We are now within a few months of the midterm elections of 2018 and I find myself in the uncomfortable position to wish for a resounding defeat of the party that I have felt most affinity with ever since coming to America and becoming a permanent resident here. Fortunately, I’m not alone in this unfamiliar territory, as I find myself in the company of credentialed conservatives like George Will, Bill Kristol, Max Boot and David Brooks.
I believe in a small, non-intrusive government and in delegation of governmental authority to the lowest level at which the expertise and resource resides to address the matters that governments are in charge of. In America, that means delegation to State and Local institutions. I believe in a smart, effective, and compassionate government that upholds the values enshrined in the nation’s founding documents and−for that reason−commands the respect and envy of the world. I believe in a government that recognizes and venerates America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants and never puts up a sign that says that you can visit (unless you are coming from a certain Muslim country) but you can’t stay.
My disagreement with the current president and the republican partisans who have been supporting him in servile submission surfaces in almost every republican orthodoxy, whether it is free trade, fiscal responsibility, human- and civil rights, environmental protection, multilateralism or immigration. But most of all, I object to the tone set by the nation’s chief executive. In his tweets and in his staged campaign appearances, he whips his followers into a frenzy of hate and vulgarity against the free press, against immigrants, against political opponents, against our best allies, against or national security apparatus and, sometimes, against members of his own administration. In setting the tone like this Trump debases the decorum of the high office he holds. Furthermore, I object to his disregard of facts and science and the ease with which he feeds the public lies, half truths and fake numbers in his public appearances. I object to his zero-sum approach to just about any issue of political consequence. It seems he has never heard of a win-win situation. All that matters is his own vindication.
Who can have confidence in a commander in chief who changes his tune from one day to the next on America’s relationship with its allies and its adversaries and constantly questions the alliances and institutions that have kept the peace ever since World War II and have fostered unprecedented growth and prosperity on a global scale?
Everything I believe in, when it comes to political governance, is at risk if the voters in November don’t put the shackles on the imperial president now residing in the White House. We need a shift in power in the Congress for all of the following reasons:
· To open up a realistic opportunity for a real republican to step up and challenge Trump for the 2020 presidential election.
· To protect the Mueller investigation and assure that its findings, if incriminating for the president, are not swept under the rug.
· To show republican voters and legislators that they have been betting on the wrong horse.
· To clear the Congress of some of the worst nationalist populists.
It is deplorable that the actions and utterances of one person have made it desirable for the democrats, who have done nothing to lay claim to political leadership since nominating Hillary Clinton as their flag bearer, to win this election.
A cloud of trepidation hangs over the midterm elections for November. Will the outcome be influenced by foreign interference? Will the voters turn it, at least in part, into a referendum on Trump and his nationalist populist adherents and will the voters come out in large enough numbers to legitimize the outcome of the election? It will be a real test of the strength of our democracy and God forbid that we fail the test.
The outcome of the midterm election will give us a first chance to see in real numbers how strong the Pied Piper effect of Donald Trump is. How many Americans−republicans, democrats and independents−really believe that Trump is finally putting America back on track and that #NeverTrumpism is a dead-end street? The loudest voices always get heard the most. But is there a strong silent majority that abhors the narcissistic, imperial, above the law attitude and behavior of the current occupant of the White House? That is what we urgently need to find out. Let’s hope that the November election answers that question with an unambiguous rejection of the populist takeover of the republican party, which can then be followed by a restoration of a true republican platform for the GOP and a final exorcism of the Trump aberration in the presidential election of 2020.
Democracy preordains that elections have consequences. Will the voters follow the Pied Piper, leading them like lemmings to the precipice, or will they opt for new leadership that respects traditional American values and puts America back on the track of global leadership and respect?