I recently posted about the National Review’s “Against Trump” issue. It was an anti-Trump article, but more importantly, it was pro-integrity.
My complaint isn't so much with Trump supporters, than it is with “conservatives” who defend Trump’s alleged conservativism.
Trump is not conservative, but he pretended he was at first. Lately he has given up even pretending, and so have his media surrogates. Some even bash the Constitution if they feel that document is proving inconvenient for Trump’s ambitions. Many of these people now argue that Trump's focus is more on nationalism and populism, anyhow, not conservatism.
Before considering what policy positions to prioritize when choosing a candidate, we need to protect our own integrity. We are not meant to bend, shift, contort and vacillate before those candidates seeking our support. They are supposed to change to better represent us. Or better still, have their own integrity, present their positions and hope that they are what we are looking for.
Democracy is for the people, not the politicians.
I opposed Jeb Bush's candidacy and would not have voted for him if given the chance. But he did earn my respect for one reason: unlike Rubio and Trump, he did not run away from his record and lie about it; he defended it, although it was not popular to do so. This makes Jeb a man of integrity and principles, such as they are.
On the other hand, Trump and Rubio lie about their own records, and then accuse those who tell the truth about their records of lying, too.
This was never more obvious than when Rubio was confronted in the last debate about saying one thing on Spanish TV and another on English TV -- the same thing he'd accused Cruz of lying about in the previous debate!
I don't support Cruz, either. His record is not immaculate on the integrity issue: I believe he changed his position on the H1-B immigration visa program for political reasons, for example. That said, we live in a world of imperfect men and we have to go with the individual that best supports our values when everything is considered.
Do not prostitute yourself!
Over the coming months, Americans will learn a lot more about these candidates. Keep an open mind but not so open that you abandon your values. List your top five or six priorities, rank them and then add what your idea candidate would do in relation to these issues.
Do not hold back. Pick your best case scenario, and be honest with yourself now, as well as when you review the list as the campaign goes forward.
Don't put “electability” into your top three considerations. Yes, electability is important, but if we conservatives thought it was the most important thing, we would have voted for Justin Trudeau. "Electability" is also the criteria that political operatives and the media will emphasize. By this measure, somehow Dole, McCain and Romney were electable, but Reagan was not. Looking back at some old articles from the last federal Conservative Party leadership race, Harper was not deemed electable either.
Shakespeare puts appropriate words into the mouth of Julius Caesar: “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
Do not let your choice of candidate be the death of your integrity.