Donald Trump has managed to perform one of the most successful hostile takeovers ever, that of the entire Republican Party. Despite the convention just getting started in Cleveland, he’s made it abundantly clear that dissenters will not be tolerated, his surrogates going so far as to physically threaten multiple opponents. Trump’s vision appears to be crystal clear: he intends to make the Republican Party the Trump Party. The question now for every member of the party who disapproves of this fascistic change is if they plan to stay to fight the good fight or part ways and hope something better comes along.
Leaving is very tempting. The list of capitulators and collaborators grows daily. With the shrinking list of Trump opponents to depend on, it’s fast becoming a lonely fight. Despite valiant stalwarts like Sens. Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham (as well as a whole host of others), the Trump Train has been steadily picking up steam. At some point you begin to question if you can bear the taint of being associated with a party dominated by a Benito Mussolini knock-off.
But what if everyone sane leaves? Political parties are representative of their members. If #NeverTrump parts ways, we effectively leave the party to the control of the asylum inmates. I joined the Republican Party specifically because I realized this, that refusing membership despite general agreement with many of the principles of a small, limited government was letting my lessers be in control of a significant part of American and Utahn political life. Anyone who’s considering leaving really should at least pause to consider this.
I’m still not decided on if I have personally hit the point where it is time to go. I’m proud that the core membership of the Utah GOP has generally been opposed to Trump’s demagoguery, fascism, racism, misogyny, and classlessness. His fans are few and far between with most people who would vote for him making the calculated (but still wrong) decision that Hillary is even worse. I don’t know if that trend will continue, especially if Trump somehow manages to win the election. If it falters, there may not be anything left to save.