No, I Am NOT Obligated To Support Trump

Embed from Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

I recently had the pleasure of engaging in a conversation with an individual who, without a doubt, is a Republican Party loyalist. By that I mean, one who will support the Republican Party no matter how far it drifts away from it’s original values. Throughout our discussion, this individual made it very clear that Republican-leaning conservatives should rally around Donald Trump in order to beat Hillary Clinton. I believe the exact words were: “If you’re not going to get on board, then you better get out”.

Now, I’m certain that this individual is someone who cares deeply about our country, and they must be horrified by the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming President of the United States. While I certainly share this concern, it begs a very important question: As a Republican-leaning conservative, do I have the obligation to support Donald Trump during the general election?

My answer, quite frankly, is ABSOLUTELY NOT. I refuse to play the “lesser of two evils” game for any longer. I refuse to be a mindless drone that follows a political party regardless of how far they drift away from their values and principles. Finally, I refuse to buy into the idea that, by not voting for Trump, I am essentially voting for Hillary. These toxic ideas have plagued our political arena for long enough, and I refuse to fall victim to this ego-boosting rhetoric.

Every Presidential election cycle (this one in particular), I am inundated with the idea that we are supposed to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. Sure, Donald Trump may be a bad guy, but hey, Hillary Clinton would be a heck of a lot worse. This argument may have worked when the GOP nominated pseudo-conservatives, such as Mitt Romney and John McCain, but anyone who follows politics can see that Donald Trump is on a whole different level.

If I am limited to only two choices, both of which are highly undesirable, why should I violate my conscience by voting for either one of them? Am I obligated to support the power of a political party, or am I obligated to stand for my principles? Instead of limiting myself to two horrendous choices, I believe it is my duty to vote according to my principles and my values.

This is not to judge anyone who votes for Donald Trump, or even Hillary Clinton for that matter. Your vote belongs to you, and you are entitled to vote for whomever you believe in. My vote, on the other hand, belongs to me and is dictated by a strict adherence to the Constitution. My vote belongs, not to a political party, but to me. I vote for the person that I think will best represent my values, my principles, and the United States Constitution. If neither nominee reflects these characteristics, why should I feel compelled to vote for either one of them?

Part of the problem lies in this “Party-First” mentality, which has been having a destructive impact on American society. In the modern political arena, if you are Republican, you must support every Republican candidate, regardless of whether or not they adhere to conservative principles. The needs of the political party take priority, even if it means electing someone who skews conservative beliefs in a negative way.

The same argument can be made in regards to the Democratic Primary, in which many voters support Bernie Sanders. However, due to the superdelegate system, Hillary Clinton will clinch the nomination because party insiders have determined its in the party’s best interest. Unfortunately, on the Republican side, there has been a decreasing focus on the Constitution, and an increasing focus on who can ensure that the party stays in power. While the Democratic Party has been destroying the Constitution for years, it is disappointing that certain conservative sell outs are willing to compromise principles for party power.

Another theme that party loyalists seem to beat their drum to is the argument that: “If you don’t vote for Trump, you will be, essentially, casting a vote for Hillary”. This argument is a bunch crock, and anyone who uses it needs to take some serious time to reflect upon what is really driving their political decisions. Again, my vote belongs to ME. If I choose to follow my convictions and vote for a third party candidate, that is MY choice. If I choose to write-in a candidate that I believe in, that is MY choice. Neither of these actions are a vote, or an endorsement, for Hillary Clinton, nor are they a vote or an endorsement for Donald Trump.

I assure you, it is possible to be anti-Trump without being pro-Hillary, and vice-versa. We should not allow ourselves to be defined solely by a political party or an individual candidate. This election is not about Donald Trump. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not even about the Republican or Democratic Parties. It is about bringing America back to its constitutional principles, and supporting the individuals who adhere to these principles.

In conclusion, if my only options are to “get on board, or get out”, then I will have to say, in good conscience, that I will choose the later option. I will continue to support, and vote for, the state and local candidates who reflect the values and principles that I hold. I will continue to support the ideas that I believe in. However, Donald Trump is a man who has spent his life subscribing to liberal ideals, and has defined his character through amoral actions. If I were to throw my support behind Trump, I would be forced to violate my deepest held principles.

During the 2016 General Election, I urge all voters to vote based on their convictions. If you strongly believe that Donald Trump’s divisive and derogatory approach will “Make America Great Again”, then vote for him. If you believe that Hillary Clinton’s progressive-minded, politically-correct propaganda will reignite what makes American great, then vote for her. I refuse to be a pawn for either candidate, and no, I will not support Bernie Sanders either. If you are, like me, unsatisfied with both of these options, I encourage you to find a candidate who you can conscientiously throw your support behind. Don’t continue to let egotistical grabs for party power influence how you vote.


