US Naval War College Professor Details Why He's Leaving Trump's GOP After Kavanaugh Confirmation Battle: 'I'm Out'

US Naval War College Professor Details Why He's Leaving Trump's GOP After Kavanaugh Confirmation Battle: 'I'm Out'

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court is being hailed as a victory by President Donald Trump and his Christian Right supporters, but not everyone on the right is celebrating. And Tom Nichols, professor at the U.S. Naval War College, announced his departure from the GOP in an October 7 article for The Atlantic.

Nichols, a conservative, said he registered as a Republican “in the twilight of Jimmy Carter’s administration,” which would mean he first joined the GOP about 38 years ago. But Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Nichols asserted, underscores the party’s moral bankruptcy—and that includes Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to vote for him.

Initially, Nichols wrote, he liked Kavanaugh as a nominee, but that was before he became the target of sexual abuse allegations and before his outburst before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27. And when Collins announced that she would be voting for Kavanaugh during an October 5 speech, Nichols stressed, he saw how soulless the GOP had become.  

Nichols asserted, “(Collins’) speech on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh convinced me that the Republican Party now exists for one reason, and one reason only: for the exercise of raw political power, and not for ends I would otherwise applaud or even support.”

Collins, Nichols added, “made me realize that there would be no moderates to lead conservatives out of the rubble of the Trump era.”

Nichols was also critical of some Democratic senators, however, writing that they acted like a “Keystone Cops operation, with Hawaii’s Sen. Mazie Hirono willing to wave away the Constitution and get right to a presumption of guilt, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein looking incompetent and outflanked instead of like the ranking member of one of the most important committees in America.”

Nichols went on to say that while he still identifies as a conservative, the GOP under President Trump has strayed too far from traditional conservative beliefs.  

Nichols wrote, “I’m not a Republican anymore, but am I still a conservative? Limited government: check. Strong national defense: check. Respect for tradition and deep distrust of sudden, dramatic change: check. Belief that people spend their money more wisely than government? That America is an exceptional nation with a global mission? That we are, in fact, a shining city on a hill and an example to others? Check, check, check. But I can’t deny that I’ve strayed from the party.”

The naval professor stressed, however, that he won’t be joining the Democratic Party, which he considers to be “in the grip of the madness of identity politics.”

Read the full op-ed at the Atlantic.

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