On Feb. 20, S.C. Republicans will vote for one candidate. We will probably affect the downstream votes by what we do on that day. This election cycle is critical to the free world, and it is vital that we not be frivolous with the awesome responsibility to vote for men and women of principle.

It has been an exciting campaign cycle with businessman billionaire Donald Trump in the mix. I genuinely appreciate his taking a sledge hammer to political correctness and conventional wisdom. Mr. Trump’s rallies have drawn standing-room-only crowds to hear his plain talk. He has been as exciting to his base as Barack Obama was to his when he first espoused “hope and change.”

Is Donald Trump a conservative? Does he really believe in limited federal government constrained by a Constitution and Bill of Rights? Does he believe that the federal government has limited powers and all other powers are reserved to the states and the people? Or is he just a charismatic leader well-versed in the vernacular of conservatism?

Campaign rhetoric often doesn’t match the candidate’s governing philosophy or principles. Here is what we know about Donald Trump. He supported massive bailouts, Planned Parenthood and partial birth abortion. He gave Rahm Emanuel and Hillary Clinton large sums of cash, enabling them to continue their destructive policies in positions of power.

While it may be true that he operated within the letter of the law in taking private property from rightful owners, he has violated the spirit of the law of the land (the U.S. Constitution) which never intended for government to take from one private citizen for the enrichment of another.

Simply winning the presidency won’t save the republic. It will be a hollow victory if we elect a squishy Republican for president who will continue the march to socialism, even at a slower pace. The sudden stop at the bottom is equally unpleasant.

We must elect a president who loves the country and will honor the U.S. Constitution and stop the erosion of our rights. Ted Cruz is the right man for such a time as this. While he is brilliant and talented, he knows that there is a greater power to whom we all should appeal on behalf of our nation. It is He who determines the course of nations.

Mark Palmer

Quail Lake Drive

York