Poor Service Isn’t a Reason for a Lawsuit 

Embed from Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Well folks, it’s another day, and with it comes another lawsuit. In this episode of “Ridiculous Lawsuits”, we will be taking a look at a class-action lawsuit that has been filed against Starbuck’s, seeking financial reparations for dissatisfactions with the company’s cold beverages. By now, this trend should not be surprising to anyone, however, it provides excellent context for a lesson in free market incentives.

On April 27th, 2016, an individual named Stacy Pincus, filed a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks. According to the Washington Post, Pincus (plaintiff of the suit) is arguing that “those who purchase cold beverages at Starbucks receive far less coffee than advertised”. While it is true that certain people are boorish without their coffee (myself included), I think it’s safe to say that this is another unfortunate example of our lawsuit-happy society.

Let’s examine the case. According to Ms. Pincus’ allegations, Starbucks has been using too much ice when preparing its iced-coffee beverages (ironic, I know).  Pincus complains that this excessive use of ice has led customers to receive less coffee than expected. The lawsuit states: “In essence, Starbucks is advertising the size of its Cold Drink cups on its menu, rather than the amount of fluid that a customer will receive when they purchase a Cold Drink – and deceiving its customers in the process”.

Now, I will not judge Ms. Pincus on how she wishes to spend her time and her money. If the allegations are true, it would certainly illustrate poor business practices on behalf of Starbucks. However, the problem lies in the precedent that lawsuits like this create.

For example, let’s take a look at a product that most people can related to. Let’s say that I’m in the market for an iPhone and, upon doing my research, I determine that the 16 GB model will be perfect for me. I proceed to pay Apple $600 for the iPhone with the expectation that the phone will have 16 GB of available memory. Upon starting up my new phone, I realize that only 12 of the 16 GB are available for use. The reason for this being Apple has used some of the space to install its OS and default applications. Although the phone technically has 16 GB of data, am I entitled to sue Apple for false advertising?

While that example may sound ridiculous, it is a valid example of how this lawsuit could potentially be imitated in the future. Now, the purpose of this post isn’t to say that Starbucks is right and Ms. Pincus is wrong. Instead, the purpose of this post is to examine the simple, free-market approach to this situation.

In short, no one is forcing Ms. Pincus to buy coffee at Starbucks. It is safe to assume that she previously purchased coffee at Starbucks because she liked the product. Free Market principles would suggest the following solution to her current dilemma: if you are unhappy with Starbuck’s service, don’t continue to buy their product. Instead, find another coffee shop that provides the product or service you desire.

Now, I know that this mind-blowing approach will inevitably attract criticism from those who hold complete disdain for capitalism and business. Such individuals are inclined to start a lawsuit against a paper company for getting a paper cut. Nonetheless, it is true that a respectable company should stick to their word and ensure that the customer leaves happy. The question is, should we resort to lawsuits over matters like this? Or should we let the free market run its course?

If Ms. Pincus  feels that she has been wronged by Starbucks, she could choose to never set foot inside a Starbucks again. She could spread the word about her dissatisfaction with Starbucks’ service which would, inevitably, result in Starbucks losing business. If the complaint against Starbucks was felt by a majority of Starbucks’ consumer base, the company would have to choose either to change their strategy or face losing profits.

As simplistic as this approach may seem, it is highly effective. Businesses in the service industry, such as Starbucks, have the goal of maximizing profit. Profit maximization is reached by selling goods and service to consumers who find value in what you have to offer. Therefore, the goal of any business should be to maximize the consumer value of their product or service. This is often done by engaging in honest business practice, being attentive to consumer needs and, above all, offering a stellar product.

While there are certainly valid claims concerning fraudulent business practices in our day in age, this lawsuit against Starbucks is not one of them. Starbucks is more than willing to remake any beverage that doesn’t meet customer expectations, as is any restaurant. Remember, the goal is to keep the customer happy and ensure that they return.

Unfortunately, our legal system has gotten out-of-hand when it comes to consumer protection. There are certainly legitimate scenarios in which consumers have been fraudulently taken or physically harmed by the actions of a company. The purpose of this post is not say their is no place for consumer protection lawsuits. I simply maintain that our current system of loose lawsuits is a waste of time and money that could be used in a more productive manner that would benefit the economy.

While I am certain that Ms. Pincus is simply a coffee enthusiast who wants to get the most for her money, it is completely ridiculous that she is dedicating time and money towards suing Starbucks over this matter. If the product doesn’t meet her expectations she can certainly choose to bring her business somewhere else. While false advertising isn’t an acceptable business practice, the snoody attitudes of the self-entitled class aren’t much better.