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Welcome Independents, Libertarians, and Typically Republican Voters Who Plan to Vote for Democrats In 2018

This OTYCD post originally appeared in June 2018. In the lead-up to the midterms, we’re re-running important posts. Please click on the announcement from Sarah Jane to learn why you’re not seeing timely daily posts.

 

Welcome Independents, Libertarians, and typically Republican voters who plan to vote for Democrats in 2018.

 

We live in weird times. We have a manifestly unfit person sitting in the Oval Office. The second that Trump finished the oath of office on Inauguration Day 2017, his business entanglements put him in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, making him impeachable.

 

Still more evidence for impeachment has piled up since then, but the Republican-controlled Congress hasn’t started to begin to consider thinking about bestirring itself to do its job and remove Trump from office.

 

Once upon a time, Republicans did the right thing and threatened President Richard Nixon with impeachment over the Watergate scandal, prompting him to resign. Today, tribalism is stopping the Republicans from doing the right thing with Donald Trump. It’s shameful. History will judge them harshly for it, and so will voters.

 

Some Alabamians who normally vote Republican realized that staying home would not be enough during the December 2017 special election for Senate. Some–admittedly a minority–went to the polls and voted Democrat for the first time in their lives to do their bit to stop Republican Roy Moore from winning.

 

People across the country who don’t normally vote for Democrats are coming to the same conclusion that Republicans in Alabama did. They’re watching Trump’s antics, and watching Congress do nothing, and realizing they have to act by voting for candidates who will do what their party will not.

 

They’re starting to speak up publicly as well. Consider this March 2018 piece from The Atlantic, by Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes, of Lawfare, who both describe themselves as “true independents”. Bluntly titled Boycott the Republican Party, it counsels Americans to methodically vote for Democrats to send a message to the GOP in hopes of getting it to straighten up and fly right (pun not intended):

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/

 

Key quote:

“So we arrive at a syllogism:

(1) The GOP has become the party of Trumpism.
(2) Trumpism is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.
(3) The Republican Party is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.

If the syllogism holds, then the most-important tasks in U.S. politics right now are to change the Republicans’ trajectory and to deprive them of power in the meantime. In our two-party system, the surest way to accomplish these things is to support the other party, in every race from president to dogcatcher. The goal is to make the Republican Party answerable at every level, exacting a political price so stinging as to force the party back into the democratic fold.”

 

On June 7, 2018, the Washington Post reported on a poll that shows that around a quarter of Republicans favor candidates who will act as a check on Trump.

Here’s the piece:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/06/07/a-quarter-of-republicans-say-they-want-candidates-who-will-be-a-check-on-trump/?utm_term=.db5e5358b5a8

 

And here’s the key passage:

“Perhaps the most interesting part of this poll, though, is that more than a quarter of Republicans want candidates who will act as a check on Trump. On net, Republicans were 11 points more likely to say that they would be turned off by a candidate acting as a check on Trump, but it’s still the case that 27 percent would be encouraged to vote for a candidate willing to check Trump. That even as Republicans support candidates who support Trump on policy issues. By more than 60 percentage points, Republicans are more likely to support candidates that stand with Trump on taxes and immigration. But they’re nearly split on candidates who stand up to Trump generally.”

 

And since we at OTYCD drafted and queued this piece, more longtime GOP supporters have publicly defected and called for others to join them.

 

Steve Schmidt, a high-ranking GOP strategist who helped elect George W. Bush, worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign in California, quit the party. On June 19, 2018, he tweeted (and it’s now his pinned tweet):

29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.

 

Read stories on Schmidt quitting the Republican Party:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/veteran-republican-strategist-steve-schmidt-renounces-gop/2018/06/20/7bcf53fe-74c7-11e8-bda1-18e53a448a14_story.html?utm_term=.872cc10a5f60

https://www.yahoo.com/news/steve-schmidt-helped-run-republican-212844307.html

 

 

On June 22, 2018, prominent conservative George Will, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977, put out a blunt column installment in the Washington Post titled Vote Against the GOP This November.

