If you know me at all, you know that I am a Democrat. A far left, bleeding heart liberal pacifist Democrat. I think the risk of a few welfare cheats is a small price to pay to make sure the people who really need help get it. I would never have an abortion, but believe I only have the right to make that decision for me. I support the separation of church and state and Civil Rights as fervently as I oppose guns and war. C’mon… give peace a chance.
In other words, if I were a few years older, and didn’t hate camping and folk music, I would have made one helluva hippy.
So you can imagine how great the last few months have been for me. As the election year unfolded, I felt a combination of joy and déjà vu. Just as in 2008, two great Democratic candidates have emerged, and I have the happy dilemma of deciding which one will get my vote in the primary, delighted in the knowledge that I can support whomever ultimately gets the nomination.
However, in the midst of my reverie, Donald Trump threw his hat into the Republican ring. I’ve always found Trump to be an obnoxious, condescending blowhard who thinks his money and fame give him the right to treat those he considers his subordinates (translation: everyone) like dirt. At first I didn’t know if his candidacy was delusion fueled by a monumental ego, a carefully-orchestrated publicity stunt, or both.
I can also understand why people wanted to hear what he had to say. Tired of politicians, many wanted to hear what a businessman-in-chief would do differently. Which was all well and good, until Trump opened his mouth.
Trump is an equal-opportunity offender. I could make a list, but you’ve heard it all. He blusters on and on with no regard for facts. He wants to close our borders to refugees, Muslims, and Mexicans. He has publicly demeaned women, minorities and the disabled. In fact, the only group that seems to have escaped his wrath is the Ku Klux Klan.
In recent days, he has called for violence against those exercising their first amendment rights to protest his candidacy, and has summarily had minorities removed — usually with unnecessary force — from his rallies. He is the worst kind of bully… but he’s much more than that.
He used to be just a late-night joke, but it’s not funny anymore. Donald Trump isn’t a harmless Archie Bunker. He is an Adolph Hitler in the making, right down to his loyal followers displaying the straight-armed salute, if not the swastika.
Since I live in Illinois, but not Chicago, most of my friends are Republicans, and all of them are sane, rational people. Those to whom I have spoken are also horrified by Trump and his inexplicable success. I feel for them as they see valid candidates in their party — some who have already dropped out of the race — denied the opportunity to verbalize legitimate platforms in the midst of the Trump lunacy and its 24 / 7 coverage by the media.
Okay. So I’ve made it clear how I feel about Trump, and that I’m a confirmed Democrat. So what’s up with my headline? How could he make me vote Republican?
Well, I had a revelation the other day, and a scary one at that. What if Trump had somehow hijacked the Democratic party instead of the GOP? What if sane, rational Democrats were the ones watching as he was winning delegates and eliminating viable candidates in our party? What would I do?
What I would do is put the good of the country ahead of any political affiliations, and cross party lines. In this nightmare scenario, if Donald Trump was the Democratic nominee for President, I would make sure I made it to the polls so I could vote for whomever was running against him.
I fervently hope it doesn’t come down to that in November for my Republican friends. But if it does, I hope and pray they feel compelled to consider doing the same.
I have to say, I agree with all of your political positions, but I strongly disagree with the notion of voting against Trump in the primaries. In fact, I did the opposite and requested a Republican ballot this year just so I could vote FOR Donald Trump.
Ted Cruz (and even Marco Rubio) is infinitely more dangerous than Trump would ever be. Trump’s rhetoric is toxic, but what he’s saying isn’t any different from what other federally-elected GOP officials and media figures have been saying for years, just painted in different tones. “Build a wall,” “deport the Mexicans,” “ban Muslims and spy on mosques” is absolutely nothing new from this party. See Steve King, Don Young, Todd Akin, a handful of Southern Senators and Representatives, and right-wing radio hosts for more. Furthermore, there’s zero evidence that Trump would actually institute some of his policies, much less know how to go about doing it.
The contrast between Trump and other Republicans does occur, however, on trade and social issues. Trump is not foaming at the mouth to ban reproductive rights or gay marriage like almost every other Republican running for office. He’s not trying to mandate waiting periods and transvaginal probes for rape victims. He’s in touch with how “free trade” and illegal wars might actually hurt this country more than help it. When was the last time you heard a Republican admit Iraq was a terrible idea and a sham? When was the last time a Republican said that maybe it’s not the best thing to deregulate and ship jobs overseas if all it means is a big corporation getting a little bit more of a profit margin, because everyday people’s jobs are at stake? Hillary is very beholden to Wall Street and there’s no evidence or real hope that she’ll stand up to banks or free trade deals that corporations love.
That’s who Trump is speaking to, arguably more than the racists: everyday people who feel betrayed by party elites and special interests who hold both parties hostage. Even bourgeoisie and leading Democrats try to act like NAFTA and TPP is no big deal and just something we have to accept, because hey, there are probably fringe benefits somewhere. They follow Silicon Valley and Wall Street’s lead (tech and Manhattan Democrats =/= Rust Belt Democrats), which is why they are losing working-class votes.
Ted Cruz is a sleazy, snake oil salesman, government shutdown artist, son-of-a-preacher-man liar who is widely reviled by colleagues and people who know him, and he and his father have repeatedly implied that they believe their presence and role on Earth is divinely sanctioned. He believes that everything he is saying is true, and he is so fake, canned, and televangelist-for-cash in his media appearances, it’s painful. Marco Rubio supported an anti-choice bill with no exceptions for rape or incest, and his tax plan is more regressive and supply-side than anything Reagan or the Bushes ever proposed. I refuse to accept that these are less damaging than Trump engaging in demagoguery that already existed
Finally, if Republicans had any sense, they’d run John Kasich and most likely win, but I cannot vote for him because of his economic and reproductive platforms, even if he is more moderate on immigration and gay rights. However, they will not, and nominating Donald Trump is the easiest way for a Democrat to win the White House, which is ultimately why I made the decision I did. He’s the only remaining Republican who cannot topple either Democrat in the polls, and if he were elected, I would not be fearing for my dignity and civil liberties or feel that an ultra-right wing judge would be marching in to declare uteruses to be property of the new God-state of America.
Laurie O'Connor Stephans
Well, my point was not so much to cross over in the primary, although I know many people are doing that. My point was what I’d do if Trump was running against a Republican candidate in the general election.
Eight years ago I was having trouble choosing between Clinton and Obama, and ultimately voted for Clinton because I wanted to be able to say I had done so. I figured if she won, Obama would run in eight years, but Clinton might be too old. Obviously that was wrong.
Tomorrow I am planning to vote for Sanders, because I agree strongly with his policies, and, unlike in some other years, my vote for the underdog (e.g., Ralph Nader) will not hurt the other good Democratic candidate. It’s a win-win, as long as sane people outnumber the crazies at the polls.
Love this Laurie. I really do have faith that the rational people out there would not hold to party lines if Trump is on the general election ballot. However, I’m concerned by the number of irrational people who have come out in droves and fear that Clinton can’t win against him because she doesn’t stir people in and it seems that stirring people up is working this election cycle…
Laurie O'Connor Stephans
Which is why EVERYONE, EVERYONE, EVERYONE must get out and vote this year. It is not the year for apathy!