The GOP ripped itself apart when it nominated Trump, and its gaping wound continues to bleed as new data suggests that there is a mass exodus of prominent Republicans to the Democratic Party. Many pundits rung the death knell of the party when Trump won the nomination. One group held an actual funeral to deal with their loss. If the act of the nomination was the murder, this is the mourning period.
The most startling feature of this exodus is its demographics. Several members of the Reagan administration, which many consider the golden age of modern conservatism, have decided to vote Democrat. Indeed, Richard Armitage, Doug Elmets, Brent Scowcroft, and Frank Lavin have all pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton. In an editorial for CNN, Lavin wrote a scathing explanation of his departure. He claims that despite his disagreement with Clinton on a variety of issues, “she comes closer to Republican views than does Trump. And Donald Trump makes me cringe. I am voting for Hillary. And I vote in Ohio.”
We have to remember that these defectors are only the ones who directly stated their voting preference. Others included in the data from ABC, such as both Presidents Bush and 2012 candidate Mitt Romney refused to endorse Trump. We also have the notorious “Never Trumpers” such as Senators Ben Sasse and Rand Paul, who may vote for Mickey Mouse before they would defect to Hillary Clinton.
It is difficult to say where they will land on November 8, but I can say with certainty that it will be a rough road for conservatives. We have lost the only political home we’ve known. We’re at risk of losing the only check against legislative and executive power. Yet, conservatism will live on in those who continue to fight for what is good. We do not need a party to keep up our principles or our values. We are conservatives not because it is easy, but because it is right.