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Yes, I Am Never Democrat

Democrats cannot understand why conservatives would not get on board their anti-life, anti-faith, anti-freedom agenda.

Jonathan Chait is occasionally more self-aware than he is in this piece about how the "Never-Trumpers are really just Never-Democrats." As one of the people who helped drive up the #NeverTrump hashtag, let me confirm for him that yes I am absolutely #NeverDemocrat even if I do not like and did not vote for Donald Trump.

Chait really provides no serious diagnosis for why that would be and I suspect it is because he agrees with where the Democratic Party is and will not see it as I see it. But what I see is a Democratic Party as authoritarian and totalitarian as they project Donald Trump to be. Pro-lifers and Christians like me are unwelcome. Those who believe the states should be left mostly alone and people be able to live in communities of interest are unwelcome. Those who support the free market over government control and union incursion are unwelcome. Those who support the second amendment are unwelcome. People who homeschool their kids are unwelcome. Cory Booker gets cheered on for demanding to know the CIA Director's position on homosexuality while ignoring the "no religious test" prohibition in the Constitution. But Trump is declared to be running roughshod over the constitution.

Believe it or not, there actually are still Christians in America not willing to get in bed with a man-whore for President. But they are staggeringly unwelcome in the other party as are those who may not be Christian, but remain skeptical both of the current President and of a Democratic Party that would force small businesses and nuns to adhere to their abortion orthodoxy and amoral whims.

For many of us, we just have no party home until the fever breaks for Jesus returns. But I could absolutely see myself voting for Trump in 2020 sooner than I could see myself voting for a arrogant, leftist like Elizabeth Warren.

I think Trump has panned out about like I expected him too. He's been much better than I expected on judges, and on about every other issue he's been pretty close to where I expected him to be or a little worse. The problem is that I expected to only agree with him about 50% of the time. While on specific issues I agreed with him about 64% of the time according to I side with in 2016 (good enough to be tied with Kasich and only only 9% better than my 55% agreement with Sanders), this was partially because there were many issues where I expected that he would shift left after the election. While that fear turned out to be ill-founded on judges, I was correct that he would move left guns and as I suspected his lip service to being pro-life hasn't panned out in a meaningful way because it's not a hill he's willing to die on.

Yes he was still probably a better choice than Hillary in a vacuum, but elections don't happen in vacuums and Trump winning is likely going to negatively effect congressional elections this year. In voting for a third party candidate, I gambled that a Republican congress and hopefully Republican Senate would be able to restrain the excesses of a President Hillary Clinton, who would have likely only been a one term president (no party has controlled the white house for more than 12 consecutive years since Roosevelt/Truman and I felt that Trump was the only Republican against whom she had a reasonable chance of winning in 2016) and that the Republicans would be able to elect a more reliably conservative president with a republican controlled house and near or actual super majority in the Senate in 2020 (especially considering that the party out of the white house usually gains seats in off year elections and the 2018 Senate Map is especially friendly to Republicans).

I also had promised myself to never again hold my nose to vote for a Republican in a general election after the way the national GOP treated VA's gubernatorial candidate in 2013, and Trump was definitely a hold your nose to vote for kind of candidate.

"I'm a Democrat"
I'm a former Republican, who now considers himself a conservative/libertarian leaning independent.

"I thought there was room to allow religious organizations to opt out of certain ACA plans that allow birth control or other undesired services based on their faith"
I would ideally like the portions of the civil rights act that prohibit discrimination by private businesses to be repealed since I believe they violate Freedom of Association. I don't think congress is likely to repeal it anytime in the foreseeable future because of the optics, though I do think it's possible that the Supreme Court will overturn it at some point. What I see as more likely is that they will rule that businesses can discriminate when it comes to selling custom products, but not when it comes to selling items off the shelf, which I think is a reasonable midpoint.

"I am personally against abortion but believe I don't have the right to impose my faith upon others who are adults and may believe there is no God at all."
I agree with all of this, but don't see how believing abortion should be illegal is any different from believing that any other taking of human life should generally be illegal I would say that there are only a few acceptable times to kill another human:

  1. defending your own life
  2. defending another innocent person
  3. in a defensive war
  4. in a rebellion against a tyrannical government that is unjustly using violence against it's own citizens.

All of these situations have in common that they are repelling aggression, any action to take life beyond these circumstances is immoral in my view.

"I don't understand how that is so terrible when many conservatives believe in the death penalty"
I personally don't support the Death Penalty anymore, but have in the past. It would theoretically be possible for someone to convince me that execution is the right punishment for a crime, but it would have to be a situation where lifetime imprisonment isn't a possibility, such as someone who committed heinous crimes on behalf of a tyrannical government that is still in power. I also don't think that the state is capable of meeting the standard of proof I think is necessary for such an extreme punishment in most cases and from a purely economic standpoint, it's actually more expensive to execute a criminal than to sentence them to life in prison.
All that said, there is a world of difference between killing a child that hasn't aggressed against anyone and killing someone who has killed someone else, been tried in a court of law, found guilty by a jury of their peers, and sentenced to death.

