It’s not just Trump.
As reprehensible as he is (and as much as he likes to pretend otherwise), Donald Trump did not become the Republican candidate for President of the United States on his own. He has been backed by a party that, if it doesn’t like his candidacy exactly, at least likes it enough to have done nothing to stop it.
And that’s not all they’ve done. Republicans at every level of government have been responsible for the obstructionist, toddler-temper-tantrum, if-I-can’t-have-ice-cream-no-one-gets-any-food-at-all turn our politics have taken in recent years. They’re sitting on a Supreme Court nominee whose record as a jurist is stellar and whose politics align almost entirely with the GOP’s own. They shut down the government rather than agree to do their jobs. Multiple times. Their stated goal for 2012 was to make Barack Obama a one-term president, and when they failed to do that, they flung themselves full-length in the road and wailed for four years.
These are adults, in case you’re wondering.
At the state level, where I live, Republicans have gutted our schools, stripped funding for localities to fix roads, and obstructed the democratic process at every level, from depriving entire cities of their right to vote to blocking validly-petitioned-for ballot measures from reaching the ballot. Under Republican leadership, we gained the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt state legislature in the country.
Oh, and Flint still doesn’t have clean water, while our governor spends taxpayer money fighting for the “right” to continue not fixing the problem.
I’m voting a straight Democratic ticket because I am fed up to here with a party that ruins my state, steals my and my neighbor’s basic democratic rights, and allows a demagogue-ic gasbag like Trump within 270 electoral votes of the White House.
Whenever my attempts to choose which is the “right person for the job” have failed me in the past, I’ve always fallen back on affirmative-action voting. Specifically, given two otherwise even choices, I vote for (a) the person of color, (b) the openly disabled person, and/or (c) the woman.
This year, my affirmative-action approach aligns almost exactly with my options for voting. From President of the United States to federal and state representatives to county offices to my mayor and city council member, the Republicans on my ballot are uniformly white men; the Democrats are uniformly people of color, openly disabled people, women, or all of the above.
That’s not to say I didn’t try to get informed. I did my usual homework. And then I realized that not only did my homework indicate I would be voting Democrat in nearly every race on my ballot, based on merit, but that that vote would align with my “fallback” plan as well as my “get informed” plan. In other words, the people of color, disabled people, and women on my ballot are more qualified to do the job than the white men.
That made my decision a whole lot easier.
Have I suddenly fallen in love with the Democrats? No. In fact, I find myself for the first time with no party on my ballot that represents my actual political interests and opinions. But I have realized that the Republicans cannot be trusted to lead at any level, and I know that only the Democrats have a realistic chance of taking their place. And that’s enough for me to pull the lever tomorrow.