Joe Biden has once again defeated Bernie Sanders, this time in the Illinois primary and two others Tuesday night. The Democratic game is over. They have a candidate who will face the president in November. For many years, I have loathed the principles of the Democratic Party. In looking back, not voting for John Kennedy was a mistake. Mr. Nixon proved his lack of trustworthiness only years later.
Then, there was Lyndon Johnson. Even Barry Goldwater seemed a better choice to me, but he was soundly defeated and the war in Vietnam continued.
I worked in D.C. from 1967 through 1970. I saw how the place worked. It was obvious that this nice man from Georgia knew little about national politics. I just couldn’t vote for Jimmy Carter in spite of his ethics and warm personality. He just didn’t get national politics. Was I the kiss of death to these Republican candidates? They all lost to their Democratic opponents.
I did better with Ronald Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2. I had some problems with Bill Clinton, but wasn’t all that happy with his opponent anyway. Then came Barack Obama. He spoke at my daughter’s graduation at Northwestern in 2006. I still remember much of his speech. It was intelligent, direct and a challenge to the graduates. My wife turned to me and said, “He will be president someday.” I turned in disbelief and said that he was too young, from Illinois and an African American. How wrong I was.
Then, in 2008, here was this man against Hillary Clinton. I walked into my voting station for perhaps the 10th time. But this time, I asked for a Democratic primary ballot. I thought the head clerk was going to fall off her chair. Here was the son of a McBroom asking for a Democratic ballot.
Had I become one of those liberals I had long disliked and had voted against for 48 years? I loved the actions of Dwight Eisenhower and Reagan in facing the Soviets and their threats. I cheered the toppling of the Wall in his face off with Mikhail Gorbechev. But where had I strayed?
My respect for Obama kept me out of the Republican Party on the national level but had me quite Republican in the state and local elections. Then came the race to turn all stomachs. Donald Trump vs. Hillary. How could a country come down to those two choices?
As I analyzed my politics, I realized I really hadn’t changed all that much. It was the Republican Party that had changed. The party I had revered as the pillar of constitutional order was now indulging in transgressions against longstanding constitutional norms and against decency itself. The party that once stood against dictators was now led by a man who admired Putin and said he fell in love with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. A man who wanted a military parade for himself.
I thought of the Democratic Party and knew that they stood for many things that I do not believe in. The socialism side leaves me very cold. Too much free lunch does not set with a man of my age. The Democratic Party was rife with politicians that were hostile to Israel. I steadfastly admire that small country and its fight to continue to exist.
It doesn’t matter for whom I voted in 2016. There would be no winner. But more important was my analysis of my party affiliation for the future. I have had misgivings with Bernie Sanders, one-step-away from communism, from day one. We cannot let this man lead our country. My favorite line is, “Socialism is fine until the other guy runs out of money.” Our capitalistic society has brought us from a small colony to the strongest nation in the world. I agree we should not tamper with that.
On the other hand, Trump represents almost everything in a man that I despise. His egoism is unprecedented in that office. He disgust and disregard for the other two branches of the federal government is without precedent. His lack of talent in keeping the nation as one has not been seen since the presidents of the Vietnam era.
I am a conservative. I have watched the Democratic Party become the party of the Constitution. A man who won’t show his tax returns, and who will not divest himself of his assets into a blind trust as all preceding presidents have done, is not my type of leader. To dishonor subpoenas. To declare his power to build his beloved wall. To do all he can to eliminate the separation of powers shows me a man I mistrust. I see in him a desire to be a dictator. To hell with the balance of power. But who do we want to lead us for the next four years? The rich see a beacon in the sky. The NRA wants to keep their AR-15s. The less than intellectuals believe whatever he says, right or just wrong. The most fortunate want less tax on the upper income taxpayers. So they want to promote what is best for them. I get it.
Look at the Republican leaders like Sen. Lindsey Graham. Prior to his election, Graham was calling Trump “a race-baited xenophobic, a religious bigot, an embarrassment.” Now that he is elected, Graham hails Trump as Reagan’s second coming. Republicans today stand for nothing but the acquisition and retention of unabashed power and they want to keep it regardless of a flawed leader.
Perhaps a better answer is to deselect Trump. Maybe Biden isn’t the best man we could find, but it is time to have a person who listens to others. A person who uses the entire elected body to work together and bring our country back to healing. A man who jumps on a crisis rather than merely calling the corona virus nothing more than the flu when we should have been consolidating our forces. Even Trump’s nationally televised apology for lack of foresight was an attempt to claim how well he had done, reading poorly from a teleprompter a speech clearly he had not written.
I would assume he really didn’t want to confess that he was totally wrong with the virus, but smarter supporters saw his foolishness and wrote a speech that would at least acknowledge his errors without having to confess how he screwed up for several weeks. He even took credit for the gross misstatements he had made with regard to the scope of the disease and the readiness or lack thereof of our preparedness. His recent Rose Garden presentation was his taking credit for what others saw that he should do days and perhaps weeks before. Even the NBA beat him to the punch on how serious this disease really was. How embarrassing.
So, I will vote for anyone but Trump. If the Democrats come back in power, and they lapse back into their familiar dovish ways, I might come back to the Republican Party. Or am I really saying that the Republican Party might be coming back to me and my conservative beliefs along with a strong love of my country and my belief in the three tier balance of power and no dictator?