Here's Why This Lifelong Republican Is Voting 'Mechanically' For Democrats 'Until Trumpism Is Defeated'
On Monday, the Lowy Institute published an editorial by Robert E. Kelly, a professor of international relations at South Korea's Pusan International University. In the piece, Kelly explained why he considers this year's elections to be critically important — and why he turned his back on the Republican Party.
The notion that every election is the most important event in our lifetimes, Kelly writes, is a clichÃ©. "But 2016 must be the most important post-Cold War American election ... Donald Trump has brought to the fore far more racism than most white American elites thought was out there in American life. Trump has also exposed an authoritarian temptation in the US population that almost no one thought possible in the world’s oldest democracy."
Even worse, warns Kelly, "Trump is also remaking the Republican party in his own image, which increasingly looks like the semi-fascist National Rally (formerly the National Front) in France. The US has never had a blood-and-soil nationalist party, but if one watches Trumpist media, most obvious is Fox News, in the weeks running up to this week's midterm election, the messaging is drenched in racialism, if not openly racist."
It is easy to see what Kelly is discussing. In the final weeks, Republicans have thrown away their original plan to sell themselves on the economy and their failed, unpopular tax cuts for the megawealthy, and are instead seeking to mobilize their voters with overwrought warnings of an "invasion" of nonwhite migrants, and a promise to resume inhumane family separations and repeal the 14th Amendment to stop it.
As far as Kelly is concerned, GOP complicity in the Trump agenda means that only a Democratic victory can curtail this march toward authoritarianism.
"Under Mitch McConnell and Trump, the GOP has already experimented with questionable constitutional manoeuvres, such as extremely strict voter identification laws, leaving a Supreme Court seat purposefully unfilled, militarising the border, government shut-downs and debt default threats to blackmail Democrats, endless filibustering, and so on," he writes. "All this will worsen, and the GOP in power will increasingly spark constitutional crises."
"I say all this as a life-long registered Republican. I have voted in GOP primaries since I was 18. I have been a general election swing voter since the GOP began to radicalise under Bush II, but I never switched party registration, because I figured the GOP needed someone to vote for moderates in the primaries. While this was uncomfortable under Bush and then Sarah Palin, under Trump it was a disaster. I voted a straight Democratic ticket (via absentee) for the first time in my life in this election, including for one candidate I believe is inferior to his GOP opponent."
"But this is absolutely necessary, and I hope any American readers will do the same," Kelly concludes. "Donald Trump is a threat to both American democracy and liberalism. He is turning the Republican party into the racist, semi-authoritarian National Front. He needs to be decisively defeated at the ballot box this week and in 2020. The best way to do that is to vote mechanically for the Democrats until Trumpism is defeated."