In an open letter to long-term congressman Greg Walden (R-OR2), last January (“Seek Common Ground,” Hood River News), I explained why a president “unqualified in character and knowledge” was leading me, a non-affiliated voter, to take an uncharacteristic standing. Specifically, I said:
- “Because of its complicity with an unfit and disruptive President and because of extremely poor legislative choices and practices as exemplified by the Tax Reform, the Republican Party has forfeited my vote for the foreseeable future.
- In 2018 and 2020, I will exercise my freedom of choice by voting (and campaigning if appropriate) for Democrats, independents or third-party candidates—as ethically, strategically and pragmatically best to terminate Republican majorities in Congress and to elect a non-Republican President.
- Without compromising the 2018-2020 goals, I will actively promote a true multi-party system where no party can govern with arrogance and disregard for the best interests of the American People.”
I am delighted that, in my district, a qualified candidate (Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner) has stepped up to run a strong campaign for Walden’s seat. That allowed me to support her on her own merits (“10 Reasons to support Jamie McLeod-Skinner,” Herald and News, Nov 1), rather than just to oppose a Republican.
But I kept the “terminate Republican majorities” perspective in my broader election-related opinion pieces (for example: “Restore checks and balances,” The Dalles Chronicle, Oct 26). I am far from alone. In fact, I am in rather distinguished company.
In an Oct 26 Opinion for the New York Times entitled “How to Make America America Again,” Thomas Friedman offered a simple, blunt solution: “Elect Democrats and win back the House or the Senate.” Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, who defends market-based solutions to social problems, and strong governmental oversight in the public interest.
Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes, from the Brookings Institution, wrote “Boycott the Republican Party” (Opinion, The Atlantic, March issue). Their straightforward message: “If conservatives want to save the GOP from itself, they need to vote mindlessly and mechanically against its nominees.” The Brookings Institution is a self-proclaimed nonpartisan think tank, and a respected reference for the media and politicians from both the left and the right.
Max Boot, a self-described conservative and until recently a Republican, has turned highly critical of the Republican Party during the 2016 primaries. He recently borrowed from Joe Biden’s “I am sick and tired of this administration,” to argue at length an article (Washington Post, Opinion, Oct 31) entitled “Vote against all Republicans. Every Single one.”
Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger III, the pilot who skillfully landed a damaged passenger airplane on an iced Hudson River a decade ago, wrote “We saved 155 lives on the Hudson. Now let’s vote for leaders who’ll protect us all” (Washington Post, Opinion, Oct 29). A Republican most of his life, he justifies his call to vote Democrat as follows. “too many people in power […] do not respect the offices they hold; they lack—or disregard—a basic knowledge of history, science and leadership […]. This current absence of civic virtues is not normal, and we must not allow it to become normal.”
In “Why this election matters” (November 3), the Editorial Board of the Washington Post writes: “[The President’s] first goal, albeit unstated, is to finalize his capture of the Republican Party by showing that his incendiary brand of politics works. Conversely, his second, and broader objective, is to demonstrate that his opponents’ insistence upon more decent political discourse does not work. That is where the voters, and their sense of integrity, come in. They have an opportunity to reject those politicians who support, or even countenance, Mr. Trump’s deeply cynical campaign.”
George Will, a conservative and Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, wrote “Vote against the GOP this November” (Washington Post, Opinion, June 22). His reasoning: “The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers [note: Congress] that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers [note: President].”
What is remarkable about these and many similar articles is that most authors are very prominently independent or conservative. Their perspectives are certainly not driven by allegiance to the Democratic Party. Neither is mine. We speak as patriots, deeply worried about our country, our citizenry, and our future.
The bottom line: We have an unfit president. We need Congress to exercise fair and objective checks and balances. Republicans had two years to embrace this practical and moral imperative. They were unwilling or unable to do so. We need a different, more responsible and responsive majority. On November 6, in the vast majority of districts and states, this means voting Democrat across the entire ballot.
— Antonio Baptista