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How Democrats Can Win By Asking Republicans To Save Their Party

Submitted by Robin Messing on Sun, 02/11/2018 - 9:53am

The Republican party has become thoroughly corrupt, possibly treasonous, and dangerous to our democracy and to the world. By this, I do not mean every Republican is corrupt. I do not mean that every Republican is treasonous or turns a blind eye towards treason. And I do not mean every Republican is a danger to democracy. There are some Republicans like Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney, and John McCain who have acted honorably. But the party as a whole has done little if anything to stop the corruption or to protect our democratic institutions. The Republicans must be crushed in the next few elections for our national security and for the continued existence of our democracy. I don't expect a single Republican to pay attention to me. After all, I am what many of them would call a "libtard". I have opposed Trump since May 2016, and in October 2016 I wrote a blog post predicting that Donald Trump would be an existential threat to our democracy. So I expect Republicans to react to this by holding their hands over their ears and saying, "LA LA LA  I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"  So if you are a Republican, I don't expect you to listen to me. But I do want you to consider two articles by your fellow Republicans and one article by two strictly nonparitsan authors. I will post excerpts from each of these articles, but reading these highlights is no substitute for reading these articles in their entirety. 

And if you are a Democrat, you would be wise to publicize these articles as much as possible. Every Democratic candidate should have links to these articles posted prominantly on their websites. Every candidate should mention these articles in their ads or cite them in their debates. Failure to bring these articles to the attention of the American people could almost be considered professional negligence.


First up is an article by Time magazine's Elise Jordan who wrote a column entitled "I'm a Republican. What on Earth Is Wrong With My Party?"


I am a Republican in the era of Donald Trump, and I am emotionally depleted by the constant cruelty of the President of the United States.

I’ve told myself repeatedly that I am done being shocked by a degenerate of such magnitude that I wouldn’t want to invite him to a family gathering for fear of what he might say in front of my mother.

But just when you say you can’t be surprised, Trump exceeds the generosity of your lowest expectations. My heart hurt when Trump went out of his way to attack Myeshia Johnson, the pregnant widow of a fallen soldier he sent to the battlefield. I recoiled in disgust when he slanderously (and laughably) insinuated that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was willing to prostitute herself to him for a political donation. When the President offered that among the white supremacists who killed a peaceful protester, there were some “some very fine people,” it felt like an alternate history, one where the Citizens’ Council ascended to power instead of ignominy. Then there’s his support for Roy Moore, even after multiple women accused Moore of preying on them when they were teenagers and he was in his thirties.. . .

The GOP’s journey from embracing compassionate conservatism to accepting Trump’s unparalleled capacity for casual cruelty cannot be dismissed as craven politics; it’s a threat to our security when the President taunts a nuclear-armed rogue dictator on social media.



The second article is by Michael Gerson, the chief speach writer for President George W. Bush, who wrote that "the cowardace among Republicans is staggering".  Gerson wrote:


Trump’s eager publication of the memo was expected. Yet his action crossed a line: from criticism of the FBI to executive action designed to undermine an ongoing investigation. Trump seems to be testing the waters for direct action against the FBI by testing the limits of what his Republican followers will stomach. So far, there are no limits.


With the blessing of Republican leaders, the lickspittle wing of the GOP is now firmly in charge. The existence of reckless partisans such as Nunes is hardly surprising. The nearly uniform cowardice among elected Republicans is staggering. One is left wishing that Obamacare covered spine transplants. The Republican-led Congress is now an adjunct of the White House. The White House is now an adjunct of Trump’s chaotic will.


Gerson wrote a second article on August 9, 2016 titled, The only way to save the GOP is to defeat it.  


In November, many Republican leaners and independents will face a difficult decision. The national Democratic Party under Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer doesn’t share their views or values. But President Trump is a rolling disaster of mendacity, corruption and prejudice. What should they do?

They should vote Democratic in their House race, no matter who the Democrats put forward. And they should vote Republican in Senate races with mainstream candidates (unlike, say, Corey Stewart in Virginia).

Why vote strategically in this case? Because American politics is in the midst of an emergency.