"women should likely be forced to have babies, even when their life is at risk"
I'm about as pro-life as pro-lifers come, most people who are pro-life would have an exception for rape and incest, whereas I don't agree because you're still taking an innocent life (in both cases I support the availability of emergency contraception that is designed to prevent conception, even if it could have the side effect of preventing implantation after conception occurs, since a high percentage of pregnancies naturally miscarry prior to implantation) I don't know of anyone who is pro-life that wouldn't have an exception for the life of the mother and I don't even think this needs to be an exception, since it can already be justified as a triage decision to save the life of the one most likely to survive.

"don't believe in govt. social programs - dare I say it, "welfare" programs - that would support the lives of these women and babies they so desperately want to be born."
While I don't support government social programs, I would want to cut 100% of corporate welfare before even thinking of eliminating these kinds of programs. I'm not opposed to reforming them prior to that though and have the same preference that Milton Friedman had, replacing them with direct monetary aid to the poor either through the Negative Income Tax that he proposed, the similar idea of a UBI, or a wage subsidy equal to 50% of the difference between a person's wage and the median income, so that it phases out naturally and doesn't penalize people for working more hours like our current welfare programs do. (See also: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/wage-subsidies-better-way-fight-american-poverty/ ). Ultimately though, I would like to see them eliminated, one of my favorite memes illustrated this much more succinctly than I can:

The responsibility to care for the poor and needy is given to us individually and isn't a responsibility that we can outsource to government.

"I believe in a Jesus who grants us free will to choose him or not and to make our own choices."
I agree (I'm very Arminian in my Soteriology) , this is one of the reasons that my political views have become more libertarian. Jesus doesn't force us to follow him and obey the instructions given to us in the Bible, instead He lovingly calls us to follow him willingly. Since God himself doesn't make these demands of us, we should do as much as possible to restrain earthly governments from making them; after all, authority over earthly kingdoms has been given to Satan and he can give them to whomever he likes (Luke 4:5-8). To me this means that government should be limited to the bare minimum of necessary tasks, things like police, courts, diplomacy with other nations, and military and these need to be dramatically reduced.

"I once proposed to friends that we be required to declare "pro-life" or "pro-choice" on our voter registration cards."
I question the constitutionality of requiring people to state any political, religious, or philosophical position as a pre-requisite for voting.

"We outlaw abortions and the Fed would manage or outsource foster care for all the babies saved from abortion. They would also manage a registry and lottery so that all "pro-lifers" would get one or more of these babies sort of like a draft."
I would be happy with just eliminating all the regulations that currently make adoption so ridiculously expensive, especially for people who either already have kids or have adopted previously with no history of child abuse. Ideally we could make adoption as simple as submitting a form signed by the adoptive parents and the birth parent(s)/current legal guardian to the local court clerk. If the cost of adoptions went from tens of thousands of dollars to maybe a couple hundred dollars at most, I think it would be a lot more common. Also on regulations, I want to point out that a few minutes can make all the difference in the world when it comes to adoption. When my cousin and his wife adopted their daughter a little over a year ago, they found out about her the day she was born after the initial adoptive family fell through and had to be at the hospital and have the paper work signed before the mother left the hospital, otherwise their daughter would have gone into foster care. The birth mother was initially planning to leave the hospital as soon as she was allowed to, but thankfully agreed to stay long enough that she could legally sign the paperwork (she had already been given anesthesia prior to their arrival at the hospital, so she couldn't sign paper work until it's effects had worn off)

"It took me reading a speech by Mario Cuomo to understand why our Constitution exists and how to reconcile political service with personal faith as best we can."
I would say that the best way to reconcile faith and political service is to limit government to the greatest degree possible. As the Declaration of Independence puts it, government's purpose is to secure the rights of the People, especially Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. When governments try to do more than these things (i.e. try to ensure your happiness, rather than just making it so that you can try to get there on your own), they tend to start trampling on people's rights and doing more harm than good.

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Alex, I appreciate your thoughtful responses. My only comment is I never thought Pursuit of Happiness meant the govt. "ensuring" happiness but maybe it can be interpreted that way. It clearly says "pursuit of happiness" and I've always thought about it as the govt. shall not implement policies or programs or laws that hinder people's ability to pursue a happy life for themselves as long as it doesn't infringe upon another person's pursuit of happiness - difficult to do. The Constitution says the U. S. Constitution grants Congress the power to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." General welfare has broad interpretation and could include general consensus (in a pluralistic democracy) that the govt. should have social welfare programs that, for example, lift large swaths of people out of crises situations like mass poverty and hunger after the Great Depression, the current opioid crisis, and extreme weather events. I don't believe that able-bodied persons should be on welfare forever but I support some social programs for the general welfare of society as a whole. As technology displaces people from more and more jobs - first the lower wage ones - its going to get interesting and maybe the basic income will become necessary and we will be a nation of subsistence with only 5% of the people with enough wealth and income to live otherwise. I sure hope not.

Unless he gets more than 30%-40% of the country behind him, he will never be seen as a great president in a country this diverse. Character matters for leaders and he has lots of leadership issues. The historians will write the history and so far, Republican and Democrat alike have him in the bottom 5 of all presidents. He can move up but its highly unlikely that he will move up more than 5 slots unless he has a frontal lobotomy (just kidding). And, the country is so divided, its possible that Barack Obama may be the last real POTUS - a president who garnered more than 50% of the popular vote plus won the electoral college (twice). Going to be harder and harder to do.

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