I speak against Donald Trump in this article not as a Democrat, not as a rampant campaigner for some illusion of social justice, not even as a left winger. I speak against Donald Trump because, it may surprise you to know, I am a Republican, and a Conservative. And there is a very clear reason for any Republican not to stand with him: he does not stand alongside the traditional Republican or American values in an economic sense or a cultural sense.
The United States of America, in 1776, was created to be a bastion of liberty and rights, the last best hope of the world they say. And to me, it was. It was a land of freedom, a country where individual rights flourished (with some developments over time) and were protected from tyrannous, large governments, and a country where limited government created the most prosperous economy seen in world history. But this election in 2016 was uniquely disastrous compared to others. This election offered the American people two candidates standing in almost all senses against these uniquely American principles of liberty. Donald Trump perhaps more so than Hillary Clinton was guilty of this, in both economics and politics.
Donald Trump’s perhaps most infamous economic policies revolve around ideas of protectionism and imposing barriers to trade. But barriers to trade can be considered, especially by the Jeffersonian founding fathers, to be barriers to an essential freedom of individuals: the freedom to buy and sell however much you wish, from and to whomever you wish, and at whatever price is agreed by the buyer and seller. In this sense, his economic policies go against fundamental American principles themselves, and strike America at its core. But they are not only anti-liberty, but impractical. Tariffs and trade barriers impose higher prices on the consumer, monopolise industries by restricting the expanse of competitive free markets, and give more power to multinational companies. While Donald Trump may paint this as “protecting American jobs” and “taking on the Chinese”, in reality, it hurts every day American consumers the most. Just ask any economics teacher about the impact of tariffs, if you wish for any extra affirmation for my anti-protectionist stance.
Moreover Donald Trump’s plans on both taxation and spending do not adhere to basic fiscal conservative values; namely rolling back the frontiers of the state, and perhaps in Trump’s case more significantly, balancing the federal budget. Mr Trump wishes to cut taxes substantially, costing about $10 trillion over a ten year period. Usually for me, that would be fine, in the circumstance that such a plan was funded. While this figure is only static and not dynamic revenue losses, there are still significant losses to revenue in the long run which need to be counteracted by spending cuts. But in Trump’s case, there are no such cuts. He promises to cut none of the big four expenditures: Medicaid, Medicare, social security, and defence; all of which need to be cut by some degree (perhaps with the exception of Medicare), in order to combat the United States’ already large budget deficit which will seemingly grow larger under Trump fiscal policies. I personally would have recommended the Cruz spending plan, which abolished the EPA, Department of Education, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, and Department of Housing, along with 25 federal agencies, while cutting the rate of growth of the big four expenditures. Such a plan would have gone some way to fighting the budget deficit, but such a plan which rolls back the state and releases the debt burden from the shoulders of the next generation is not seen under Donald Trump.
But it would be foolish of me not to acknowledge that Trump does not represent the essential American value of tolerance, regardless of demographic or trait or anatomy. He has, perhaps more than any non-Goldwater candidate, expressed great intolerance towards certain groupings of people whom he unnecessarily singles out. While I acknowledge he should be perfectly free to say anything he likes, however offensive it is, and I actually admire him for doing so, I am also free to call his cultural beliefs what they really are. Bigotry, plain and simple. He applies universal labels and rules to Mexicans and Muslims, using the genuine problems of radical Islam and illegal immigration to support his policies. But the way to combat radical Islam is not to target Islam itself, but the radical strains of it. The way to combat illegal immigration is not to build a wall, but to make legal immigration much easier. These are genuine issues, but provide no excuse for bigotry and certainly no excuse for the application of universal rules to groups in society that contain at best negligible numbers of bad elements. The Founding Fathers of the United States would never have accepted Islamophobia or xenophobia, else the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights would never have passed. Trump stands against these Founding Fathers, their documents of liberty, and the essential principles that come with them. That is why, as a Republican, I can never support Donald Trump.