Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Rejecting Trump is the best way to save the Republican Party

I have been blogging whenever I can on the reasons why I believe Donald Trump is completely unfit to be president and why he should be rejected by the voters on November 8. I suggested there may be 50 reasons, probably more. I doubt I will come even close to listing 50 before election day. I think I can do a few more. Today, I want to explain why I believe rejecting Trump is the best way to save the Republican Party.

In my last post, I shared my response to a fundraising letter from the Trump campaign that included a postage paid envelope. (BTW I received a second letter and envelope several weeks after the first. I’m still thinking about what to send back.) In that response I wrote, “I have voted for Republicans in the past. Would I vote for Republicans in the future? When I find a Republican who takes global warming seriously and listens to scientists. When I find one who doesn’t engage in immigrant bashing or appeals to white supremacists. When I find one who really supports LGBTQ rights. Until then, you’ve lost me.” 

It is true that I have previously voted for Republicans. I voted for John McCain in the 2000 primary and Arnold Schwarzenegger in his re-election as California governor . Being a Republican on the right side of the climate issue was a major factor in my selections. I want to support Republicans who share my concerns on issues that are important to me.

My Irish Catholic parents were lifelong Democrats. Growing up in the depression, they idolized FDR. Electing an Irish Catholic president in 1960 was a dream come true for them. While I maintained my liberal bent in adulthood, I drifted away from the Democratic Party and viewed myself more as an independent. I came to reject the two-party system that has defined American politics since the early nineteenth century. There has to be a better way to select candidates. My late housemate Bob Berry also believed in a multi party system. His efforts to revive the Whig Party was mostly a joke that reflected his own frustration with the system that has come to be known as choosing between the lesser of two evils. For a number of years I was registered as a Whig.

When I have changed my registration to Democratic or Republican, it has been to be eligible to vote in that party’s presidential primary. in 2012, I registered Republican to vote for Jon Huntsman, another Republican who understands climate change. Obama was running unopposed as a Democrat, so no contest there. Unfortunately, Huntsman dropped out before the California primary. I ended up voting for Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate for either party. Since then, I have been on a number of Republican email lists. The emails keep coming, even though I have not given a penny.

This year, there was no question which party I would be selecting for the primary election. I could not find a single Republican that I could vote for in good conscience. I found several good candidates running as Democrats and finally selected Clinton as the best fit for that office with the best chance to win.

Then Trump became the Republican nominee. That is when they lost me. I can no longer go back to the Republican Party in its present form. Thanks to Donald Trump, I am for now a committed Democrat.

If the Republicans lose control of the Senate, they can blame Trump for their loss. In all of those fundraising emails I receive from Republican candidates, Trump’s name has not appeared even once. Democratic emails proudly align themselves with their presidential ticket.

In addition, to being unfit for the office of president, Trump has shown himself to be an incompetent campaigner. The California primary is a good example. We now have two Democrats running to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring from the Senate. That is because Harris and Sanchez received more votes than any of their Republican challengers. In California, the top two vote getters move onto the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. Meanwhile, Trump had sewn up the nomination before the primary. He came to the state and campaigned anyway, for himself. A seasoned candidate in Trump’s position would have looked at the field of Republican candidates and selected one that would have the best chance of coming in second and going to the general. Then campaigning across the state with that Senate candidate would have made sense. Even if the Democrat has the overwhelming advantage, the Democratic Party would still need to divert resources to prevent an upset. Guaranteed that the next senator will be a Democrat, the party is free to spend more in battleground states. Then again, the Republican candidates may have found Trump so toxic that none of them wanted his support. Trump ended up with less primary votes than Bernie Sanders, anyway. His time in California was a complete waste.

I feel for the conservatives’ dilemma. For them, Clinton is too liberal and Trump is completely unfit. I once suggested that they vote for Gary Johnson. He did, at one time, have the opportunity to gain the 15% of the polling numbers he needed to get into the debates. Since then, he has been fading with a series of “Aleppo moments.” Even before that, conservatives where jumping ship to the Clinton camp, including newspapers that have never endorsed a Democrat in their entire publishing histories. They know that a vote for a third party candidate only improves the chances of a Trump win. For them, that is reason enough to support Clinton.

As a Californian, I know I could easily vote for a third party candidate without fear of losing the state to Trump. I would certainly do that if I felt the Democratic candidate was as equally unfit for office. On the contrary, Clinton has shown herself to be quite fit and worthy of my vote. More importantly, I want to make sure that Trump is soundly defeated by double percentage digits. Then Trump would have less of an argument that the election was rigged against him, though I am sure he will argue that anyway. More importantly, I want the Republican Party to reassess its direction and return to the mainstream with candidates who could earn my vote.

I am still dissatisfied by our current to two-party system. A one-party system would be even worse. If Trump succeeds at destroying the Republican Party, we will need to create a better party or parties to take its place.

Advertisements

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shoot the Gays?

