Lincoln -- In recent posts I've been hard on the man we somehow elected president, as well as on the Democratic Party for losing touch with too many voters. It's about time to focus on Republican voters who with their votes have put the country and its institutions in great peril. What do Republican voters do now to right the ship of state?
Previous posts have looked at political choices in the context of a healthy, two-party system of government. One-party government, I believe, is asking for trouble regardless of party and regardless of level – local, state, or federal. Voters in both parties should want a healthy, competitive two-party system to encourage good candidates to run on both tickets, so that there is a responsible alternative when one party governs poorly or, in the current case, dangerously.
I've heard from Republican friends who say they voted for Trump not because they wanted to, but because they did not believe there was an alternative. The choice was made easier for them because they did not think such a man could ever win, so their vote was more of a protest than a choice. And, being bombarded by ever-more divisive partisan shouting, they say they will vote for him again.
Here's what responsible Republicans can do to restore a healthy two-party system, even if they cannot bring themselves to vote Democratic:
• Vote, but understand that there is no obligation to vote in every race. Leaving some contests blank sends a protest message in itself. Sometimes it just makes sense to take a pass on a contest. In 2014, Maryland voters, in a nearly one-party Democratic state, declined to support what they perceived as a weak Democratic candidate; the Republican Larry Hogan was elected governor with largely Republican votes. This will have a salubrious effect on future races, as potential candidates in both parties will know it is possible to win.
• Oppose gerrymandering and support all efforts to eliminate it. Gerrymandering is both a cause and an effect of one-party government.
• Do not support dark money candidates funded by 501(c)4 sources with an agenda that is eager to tear down our country's most hallowed institutions. Watch out especially for those who celebrate rather than lament misrule.
• Oppose measures that limit the voting franchise. If you don't understand how such limitations work, read federal appeals court Judge Diana Gribbon Motz's opinion in a North Carolina case, a decision so well crafted the Supreme Court has no appetite to review it.
If there is one thing Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on, it is that our system of government needs candidates who can compete for votes based on their attractiveness, not on which is the lesser evil. But that will require thoughtful voters in both parties, which at this point is particularly required of decent and patriotic Republicans.