Full disclosure- I’m a Democrat. I thought you should know before reading this post.
At this point in the election cycle, I would think that the vast majority of people already have their minds made up about whom they will be voting for on November 8th. For some, it might even be that they have made peace with the fact they will not be voting for either candidate. It’s pretty clear that Democrats have the luxury of voting for their nominee without much hesitation. Their soul searching period happened, as it should, during the primaries when a qualified and capable Bernie Sanders gave the front runner a “run” for her money. The race was fierce and maybe a little uglier than we had hoped for at times, but for the most part, Bernie supporters, under his direction, have been able to move on gracefully throwing their support Hillary Clinton’s way.
It seems slightly different for Republicans though. I mean, Trump doesn’t just make divisive issues like abortion, immigration, or health care even more so; he seems to have made the act of being Republican divisive in and of itself. Maybe it started before Trump, but more and more people are finding themselves forced to answer the question: what kind of Republican are you? Privately, Republicans could always decide for themselves whether they leaned conservative, moderate, or libertarian, but this seemingly ever-expanding extreme right that has emerged makes it hard to support a candidate from that space while keeping one foot firmly planted in their own political faction. Considering how Trump has capitalized on the Republican Party’s race to the right and the intra-Party turmoil, exacerbated by the rise of the Tea Party, is it really that surprising that simply voting for the Republican nominee isn’t exactly that simple? Imagine being a moderate Republican who kind of liked Jeb Bush now debating between voting for Trump, Hillary, or not voting at all. I have to tell you, that seems like a pretty crappy position to be in and I can’t imagine how hard it will be for that someone to finally cast their vote, or not, on election day.
So, for the potentially confused Republican out there, here is my advice. Don’t vote Trump. He does not give you any more of a voice to influence the direction this country takes over the next four years. Actually, with the seats in the house and the Senate that you will inevitably lose as a direct result of Trump, he will continue to lessen the Republican Party’s ability to set forth any kind of working agenda when it comes to foreign and domestic policy. How many leaders around the world have expressed eagerness to work with Donald Trump on terrorism, climate change, new or improved trade deals, public health issues or any other global concerns or matters of foreign policy? And with promises to “drain the swamp” in Washington if he gets elected, I think it is pretty clear his management style is one of fall in line or get out. That philosophy shouldn’t sit well with anyone who believes in the democratic process and that America is strengthened through idea sharing and healthy debate. His famous “you’re fired” line isn’t going to fly on Capitol Hill.
Trump manipulates the loudest most radicalized, yet still minority, members of the Republican Party to his advantage. He tells stories of brutal murders committed by “illegals” so when he says “we’re gonna build a wall,” his supporters start cheering. He claims that an election that hasn’t happened yet is rigged, only if Hillary wins, of course, creating the space for people to feel cheated and swindled if the election doesn’t pan out in their favor. It will be quite easy to incite his supporters’ anger of a “rigged election” when he loses, and I am sure they will hit the streets voicing their outrage. Ratings seeking “news” organizations will run stories and fuel the fire that will feed Trump’s ego and, at least to him, give legitimacy to his false claims. He is doing this why? He won’t say. All I can surmise is that he wants to disrupt the political process even further than he already has. Maybe he wants to put an asterisk next to Hillary’s name in the history books. To have enough people claim a rigged election, so when they say that the first woman president in American history ran against and beat Donald Trump, they also have to add that there was controversy over the validity of the results…way to go, Trump, American history isn’t dirty enough. Why not taint the election of our first woman president while we’re at it? But I digress.
The point is, Trump does not speak for the majority of Republicans. Most Republicans are like most Democrats. We get up and go to work. We pay bills, sit in traffic in our cars or on the bus, watch Netflix, worry about our kids – or our pets, make resolutions to be healthier by exercising more or quitting smoking, fail at those resolutions, and do it all over again. We don’t have much time for conspiracy theories or political hyperbole. The Republicans I speak of still believe America is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. They don’t wave ‘make America great again’ banners with the devoted ‘Trumpees’–who don’t see the hypocrisy in their slogan- because they think America still is great. Again, I say to any Republican who just honestly doesn’t support Trump: Don’t vote for him.
Another option for this election is to not vote at all. Despite that this option really angers the masses, I for one think that an intentional well-informed decision to not vote is a form of political expression, and therefore is still a way of participating in the democratic process. I don’t really advocate for this one though, because, without large scale support and participation, it doesn’t really send the message that our candidates are not worthy of our votes. It just kind of sends a pouty message like, “mer, voting is stupid.”
At last, we get to the point where I tell Republicans to seriously consider voting for Hillary. I bet that Hillary Clinton has a longer list of Republicans she is ready to work with than does Trump. People criticize her for being a career politician, but at least she understands the importance of bipartisanship for the success of a two-party system. Contrary to popular belief neither Party benefits when their opponent is in shambles, nor does our country. Hillary knows this better than Trump. I know Hillary has some policies that don’t sit well with many Republicans, but Trump has no policies. Better to be seen debating the policies set forth by Hillary and building a strategy to get someone back in White House, than have Trump destroy the Party’s credibility, maybe irreparably. Let’s be real, you don’t just repeal Obama care, and then magically everybody has super cheap stupendous health care. You can’t say you’re going to renegotiate the terms of NAFTA while you are telling the whole world you’re going to build a wall that Mexico, one of the three countries who signed the agreement, is going to somehow pay for in order to keep themselves out. He won’t be able to work with Democrats after all of this hateful campaigning, and there is nothing to suggest he thinks he needs to. He is a divider when the Republican Party desperately needs a unifier. He is not the candidate to rally behind. Vote for Hillary, let your representatives go to work to keep her policies in check and live to fight another day. And lastly, try to be objective and compare the sixteen total years of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, along with Hillary’s record, with that of the twelve Bush years, and whatever semblance of Trump policy you can fabricate from this election cycle. I wonder if there is an argument to be made that if you want a balanced, moderately Republican agenda, that voting Democrat isn’t a bad way to go? Just a thought. You decide.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.