My Ohio Senator Rob Portman has come out and said that he would be writing in the name of Mike Pence for president. It’s interesting that he should express the vote of his conscience while he has a third-party conservative challenging him. Of course Scott Rupert can’t win, but neither will all the write-ins for Mike Pence. It’s not a binary choice for president, so Portman can do whatever he wants. It’s not a binary choice for Senate either, and any conservative who looks at Portman, a McConnell lackey who supported Thad Cochran over Chris McDaniel and who only bucks leadership with permission, cannot in good conscience vote for him over a conservative who at best hasn’t yet lied to us.
The Republican Party of 2017 and beyond has three factions who have zero trust for the other two. The GOP Establishment has been in charge for decades, and for decades we have let the likes of Hastert and Lott, and now Ryan and McConnell, spend like Democrats. Then we have conservatives like former Sen. Jim DeMint and former Rep. Mike Pence who began calling out the GOPe for their liberal leadership, and this morphed into the tea party and liberty groups and the growth of conservative websites. Finally, and I know NeverTrumpidians hate to hear this, but the honest Democrats and independents who support Trump need to be persuaded to remain with the conservative party which, debatable as it might be, is still the Republican Party. If you’re not going to welcome these Trump supporters, then I don’t know which Obama voters you are going to persuade to expand the party so we can actually win a presidential election one of these years.
It sounds like Ted Cruz’s line about voting one’s conscience is being vindicated as Portman, Chaffez, McCain and others scamper from the Trump ship and have now decided their conscience is more important than party. But when considering a vote for Portman or any other GOPe on the ballot, we need to recognize that this is the EXACT behavior they have done in the past. Declare some principle, and then run away after 24 hours of bad CNN coverage. They can’t stand up to Obama when they said they would; they can’t stand with Trump when they said they would. It would be nice to see the GOPe declare a principle greater than that of re-election because they haven’t stuck through with anything else yet.
I worry about the election result. We had a Democrat sweep in 2006 because of GOPe tactics like the ones we see today, and I think the weak knees of our Senators and Representatives are more problematic than the Trump bus video. Their panic may cost us the Senate and maybe some seats in the House. These Republicans may have now lost the Trump voter that they actually need to win their race. Are they planning on gaining the Hillary voter by only now recognizing and acknowledging all of Trump’s problems? I don’t think so.
Three fighting factions can’t win a national vote. We all have different expectations for how to win an election and we can’t all be right. I just hope that our 2020 primary (which will happen with or without a Trump victory, I’m sure) will have a steadfastly unified direction that will unify the party and hopefully the country.