I recently did an interview with my publishing company, Balcony 7 Media and Publishing, about the upcoming one-year anniversary of my debut book and current events.
Election 2016: Navigating A Fractured Political Landscape
JZB: A year ago, Preservation and Purpose, your millennial manifesto, was published, putting your transformation from young democrat to millennial republican on full display for readers, and backing it up with numerous reasons. Between the main points you discuss in your book, namely: faith, family and politics, which of the three are the most important criteria for how you view the candidates in the 2016 presidential election?
DM: When it comes to any election, I try my very best to approach it foremost as a Christian. Even though I am adamantly conservative, my main priority is my relationship with Christ. Therefore, I want to vote for someone whose platform is the closest aligned with Scripture. While it’s obvious that America is not a theocracy, I do think it’s important that leaders with a moral conscience, and those willing to embrace biblical concepts and promote religious liberty are elected to office. If a candidate lacks morality in one area of their life, I believe it’ll trickle into other areas as well, and that plays a big factor for me at the ballot box.
JZB: You’ve met numerous candidates at conventions, many of whom have since dropped out of the race. Tell us how you navigated from one to the other during that time, and what points drew you in or repelled you?
DM: I originally started out supporting Mrs. Carly Fiorina. I was very impressed by not only her ability to contrast herself with Hillary Clinton but also her bold, courageous, confident appeal that was intertwined with wit, knowledge and clarity. I felt that her experience in business and also advising foreign leaders would serve her well as President. After she dropped out of the race, I navigated toward Sen. Marco Rubio. I felt like he was one of the few conservatives who knew how to connect with my generation and make politics personal and relatable. I also felt he had the greatest chance of defeating Hillary. Since he’s left the race, I’ve grown to appreciate Gov. John Kasich more because of his humility and willingness to promote unity. My biggest issue is I believe that if Donald Trump, who has enabled bigotry and divisiveness this entire election cycle, is the Republican nominee for President, the conservative movement will be in disarray and Hillary will easily win.
JZB: In that answer, I don’t hear any aspect of either candidate’s religious views. Many say, based on Christian values, Ted Cruz is the most passionate student of Biblical principles, to the point where he was the Evangelical favorite. Why no mention of him?
DM: While Cruz is known to have an appeal to evangelicals, it’s been an ironic fate; the evangelical vote has mostly gone to Trump in the primaries, especially in the South. And while I admire Sen. Cruz’s willingness to acknowledge his faith, sometime his “preachy” style of talking can be a major turnoff to voters, especially to those who are not conservative.
JZB: Going into 2016, the path to the presidency has been narrowed among the candidates, yet the rancor has increased. So much so, you made a major announcement about a month ago, stating you will no longer vote Republican. What was the turning point that resulted in this proclamation?
DM: I’ve been utterly saddened and disgusted with the candidacy of Donald Trump. I’ve seen many so-called conservative leaders and activists embrace his candidacy, which ultimately led me to cease my membership with the GOP. I’ve worked too hard to try to bring new members to the GOP, only to see the party embrace an individual who wants to ban a certain demographic of people from the U.S., promotes violence at his rallies, not to mention his constant wavering of policy positions over time. Mr. Trump has alienated many groups of voters and I refuse to belong to a party that went from Abraham Lincoln to a demagogue. I want to make something very clear—I’m very much still a conservative, I’m just claiming the label of an Independent.
JZB: If Trump has alienated voters, how do you explain the massive turnouts at his events, the surge in Republican voter turnout (for him), and the defection of record numbers of Democrats to the GOP? Also, perhaps the problem with the GOP is that it’s not listening to its constituents—this is the resounding cry from many in the comment areas of news posts, which could be more informative than polls at this point. Some have also argued that those who snub their noses at the people’s candidate for the GOP nomination are the ones who are aiding and abetting the Democrats—especially with a third-party threat. This hasn’t worked before, why should it work now?
