Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Letter to the GOP

Dear Republican Party,

As some of your presidential candidates have noted, this is a time for choosing. A new era of American politics is upon us. After eight years of hyper-partisanship and divisiveness, our country is now at a crossroads where their people must choose where we go next. But no longer is this a choice between ideological extremes, the liberal left versus the conservative right; it has now become a battle for the soul of the United States of America.

During a great time of political divisiveness, the moderates of both political parties could no longer hold of powerful challenges from the extreme left and right fringes of the political spectrum. As his country struggled to recover from dark economic times, one man touted a message that targeted those most affected by the economic downturn and who were afraid of losing their cultural identity. This man sought to oppress any who disagreed with him, encouraging discrimination and violence against members of a minority religion. As his power and influence grew, he demanded that his supporters pledge an oath of allegiance not to his party or his country, but to him.

The man of whom I speak I'd Adolf Hitler.

However, the similarities to one Donald J. Trump are quite striking. Though they aren't exactly the same, there are enough parallels between the rise of power of these two men to be alarming. We all know what happened with Hitler and how the course of history changed. The question is, have we learned from that history?

I am an Independent. Since I first voted for President in 2004, I have approached every election with an open mind, willing to give every candidate serious consideration regardless of their party. That's what being an Independent is about. There are issues on which I agree with Republicans and issues on which I agree with Democrats. I am a free-thinking man who will make up his own mind and not be told by others what my positions should be. That's what it means to live in America.

I am increasingly alarmed by what I have seen over the course of this 2016 election season. I'm extremely anxious about what the future for my family and myself holds. A lot of that anxiety comes from what I see going on in the Republican Presidential Primaries. A party that prides itself on continuing the legacy of Ronald Reagan has seen it's rhetoric devolve into talk of paranioa, name calling, insults about physical appearance and even jokes about the size of candidates' genitals. The result? Violence erupting st campaign rallies where the front-runner for the Republican nomination encourages those who protest against him be beaten. A front-runner who praises the President of Russia for how he runs his country, despite rumors that he has political opponents killed.

Is this the sort of man who should be in the White House with control of our nuclear arsenal? If Vladimir Putin is the kind of President who Trump admires, does that mean he will rule with a similar approach if elected? These are questions we must seriously ask. If Donald Trump makes up his own rules on the campaign trail, will he do so in the White House? Will this mean the end of our Democracy?

I ask this because it's time for the Republican Party to choose. It's increasingly clear that Trump will be the nominee. So the GOP must ask themselves what's more important; winning or preserving the Republic? Because a Trump presidency could possibly lead to the destruction of not just the Republican Party and everything for which they stand, but for our country as well.

For the last eight years, the Republican Party has done everything they can to obstruct President Obama's agenda, including opposing ideas that originally belonged to Republicans. Their goal in 2009 was to ensure that Barack Obama was a one term President. They have shown that they are more interested in winning than working with Democrats to make things better for our country. But in 2012, they failed to unseat a vulnerable President because they weren't able to present a vision for the future. They argued why Obama should be defeated instead of why they should be elected.

In 2016, our government is consumed by gridlock. Very little is accomplished by Congress and neither side is willing to work with the other. As a result, people are angry and justly so. However, that anger is being exploited. Instead of being encouraged to channel that anger, they're being encouraged to lash out and some times violently. If left unchecked, there's no telling how far this anger and paranoia will go.

And there's no telling if it will even subside if President Trump assumes power. It's a scary thought to have a President who openly tells his supports to beat up protesters who seek to use their First Ammendment right to voice their own feelings. And there's no telling what else President Trump would do. Republicans think that they can keep Trump in control. But I don't think so. If there's one thing Donald Trump has proven, it's that he answers to no one. And in our system of government, that doesn't work. Our President is constrained by the rule of law and is not above it. Will Trump understand this?

The reason the GOP won't distance themselves from Trump or take a stand against him is because they're afraid of losing. They're afraid he'll ditch the party for a third-party run and cost them.the White House. This shows that they are more concerned with winning then what's best for the country. Trump touts a message of hate and divisiveness, prejudice and discrimination, and aggression and violence.

Which is why the Republican Party may have to give up on winning in 2016. That may be a difficult thing for a party who has been out of power for eight years to accept. But if Trump wins, will they really be in power?

The way I see it, the Republican Party has three options.

1. Do what it can to prevent Trump from winning the party's nomination, sending it to a brokered convention that nominates someone else. This will likely lead to alot of ugliness that will throw the party into further disarray and weaken it in the general election. An infuriated Trump is likely to launch a third party bid, with many of his most passionate supporters following him and abandoning the Republican nominee who will be seen as having stolen the nomination.

Though the party will support their candidate, the election is likely a lost cause as the Republican vote will be divided. The best strategy is for as much mone as possible to be thrown into supporting Congressional candidates and defending their majorities in Congress.

In a three-way general election, a best case scenario sees none of the three major candidates attaining 270 electoral votes, sending the outcome to the House of Representatives. If Republicans hold their majority, they will win the White House, though in controversial fashion. The party will be splintered, but will gradually regroup around a Republican President.

Worst case scenario, Hillary Clinton wins and the GOP is fractured, but can rebuild towards 2020 and hope to win the White House then.

2. If Trump becomes the nominee, allow him to continue to self-finance his campaign. Don't officially oppose his candidacy, but throw all support towards defending their Congressional majorities. The hope is that Trump will be defeated in November. The GOP can distance themselves from his policies and positions and hope to rebuild towards winning the White House in 2020. If he wins, the outcome will be similar to Point 3.

3. Throw all support behind Trump with the clear goal of winning. If he wins, however, they will forever be tied to whatever legacy Trump builds as President, whether it be good or bad. If it's good, everyone will be pleasantly surprised. If it's bad however, the Republican Party will collapse and likely be ousted from party for many years to come. In addition, they will have to deal with whatever other consequences come from a Donald J. Trump presidency.

It's a time of choosing for the Republican Party. For almost eight years, they've had the clear goal of simply winning back the White House, no matter what the costs. Now, achieving that goal may come at too high a price. This is the time where Republicans will show that they place winning over the well-being of their country, or place their country over winning.

Only time will tell what choice they will make. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts about whether they will make the right one.