 

He hasn’t decided he likes the Democrats. He doesn’t, and he won’t. His call to vote Democrat this fall is intended as the corrective Trump needs, and which the GOP-controlled Congress has been too feckless to give. Here’s the final paragraph from the piece:

 

“In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.”

 

 

Read Will’s full column:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/vote-against-the-gop-this-november/2018/06/22/a6378306-7575-11e8-b4b7-308400242c2e_story.html?utm_term=.97ccad43bccf

 

 

This is where you come in.

 

If you know someone who doesn’t normally vote for Democrats, but who gets that they must in 2018 in order to right the GOP and provide a check on Trump, you need to be welcoming and gracious toward them.

 

In other words, don’t be an asshole, and be extra-careful not to come off as an asshole to these people.

 

Don’t assume they’ve gone all liberal and progressive because they’re going to vote for Democrats this fall. They haven’t.

 

Respect the fact that these folks wouldn’t vote this way under normal circumstances.

 

Respect the fact that they think differently about politics than you, and respect the fact that they’re doing what needs to be done for the sake of our country, and our democracy.

 

Also, keep your interactions pleasant and fun. Don’t bring up politics unless they do, and if they do bring up politics, let them lead the conversation. Be supportive. Commiserate.

 

After Labor Day, start talking about plans to go to the polls together. Offer a ride. Offer to have lunch or buy a drink after you both vote. If it makes sense, offer child care or offer to cover a shift for your friend if it will help them reach the polls on November 6, 2018.

 

Also, do not say “Thank you”. Seriously. It’s not appropriate because it could be read as insulting.

 

Think about it–should you get a cookie for stepping up and blocking a wannabe dictator from destroying our democracy? No, it’s the right thing to do. If someone has decided it’s time to cast a punitive vote against their home party, they would definitely be offended at the notion that they deserve praise for doing it.

 

Instead, you can say, “I look forward to the days when we can go back to disagreeing with each other.”

 

If you want to show lasting gratitude to those who don’t normally vote for Democrats, but are doing so to send a message to the GOP, you can do this:

 

You can promise to listen to them.

 

Not just now, in the breach, but going forward, too.

 

Listening to them does not mean agreeing with them. It does mean making a good-faith effort to hear out those who don’t share your view of politics, and trying to understand them.

 

 

Here, again is the March 2018 piece from The Atlantic that urges Republicans to boycott the GOP and vote for Democrats:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/

 

 

And here, again, is the June 2018 Washington Post story on the poll on what sort of candidates Americans are likely to support in the midterms. In addition to 25 percent of Republicans favoring candidates who would provide a check on Trump, the story says that voters, in general, were 25 percentage points more likely to vote for a candidate who promised to push back against the president:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/06/07/a-quarter-of-republicans-say-they-want-candidates-who-will-be-a-check-on-trump/?utm_term=.db5e5358b5a8

 

 

Read December 2017 stories from Newsweek and the Washington Post on how Republican affiliation has fallen by five points since Trump was elected:

 

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-scaring-voters-republican-affiliation-dips-year-election-poll-730604

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/12/11/a-lot-of-americans-spent-2017-bailing-on-the-republican-party/?utm_term=.d6e51e7a9cc0

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Community Activism · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Welcome Independents, Libertarians, and Typically Republican Voters Who Plan to Vote for Democrats In 2018

Welcome Independents, Libertarians, and typically Republican voters who plan to vote for Democrats in 2018.

 

We live in weird times. We have a manifestly unfit person sitting in the Oval Office. The second that Trump finished the oath of office on Inauguration Day 2017, his business entanglements put him in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, making him impeachable.

 

Still more evidence for impeachment has piled up since then, but the Republican-controlled Congress hasn’t started to begin to consider thinking about bestirring itself to do its job and remove Trump from office.

 

Once upon a time, Republicans did the right thing and threatened President Richard Nixon with impeachment over the Watergate scandal, prompting him to resign. Today, tribalism is stopping the Republicans from doing the right thing with Donald Trump. It’s shameful. History will judge them harshly for it, and so will voters.

