When I wrote my final column last semester, there was still hope that Donald Trump could be stopped before the Republican National Convention. Much has changed. Trump clinched the nomination, yet he never pivoted from his brash style to a more policy-focused campaign as many promised he would. Instead, his rhetoric became worse, his tone more divisive and his actions more unstable and irrational.
Ronald Reagan, upon becoming a Republican, said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” This year, the Republican Party left me and millions of other conservatives. Unlike Reagan, though, we have no party to defect to. So we must stay and fight.
We must learn from the mistakes of this election season and prepare for the next. We must ensure that the Republican Party is grounded in conservatism. We must work to elect conservative leaders, from town councils to Congress. The Republican Party is more than just one candidate. Let’s make sure conservatives are elected this November.
For many millennials, this is the first presidential election they will be eligible to vote in. And first elections are pivotal in shaping voting habits. Unfortunately, my generation has lacked a strong conservative leader. Reagan attracted young people to the conservative movement. Trump has scared them away. Conservatives will have to work hard to earn the trust of my generation.
We have to be a united conservative movement to push back against progressivism’s crawl into our lives. But at some point, we need to have the courage to stand up to a man who lacks the judgment and intelligence to run our country, even if he is the nominee of our party. At some point, we have to say enough is enough. Now is that time.
We need Republican leaders and politicians to rescind their endorsements of Trump. Those endorsements, even if halfhearted, gave Trump a legitimacy he never deserved. Trump has no party loyalty. Let’s dump Trump and redirect money to races that matter down the ballot.
The Republican Party is not dead. We will not die this election. Young conservatives are passionate and optimistic. We love this country and the ideals our nation was founded on. Together we can lift this country up to be the “shining city upon a hill” Reagan often spoke of. Together we can make the American dream accessible to all. Together we can give hope to millions of Americans and make this country a better place for millions yet to be born.