Donald Trump greets more than 10,000 supporters at the San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stone

By Sylvia Sullivan

“The reality is that we now have to defend a foul-mouthed, vile, unhinged, unprincipled candidate,” lamented a respected Christian leader supporting Trump. After the impressive early field of candidates, the primary voters — including many Democrats in open primaries — have given us Donald Trump.

This leaves many voters both dismayed and disgusted. To be clear, I am not an establishment or big donor Republican. For many years I have been a grassroots activist volunteer working to elect principled, conservative Republicans. And once elected, holding them accountable.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the current situation. First, the party establishment and leadership refused to fight the disastrous Obama agenda. The usually reliable conservative media, including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Matt Drudge and Breitbart, rode the Trump train early on. Their role in giving us Trump is undeniable.

One especially surprising group — certain Christian pastors and leaders. A group of about 1,000 of them were invited to meet with Trump at a carefully orchestrated event. Many afterwards came away impressed and inclined to support Trump. They said Trump professed to be pro-life, pro-religious liberty and would appoint conservative Supreme Court justices.

Years of political experience has taught me that a campaign conversion is the weakest assurance of a candidate’s future positions. Nothing is better than a proven track record. Unfortunately, Trump’s record is one supporting just about everything conservative Republicans oppose.

As a faithful member of the Republican Party, I am a true believer. I believe I was called to be salt and light in this political arena. The sanctity of life issue is very important. Yet am I to overlook Trump’s defense of Planned Parenthood? Supposedly the social issues don’t matter this election cycle.

Doesn’t character matter? Any individual lacking in character does not deserve an elected office. Trump has shown he will say or do whatever it takes to “win.” He changes positions as needed, including on abortion, three or four times within a few days.  His campaign has said his proposals are “suggestions,” a sort of starting point for negotiations.

In fact, recently he was quoted in the New York Times Magazine regarding the importance of maintaining a Republican Senate as saying, “Well, I’d like them to do that. But I don’t mind being a free agent either.” Surely he knows that with a Democratic Senate, his main agenda items — Supreme Court nominees, the wall and illegal immigration — would be blocked. That statement clearly undermines the reasons many give for supporting him.

Yet the party demands that I once again hold my nose and vote Trump. Oh yes, I’ve done that with Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney so much so I think my nose will break. Trump is the last straw and I will not be badgered, bullied, guilt tripped or insulted into voting for him. (Although, living in the bluest state of California, my non vote for Trump is of no consequence.)

Simon & Garfunkel’s lyrics in the song “Mrs. Robinson” really convey the predicament:

Going to the candidates’ debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

Today, for the first time, I am seriously considering leaving the GOP. With Trump as its head, it has rejected principle, integrity and truth. Thus the party has left me.

If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The rest is in the hands of God.

— George Washington

Sylvia Sullivan has served multiple terms on the on the San Diego County Republican Central Committee, was appointed a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1992 and is currently president of the east San Diego County unit of the California Republican Assembly. She lives in La Mesa.

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