 

Some Alabamians who normally vote Republican realized that staying home would not be enough during the December 2017 special election for Senate. Some–admittedly a minority–went to the polls and voted Democrat for the first time in their lives to do their bit to stop Republican Roy Moore from winning.

 

People across the country who don’t normally vote for Democrats are coming to the same conclusion that Republicans in Alabama did. They’re watching Trump’s antics, and watching Congress do nothing, and realizing they have to act by voting for candidates who will do what their party will not.

 

They’re starting to speak up publicly as well. Consider this March 2018 piece from The Atlantic, by Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes, of Lawfare, who both describe themselves as “true independents”. Bluntly titled Boycott the Republican Party, it counsels Americans to methodically vote for Democrats to send a message to the GOP in hopes of getting it to straighten up and fly right (pun not intended):

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/

 

Key quote:

“So we arrive at a syllogism:

(1) The GOP has become the party of Trumpism.
(2) Trumpism is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.
(3) The Republican Party is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.

If the syllogism holds, then the most-important tasks in U.S. politics right now are to change the Republicans’ trajectory and to deprive them of power in the meantime. In our two-party system, the surest way to accomplish these things is to support the other party, in every race from president to dogcatcher. The goal is to make the Republican Party answerable at every level, exacting a political price so stinging as to force the party back into the democratic fold.”

 

On June 7, 2018, the Washington Post reported on a poll that shows that around a quarter of Republicans favor candidates who will act as a check on Trump.

Here’s the piece:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/06/07/a-quarter-of-republicans-say-they-want-candidates-who-will-be-a-check-on-trump/?utm_term=.db5e5358b5a8

 

And here’s the key passage:

“Perhaps the most interesting part of this poll, though, is that more than a quarter of Republicans want candidates who will act as a check on Trump. On net, Republicans were 11 points more likely to say that they would be turned off by a candidate acting as a check on Trump, but it’s still the case that 27 percent would be encouraged to vote for a candidate willing to check Trump. That even as Republicans support candidates who support Trump on policy issues. By more than 60 percentage points, Republicans are more likely to support candidates that stand with Trump on taxes and immigration. But they’re nearly split on candidates who stand up to Trump generally.”

 

And since we at OTYCD drafted and queued this piece, more longtime GOP supporters have publicly defected and called for others to join them.

 

Steve Schmidt, a high-ranking GOP strategist who helped elect George W. Bush, worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign in California, quit the party. On June 19, 2018, he tweeted (and it’s now his pinned tweet):

29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.

 

Read stories on Schmidt quitting the Republican Party:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/veteran-republican-strategist-steve-schmidt-renounces-gop/2018/06/20/7bcf53fe-74c7-11e8-bda1-18e53a448a14_story.html?utm_term=.872cc10a5f60

https://www.yahoo.com/news/steve-schmidt-helped-run-republican-212844307.html

 

 

On June 22, 2018, prominent conservative George Will, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977, put out a blunt column installment in the Washington Post titled Vote Against the GOP This November.

 

He hasn’t decided he likes the Democrats. He doesn’t, and he won’t. His call to vote Democrat this fall is intended as the corrective Trump needs, and which the GOP-controlled Congress has been too feckless to give. Here’s the final paragraph from the piece:

 

“In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.”

 

 

Read Will’s full column:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/vote-against-the-gop-this-november/2018/06/22/a6378306-7575-11e8-b4b7-308400242c2e_story.html?utm_term=.97ccad43bccf

 

 

This is where you come in.

 

If you know someone who doesn’t normally vote for Democrats, but who gets that they must in 2018 in order to right the GOP and provide a check on Trump, you need to be welcoming and gracious toward them.

 

In other words, don’t be an asshole, and be extra-careful not to come off as an asshole to these people.

 

Don’t assume they’ve gone all liberal and progressive because they’re going to vote for Democrats this fall. They haven’t.

 

Respect the fact that these folks wouldn’t vote this way under normal circumstances.

 

Respect the fact that they think differently about politics than you, and respect the fact that they’re doing what needs to be done for the sake of our country, and our democracy.

 

Also, keep your interactions pleasant and fun. Don’t bring up politics unless they do, and if they do bring up politics, let them lead the conversation. Be supportive. Commiserate.