If Democrats gain control of the House but not the Senate, they will be a check on the president without becoming a threat to his best policies (from a Republican perspective) or able to enact their worst policies. The tax cut will stand. The Senate will still approve conservative judges. But the House will conduct real oversight hearings and expose both Russian influence and administration corruption. Under Republican control, important committees — such as Chairman Devin Nunes’s House Intelligence Committee — have become scraping, sniveling, panting and pathetic tools of the executive branch. Only Democratic control can drain this particular swamp.

Alternatively: If Republicans retain control of the House in November, Trump will (correctly) claim victory and vindication. He will have beaten the political performances of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in their first midterms. He will have proved the electoral value of racial and ethnic stereotyping. He will have demonstrated the effectiveness of circuslike distraction. He will have shown the political power of bold, constant, uncorrected lies. And he will gain many more enablers and imitators.


And finally, Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes are two analysts who are not just nonpartisan--they are antipartisans who "agree with the late Christopher Hitchens: Partisanship makes you stupid." Under normal circumstances they would never even think of advocating for one party or another. But these are not normal times and they are going against what they have always stood for by urging voters to boycott the Republican Party.


This, then, is the article we thought we would never write: a frank statement that a certain form of partisanship is now a moral necessity. The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to do as Toren Beasley did: vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former). . . .


The rule of law is a threshold value in American politics, and a party that endangers this value disqualifies itself, period. In other words, under certain peculiar and deeply regrettable circumstances, sophisticated, independent-minded voters need to act as if they were dumb-ass partisans. . . .

So why have we come to regard the GOP as an institutional danger? In a nutshell, it has proved unable or unwilling (mostly unwilling) to block assaults by Trump and his base on the rule of law. Those assaults, were they to be normalized, would pose existential, not incidental, threats to American democracy.

Future generations of scholars will scrutinize the many weird ways that Trump has twisted the GOP. For present purposes, however, let’s focus on the party’s failure to restrain the president from two unforgivable sins. The first is his attempt to erode the independence of the justice system. . . .

The second unforgivable sin is Trump’s encouragement of a foreign adversary’s interference in U.S. electoral processes. Leave aside the question of whether Trump’s cooperation with the Russians violated the law. He at least tacitly collaborated with a foreign-intelligence operation against his country—sometimes in full public view.  . . .

We understand why Republicans, even moderate ones, are reluctant to cross party lines. Party, today, is identity. But in the through-the-looking-glass era of Donald Trump, the best thing Republicans can do for their party is vote against it.

We understand, too, the many imperfections of the Democratic Party. Its left is extreme, its center is confused, and it has its share of bad apples. But the Democratic Party is not a threat to our democratic order. That is why we are rising above our independent predilections and behaving like dumb-ass partisans. It’s why we hope many smart people will do the same.


Of course, Democratic candidates need to do more than convince voters to vote against the Republican Party. They must also provide voters with a reason to vote for them. But hard core Republicans are not going to vote for Democrats who espouse Democratic values. On the contrary, they will vote against Democrats precisely because they are espousing Democratic values. But by publicizing the hell out of these articles Democrats can convince at least some Republicans to vote for Democrats in order to save the soul of the Republican Party.



Update 7/1/18: Longtime conservative columnist George Will has written a surprising column that urges us to throw Republicans out of Congress. His reasoning differs somewhat from that of the other writers presented here, but it is noteworthy nonetheless.


Update 7/6/18: Conservative pundit, Max Boot, a lifetime Republican until Trump was elected, wrote an essay titled, "I was a member of the Republican Party before Trump – now I want the Democrats to take over". He argues that the Republican party of Ronald Reagan and John McCain is comatose or dead and has become the party of Trump. While he respects those who stay in the party in order to fight its white nationalist agenda, he no longer can tolerate belonging to "the party of child-snatchers". He concludes


 . . . a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonisation of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.

That is why I will join other principled conservatives - both current and former Republicans – in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November.

Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.


Update 7/21/18: Max Boot wrote another essay titled, "This conservative would take Obama back in a nanosecond". Here is how it starts.

How I miss Barack Obama.

And I say that as someone who worked to defeat him: I was a foreign policy adviser to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012. I criticized Obama’s “lead from behind” foreign policy that resulted in a premature pullout from Iraq and a failure to stop the slaughter in Syria. I thought he was too weak on Iran and too tough on Israel. I feared that Obamacare would be too costly. I fumed that he was too professorial and too indecisive. I was left cold by his arrogance and his cult of personality.

