A Plea

There’s something I need to get off my chest. A thought has been percolating for well over a month and I need to put it out there. I was with a group of people and unfortunately discussion turned to politics. After some comments about the weaknesses of President Trump, a couple of people asked: But who can you vote for among the Democrats? Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am more than willing to vote for any of the Democratic candidates, except Bernie Sanders. I like a lot of the people running, actually. If Bernie were to somehow emerge as the nominee, I would either write someone else in or choose the Green candidate. Otherwise, I am prepared to vote for any of them. But that isn’t the point.

As I thought about that question I realized that I was angry about it. I don’t think that is the question at all. It is an easy out. The people asking were Republicans. They aren’t likely to support any Democrat no matter what. The question they should be asking is: Can’t our party (the GOP) offer a better candidate? Do we have to accept Trump as our candidate in 2020?

I recognize that we differ on policy matters. I’ve addressed this before on this blog (here). There is room for differences in ideas and beliefs about tax policy, immigration, environmental regulation, etc. But, it is impossible for me to believe that there are intelligent Republicans out there who don’t see Trump for the corrupt, dangerous person that he is. He is enriching himself and his family by virtue of his office. He has no ethics. He is a bully. Even if you like his policies, you have to acknowledge the harm he is doing – both domestically and internationally. His unwillingness to confront Russia about interfering in our elections is about his personal interests and his affinity for autocrats. The same can be said about Turkey’s President Erdogan.That should not be the basis of U.S. foreign policy. His willingness to enlist foreign actors to uncover dirt on his opponents is not politics as usual; he wants us to believe that everyone does the things he does. He appears to be counting on Americans’ cynicism or fatigue to get away with it. We can’t let that become the norm.

I don’t understand how the majority of Republicans aren’t demanding a change. I know that some, his base, like his style, like his bluster. They may even like his racism and misogyny. But I can’t believe that is the majority. Why are they, by and large, silent? I am aware that there are a few Republican columnists (Bill Kristol, David Frum) sounding the alarm about the harm Trump is doing. But I never hear from any elected Republican officials. And, more to the point, what about regular citizens who are members of the Republican party? Why aren’t they demanding either a change in his behavior or a different candidate for 2020? Where is the groundswell of anger that their party leader behaves so badly? People need to stand up to him – and that responsibility doesn’t fall to the Democrats. Republicans need to step up.

It is dangerous to accept that the ends justify the means. Even if you believe the US economy is doing well, can’t that be achieved with different Republican leadership? Mitch McConnell is willing to go to any lengths to put pro-life judges on the federal bench. Lindsay Graham is willing to sell his soul and whatever integrity he might have once had to be “in the room” of the powerful. I’m hopeful that karma (or their constituents) will deal with them. But what about everyone else? There must be someone who can champion the Republican agenda in 2020  – why does it have to be Trump?

I implore all Republicans with a conscience: demand an alternative to Trump! This isn’t about the Democrats at all. It is about the future of our country.

16 thoughts on “A Plea

  1. This was a very strong statement. I agree with most of how you feel. Why are you so against Bernie and not Elizabeth Warren? They are very similar in their positions. Remember, any vote not for the Democratic nominee is a vote for Trump. I would vote for anyone the Dems put up. We must get this fascist, bigoted and racist from destroying our country.
    Uncle Terry

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Uncle T. Here are my thoughts on Bernie: (1) He is really a social democrat – there is a difference. He joined the Democratic party to run for president. He was an independent, but truly a democratic socialist. To my knowledge, Elizabeth Warren is not. (2) I’m still angry at him for staying in the race so long in 2016. He did real harm to Hillary during that campaign. And while I don’t blame him for her loss, he was a factor. (3) He emphasizes economic issues without giving enough weight to other problems. Economic inequality is a critical issue, but others things contribute to it (racism, sexism) that are not addressed by only focusing on economics.
      Ultimately, I probably would vote for Bernie if he emerged as the candidate – I may have used a bit of hyperbole there. But I did want to make a point about him. I think he is not a good option. I do see important differences with Warren – I like that she is a policy wonk; I think she is more pragmatic.
      My main point, though, wasn’t about Bernie or the democratic field. The Republicans have a responsibility here and they need to be called on it!
      Again, thanks for reading!

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  2. From what I’ve seen the talking heads say or write on the news outlets that cater to left-leaning thinkers, one of the reasons the Republicans in Congress continue to back Trump is because he holds the purse strings to the RNC funds they need to run their re-election campaigns in 2020. I’m not condoning the fact that, like the President, they’re putting their self-interest above what’s right and the rule of law. I’m just putting this out there as one reason for their behavior. Over the weekend, I saw reports that some Republican voters, who voted for Trump in 2016 in swing states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, are considering voting for the Democratic nominee, whoever it is. That gave me some hope that people of both parties are paying attention to the information coming out of the hearings. As the same talking heads keep saying, it’s going to take overwhelming public support for Senate Republicans to remove Trump from office. It seems we may be slowly moving in that direction. Then we’d have to consider if any Democrat can win against President Pence (who is my pick for Anonymous based on the many reports I’ve read about his ambition) who might be able to corral wavering Republican voters back into the fold.
    Regarding Bernie, I agree with UT that if he’s the nominee, I’ll vote for him (as I did in the Florida primary in 2016). My problem with Bernie this time around isn’t his proposed policies but his age and health. I’m hoping that someone younger, with more creative ideas will be nominated. Looking forward to seeing the debate Wednesday night.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Laurie. I wasn’t aware of Trump’s control of the purse strings – I thought that Republicans were afraid of crossing him because he would lash out and it could compromise their chances for re-election. I didn’t realize that the money was also at risk. I haven’t been keeping up with the pundits regarding who Anonymous might be – so I wasn’t aware of the thought that it could be Pence. Very interesting. We will have to see how things go with the impeachment. Thanks for your input!

