As a writer for Breitbart News, a conservative and libertarian ews service that has received nearly a billion visits since the beginning of 2016, I’ve had an inside look at American conservatism over the months that coincided with the rise
of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Although he boasts
a significant following of loyal supporters, Trump’s rise to the top of the
Republican Party has been so divisive within the GOP that the party
might not recover.
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming general election, the future
of American conservatism is now scarred by its warm embrace of Donald
Trump and his brand of statism, which Nobel Prize-winning economist
and philosopher F.A. Hayek has warned would erode our natural right to
Trump is not politically or philosophically opposed to expanding the size of government. In fact, most of
his behaviors and statements, such as his continued endorsement of universal health care, suggest he shares
his view on the role of government primarily with the political left.
In addition to his ideological inconsistency, if any of the other candidates who competed for the Republican
nomination had behaved like Donald Trump, their campaigns never would have recovered. He made disgusting
statements about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly after their contentious exchange during the first GOP primary
debate. He has made disparaging comments about women, Hispanics and Muslims. At a rally, he mocked a
disabled reporter who suffers from a congenital joint condition. It’s still hard to understand, but the more
insensitive Trump becomes, the more it animates his base.
Despite behavior like this, Trump is the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. However, few Bucknell
students who, like me, are self-identifying conservatives, have joined the GOP’s efforts to make President
Donald Trump a reality. Most conservative-leaning students rejected him in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz or Sen.
Marco Rubio, and many libertarian-leaning students, like me, have come to reject not only Trump, but the
GOP all together.
Even though my reputation at Bucknell is perhaps most closely linked to my work as the president of
Bucknell’s College Republicans, I am not a Republican, nor have I ever been. The libertarian elements of
American conservatism have been subdued by a vicious and blind authoritarianism that has arrived on the
right in the form of its crude and insensitive surrogate, Donald Trump.
If you are interested in a new course for the United States, consider principled third-party options Gary
Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Jill Stein (Green Party) in November’s general election. Johnson was a successful
two-term governor of New Mexico, has scaled Mt. Everest and received more than a million votes as the
Libertarian Party’s candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated physician, received
nearly a half-million votes in the 2012 presidential election as the Green Party candidate, more than any other
female general-election candidate.
Although Johnson and Stein differ on many, if not most issues, they both diverge from the major-party
candidates in a few important areas. Both candidates desire a more transparent government and have defended
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Most important, both Johnson and Stein boast a long-standing
commitment to the basic ideological principles of their parties.
It’s unclear what the future holds for the Republican Party, but it’s becoming increasingly more likely that the
GOP will long suffer the consequences of allowing Donald Trump to represent its party. Republican President
Herbert Hoover was demonized for decades following the Great Depression, which began during his tenure.
Because of this, it was 20 years before another Republican was elected president. As a similar fate for the modern
GOP becomes increasingly likely, the rest of us might be best advised to start our search for alternatives.
Tom Ciccotta is an economics major from Cherry Hill, N.J., who has served as president of the Class of 2017. Shortly before
the magazine went to press, he left the College Republicans’ presidency to lead the Bucknell chapter of Young Americans for
Liberty, a national student libertarian organization.
THE END OF THE GOP
By Tom Ciccotta ’ 17