<em>“I am Harry Caines and I want to change my party affiliation.”</em>
—Me, on Wednesday at the Cache County clerk’s office.
I always advise people to avoid speaking in absolutes. You never know what the future will hold. As Benedict rhetorically asks in the play <em>Much Ado About Nothing</em>, “doth not the appetite alter?”
As we grow older we frequently change our minds on a great many subjects. As such, I have untethered myself to many unequivocal testaments of belief. I now afford myself the right to change my mind.
I consider this edict to be a highly virtuous attribute within the realm of pragmatism. I can be influenced to change my mind if someone makes a cogent, rational argument. This concept seems to be foreign to those who consider American politics to be a blood sport.
In politics, I have been largely nomadic of strict Republican ideology. I see many different views on such issues as abortion, guns and individual rights as opposed to the good of an assimilated society. Each issue should be examined on its own merits and feasibility.
When I moved to Utah in 2004, I knew I was going to be on the fringes of Beehive Republicanism. Utah has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. Utah was the only state that Bill Clinton finished 3rd in the vote in the 1992 campaign. Socially conservative Republicans run this place. I was privy to the rules the day I stepped foot here.
Heck, I was not even a registered Republican back home in Philadelphia. For many years I was affiliated with the Democrats. Being a registered Republican in Philly has the same worth as Monopoly money. There are very few contested Republican primaries in the City of Brotherly Love; and, if ever I needed a favor from a member of the city council, they would put me on the “Do Not Call” list if there was an R next to my name. Those be the rules back there.
Now, let’s go back to the magical year of 2010. I attended my local GOP caucus meeting with thoughts of becoming a delegate to the state convention. I was not terribly optimistic of my chances, given that if asked by my neighbors about my stances on the issues I would not only give honest answers but would also be smug when defending my positions.
This may shock some of you, but I can come off as condescending in conversation.
I was elected! I attended all the meet-and-greets with the candidates for U.S. Senate and was aggressive in questioning them. And come the day of the state convention, I felt a genuine patriotic surge coarse through my body on the drive down to Salt Lake City.
Then, when in the hall with 2,000+ fellow Utah Republicans, the cold truth overwhelmed me. I am not one of these people. I was fairly certain I was the most socially liberal delegate in the room.
I served again in 2012. Same feeling, but I was much more at peace with being the token liberal in the room on my second go-around. My life as a Republican has always been about sacrifice.
If you are viewing this column on the CVD website, you will see my voter registration card in place of my handsome profile picture. As of now, I am unaffiliated. I thought of registering as a Libertarian, but I usually eschew associating with humorless losers.
I cannot in good conscience continue to be a registered Republican. The ascendancy of Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee for president is an intolerable event that I must, in my meager way, protest.
Some of you may remind me that, at this point of the process, Trump has not secured the number of delegates necessary to be the nominee. That is correct. And if the GOP “establishment” does not want to suffer a historic political massacre this November, they will do whatever is necessary to prevent this mentally unstable megalomaniac from hijacking their (not my) party.
If the GOP shuns Trump, I will most likely vote for whomever the party nominates for the most powerful position on the planet. But I will not change my registration back, nor will I refer to myself as a Republican in the immediate future. The reason for this is due to my bellicose, unadulterated snobbery.
Millions of people have voted for Donald Trump in Republican primaries and caucuses in every region of this country…and I don’t want to be in a political party with any of them.
Trump has brilliantly cultivated a populist following of bigots, rednecks and people who are easily influenced by simple platitudes. His vitriol, lies, misogyny, wildly impractical political stances and disturbing personality quirks compel me to surmise that anyone that votes for him lacks the mental acuity to understand the world they inhabit with me. To be blunt, Trump voters are morons.
I consider myself to be intellectually, morally and ethically superior to every single person who has, or will, support Donald Trump’s candidacy.
On November 8th, I intend to vote. Regardless if I am living in Utah (which soundly rejected Trump) or Pennsylvania (which embarrassingly embraced him) I will not vote for Trump. And if any other Republicans on the ballot for other offices have endorsed Trump, I will not vote for them either.
If no viable 3rd party candidate can woo me, I will vote for Hillary Clinton for president. For decades I have sworn to never, ever, ever support Hillary’s lust for power. This election is another lesson on the problem of speaking in absolutes.