Now I would take Obama back in a nanosecond. His presidency appears to be a lost golden age when reason and morality reigned. All of his faults, real as they were, fade into insignificance compared with the crippling defects of his successor. And his strengths — seriousness, dignity, intellect, probity, dedication to ideals larger than self — shine all the more clearly in retrospect.


Update 7/21/18: James Comey has also urged Americans to vote for Democrats. Undoubtedly, Trump supporters will say this is sour grapes from Trump firing Comey, but that does not negate the fact that Comey has been a life-long Republican until very recently.


Update 8/10/18: I added a quote from a second article written by Michael Gerson.


Update 9/5/18: You MUST read "Want to save the GOP, Republicans? Vote for every Democrat on this year’s ballot." by Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School. It is, I believe, the most important article of all in making the case that Republicans should vote for Democrats at least in 2018. (Nichols reserves judgment for 2020, writing, "if the Democrats can’t live up to being a governing party, then they, too will have to face the judgment of the voters, especially when facing Trump’s GOP in 2020. If they fail to provide a working alternative to Trumpism, even with the support of rebel Republicans, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.")

Here are highlights from his article, but I can't encourage you enough to read the entire piece. Nichols starts out by noting the contrast between parliamentary systems in the United Kingdom and Canada and the system of separation of powers in the U.S. Under a parliamentary system,  a vote for a candidate is really a vote for the candidate's party, and the party with the most successful candidate takes power. Under our system, one can distinguish between a candidate and his or her party and voters can split their votes between parties in any way they choose. A vote for a particular candidate does not necessarily translate into a vote for that candidate's party. Nichols continues:


For now, however, those days are over — at least for the Republican Party. Rather than acting like a national party, entrusted with separate but coequal branches of government, the GOP at every level and in every state has been captured by the personality cult that has congealed around President Trump, and it is now operating like a parliamentary party, utterly submissive to its erratic but powerful prime minister. Republican elected officials, from Congress to the state houses, have chosen to become little more than enablers for an out of control executive branch.


The only way to put a stop to this is to vote against the GOP in every race, at every level in 2018. It’s tough medicine. But as someone who’s voted Republican for nearly 40 years, who favors limited government and public integrity, and who believes America still needs a credible, responsible center-right party, I see no alternative. . . .

This lock-step adherence to a party leader is why it’s now illogical to say: “I’m not a Trump supporter, but I’ll still vote Republican.” Every seat Republicans keep in 2018 will be a signal to the national party, and to GOP leaders in Congress, that they should continue supporting Trump, no matter how outrageous his antics, and no matter how much they privately disagree. Every vote for any GOP candidate will be a signal from the rank and file that elected Republican officials should remain supine while Trump takes a hatchet to the American political system.

By definition, a vote for any Republican candidate in 2018 is a vote for family separation, tax cuts without corresponding budget cuts, daily insult theatrics in the Oval Office and porn-star payoffs. It’s a vote to ignore Russian corruption of our elections. It’s also a vote, no matter where in the country it’s cast, for a Trump-compliant successor to Speaker Paul Ryan, who’ll preside over the continuing farce in which Trumpists like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) remain as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, ready and willing to put party over country. . . .

Conservatives who insist on voting Republican this year are, in effect, arguing that Democrats are worse than a president who has prostrated himself to Putin, started trade wars with our allies, cruelly separated families at the border, failed to deliver adequate aid to Americans in Puerto Rico and who has, as retired admiral Bill McRaven recently wrote for The Post, “embarrassed us in the eyes of our children.”


Update 11/4/18: Captain Sully Sullenberger, the airline captain who kept his cool and saved his passangers by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River after his plane's engines lost thrust after being struck by birds, wrote an important editorial explaining why it was important for our nation to change course. He wrote that he had voted Republican for 85% of his adult life, but hinted that he could no longer to so. His editorial didn't explicitly mention Trump by name, nor did it explicitly say he was voting for Democrats. However he made it quite obvious to anyone willing to read between the lines that he was going to vote for Democrats because Trump and the Republicans were leading America to a very dark place. However, Sullenberger was quite explicit about his opinion in the following video. He said the original title for his op-ed was May Day! May Day! May Day! And he said that despite his history of voting Republican, he had just voted Democrat. WATCH THIS VIDEO. If I had to sum up his presentation in one word, the word I would choose is "gravitas".