Elle Rogers

NeverTrump, #NeverHillary

“I am a student of politics, philosophy and economics at King’s College in New York City, where I get to explore the Great Conversation with a fantastic group of world-changers (and enjoy amazing food).

“My fascination with American politics began at 8 years old, when I tallied up Electoral College votes in front of my TV during the [George W.] Bush/[John] Kerry election of 2004. Although attending rallies, live-tweeting debates and analyzing poll numbers are fun, my passion is not politics but a fostering of the imaginative conservatism, civic participation and shared tradition that define the foundation of the greatest nation the world has ever known. Aside from academic pursuits, I enjoy crying over Book VI of Plato’s Republic, lipsyncing to ’80s music, and consuming pints of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.”

Since she was 8 years gold, Elle Rogers has always had a fascination with politics. The year was 2004 and Republican President George W. Bush was up for reelection.

“I got in a fight with my gymnastics teacher because she was wearing an ‘Impeach Bush’ shirt and I told her that was wrong,” Rogers remembers.

She says her mother, a lawyer who raised money for political campaigns, fostered in her a love of country and understanding of the importance of the U.S. political process.

But even though she was raised a conservative Republican at home, Rogers developed a conservative mindset of her own in high school, influenced through the works of economics journalist Henry Hazlitt, philosopher John Locke, political theorist Russell Kirk and historian Alexis de Tocqueville.

Rogers says the modern conservative movement today has struggled to find a balance between economic and social issues.

“Conservatives and activists have become so focused on economic issues, which are incredibly important, that we’ve lost sight of what it means to live a virtuous and moral life, and I think we need a proper marriage of the two,” she says.

Elle Rogers said “one of my favorite places on earth” is the room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that contains Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's rendering of Washington Crossing the Delaware.

Church and state

Rogers says her Christian faith plays an important role in her life and, in her opinion, should play a larger role in modern U.S. politics.

“The wall of separation is there to protect the church from the state, not vice versa.”

“Our founding fathers came from a variety of traditions, and yet they all saw the value in Christianity,” Rogers explains.
“Activists and elites have convinced Americans that Christianity and the West at large — which have achieved more for human dignity and progress than any other forces in history — are not to be celebrated or revered but destroyed, which has led to social isolation and philosophical despair,” she says.

Rogers’ choice: #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary

Rogers says she is not impressed with the 2016 field of general-election candidates, and vows not to back either major party candidate, hoping that a conservative third-party option will emerge. But even if that does not happen, she says she will still head to the polls.

“In 2008, my grandfather voted for my cousin’s white lab, and I might do something very similar,” Rogers said. “It’s me saying, ‘Neither candidate is an accurate representation of our identity as a country, and so, therefore, neither gets my vote.’ ”

Donald Trump, in her view, poses a danger to both the conservative movement and U.S. foreign policy.

“His way of making a deal tends to be to go in and insult people, and that’s not going to fly when you’re dealing with our allies in the Middle East or in NATO,” Rogers says. “So I think neither candidate remaining would be able to have an effective and expedient strategy to defend the country against radical Islam.”

Top five issues for Elle Rogers

1. Free enterprise. “The United States became the most economically prosperous nation in history because it put faith in the ability of creative individuals, not government, to solve problems that hinder human flourishing. Modern bureaucrats stifle innovation with laundry lists of regulations. Although ostensibly aimed at equalizing wages and living situations, these directives harm businesses and entrepreneurs and make government the ineffective locus of reducing poverty and proliferating prosperity. The ideal presidential candidate will strike down existing executive regulations, not create more.”

4. Protection of liberties and rights. “The architects of the Constitution sought to protect man from tyrannical governments and ill-tempered majorities by codifying the preservation of certain liberties. Modern legislators and activists alike champion rights nonexistent in America’s constitutional makeup while venturing to demolish those that form the bedrock of American society. Whoever assumes the presidency must decry attempts to add or detract from the prescriptive liberties of the American people.”

3. Defense against “radical Islam.” “Radical Islam, manifested in regimes such as Iran and terrorist groups such as ISIS [Islamic State], presents an existential threat to the Western order. The current administration’s response to increasingly horrific attacks on the United States and her allies has been to apologize for American exceptionalism and leave our allies without support. The next president must be dedicated to unapologetically wiping out radical Islamic groups and aiding nations such as Israel, Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan in protecting their homelands.”

2. Restoration of religious and moral tradition. “Christian religion and morality have guided the lives of Americans and tempered the selfish ambition typical of a democratic age. Faith often prompted great acts, and generations of Americans, viewing themselves as inheritors of an illustrious tradition, remembered with reverence the deeds and sacrifices of those who had gone before. Modern elites claim that the Christianity, morality and tradition that ignited America’s soul stand only for intolerance; the nation’s next president can help to reverse this dangerous trend by encouraging Christian sentiment and by consistently reminding the American people of their history.”

1. Federalism. “The principle of subsidiarity, which teaches that action ought to be taken at the lowest level possible, has largely governed American political thought. While the federal government is well-equipped to provide for national security and necessary unitary measures, state and local governments are best at ascertaining and meeting the unique needs of their particular communities. Administrative federal agencies attempt to siphon power from local institutions, recklessly assuming that one size does fit all and demonstrating the necessity for drastic reduction and decentralization with the next presidential administration.”

“America has always been exceptional. America is still exceptional.”

Despite Rogers’ disappointment with the major-party candidates and the direction the country is headed, she says she firmly believes the United States is the greatest country in the world.

“As much as I would love to see differences in my dream America, so to speak, the America that I’m living in right now is one that people in any other country of the world would be blessed to live in, and lucky to live in,” she says with a smile. “So yeah, I won the lottery.”

Status updates

July 11, 2016, 12:54 PM
“Senseless loss of life is absolutely tragic wherever and however it occurs. Last week's [police] shootings in Baton Rouge [Louisiana] and Falcon [Heights, Minnesota] highlight increasing worry over police tactics. Members of the African-American community and gun owners alike ought to be concerned but also cognizant that most cops are good people attempting to protect their communities. The [police] murders in Dallas were made even more tragic by this fact; as [shooter Micah] Johnson fired shots during [the July 7] protest, police officers were shielding those who were protesting against them. Johnson's actions do underline a growing 'war on cops,' which must be guarded against vigilantly (as must be police brutality).”