 

After Labor Day, start talking about plans to go to the polls together. Offer a ride. Offer to have lunch or buy a drink after you both vote. If it makes sense, offer child care or offer to cover a shift for your friend if it will help them reach the polls on November 6, 2018.

 

Also, do not say “Thank you”. Seriously. It’s not appropriate because it could be read as insulting.

 

Think about it–should you get a cookie for stepping up and blocking a wannabe dictator from destroying our democracy? No, it’s the right thing to do. If someone has decided it’s time to cast a punitive vote against their home party, they would definitely be offended at the notion that they deserve praise for doing it.

 

Instead, you can say, “I look forward to the days when we can go back to disagreeing with each other.”

 

If you want to show lasting gratitude to those who don’t normally vote for Democrats, but are doing so to send a message to the GOP, you can do this:

 

You can promise to listen to them.

 

Not just now, in the breach, but going forward, too.

 

Listening to them does not mean agreeing with them. It does mean making a good-faith effort to hear out those who don’t share your view of politics, and trying to understand them.

 

 

Here, again is the March 2018 piece from The Atlantic that urges Republicans to boycott the GOP and vote for Democrats:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/

 

 

And here, again, is the June 2018 Washington Post story on the poll on what sort of candidates Americans are likely to support in the midterms. In addition to 25 percent of Republicans favoring candidates who would provide a check on Trump, the story says that voters, in general, were 25 percentage points more likely to vote for a candidate who promised to push back against the president:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/06/07/a-quarter-of-republicans-say-they-want-candidates-who-will-be-a-check-on-trump/?utm_term=.db5e5358b5a8

 

 

Read December 2017 stories from Newsweek and the Washington Post on how Republican affiliation has fallen by five points since Trump was elected:

 

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-scaring-voters-republican-affiliation-dips-year-election-poll-730604

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/12/11/a-lot-of-americans-spent-2017-bailing-on-the-republican-party/?utm_term=.d6e51e7a9cc0

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

Community Activism · Elections · Escape Your Bubble · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Removing Trump Is Not Enough

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

Just sayin’. Your work is not done when Trump is. We have to remove all the elected Republicans who installed him as a candidate, and all the Republicans who have placed country over party. 

 

If you learn nothing else from the Trump crisis, learn this: Democracy is fragile, and it needs you to make it work. Yes, you personally. The price of gaining a voice is gaining the responsibility to use it.

 

Trump will go, but you must not. He is the fetid product of decades of political rot promulgated and abetted by the leaders of the Republican party.

 

In order for democracy to work in America, we need at least two functional parties. Given the difficulty of launching a viable party in this country, we’re more likely to be stuck with the Republicans for a while yet. A malfunctioning heap of smoking rubble beats a shiny new political machine if the heap of rubble has name recognition and familiar infrastructure.

 

Trump is not the sole problem. Every Republican who assented to choosing Trump as its candidate is part of the problem, as is every Republican who side-steps rules and norms if they get in the way of what Trump wants.

 

Not every Republican did those things, but too many did. Even after Trump is removed, we have to work to elect Republicans who respect facts and reality rather than making up their own versions and trying to group-think them into being.

 

The types of Republicans who have to go include:

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who broke the rules by refusing to give Merrick Garland a hearing as a Supreme Court nominee when Obama was president, and pushed through a far-right candidate, Neil Gorsuch, under Trump. McConnell made up a bullshit excuse about presidents not getting to choose SCOTUS candidates in the last years of their terms to bar Garland, and later refused to entertain the notion that perhaps Trump’s pick shouldn’t get consideration while he was under investigation by the FBI–a far more serious set of circumstances.

 

McConnell also stopped Obama from going public about the Trump-Russia revelations in 2016 in a bipartisan way, and he threatened to accuse Obama of playing politics if he tried. Anyone who radiates that much bad faith shouldn’t hold elected office at all, never mind lead the Senate.

 

 

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has demonstrated his lack of spine on multiple occasions. He has consistently pushed back against calls to investigate the scandals arising from Trump’s entanglements with Russia, and he has downplayed other oddities that would have him screaming bloody murder had they been done by Democrats.

