GOP loyalists marked by empty fanaticism

Republicans must not vote based solely on party lines, but on personal principle.

Jacqueline Lewis, Writer

When Ted Cruz suddenly exited the presidential race after devastating losses in Indiana, John Kasich followed suit, leaving Donald Trump the presumptive candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

unfortunate dilemma

This left Cruz and Kasich supporters with an unfortunate dilemma — do they stick with their party, hold their nose and vote for Trump, or do they abandon their party to support an alternate candidate?

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, took a clear stance on this issue when he tweeted moments after Trump’s victory in Indiana, “.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton,” Reince Priebus tweeted, using the hashtag “#NeverClinton.”

Other Republicans call GOP members who refuse to support Trump for the presidency “traitors.” Even former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee expressed outrage toward those not voting for the presumptive nominee. “You have a sense of, really, obligation I think to be loyal to the party and to its nominee,” said Huckabee, according to the Washington Examiner.

But this type of unfettered loyalty to political party warps their purpose. Parties function as a way to bring together people with similar political views. They hold other functions such as selecting candidates and raising funds, but the primary purpose is to further the member’s political views through these means. If the party’s candidate does not match closely enough with your own political views, those members of the party have no obligation to support the candidate or the party’s choice. The party exists to serve the people, the people do not exist to blindly serve the party.

a fight for fight’s sake

This behavior is a symptom of a much deeper problem wherein party politics no longer becomes a fight of conviction, but a fight for fight’s sake. Negative partisanship has made the political atmosphere a fight against “other,” not a fight for justice and human flourishing.

If someone supports Trump’s politics or believes he best represents their own views compared to the other candidates, then they are entitled to vote for him if they so choose. However, if someone votes for him for the mere “R” next to his name, they must reconsider their thinking.

Republican Senator from Nebraska Ben Sasse said it well in his open letter to Trump supporters explaining why he will not support Trump if he is the nominee.

“Parties are just tools to enact the things that we believe. Political parties are not families; they are not religions; they are not nations – they are often not even on the level of sports loyalties. They are just tools. I was not born Republican. I chose this party, for as long as it is useful. If our Party is no longer working for the things we believe in…then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed,” reads his Facebook post.

If we are to preserve a democratic nation where the government represents the people, let us put our principles above our parties and not allow ourselves to be swept away by empty fanaticism for our team to win.

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