On October 30, 2018, Peter Daou, the former online communication adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s digital operations manager for her 2008 run, and a campaign advisor for a 2016 Democratic congressional candidate posed a simple but telling question on Twitter: “Why do people vote for Republicans?”
What is so telling about this question is that people truly do not understand why someone would vote for the Grand Old Party (GOP). The responses that poured in were abhorrent and would offend any reasonable person’s sense of decency. Rather than consider the idea that perhaps 63 million Americans voted for the GOP in 2016 because of some valid policy-based or well-considered reason, it became clear from the responses that anti-Republican vitriol was going to drown out any legitimate answers. Peter Daou’s Twitter following made it clear that they believe an individual is a Republican because they were either: (1) uneducated, (2) a bigot, or (3) brainwashed by Fox News.
I will admit that since 2016 the GOP has undoubtedly changed from the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush to the more off-the-cuff platform of Donald Trump. This has put the party in a position of having to constantly respond to the President’s comments or try to anticipate whatever his next Tweet might be. When President Trump says things like, “I love the poorly educated” after winning the Nevada primary, the media is going to emphasize that lower educated voters support Republicans more than do doctorate degree holders. It also does not help when the party has bad messengers like Steven King in Iowa or sends people to congress like Marjorie Greene in Georgia.
Sure, the GOP has its bad apples, but so does the Democratic Party. While every voter will remember the FBI reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use in October of 2016, what most people forget is that this case was reopened only because disgraced Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, the then-husband of Clinton’s campaign manager, inappropriately sent photos of himself for the third time and to a 15-year-old child. The former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Robert Byrd (WV-D) was the President Pro Temp of the U.S. Senate, not in 1867 or 1907, but in 2007. He remained in that position until his death in 2010. If the argument being presented by the left is that because President Trump is a current leader in his party, or because certain members of the party have said or done bad things, that every Republican candidate is guilty of the same, then maybe we should hold the Democratic Party to the same standard?
Both parties have their high and low watermarks. If we assume this is the lowest point for the Republican Party, does that mean the solution is to jump ship? No. In fact, this would be a time to double-down. If I, a Republican, disagree with the direction of the party and I leave in protest, all I have done is take my voice out of the equation and permit the voting base to go further away from where it was when I joined.
Beyond the traditional ideological reasons, part of my reason to double-down and be more vocal about my support of the GOP is partially spiteful. Frankly, the constant anti-Trump bias has gotten old and we want solutions beyond not being Trump. Of all Peter Daou’s comments on Twitter, this was the best Republican viewpoint presented: that people can vote Republican, despite disdain for Trump, because of “sneering condescension [from the people] who can’t accept that intelligent and ethical individuals can look at an issue and come to a different conclusion.” His small-mindedness to our country’s most critical issues was further demonstrated when someone provided a legitimate answer of lower taxes or fiscal responsibility, Peter Daou would respond back with a sneering and condescending comment. This was backed up by actress Nancy Lee Grahn who stated that people were only Republicans because they were “dropped on their head at birth.”
There is a certain ego that comes from the American left that just turns me, and a lot of other Republicans and Independents, off. This ego is exactly why Peter Daou made his post. It was not so that he could learn why people are Republicans, but to give his Twitter following a chance to mock Republicans. This attitude is pervasive with deep roots. Donald Trump is President today because 2016 primary Republicans were getting tired of this identity politics, queued up and supported by the left. If you disagree with Republican or conservative viewpoints, you are free to do so and are free to respond. But a civil discussion is not what liberals are seeking. Instead, the typical response is to gather a mob to intimidate, shout over or marginalize them to silence their voices. It is automatically assumed that disagreement with the left equates to racism, lack of education, or some other form of ignorance. You might silence a person on social media or make them reluctant to be open and upfront about their politics, but they will get you back at the ballot box, where their voice really matters.