Donald Trump is my fault as much as anyone else’s.
It started way back in 2009-2010 when the Tea Party erupted on the scene. At the core of the tea party was a principle that I agreed with so much that I became a conservative activist during that time period. That core was principled, fiscal conservatism and a desire to return to the things that had made America great.
We said it lots of different ways back then. “Take our country back.” “Return to the Constitution.” It really is embodied quite nicely in Donald Trump’s motto: Make America great again.
That’s what we wanted. A budget that the country’s federal government had to live within. A shrinking bureaucracy. An end to exploding entitlements.
Social issues weren’t discussed that much in the very early stages of the Tea Party. We all knew that there was some disagreement on these issues and we wanted to stay singularly focused. We could sort out our differences after we’d stopped the runaway train of government largesse.
By 2011 there were some cracks in the movement. There were groups that seemed to just be profiting off of it without actually helping. There were politicians who’d won on tea party rhetoric in 2010 but seemed less inclined to stop the growth of government once they got to Washington.
It was frustrating. This was compounded by the fact that Mitt Romney became the nominee and then lost in 2012. It was at that point that I believe a lot of people simply put down the signs and went home.
Through it all, my own career was burgeoning in politics. Not only did I begin writing for RedState, I started doing some television appearances and owned a video production company with a laundry list of clients from the movement.
When your life becomes politics and you are surrounded by people in the industry, you learn a key term: allies.
Allies aren’t friends. They may not even be colleagues. They are simply people that you find enough agreement with on enough issues to not go after each other. You don’t have to overtly support one another but you certainly don’t try to hurt each other.
As more and more people knew who I was and I fostered relationships and allies, I found myself more and more having to look the other way. Moments where I would cringe at something someone said, or quietly roll my eyes at a post they wrote, thinking “Gosh, I can’t believe they think that way” or “I swear that person is one tweet away from saying Obama is from Kenya.”
I justified it quietly to myself the way we had at the beginning of the tea party when such things would happen. People would say outlandish things and I would find myself nodding my head and awkwardly walking away, not calling them out for their silliness.
After all, there were more pressing matters.
And so, as I said, I kept quiet about these allies in new media and in Washington. People who I thought I agreed with only 70% of the time. Which normally is a great reason to consider someone an ally, but not when the other 30% is cringe-inducing paranoia and vapid stupidity.
I chose peace over principle. I chose to go along with those I disagreed with on core matters because I believed we were jointly fighting for other things that were more important. I ignored my gut and my moral compass.
The result is that, almost to a man, every single person I cringed at or thought twice about, is now a supporter and cheerleader of Donald Trump.
I looked the other way, and I’m sure many others did too, as these people rose to prominence and their microphones got louder. I ignored it at times because I hate self-righteous liberals who tell anyone they disagree with that they don’t want to be around them and I didn’t want to be like that. At other times because, well, it was easier than standing against foolishness.
I’m done with that now. Albeit a bit too late.
I’ll never be like the indignant pricks I’ve dealt with on the right who judge harshly anyone who doesn’t automatically parrot the Republican leadership. I’ll also never be like the virtue-signallers who feel the need to put rainbow flags over their avatars to prove how socially progressive they are.
But my days of watching crazy people gain readers & listeners right in front of me are over.
Ann Coulter, Gateway Pundit, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Breitbart News, Matt Drudge, and scores of others, too many to list here. They are all people that at one time or another caused me to bury my face in my hands. Caused me more than once to say “wait…we ARE the stupid party?” I’m done with it and I’m done with all of them. They are in this for money and power and influence and they think Donald Trump is their ticket. Hell, they may be right. And I’ll go down in flames with my principles befor