I used to call myself an Independent, wanting to believe I had a choice when voting. But since the turn of this new century I have made my peace that I vote the democratic ticket since the great failure of the neocon vision and subsequent empowerment of the fringe lunatics that took over the asylum that used to be the Republican Party.
My horror at contemplating a Trump presidency has mostly subsided given the polls and having already received a small payout on a bet.
Setting aside my utter abhorrence and contempt for Trump, I realized that, strategically, it is an open question as to whether I want Trump voters to sit out the election or actually want them to vote Trump.
My knee-jerk emotions desire an utter rout, where any “reasonable” republican just can’t push that button labeled “Trump”. It would be a de facto referendum on decency.
But upon cooler, more Machiavellian reflection, I see a strong, though failed Trump showing leaves the Republican Party in fantastic disarray, unable to reconstitute a coherent platform given the lingering coherence of Trump’s coarse emboldened populist movement. It will remain like a fish bone stuck in the collective Republican throat. This disarray bodes well for democrats, especially if they craft a platform with a broad appeal to liberals, which would include further, better incorporation of the very liberal, populist Berniecrats.
If Trump is destroyed in this election, conservatives of all colors will be open and looking for new leadership. The decks will have been cleared and the Republican Party can start to pick up the pieces after the Trump nomination. The lesson will be clear, and civility and reason will have had their case made in moving forward.
Further, Trump’s wild and chaotic behavior has emboldened Russia under Putin. We are under external attack by Russia with our government’s email being hacked, nationwide, refusal of service cyber-attacks, and requesting observer status for the US election, encouraging unsubstantiated thoughts that our election system is “rigged” and dysfunctional.
But I think this is an overplay by Russia, and if Republican’s are smart, they use Putin’s direct aggression as a beginning for a Reaganesque renaisannce. Gingrich’s “Contract with America” was an attempt to revive a Reagan-style consensus based on a 1985 Reagan speech. But the timing was poor. The recent demise of the Soviet Union, and the absence of such an opponent in the early 1990s, among other things, made an attempt to resurrect a Reagan-style consensus premature and a failure. Putin’s direct and indirect aggressions, and his reassertion of Russian influence in the Middle East may create more domestic fertile ground for a successful Reagan-styled populist platform.
So, my Republican friends should I desire you to cast that vote for Trump or sit this one out? What do you see as your best, long-term interests?