Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, was the only Republican to cast a guilty vote against the president when the Senate voted on the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
With that vote, he breathed new life into the “Never Trump”' movement, which involved claims from Republicans that Trump is not a “true” Republican in moral, ethical or ideological senses.
The movement petered out when Trump won in 2016, and Republicans fell in line behind the new leader of their party. Now, however, Romney’s action means the movement merits our attention once again. While Republicans distancing themselves from Trump because of his morals and ethics is reasonable, it’s hard to support the claim that he is not ideologically a Republican. Indeed, Trump’s platform seems to largely coincide with decades of Republican thought.
Trump is not a conservative in the traditional sense of advocating for a small government that does not interfere with markets or lives. Republican ideology, however, has diverged from conservatism. For decades, Republicans have discarded the conservative notion of small government. From Dwight Eisenhower onward, no Republican president has reduced overall government spending during his term.
The non-interference aspect of conservatism has equally been abandoned recently. With legislation addressing personal aspects of life ranging from sexuality to abortion, Republicans have demonstrated that they are not afraid of governments setting guidelines for private lives well before Trump.
Trump has also conformed to many other planks of the Republican platform. Some elements of his anti-immigration policies reflect those of many other Republicans like Nixon, who tried to close the border with Mexico during his time in office. While Trump has eliminated dozens of important environmental regulations to facilitate economic development, Republicans like Rick Perry have long been preaching that business should take precedence over the environment.
Beyond ideology, Trump has seen strong support within the Republican Party. In the 2016 Republican primary, Trump beat his Republican opponents by a landslide. Since his election, Gallup indicates that Trump’s approval rating among Republicans has hovered around 90%.
Never Trumpers must reconsider their assertion that Trump does not reflect their party’s beliefs. With policies that are in line with the Republican platform and entrenched support from most of the party, Trump is definitely a Republican.
Perhaps, instead, it is Never Trumpers — and not Trump — whose ideologies are incompatible with the Republican party. Therefore, a more effective solution than waiting for a return to normalcy may be a full separation from the Republican party, as many have already done. Whether that means going independent, joining the Democrats, or forming a new party altogether, it is time to acknowledge that Trump is an accurate picture of Republicanism.
Sam Smith is a junior studying geography at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Sam know by tweeting him @sambobsmith_.