Sunday, August 13, 2017

To My Republican Friends

I never expected you to vote for Hillary Clinton, and I appreciated when you didn't vote for Donald Trump either. I don't expect you to agree with me about taxes, health care, the Supreme Court, or foreign policy. After all, someday I could change my own mind about those things—I don't need my friends to reflect my own views back at me, and I learn from discussion and debate.

And I know that the political news offers you plenty of fat targets to criticize, like identity politics and political correctness. I don't think you're wrong to criticize those things.

But as your friend, I want you to know that I'm starting to blame you for Donald Trump. 

I'd been feeling this way more and more, but the tragic weekend in Charlottesville has called the question.

The President is unfit to lead. What will you do about it? Keep your head down for the next three years? 

I hope not, because there are things that only a Republican can do.

First, a small thing: build a movement among conservative legislators to require President Trump to release his tax returns. I'm not a conspiracy theorist and don't have particular ideas about what might be found in the returns, but Trump's refusal to release them was a thumb in the eye of our politics. It was a signal that Trump wasn't going to submit to oversight of any kind. Your party let him get away with it. Correct your mistake now. 

Second, start laying groundwork for a presidential primary challenge in 2020. Encourage a great Republican candidate to run; donate early; join the team as an advisor. (Let me know who you're backing, and I'll donate too.) A primary challenger would likely lose, but a primary challenger would also give a voice to true Republicanism while Trump is destroying it. Yes, a primary increases the chances that a Democrat will win the general election; but it's a mistake to see a second Trump administration as a victory for Republicans. It's the opposite—a point of no return for the party. 

Maybe there are other things you can do—maybe there are things you're already doing to put your house in order. I hope so, because the time of choosing is here. You can't sit this one out.

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