There has been a lot of commotion about the filing of an initiative in California that calls for killing LGBT people and imprisoning their allies.With $200, Huntington Beach attorney Matt McLaughlin filed the Sodomite Suppression Act, which calls for gays to be shot or killed by some other “convenient method.” Lawyers have pointed out a number of ways the proposed law violates the state and federal constitutions. There have been calls to have Mr. McLaughlin disbarred. Attorney General Kamala Harris has asked the state Supreme Court to relieve her of her duties to prepare a summary and title for the initiative that would have to happen before supporters can print copies of the petition and gather signatures. Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom has blasted out an email expressing his outrage, and by the way, reminds us he is running for governor. While I am happy to have their support, I disagree with Harris’ and Newsom’s efforts. How do I feel about the circulation of the Shoot the Gays petition? I say, “Bring it on!”

I would like to see the folks behind the initiative get their chance to gather the 365,880 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The first thing I would do is send a request to Mr. McLaughlin to send me 100 copies. If each copy has space for 10 signatures on a page, I am sure he would be eager to get those 1,000 signatures from me. Then, with petitions in hand, I will head straight to 18th and Castro in San Francisco and set up a table. There, I will invite the voters of California to write on the petitions exactly what they think of Mr. McLaughlin and his Sodomite Suppression Act. Being a believer in free speech, I promise not to censor any of the responses. I will send those “completed” petitions back to Mr. McLaughlin and, of course, ask for another 100 copies.

Even if the Sodomite Suppression Act sees the light of day on the streets of California, I doubt seriously it would becoming to a street corner near me. It takes a lot of money to circulate a petition and usually depends on paid signature gatherers. Initiative backers focus their efforts in places where those efforts will pay off with the most signatures. The plastics industry recently qualified a referendum to overturn the state’s plastic bag ban. I don’t know how many signatures they gathered in the Bay Area, but I did not see any signature gatherers here. I am sure a vast majority of those signatures were obtained from central California and other conservative parts of the state.

When Proposition 8 took away marriage rights from same sex couples, people began to question whether the initiative should be abolished. That was not the first time the California ballot has been used to take away rights. In the November 1964 election, a majority of voters overturned the Rumford Fair Housing Act that had been approved by the legislature and approved a proposition financed by theater owners to ban pay television. As with Prop 8, those propositions were invalidated by the courts.

We learned in history class that the ballot reforms of initiative, referendum, and recall are gifts of the Progressive movement. Progressives were alarmed about the power of the railroads and other big business interests to control the state government and act against the best interests of the people. Through initiatives, people can act when the legislature is inactive. Referendums can repeal unpopular laws enacted by the legislature. Recalls can remove elected officials when the people realize they made a mistake electing them in the first place.

Of the three, the recall has been used the least. The 2003 Gray Davis recall gave the state a ballot with 135 candidates for governor that included a former child actor and a porn actress. As with Prop 8, critics have cited that recall as an example of a dysfunctional process. However, the recall still has a reason to exist. It was an active recall campaign that convinced Bob Filner to resign as mayor of San Diego after being charged with sexual misconduct. While he could have been removed by impeachment, a lengthy trial process would have deprived San Diego of an effective, full time mayor. It should not be easy to recall a public official, but it a tool that should be available when needed.

The initiative process can and should be reformed. One method suggested by a friend is to require that a certain percentage of signatures come from every California county.  That means the Shoot the Gays supporters would have to collect signatures from San Francisco and Los Angeles. If most of their signatures came from Kern County and very few from San Francisco, they will fail to make the ballot.

There is one easy way to keep bad propositions off the ballot. When someone approaches you to sign a petition, don’t sign it unless you really understand what the initiative would do and you really want to see it on your ballot. Many initiatives are deceptive and signature gatherers will not tell you what you are really signing, many times because they don’t know themselves. Besides, the time they spend explaining it is less time they have to gather more signatures. To make you feel better, they’ll say, “Just sign it and get it on the ballot. You can still vote against in the election” They assure you that your signature will not count as an endorsement. Of course, when the backers file their petitions with the state, they will boast that all of those signatures show how much support they have.

Many times we sign because we know the gatherer is being paid for each signature. Petitioning has become a creative spare change scheme, a way of giving to a poor person without that change coming from your own pocket. Unfortunately, the money financing the initiative campaign is coming from special interests that are probably working against your interests and the interests of the person asking for your signature. It may be difficult to say no, but there are better ways to give people employment.

Finally, you can keep a lot of petitions off the ballot by doing one simple thing—vote. The number of signatures required to qualify an initiative is based on a percentage of the people who voted in the last general election The more people who vote in a general election, the more signatures the campaigns have to get, and they have go get them within a 3-month time period.

Some of the most satisfying political work I have done involved collecting signatures to get propositions on ballots, both state and local.Sometimes I was paid, and sometimes it was strictly volunteer. When I was paid, it wasn’t much. Sometimes, the campaign was successful, and other times, we fell short. In every case, it was an issue that was really important to me. Even in those losing campaigns, it was an opportunity to meet voters directly and discuss issues they probably would not have considered. I don’t want to abolish the ballot initiative. I want to return it to be what the Progressives intended it to be; a tool to make democracies even more democratic. The judicial branch would continue to protect minorities from being denied their rights, such as Prop 8 or repeal of the Rumford Act. California will certainly survive such silliness as “Shoot the Gays.”

March 28, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment