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Ben Boychuk

is associate editor of City Journal, where he writes on education and California politics. Previously, he served as managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News and the Claremont Review of Books. He is also a former editorial writer for Investor's Business Daily and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California. Reach him at

Boychuk writes a weekly column for the Sacramento Bee and Scripps-Howard News Service. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York PostNational Review Online, the Korea Times and newspapers across the United States.

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For many voters, staying home is the best option


Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat until he switched parties in 1962, famously said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” It’s a quip that newspaper columnists, disillusioned activists and disaffected politicians love to haul out at times of partisan upheaval.

This is one of those times.

Incredible as it seems, Donald Trump appears to be headed for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump the serial adulterer, the business fraudster and the fan of Vladimir Putin. Trump the GOP front-runner who couldn’t quite bring himself to denounce David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan on national television. Are you kidding?

Conservatives have lamented for 25 years the mediocrity of presidential candidates. Every four years, we hoped for the second coming of Reagan. What we got instead were the likes of Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

We might have realized the weakness of our position after Romney’s defeat in 2012. Instead, some Republicans are looking to Romney to save them from Trump at the 11th hour. Other Republicans were putting their hopes on a one-term senator from Florida who will likely lose to Trump in his home state. The other alternative is a first-term senator from Texas.

Have Republicans learned nothing about elevating inexperienced senators to the Oval Office? No wonder Trump is winning.

Yet, given the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton, many Republicans could be forgiven for rejecting them both. I know I will. And I know other Republicans will, too.

We don’t need a strongman with an overinflated ego and a big mouth. A political party that embraces Trump is no longer the Party of Lincoln. We will not have left the Republican Party. The Republican Party will have left us. Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Reach him at .