 

A regrettably routine example of his spinelessness appeared after Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s open house seat the day after he body-slammed a reporter. Ryan decried the violence and called on Gianforte to apologize but said he would still seat him in good faith: “If he wins, he has been chosen by the people of Montana who their congressman is going to be. I’m going to let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative.”

 

Not seating a guy who attacks a reporter who asked him a simple question that he should have expected is a no-brainer. If Gianforte can’t handle the stress of campaigning in Montana, one of our most rural states, how will he handle having mics shoved in his face all day, every day? Ryan should have insisted that he complete some anger-management classes first, at minimum. Failing to enforce norms teaches that it’s OK to body-slam a reporter who’s just doing his job. Not only is that not OK, it eats at the very foundations of our democracy–the first amendment is first for a reason.

 

 

And speaking of Gianforte, he’s another Republican who has to go–not just because he attacked a reporter, but because he lied about what happened in his official statement. This fact that gets glossed over in recounting the incident, and it’s vitally important that we not lose sight of it. Here, for the record, is the statement Gianforte released:

 

Bozeman, Mont. — “Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.” — Shane Scanlon, spokesperson for Greg for Montana.

 

So, Gianforte didn’t just attack a reporter, his campaign spokesman wildly mischaracterized what happened. Anyone who’s heard the audio or read the account from the Fox news crew who saw the attack knows this statement is blatantly at odds with reality. Any candidate who lies in this manner about something so critical, knowing there are witnesses to his behavior (it’s not clear if Gianforte and his team were aware of the audio recording), is unfit for high office.

 

Yet another Republican who needs to go is Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for defending a $2 trillion error in the FY2018 and expressing confidence in the flagrantly borked numbers.

 

It’s no secret that the Republicans crave tax cuts for the rich like vampires crave blood, but they’ve never resorted to alternative math on quite this big a scale before. Embracing a $2 trillion error on top of math that was already a fantasy (the budget assumed a three percent growth rate, which economists say just doesn’t happen) shows that too many Republicans are just not serious-minded enough to handle the hard, tedious, unglamorous work of governing.

 

Electing Democrats is not enough. We have to work to elect sane Republicans as well. Republicans such as John McCain and Mitt Romney.

 

We heard that groan, and we feel you. But! We won’t be able to elect a Congress of 100 percent Democrats–not gonna happen, ever. Sorry. And sitting aside bemusedly, election after election, as sane Republicans got knocked out in primaries by mendacious loony-cuckoopants Republicans helped get us into this mess.

 

To be clear: sane Republicans are Republicans who you don’t agree with on much, or at all, but who act like grownups nonetheless.

 

They are people who would never pull the shit that McConnell did. They are people who would react far more strongly to Gianforte’s transgressions than Ryan did. They are people who would seek tax cuts through talking to the whole Congress and making their case, not by waiting till they have a majority and putting out budget numbers that are so wrong and unworkable as to be insulting.

 

As much as it might pain you, you need to be alert to the sane Republicans in your midst, and you need to support them with time and money. Please think about it.

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read about how McConnell blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and how Trump thanked him subsequently for his efforts:

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/04/trump-thanks-mcconnell-for-all-that-he-did-to-ruin-merrick-garland

 

 

Read about how McConnell tanked Obama’s effort to get a bi-partisan admission of Russian interference while the 2016 campaign was still live:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.763c3e1ce37c

 

 

Read about how Ryan said he would seat Greg Gianforte even though he assaulted a reporter:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/paul-ryan-signals-he-would-still-seat-greg-gianforte-if-he-wins-special-election/

 

 

Read reactions to Gianforte’s attack:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/25/15689924/greg-gianforte-defense-assault

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/may/25/parsing-statement-montana-politician-who-allegedly/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/politics/greg-gianforte-statement-defense/

 

 

Read about the $2 trillion budget error and Mulvaney’s admission that it’s an error, and he nonetheless stands by the numbers:

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/trumps-entire-budget-is-based-on-a-2-trillion-accounting-trick

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/mick-mulvaney-tried-to-explain-math-error-in-trump-budget.html