We jammed the first political sign of the season into the dirt in our yard. It was for a Republican. City Council. Incumbent. A moderate who has the best interest of the community at heart. We know his opponent too. A first time Democratic candidate inspired to get more active in recent years. We attended a Meet-N-Great for her campaign kickoff. She’s an asset to our neighborhood.
We decided to go with our existing representative this time but many friends will go the other way. Winchester, Virginia will be well served no matter who wins the election.
That first sign was for a Republican. The second was for a Democrat for Congress.
If our Republican candidate was running for Congress (instead of City Council), we would not support him this year. The consequences for each office are vastly different.
I urge all those who consider themselves Republicans, conservative, moderates, independent–but who are deeply concerned about the current administration–to vote for a Democrat for Congress on November 6th.
Some reasons why:
1) The race for Congress is about Donald Trump and his brand of “conservatism.” Full stop. Will the chaos that Trump has brought to the federal government be bolstered or rejected? That’s the point of Nov. 6th.
2) If you are cheering Trump’s tweets and rallies and personality…if you prefer Donald Trump’s party to John McCain’s party, then you can stop reading now. I won’t convince you of anything.
3) A vote for a Republican for Congress is a vote to strengthen Donald Trump’s political capital within the Republican party itself. The election is just as much a referendum on the two futures within the GOP, as it is the nation as a whole.
4) If the GOP holds Congress, Trump’s conduct is validated. There will be zero check on his control within government or within his party. He’ll have the votes and political capital to squash any Mueller report findings, indictments, or criticisms of his conduct.
That is terrifying. Not just for liberals or Democrats, but to reasonable Republicans who believe in competence, balance, character, honesty, prudence, accountability, and basic fitness for our treasured office.
But But But, I sometimes hear from reasonable Republican friends, but the alternative is worse. Look, I don’t like Trump, but he’s doing some good things. But I hate Colin Kaepernick. But at least it’s not socialism.
The “Buts” in this case fall far too short:
First, please don’t minimize the costs of having Donald Trump as the Republican that many children will forever identify with the party:
- The only President ever implicated by his own attorney in a criminal felony conspiracy under oath (for covering up hush payments to a porn star for an affair shortly after his wife gave birth).
- Who’s attorney, campaign manager, and national security advisor have already been found guilty of felonies.
- A President who calls his own attorney general “mentally retarded. Who insults veterans for being tortured in war if they disagree with him.
- Who sides with a Russian dictator over our own national security professionals. Who believes that America is morally equivalent to Russia but who considers Canada an enemy.
- A President who so obviously, clearly, and without ambiguity makes choices based entirely on his own ego and self-interest.
There is a tremendous cost to that being your guy. And if the GOP keeps Congress, he will forever be your guy. Mini-Mes will sprout up even after he’s gone to fill the void.
The only way forward is a rejection at the ballot box.
Refusing to enable a son’s drug addiction can be hard, but it’s appropriate. You don’t get to pretend that you’re trying to solve the problem if you keep slipping him cash and driving him to his dealer.
Second, the “cost” of a Democratic Congress is far lower than frustrated Republicans might suspect:
- Many of Trump’s current policies are not conservative anyway. Shunning the free-market, imposing tariffs, and a budget that, for the first time ever, projects a permanent $1 trillion annual deficit.
- Contrary to what you may have heard, Democratic candidates in many districts are reasonable, experienced, hardworking members of the community. You may be surprised that they share many of your own concerns. Do not fall for scare tactics.
- Trump will still be President. The Democratic party will not be able to pass anything without bipartisan support. There is also another election in 2 years, when you re-calibrate and make a different decision if necessary.
This is the most important election of a generation. Think carefully.
You do not have to come out of the closet, switch parties, or in any way run up against the public pressures of political tribalism. You can just vote, quietly, for the Democratic candidate, kindling the idea that the Republican party will steer itself back on a more American course.
I hope you make that choice.