DM: Trump has been very effective in gravitating audiences toward his populist message. He has the benefit of being a known celebrity and his brash talk is appealing to the fears, worries—and to be quite blunt—inner prejudices of many. One way to view the turnout in favor of him is that many Democrats believe he’s beatable in a general election. I’m convinced that many of the Democrats who are crossing over to vote for him in the primary, will cross back over to the Democrat side to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. It’s worth noting that Trump underperforms in closed primaries. Since many conservatives will either not vote or possibly vote for Hillary if Trump is the GOP nominee, I believe the GOP should embrace a third-party option, simply because the nomination of Trump also puts the GOP’s hold on the Senate and the House of Representatives in jeopardy. Their only hope, as of right now, is to nominate a conservative on a third-party ticket that will help them hold on to the Senate and House, which would be a small moral victory of sorts if Hillary were to win the presidency.
JZB: Many agree there exists a big divide, not just among the partisan faithful but also within each faction itself. At what time do people rally for one candidate, and will a fractured political system only serve to “throw the baby out with the bath water,” and lead to another period of instability?
DM: I think, right now, you’re not only seeing many conservatives refusing to vote for Trump but also calling for a potential, viable third party to arise that they feel will stay true to the Constitution and conservatism. On the other side, you’re also witnessing an anti-establishment wave that’s resulting in Sen. Bernie Sanders giving Hillary a challenge that many didn’t expect to see. Truth be told, both parties are fractured. The GOP is just more visible because they feel like their party has been hijacked by Trump, who up to this point, cannot be contained or controlled.
JZB: You’ve just reiterated the vocalized opinions of many others who disfavor Trump: the candidate’s inability to be “controlled.” Based on the negative outcry against the Establishment in government across the board, doesn’t it beg the question, “Why would you want a candidate the Party can control?” The people want control, it would seem. The more it’s revealed they don’t have control, the greater the schism may become.
DM: It’s not just the fact that Trump’s behavior and antics can’t be contained; it’s also the fear of the unknown. Many simply do not know what Trump will do or propose once he’s in office, believing that he’s very naïve or ill-informed when it comes to policy-oriented issues.
JZB: Do you think the political system in this country is broken and if so, how can it be fixed? If it can’t be fixed, are we seeing the demise of our republic?
DM: Our political system is very broken. This is due to the fact that we’ve been electing career politicians who are more concerned about their political standing than the well being of their constituents. Politics is simply a reflection of culture. The future of politics can be hopeful, but it’s contingent upon if we’re able to change the cultural paradigm, which has turned into a moral decay.
JZB: This seems to go against the very statement you said earlier about having a candidate that is “out of control.” What candidate aside from Carly Fiorina, who is no longer in the race, is an alternative outsider? If that outsider is Trump and he wins the majority of the delegates, why should that decisive victory—the voice of the people as it were—be ignored? If it is ignored, wouldn’t that make your approach part of the problem—a select group of people who want to control the narrative?
DM: Look, I’m not some elite political-party insider who is trying to salvage power by cutting some back-door deal. As of right now, Trump is not likely to accumulate the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination before the convention in July. But if for some reason he avoids a contested or brokered convention, the fact is that the party will experience a major shift and break apart; it’s hard to imagine anything positive coming from this. If Trump wins the nomination, Hillary will probably be the next President. If he doesn’t win the nomination, his supporters could revolt and the division will still favor Hillary. The party now has the option of embracing Ted Cruz or John Kasich, and I can’t predict what the outcome will be, but the GOP is skating on thin ice right now.
JZB: And this leads to the question on the minds of many these days: If socialism wins, does the country win?
DM: No, the country wouldn’t win. As Margaret Thatcher once said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you’ll run out of other people’s money to spend.
JZB: This begs another question, one that Dinesh D’Souza has been asking: to paraphrase, “What would the world do without America?” since the majority of the world is indeed socialist-leaning? What would the global landscape look like for a freedom-loving people that embraces free markets? Do you believe we’re seeing the foundation being laid for a one-world government? i.e., the destruction of regional economies and the ushering in of the NWO?
DM: It’s very possible. I still believe that America is the greatest country in the world, but as a man who believes in the prophecy of Scripture, it’s inevitable that we’ll soon reach a world that depends on one currency and the constant spread of globalism. Even so, I still happen to believe that small government and free markets benefit everyone, while socialism destroys societies.
JZB: Thank you, Demetrius Minor, and best of luck in the second year of publication for your heartfelt and thoughtful book, Preservation and Purpose.