I’ve voted for Republicans in the past, mostly in local elections. I’ve voted for Republican judges and Republican Clerks of Court and so on, partially because I knew the people personally and partially because in elections like that, ideology doesn’t really matter.
But I just can’t do that any more.
There used to be liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Democrats had George Wallace and Republicans had Nelson Rockefeller. I voted for Republican William Weld when I lived in Massachusetts over the more conservative Democrat. But you don’t find that any more. The parties have become distanced by ideology, and that’s one of the reasons we cannot get anything done in Congress.
But mostly, the problem is this: I’m not sure how I could support someone who supports a party that stands for the following:
- Discrimination against gays and lesbians
- Eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency
- Open carrying of firearms and reduction of any gun control laws
- Lowering the minimum wage
- Opposition to equal pay for women
- Tax breaks for billionaires
- Reproductive decisions made by government and employers
- Deporting of refugee children
- Denying of climate change and science
- Creationism taught in school
- Health care only for those who can afford it
- Elimination of unions
If I vote for a Republican Dog Catcher, am I thus supporting someone who believes in discrimination? That thinks my wife is a lesser person who can’t make her own decisions? Who has no sympathy for refugee children running from war and death? Also, why should I help that party at all? Every lower office run by a Republican helps the party raise money for the bigger offices.
And it’s sad that I have to think that way; I prefer reasonable people in both parties who can work things out. (And yes, there are crazy radicals on the left, too, but they don’t run the party — they are on the outskirts, like how the Republicans used to treat their crazies.)
Many of my reasonable conservative friends no longer call themselves Republicans because they cannot agree with the far-right agenda the party now promotes. They still won’t vote for a Democrat, but they also find it tremendously difficult to support the Republicans.
The solution is for reasonable conservatives to take back the party and stand up to these people. And that’s the problem — many Republicans are scared to death of these crazies, and instead of calling them out, they pretend to agree just so they can win elections. That may help them in the primaries, but all that does ultimately is send more potential voters away in the general election.