Holding One’s Nose and Voting Against the Party That Was Your Political Home

I try to be empathetic to the dilemma of thoughtful Republicans who are agonizing over voting for Donald Trump and pondering a vote for Hillary Clinton.

I respect the principles of those who seek smaller or more decentralized government, low taxes, fewer regulations, smaller deficits, and/or are religiously devout and oppose abortion. I often disagree with them on the details.  Yet Donald Trump abandons many of these principles.

He clearly advocates for a stronger, more authoritarian and more intrusive, even abusive federal government; irresponsibly lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans who can afford to pay their fair share — he thinks it’s ok that billionaires like himself pay nothing in taxes; he most definitely does not favor smaller deficits, since his proposals would explode the debt. For decades he showed no interest in religion, embraced a narcissistic playboy lifestyle, brazenly cheated on two wives before he divorced them, and was outspoken in favor of abortion. We are supposed to believe him now when he is running for president that he has become pro-life, and has advocated punishment for women who have abortions?

If Democrats nominated such a volatile, impulsive, egocentric personality, or a celebrity (Michael Moore comes to mind), I would judge them unfit to be president, hold my nose and choose George W. Bush or Mitt Romney instead.

If Democrat nominated some notorious leftists like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, I would rush into the camps of a Bush or a Romney because at least with them, we share certain values. I could not support a Democratic candidate who expressed admiration for Chavez or Duterte.

Trump’s expressed admiration for foreign dictators like Vladimir Putin, Benito Mussolini, and Saddam Hussein places him well outside the American political tradition.

It’s unfathomable that some Republicans this year seem to prefer Vladimir Putin’s professed ally, Donald Trump, to Hillary Clinton.

Certainly there were generally good Democrats who voted for Reagan against Carter and Mondale, and Nixon against McGovern. And there were generally good Republicans who voted for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in 1964. Johnson and Nixon each won 60 percent of the vote; Reagan won 58 percent of the vote against Mondale in 1984, and 50% against Carter’s 41% in 1980. Johnson, Nixon and Reagan all won electoral landslides.

The same should be true of Hillary this year — she should do as well as Reagan in 1980 — unless Americans have become blindly, irrationally partisan.

In Praise of Abandoning Your Party (Politico takes a historical look at rising above faction)

It is true that “swing voters” declined from 15 percent of the electorate in 1960 to about five percent of voters in 2012.  Robert Samualson observed in The Washington Post:

There was a time when ticket splitting was common. Voters would support one party’s candidate for president and the other’s for Congress. At its peak in 1972, ticket splitters represented 30 percent of voters, reports political scientist Alan Abramowitz of Emory University. Since then, the practice has gone into eclipse. In 2012, only 11 percent of the electorate were ticket splitters…

We live in an era defined by what Abramowitz and political scientist Steven Webster call “negative partisanship” — an all-consuming fear of your political opponents’ agenda. What you oppose defines your politics as much as what you support. “It’s not just polarization,” says political scientist Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s tribalism. People on the other side are enemies, not just adversaries, who threaten your way of life.”

This means that if past patterns hold, both the Democratic and Republican Party nominees are almost guaranteed to garner at least 45 percent of the vote in a two-person race, no matter who they nominate.

But past patterns should not hold, because Trump is an exceptionally bad Republican nominee.

If I were a loyal Labour Party voter in the UK, I could not vote for its current leader Jeremy Corbyn. I would have to hold my nose and vote either for the Tories (Conservatives) or the almost fringe party, Liberal Democrats. Probably I would vote for the Tories to send a message to my party, Labour, to punish it for selecting such an awful leader.

Corbyn has been a disaster. He could have worked to defeat Brexit. A different Labour Party leader would have done so. But he gave into the reactionary forces opposing Brexit and actually led the march against it.

Jeremy Corbyn could heal Labour’s immigration divide. Sadly, he’s doing the opposite | Jonathan FreedlandThe Guardian

Labour is irrelevant under Jeremy Corbyn and his poisonous comradesTelegraph.co.uk

Rebel Labour MPs: We’ll rejoin Corbyn if he gets rid of McDonnellMirror.co.uk

Tories call for snap general election as polls show Theresa May would nearly quadruple Commons majorityTelegraph.co.uk

Republicans who believe Trump is a disaster, like the traditional Labour Party voters turning Tory, should consider putting principle above party and send an emphatic message to Republicans this year.


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