sneaks by with the Democratic nomination (with the help of the DNC, as shown in the recent Wikileaks DNC email dump) and into the White House.
The Donald Trump campaign isn't just about making America great again, it's about making America free again. Free from globalism and international interests over the interests of the American people and American businesses. Free from the overreach of international
Maybe Trump will be a terrible President, maybe he becomes one of the greatest. Though there seems to be mounting evidence each and every day to support the latter. Sorry, but the baseless argument that Trump is just a racist and a misogynist doesn't work anymore. I'm done with people telling Conservatives and Libertarians that just because ideas hurt their feelings it somehow makes us wrong or people of bad character.
Today, that's what the Trump movement represents to me. It is one of the many reasons I am now formerly never Trump, and I hope many conservatives will reevaluate their choice of hashtags, and consider the same.