I am going to vote in the Georgia runoff elections today. I have gone to public forums, heard the candidates speak, seen their ads and done my own research. To be quite honest, the last thing I care about is who President Trump endorsed. Yet as I am reading the coverage that is out there, popular opinion seems to be that the GOP runoff for Governor is a referendum on the President because he endorsed one of the candidates.
With the current state of coalition on the right, those of us who oppose socialism, identity politics, the increasingly intolerant left and a much bigger federal footprint need to be clear. Local and state elections are just that. We should be looking at the candidate who most closely represents our values and pull the lever.
To preserve majorities in the House and Senate, we must do this in very large numbers in November. And we need to ignore the voices telling us we must vote Democrat to oppose Trump. It's simply not true.
If you view my social media history, I was clearly #NeverTrump through November of 2016 and openly admit I voted for a 3rd Party candidate. In retrospect, I am no more embarrassed by President Trump than the candidate I did vote for, so I view 2016 as a wash. Determined to deal with the reality of a Trump presidency to the best of my ability, I chose to look at the actions of his administration as objectively as I could and support what I could agree with and criticize what I don't.
I am happy with the action taken on taxes, the individual mandate repeal, the judiciary appointments, leaving the Iran Deal and the Paris Climate Accords and the majority of activities in the immigration arena. I like the majority of the administration appointees and am particularly fond of Nikki Haley, General Mattis and Mick Mulvaney. I think trade wars are exceptionally risky, worry tariffs are going to backfire in a big way and wince at some of the pandering to dictators. There's more, but you get it. I agree with the administration on some stuff and don't really like other stuff. It's sort of like every other administration ever in that regard.
And maybe I'm off base, but I think the majority of the coalition on the right, with the exception of the most shrill MAGA supporters, view politics the same way. We have a long tradition of debating ideas and while our unity in opposing much of the Obama agenda was remarkable, I was never under the impression the solutions offered by the various groups within the coalition were lock step.
So, how do I go in to 2018? The same way I have gone into every other election. I look at the candidates running, their history and their position on issues I care about. Then I pick the one that is the best match for my world view. If we can't get the Trump skeptical or opposition on the right to do the same thing without feeling like voting for a GOP or Trump endorsed candidate is somehow validating Trump in a holistic way, the coalition may be further divided.
So I am going to vote in the runoff today and my sole focus is to select the candidates to represent the GOP in and for Georgia that I feel will do the best job if elected. In November I will go and pull the lever for whichever candidate most closely represents my policy preferences and values. We need to encourage every member of the right minded coalition to do the same.
In some cases it will be because of Trump and that is fine. In others it will be in spite of Trump and that is necessary.