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July 25, 2016 3:15 am

Daniel Pipes: Why I Just Quit the Republican Party

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Donald Trump giving his nomination acceptance speech at the RNC on July 21. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Donald Trump giving his nomination acceptance speech at the RNC on July 21. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Republican Party nominated Donald Trump as its candidate for president of the United States — and I responded by ending my 44-year GOP membership.

Here’s why I by bailed, quit and jumped ship:

First, Trump’s boorish, selfish, puerile and repulsive character, combined with his prideful ignorance, his off-the-cuff policy making and his neo-fascistic tendencies make him the most divisive and scary of any serious presidential candidate in American history. He is precisely “the man the founders feared” in Peter Wehner‘s memorable phrase. I want to be no part of this.

Second, his flip-flopping on the issues (“everything is negotiable“) means that, as president, he has the mandate to do any damn thing he wants. This unprecedented and terrifying prospect could mean suing unfriendly reporters or bulldozing a recalcitrant Congress. It could also mean martial law. Count me out.

Third, with honorable exceptions, I wish to distance myself from a Republican Party establishment that made its peace with Trump to the point that it unfairly repressed elements at the national convention in Cleveland that still tried to resist his nomination. Yes, politicians and donors must focus on immediately issues (Supreme Court justice appointments) but party leaders like GOP committee chairman Reince Priebus, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrongly acquiesced to Trump. As columnist Michael Gerson wryly notes, Trump “attacked the Republican establishment as low-energy, cowering weaklings. Now Republican leaders are lining up to surrender to him – like low-energy, cowering weaklings.”

Fourth, the conservative movement, to which I belong, has developed since the 1950s into a major intellectual force. It did so by building on several key ideas (limited government, a moral order, and a foreign policy reflecting American interests and values). But the cultural abyss and constitutional nightmare of a Trump presidency will likely destroy this delicate creation. Ironically, although a Hillary Clinton presidency threatens bad Supreme Court justices, it leaves the conservative movement intact.

Finally, Trump is “an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard” in the words of Republican donor Michael K. Vlock. That charming list of qualities means supporting Trump translates into never again being able to criticize a Democrat on the basis of character. Or, in personal terms: how can one look at oneself in the mirror?

And so, with Trump’s formal nomination, I bailed.

For the Republican Party to recover its soul, Trump needs to be thumped in November. Purged of his influence, the party of Lincoln and Reagan can rebuild.

In the meantime, I shall support other Republican candidates, notably Pennsylvania’s excellent Senator Pat Toomey. As for president? Either the libertarian Gary Johnson, a write-in candidate, or no one at all.

Mr. Pipes (, @DanielPipes), has served in five presidential administrations. © 2016 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved. This article was originally published by The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

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  • John Train

    Please send this to Daniel Pipes and tell him that his decision is electing Hillary Clinton and giving Iran a free ride to destroy Israel.

    1.     The bottom line is simple. The choice is Hillary Clinton and an unstoppable troika of  Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Hillary Clinton  OR Donald Trump surrounded by competent and stable people who can limit  him in his actions. There would be  no checks or balances. We would have  multiple repeats of the Obama care and Iran nuclear deal steamrollers.

    2.  Donald Trump is accused of taking too long to disavow David Duke. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has NEVER disavowed the statements made by Suha Arafat. In 1999 when Clinton visited Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s wife Suha  publicly claimed that Israel was using poison gas to pollute the West Bank’s water and land. Hillary Clinton remained silent  even though she was in possession of the translation of   the remarks.  Then at the conclusion Mrs. Clinton hugged and kissed Mrs. Arafat. This was widely seen  throughout the Arab world as a US endorsement of these accusations.

    3.     Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as Secretary of State , played a very strong and direct role  in initiating the US contacts with Iran’s hardliners to discuss recognizing  Iran’s  nuclear program.  { This  took place well before the time that the so-called moderates were elected in Iran .]She initiated the  nuclear negotiations with Iranian hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad   well  before the election of Hassan Rouhani.   As part the deal (which was  publicly confirmed by John Kerry, Susan Rice and Barack Obama) , a substantial amount of the unfrozen Iranian  resources would be devoted to attacks on Jews everywhere in the world.

    4.  Hillary Clinton’ gave very strong support of the misleading efforts by the  Obama administration to sell the “agreement” to the US public (partially by demonizing the  very justified Israeli  opposition to this “agreement”).  [This was very much like Bill Clinton’s  assurance to the American public that North Korea had fully given up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs… When in fact they had not.]

    5.  Hillary  selected Wendy Sherman , Nicholas Burns and the rest of the US State Department team that had originally negotiated the nuclear agreement with North Korea. This was the team that was retained by John Kerry. This is a video of of Bill Clinton claiming great victory in preventing North Korea from obtaining a nuclear weapon {thanks to the skill of Sherman, Burns and the rest of the US State Department team.}

    6. Clinton was key to the destabilizing of Libya and to the rise of ISIS  there.

  • gerard

    good riddance Chamberlain.

  • Daniel,

    I understand your position and why you feel the way you do. In fact, I was a democrat for many years until Obama. Now that I see an Obama version 2.0 as my option to Trump, I prefer to vote for Trump because a non-vote is a Hilary vote. No, he’s definitely my idea of a good or even passable candidate, but Hilary is and will be a much worse choice for America and Israel.

    That’s my personal opinion.

  • Jay Lavine

    The conservative movement has not done so well when it comes to “a moral order” — on the contrary. Let me humbly suggest a moral order that is not based on a secular ideology that has become a religion to some people. It’s called Judaism.

    Judaism is extremely conservative when it comes to preservation of traditional values but very liberal in terms of caring about the poor and the downtrodden, always trying to level the playing field. Think of the remission of debts every seventh year, the Jubilee year when land returns to the original owners, and all the teachings of Bava Metzia.

    Limited government, that is to say, less regulation? No way. As the connection between Pesach and Shavuot teaches us, freedom can be harmful unless we are able to control ourselves — hence the 613 mitzvot supplemented by umpteen halachot.

    Judaism doesn’t provide the immediate gratification that the secular ideologue seeks when his goals are realized — it isn’t meant to. It is a moral order based on service to God, not service to oneself.

    Let’s face it, when it comes to Jewish values-based characteristics we want to see in our leaders — e.g., honesty, to name just one — we as Jews feel excluded as usual.

  • Sharon

    Daniel Pipes for president?

  • Erin Kaye

    Whatever the rationale, a vote for anyone other than Trump, or not voting, is a vote for Hillary. Trump wasn’t my first choice either but given the alternative I’m voting for him.

  • Daniel Pipes, SHAME on you! America needs every vote! America needs to continue to exist – for the sake of Israel and the world! A vote withheld from Trump will be a curse on the person who failed to vote for him! Donald is GOD’s man for this time! Read Isaiah 45 – Trump is Cyrus!

    Daniel the prophet would support Donald Trump!
    Your criticisms are unjust!
    You are usually an excellent writer and knowledgable.
    You just committed literary suicide!


    • John Train


 Donald Trump is a more than 20 year history of welcoming Jews to his properties in areas where discrimination was practiced. This is not only true of welcoming their business, on the social level he was also a cordial host.

      Unfortunately, many normally responsible Jewish journalists and publications pick up and repeat accusations without understanding that there is a Democratic Party operation devoted to demonizing their political opponents.

      There was a very enlightening story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal documenting how Trump fought both antisemitism and racism in Palm Beach 2 decades ago. The WSJ story focuses on the battles Trump faced as a new arrival to Palm Beach, including his new competition with the social clubs of the old order.