Paul Ryan’s announcement that he will vote for Donald Trump in November is the final nail in the coffin of what’s been a months-long death for the Republican Party. As a conservative, is it finally time to start the mourning process?
Born in 1854, the GOP has contributed to the shaping of America’s domestic and foreign policy for well over a century. Our nation has been decisively formed by its dedication to the values of free market capitalism, strong national defense and state’s rights. But the party once famous for ending slavery has now become enslaved to a politician whose values — or lack thereof — has tragically ended its much too-short life. The party that once preserved our great union now has a divisive demagogue as its standard bearer. But it is not my standards that he bears.
While Ryan wavered in his commitment to the presumptive nominee, the message to anti-Trump conservatives was clear: don’t give up, I support you, our party supports you, and our shared integrity means that country comes before party, and if we have to concede this election to preserve both, we will. That was principled, and I was as proud of it as I was reassured. There was still room for me in the Republican party.
The message now is equally clear: if you can’t beat them, join them — so long as ‘they’ aren’t democrats — values and ethics be damned. Trump somehow captured voters’ hearts and Ryan’s endorsement is a message that party elders are loathe to withhold theirs any longer. Is this just partisan politics at work? Is this all that is to be expected of our great republic and its once-great republican party? More importantly, is resurrection possible? Who will be our Messiah?
Lincoln is rolling over in his grave. The GOP is entering its own. The search for the apprentice begins. Will Trump create a reality show to pick his Vice President? These, and others of a similar ilk are the types of thoughtful, intellectual questions that will populate the political discourse in the post GOP-era.
They say that elephants are supposed to have incredible memories. Is it really possible that in the span of one election we’ve forgotten all for which we stand?
Rest in Peace, GOP.
We’ll never forget you. What is dead may never die.