Moderate Left Bias
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Political Consultant and Strategist
Past Executive Director of the Michigan Republican Party
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
It used to be said that many Democratic voters, especially in the South, would choose a “yellow dog” before casting a ballot for a Republican. I suppose that describes me now.
That’s not a small thing to say.
Supporting Democrats goes against my political DNA. Yet after 30 years earning my living in Republican politics and campaigns, a Democratic candidate needs to demonstrate just one thing to win my vote — a pulse.
I realized this last fall watching returns in the Louisiana governor’s race, hoping that Democrat John Bel Edwards would win re-election and deliver a blow squarely to Donald Trump and his support of the GOP challenger. I had the same desire for the gubernatorial election in Kentucky and the battle for control of the Virginia Legislature earlier in November. “Whew! Beshear pulled it out. Cool. Really handed it to Trump and McConnell,” was not the typical reaction of Republican operatives.
It’s not that I’m particularly noble, brave, or woke. But I am unwilling to jettison the ideals that made me a Republican or abjectly debase myself to win elections, cling to power, or appease those who expect fealty to an individual above all else. Very few in the GOP can say the same.
How does that square with voting for Democrats?
They might not think they have, but Republicans have abandoned the ideological underpinnings — fiscal restraint, strength in defense and leadership in foreign affairs and trade, reliance on personal character, and responsibility in social policy and individual behavior — that bolstered four decades of conservative dominance in American governance.
If these past four years have demonstrated anything, it’s that Republicans will accept staggering levels of ineptitude, malfeasance, corruption, and buffoonery, provided the offender belongs to the GOP (or the GOP belongs to the offender).
Rule of law and the restraints of Constitutional boundaries be damned.
It’s the elected Republicans and party leaders who are to blame for Trump’s abuses and beclowning of the presidency. For surely as Trump is responsible for his reprehensible actions, they have willingly embraced and/or enabled all he has done. He couldn’t do it without them. Their ideals are fungible. They are craven and servile. They are also foolish and naive.
You’d think self-preservation, if not a sense of principle, honor, or duty, might motivate them to restrain Trump’s vice and perversion of the office he holds. Yet they’ve illogically ignored that as well, losing staggering numbers of GOP officeholders in elections since 2016. They’re immune to sense. Inoculated against reality. Impervious to facts.
They know better. They were better (maybe not great, but not the husks they are today). They’ve thrown all-in for a vainglorious dotard whose incompetence and ham-fisted greed and dishonesty pose an existential threat to the American system, not merely the Republican Party. The contempt I hold for them is far greater than my loathing of Trump. He never was better.
I have not become a Democrat. I support none of them on significant policy matters. I don’t think they’re more courageous or virtuous, or that federal, state, or local governments would operate better if they were in charge. I think many of them would act as dishonorably and ridiculously partisan and hypocritical as the Republicans have if the shoe were on the other foot. But for now, Democrats do not support Donald Trump, and that makes us temporary allies, issue disagreements notwithstanding.
Our system presents a binary choice: Trump and today’s altered version of Republicans, or the Democrats. So, I will support any Democrat — even a yellow dog — against any Republican who supports Trump. No argument to the contrary matters.
Higher taxes? Don’t care
Drunken sailor spending? Already underway
Appointment of liberal judges? Don’t care
Lax immigration policy? Don’t care
Medicare for all? Don’t care
Gun grabbing? Don’t care
You get the point…Don’t waste your breath.
I still do care about conservative ideals, just not the bastardized form of what passes for conservatism these days. Politics is like nature; It abhors a vacuum. Our system begs for factions on the center-left and center-right who compete in the arena of policy and politics, not whatever the hell we have today. I’m willing to re-engage in that battle eventually, hopefully, to build a new party actually based on American conservatism, once the mutations caused by this faux version are removed from the scene. In the meantime, bring on 2020 — and bring on victory by the Democrats, even the yellow dogs.
Jeff Timmer is a political consultant and strategist. He was Executive Director of the Michigan Republican Party and is now an erstwhile GOPer. Follow him on Twitter @jefftimmer.
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