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  3. i agree with you that when the republicans take a stand against trump but i haven’t seen that happen the ones that spoke against him have left the senate or congress i had heard there were a couple of men who will run the in the republican primary but who knows for sure that will happen i am so hopeful he will be defeated. i loved y0ur blog about your grandfather what wonderful lessons he taught

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  4. I like your choice of topic this week. Also feel your frustration, not only with the sycophantic GOP Senate, but Republican voters across the country. Those in my friend/family circle who voted for Trump, still seem sold on him. For some who are one issue voters, it might be his views on immigration, it might be his allegiance to Israel, it might be because supporting him aggravates Democrats. They cannot seem to process that he is NOT a Republican and does NOT have anyone’s best interest in mind other than his own. Because we are unable to have a rational discussion with regards to how damaging his actions have been for the country, talk of politics has become verboten.
    Yesterday I saw a meme of two men in the Midwest wearing shirts that said “I’d rather be speaking Russian than vote for a Democrat.”
    On the other hand, recent elections that have yielded Democratic victories have given us reason to hope that despite all the polls indicating otherwise, the true test will be in the voting booth.

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  5. There is so much that could be said about this topic. In fact, it could almost go on forever. I could talk about information cocoons, FoxNews, tribalism, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, lack of ethics, lack of morals, lack of candor, lack of transparency. But I will just say that I appreciate your passionate words and hope that this evil scourge is eradicated and that our democracy is protected and preserved.
    Thank you

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  6. I agree with your assessment on those who consider themselves Republicans. It is demoralizing to see little if any push back against Trump from republicans. It is a republican problem but why are they hesitant, scared or whatever to take action within their own party? One of many reasons I believe is the fear of social democrats or the so called left wing of the democratic party. A second reason is probably the economy, for most people they are doing quite well. When the economy is doing well it is very difficult to vote out a President.

    Going back to social democrats. They scare people, including myself. The concept of free college education, single payer healthcare, or free this or free that, is just not acceptable to most Americans regardless of income level, this includes me. I believe people need to earn these things and the majority of Americans are willing to work for this in a fair and equitable way.

    For example, how to pay for College tuition can be addressed a couple of different ways. One, engage businesses to offer assistance in paying off student loans via agreement to work for the company for a set number of years. Manage this as a vesting option. Complete first year of employment you get 10% loan payoff, Second year 25%, increasing each subsequent year till year five where the loan can be fully paid off. Another way to pay off the student loan could be through government service, whether it be local, state or federal. This way there is a pay back and I believe most Americans would accept this.

    Universal or single payer healthcare is so much more difficult. I believe this can happen but it will take a generation to achieve. It can’t happen today. Tearing apart the existing healthcare system would be a disaster from not only a healthcare perspective but the Healthcare industry would be turned upside down in terms of jobs. The way forward is to move slowly toward a single payer system. Building on the Affordable Care Act and not breaking it down would have been a good start if our government leaders would have had the courage and best interest of the nation at heart.

    So if the Democrats can put together policies and strategies to address issues and presented them to mid-America, not east/west coast folks, they’ll win the election keep the House and possibly win the Senate. It’s a big if.

    PS: I would love it if Pence was Anonymous!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Steve. Again, we will have to see how the Democratic field plays out. It typical for the primaries to be more liberal and then they move to the center in the general election. Just as the Republicans tend to be more right wing in the primaries, then hopefully move to the center for the general. Meanwhile, neither of those points have much to do with the Republican failure to call out Trump for all that he has done, and continues to do, that is corrupt, immoral and just plain wrong.

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      1. The point I was trying to bring out is the moderate republican person would have an outlet to reject Trump if there would be a democratic candidate that speaks to their concerns. In my jet lagged state I did not articulate that very well.

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      2. Yes, I get that and hope it goes that way. But, my main point is that whatever the Democrats do, it doesn’t absolve the Republicans of their complicity in the degradation of the office of the President. They have a responsibility to stand up to Trump when he lies and when he pursues his self-interest, rather than the nation’s. And, if the Democrats do nominate a more left-leaning candidate, and let’s just say that candidate loses, while I will be devastated (to say the least), the fact that we would face four more years of Trump would be the responsibility of the Republicans! We can be as upset we want at the Dems for squandering an opportunity, but ultimately it is the Republicans who chose Trump as their nominee in 2016. If they do so again, the blame falls on them!

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    2. Steve – it’s my personal opinion that free college tuition and free health care is based more on the unspoken issue of racial inequality and economic inequality. I believe these ideas are being brought up to attract the support of those who don’t have the income or the “right” ethnicity to qualify for education loans or to afford health care premiums. Also, as I stated to Linda in a private email, I haven’t seen any pundit say that Pence is Anonymous. That’s my personal opinion based on a cover story I read about Pence in Newsweek a few weeks ago and on other things I’ve read online about Pence’s alleged willingness to do anything to become President. I think he’s directing an aide to do the writing so he has plausible deniability. It’s just my theory.

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      1. Laurie, You may be right. Yet still providing something for free without having some degree of payback is not right, especially for a college education. I may be more liberal minded on healthcare, but not on education.

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