I will not be voting for Donald Trump this November.
I have supported and voted for every Republican nominee since I was eligible to vote for Ronald Reagan in 1984. I was rather inspired by both Reagan and Mitt Romney. I respected the candidacies of the first President Bush, George W. Bush and John McCain. I thought Bob Dole’s run was a disaster but still voted for him while holding my nose.
But I will draw the line at Donald Trump despite him being the presumptive Republican nominee this year.
The man is, in my mind, utterly unsuitable for the role of U.S. President. He is flaky, amoral, unprincipled and utterly undisciplined. His economic ideas will trigger a recession. He is neither a Republican nor a conservative. His treatment of minorities is unconscionable. He threatens our alliances with allies across the globe. The idea of his finger on the nuclear trigger is truly frightening.
I cannot in good conscience defend a vote for the man. But, I’m not a Hillary supporter either (despite Bernie Sanders’ continued efforts, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee). My current plan is to leave the spot on my ballot for the U.S. presidency blank.
But, if you are an Idaho Republican running for office this year, you’ll likely be asked if you support Donald Trump or not.
If you have a viable Democratic opponent, they’ll certainly make him an issue. Television ads are already starting to run around the country tying GOP candidates to Trump, his mouth and his goofy ideas. Expect that tact to trickle down to lower level races in red states like Idaho.
The reason is that Trump is despised by broad swaths of the American public.
According to the latest CNN poll, he trails Clinton by 13 points, a gap not seen in decades. Respected political analyst Larry Sabato says Trump is not competitive in a single swing state. Women hate him with 69% having a negative view and an astonishing 58% holding a “very negative” view, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. His numbers among Hispanics are jaw-dropping bad (despite his eating a taco salad coupled with tweeting his love for Hispanics – it may have something to do with calling Mexican immigrants rapists).
Last week Idaho Politics Weekly released a poll showing a third of Idaho Republican are like me: They don’t intend to vote for Trump.
So, how do you get through this year’s campaign as a Republican candidate?
One option is to fully embrace Trump as the Republican nominee. Many Republican will take that approach, hoping that they’ll receive a pass on the grounds of party loyalty.
Another approach is stay fuzzy. Something along the line that, “I haven’t yet made up my mind as to who I’ll vote for.” Frankly, I think that would resonate with many voters who are similarly conflicted.
For the more adventurous, there is the avenue taken by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). He thinks neither Trump or Clinton are suitable and he calls for a third ballot choice, a “to serve for only one term, as a care-taker problem-solver for this messy moment.” You can read his interesting Facebook take here.
Finally, even if no third choice emerges, a variation might be to argue that both major party candidates are fatally flawed, that neither is suitable for the presidency and indicate flat-out opposition to both Trump and Clinton. If I were running, that would be my inclination.
It will be interesting to see what individual Idaho GOP candidates do.