Conservatism vs Democracy

Grappling with supporting conservative policies like low taxes and strong borders, while critiquing the MAGA movement's undermining of democracy post-2020 elections.

Editorial

Navigating the Crossroads of Conservatism: Balancing Policy Agreement with Democratic Principles

By Adrian Thomas

November 25, 2023

154

Introduction

As a conservative, I've always valued principles like low taxation, small government, and robust border security. These policies, championed by Donald Trump, resonate with my political philosophy. However, the essence of democracy lies not only in policy agreement but also in the unwavering respect for its institutions and principles. This article aims to explore this delicate balance, especially in the context of the upcoming 2024 election.



Trump's Actions and Democratic Concerns

The aftermath of the 2020 election was a turning point for many, including myself. Trump's refusal to concede, despite clear electoral outcomes, was alarming. His relentless attacks on the press and attempts to use government institutions like the DOJ and IRS against political adversaries were antithetical to the democratic ethos. These actions signaled a dangerous shift from policy-driven leadership to one marked by personal vendettas and authoritarian inclinations.


History, often a window into the future, presents us with cautionary tales. It pains me to draw these distinctions between a former president of the US as well as the front runner for the Republican Party (BY A LONG SHOT!) and the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany. But I have to...


Just like hitler's rise was fueled by his creation of a common enemy in the Jews, Trump's strategy bears an uncomfortable resemblance with his rhetoric against the political left. While the contexts are vastly different, the strategy of uniting a base by demonizing a segment of society is a common thread – one that often precedes a democratic decline. This is a slippery slope, and we as a nation are speeding down it!


Global Authoritarian Trends

Globally, the rise of authoritarian leaders in countries like Brazil, Hungary, China, Russia, and North Korea presents a worrying trend. Trump's praise for such leaders and the similar sentiments echoed by certain segments of American right-wing media raise concerns about the foundational values of American democracy. This admiration for authoritarian regimes suggests a preference for control and power over democratic ideals.


"America First" vs. "Trump First"

The "America First" narrative, while appealing in its patriotic fervor, often masks a "Trump First" agenda. Policies and decisions seem less about the nation's collective good and more about personal gain or ego. As conservatives, while we may find agreement in some of his policies, it's crucial to discern the motives behind them and their implications for democratic health.


Message to Conservatives and Centrists

To my fellow conservatives and centrists, particularly those contemplating their choices in the 2024 election, it's vital to soberly assess the impact of our decisions. Supporting policies we agree with shouldn't come at the cost of undermining democratic institutions. We must question, critique, and demand accountability, ensuring that our support is for the principles of conservatism and democracy, not for individuals who might exploit them.


Conclusion

As we approach the 2024 election, let's remember that the strength of our democracy lies in its institutions, its constitutional checks and balances, and its ability to serve the people. Agreement with a leader's policies is not synonymous with blind allegiance. It's both possible and necessary to support conservative policies while staunchly defending the democratic principles that form the bedrock of our nation. 


Polical ideology should not be synonymous with loyalty to a man. Once we go down that path, democracy is doomed.


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