Supporting Trump and fighting for conservatism are not mutually exclusive

This article originally appeared on The New Americana but has been transferred here for posterity.

The unexpected victories by the GOP have yielded an expected result. The Republican party, splintered throughout the 2016 campaign season, is coalescing behind their new-found power. With two of the three branches under Republican control for at least two more years and strong prospects of conservative control of the third branch, now is the time to work together to reverse the Obama agenda and advance Republican policies.

Many in the “NeverTrump” movement have backed away from their attacks and taken a “wait and see” stance. There are still a handful of holdouts, but for the most part publications, pundits, and politicians who opposed Trump are more hopeful and/or have decided to play along with the joyful chorus. I partially agree with this stance, but with a huge caveat.

There’s a difference between supporting the GOP’s upcoming conservative initiatives and giving them a wide berth to enact whatever they want. The former is a righteous act that enables Constitutional conservatives to unite behind proper policy proposals while dissenting against those that lean towards bigger government, bigger spending, or moderate compromises. The latter is the road that we’ve taken many times in the past. It’s the road that excused inaction when we gave the GOP control of the House in 2010. It’s the road the excused ineffective leadership when we gave the GOP control of the Senate in 2014. For the next two years, the GOP can do many of the things they haven’t had the opportunity to do since the first 8 months of 2001. The September 11 terrorist attacks changed our priorities, so we won’t know what that GOP majority with a Republican President could have done. God willing, we will get an opportunity to see it in action for at least two years without any other tragedies getting in the way.

Now is not the time to sit back and hope for the best. Neither leadership in Congress nor President-elect Trump have given any indication that they intend to dramatically reduce the size of government. In fact, most of Trump’s proposals have indicated that he will increase two of the three aspects of federal government size: budget and power. We are hopeful that the third component – bureaucracy – can be reduced as agencies like the EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of Education may have large chunks of them on the chopping block. That’s good, but we need the other two to follow in order to have a meaningful impact.

Unfortunately, we’re already hearing murmurs that the GOP may walk back the campaign promise made by the majority of them to repeal Obamacare. Now, the buzzword is “amend” Obamacare. This should be alarming to every conservative in America. At no point was there a discussion prior to election day of amending Obamacare. We were promised that Trump and Congress would repeal and replace this monstrosity. What changed after they won? What new piece of information came to light in the last few days that makes amending it somehow acceptable when it wasn’t even whispered at the beginning of the week?

As we lay down the groundwork to build the new conservative party, we’re receiving questions from a handful in the media about whether or not to proceed. The answer to this question is twofold. First, the need to have a Constitutional conservative party that focuses on small government wasn’t changed by the outcome of the election. We knew the GOP has been a big government party for decades and the election of Trump only empowers them to grow the government even more. Second, the days following the election have resulted in our biggest spikes in membership since July. The pundits may see this as a time to sit back and hope for the best, but the grassroots are saying something completely different.

Dissent on some issues is not a demonstration of disunity as a whole. When the GOP does things to promote life, increase freedoms, and reduce government, we will be the first to cheer them along. If they repeal Obamacare, we’ll be hooting and hollering as every conservative should. However, when they lurch left, we’ll be there to call them out. When they grow government as they are wont to do, we’ll express our discontent. When they attempt to make unnecessary compromises with liberals in an effort to save their pet pork projects, we’ll fight them tooth and nail.

President-elect Trump and many in the GOP will listen to dissent if it’s loud enough. We saw this during his brief flirtation with his immigration “softening.” Had conservatives not done our part to point out how wrong his concepts were, he never would have returned to his original positions. To his credit, he heard the dissent and stopped talking about it. The same things need to continue. Dissent is not unrighteous when it’s done for the right reasons. We will fight against his push for Obamacare amendments. We will fight against his calls for improving the nation’s infrastructure through unfunded mandates. If he wants to improve the roads, figure out a way to pay for it first by cutting unnecessary government programs. At this point, it seems like the money is going to magically appear to achieve his goals. We’ve had eight years of magical money. He must be forced to do it the right way rather than the left way. He and the GOP must exhibit fiscal responsibility or they’re no better than the Democrats.

“Trust but verify.” Conservatives must allow the GOP to enact responsible policies. Conservatives must oppose any liberal policies the GOP tries to sneak through. Support and opposition can coexist when we’re addressing individual issues appropriately. To absolutely support or absolutely oppose would be a huge mistake.