It’s bad for our democracy if one of our political parties is openly bigoted.
I have never voted for a Republican in a general election in my life. Not once. But I voted in the Michigan Republican primary today because I believe any of the other Republican candidates will be better for the country — as nominee or as president — than Donald Trump.
And here’s why. Read this piece in the Washington post today about the influence of Trump on school kids. Here’s a key excerpt:
Just watch coverage from Trump rallies to hear the next phrases kids will be slinging at school.
“Build the wall!” That was the chant at a high school basketball game in Indiana last week, directed by kids from a majority-white school who held up Trump signs and yelled at the opposing players and fans, who were from a predominantly Latino school.
In theory the wall is supposed to be about illegal immigration, right? But the vast majority of Latinos in this country are here legally. Two-thirds of Latinos in the U.S. were born in this country. And yet these kids have interpreted Trump’s rhetoric as leading to kicking out people who who are as American as I am. The story talks about kindergarten girls — Daisy Scouts — who believe they will be kicked out of the country for being Muslim, and about 3rd graders threatening their brown-skinned classmates with being driven from the country when Trump wins. I think about kids at the incredibly diverse and wonderful school where my son goes to school — a model of America’s amazing story — and imagining any of his classmates being treated this way makes me want to cry.
I’m confident that there are Trump voters who don’t share these bigoted racial views. But the higher Trump’s rise, and the more times he refuses to condemn the KKK, the stronger these voices in our country will become. This is bad for our country and bad for our democracy.
There is a chance either Kasich or Cruz could defeat Trump in Michigan today. The most recent polls show Trump’s lead collapsing and Kasich and Cruz rising.
As awful as Cruz is, people aren’t using his rallies as an excuse to rough up African Americans and protestors. Kasich has governed Ohio in a way that I hate, going after Planned Parenthood and unions — but 3rd graders aren’t using his campaign to tell their brown-skinned classmates they are less than equal. Even if you believe Kasich or Cruz or Rubio would be a stronger general election candidate than Trump, I still believe it’s better for our country to help nominate them than allowing the GOP to become the party of open bigotry. I’d rather take the risk that one of them would be our president than that Trump would. I do think Hillary — or Bernie — is likely to beat Trump in November (and the others too). But we don’t know what happens between now and then and a terrorist attack, economic collapse, or other threat, could easily drive voters to the opposition party, even (perhaps especially) if the candidate is Trump, given the authoritarian views underlying his support.
If you haven’t watched John Oliver on Trump yet, do it now.
Then go hold your nose and vote for Kasich or Cruz.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]