A Brief History of why I’ve never voted for Donald Trump.

I have never voted for this guy. Here’s why.

I have never voted for Donald Trump. In this brief post I will attempt to explain why not.

In the Fall of 2015 I began the process of deciding who I would vote for in the 2016 Republican Primary in my home state of Illinois and who I would then vote for in the subsequent Presidential election.

I watched every debate and did much research as I tried to reach my eventual decision. There were 17 candidates running for President to begin with. This article lists all 17.

10 of the original 17 Republican Primary Candidates circa 2015

After watching 2 rounds of debates I had decided that there were 15 candidates that I would be able to support if they eventully received the nomination. Donald Trump was one of the 2 I decided I would not be able to vote for if he won the nomination.

In the time between making that decision and the Illinois Republican Primary nothing happened to change my mind about that decision. In fact, by the time the Primary came along I was even more certain that I could not in good conscience support Trump and did not vote for him. This post written in Feb of 2016 goes into greater detail why at the time I thought I “would never vote for him.”

In the months that led up to the general election nothing changed my conviction that I could not support Mr. Trump. Again when election day 2016 came on the first Tuesday of November I did not vote for Trump.

After Trump was inaugurated I quickly came to the opinion that Preisdent Trump was a far worse president than I thought he was going to be. (This post I wrote in the summer of 2019 urges people to hold Trump accountable for his actions.) As a result I did not vote for him in the Illinois Primary this past March. Shortly after the primary election I came to the opinion that President Trump was a much worse president during the pandemic crisis than he was prior to it. I also came to the opinion sometime this Spring or Summer that President Trump was a much worse incumbent candidate than he was when he was first seeking the office.

As a result this past November I did not vote for President Trump on the 4th time that I was given the opportunity to do so.

In summary I decided in the Fall of 2015 that I would not be able to vote for Trump and nothing in the 5 years that followed changed my mind. So at each opportunity I have either voted for someone else or have left that part of my ballot blank.

I’m certain I could explain this in further detail, but I fear that if I did, it would cease to be a brief history.

10 Things I’d Like to See the Republican Party Do Now That the Election is Over.

My former pastor and fellow blogger Lindy Scott mentioned in a recent post, a list of upcoming posts that he would be addressing in his blog. One of those was about the future of the Republican Party. This reminded me that there are some specific areas that I would like to see the GOP address going forward now that the transition to a Biden Presidency has begun.

These issues are as follows …

Abortion

I’ve heard it said that Donald Trump has been the most pro-life president this country has ever had. I am not sure if this statement has any merit, but for my present purpose the veracity of the statement need not come into play.

Abortion, in my mind, is one of the most critical issues of my lifetime. I am against abortion but I must admit that those on the other side of the issue have been very effective labelling it as a reproductive rights issue rather than a pro-choice issue. The bottom line is it is a human rights issue and it should be addressed as one. I would like to see Republicans (and Democrats for that matter) stand up for all life particularly for those like the human fetus who cannot defend themselves.

During the past election season, I viewed commercial after commercial where Republicans (and some Democrats like Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski) were lambasted for their extreme views on abortion.

Click here to see one such ad against Lipinski.

Their “extreme” views were that abortion should be ended and that our tax dollars shouldn’t fund abortion. These views are not extreme and need to be talked about in the light of day.

I would like to see Republicans not only stand strong against abortion but also lead the discussion on how to solve this problem. Many people align themselves with the Republican party because of this issue. So far, I don’t believe they haven’t gotten very much return on their investment.

Racial Reconciliation

It is often said that perception is reality. I think I can argue effectively for or against that statement. That is probably from my debate background. For now, let’s just concede that it’s a true statement. Lets review some perceptions for a moment.

Donald Trump has often been perceived as a racist. The Republican Party, it has been argued, has become the Donald Trump party. So if both those perceptions are in fact, reality does it follow that the Republican Party is racist?

I fervently hope not. But this perception is very real to many and I am certain this perception precluded many people from voting for Republicans in general and Trump in particular when they may have been more inclined to vote for them if these perceptions didn’t exist.

Republicans need to show an immediate conciliatory approach to race relations in this country. Something I learned in my over 20 years in customer service is that its okay for me to apologize for something that isn’t my fault. Slavery wasn’t my fault. But I am sorry about it. It was a horrible practice to strip people from their homes and exploit, humiliate, and subjugate them. It is a shameful part of our history and it’s even more shameful that we are still so divided racially in this country. It is just as shameful that so many people are ignorant of or tone deaf to these inequalities.

Republicans need to be on the leading edge of promoting racial harmony. The first step would be found in embracing the problem, even if the problem is just a perception. Changing the perception of the party to accepting people of all races rather than being perceived as a party of racists would be an important step in the right direction.

COVID 19

President elect Biden credits his victory in some part to making Trump’s handling of Covid a major issue of the election. Republicans need to work with Biden and the Democrats as much as they can in stopping the spread of Covid. There is no logical reason why this should not be a bi-partisan slam dunk of an issue.

I think that Republicans do need to stand up and make sure that aborted fetal tissues are not used in potential co-vid vaccines. They need to be pro-actively seeking out scientific solutions that don’t endanger any vulnerable populations including the unborn.

Distancing from Donald Trump

Speaking of covid, the Republicans need to begin socially and politically distancing themselves from the soon to be erstwhile president. There needs to be an almost Costanzalike mantra in any Republican politician asking what Trump would do, and then doing the opposite.

An example of this would be, if you find yourself speaking at a press conference and you are asked by a reporter what you would tell the millions of Americans who are scared. You probably don’t want to go with “I’d tell them you’re a bad reporter.”

Click here to see the exchange I’m referring to.

Another thing I learned in customer service is that apologizing for someone else is nowhere near as effective as solving the person’s problem. Solving the problem by employing a different approach than the way it was originally mishandled is more effective than just an apology on its own. Republicans going forward by handling issues in a way not reminiscent of Trump will go a long way in making the party a more viable choice for others in the future.

Establish a Platform

The Republicans chose not to have a platfrom at the 2020 Trump infomercial convention. This was a mistake. Their alternative was even worse. In the document the RNC did provide they stated that

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;
RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

Resolution Regarding The Republican Party Platform 2020

Some readers may have bristled when I said a few paragraphs ago that there was a perception that the Republican Party had become the Donald Trump Party. When a document designed to show your party’s guiding principles says your party’s mission is to enthusiastically support your President’s agenda, it’s hard not to get that perception.

Adherence to this document means now that President Trump is on his way out of office, the plan for next 4 years is to enthusiastically support the agenda of a former one term president who lost both the popular and electoral vote? As far as plans go, this is not a great one.

The party needs to redefine itself and represent that redefinition to the public.

Address Gun Violence

One of the hallmarks of a two-party system is that each party addresses issues in their own way. This is good and can be very effective. However, I believe that the gun issue is one that keeps many people from voting Republican or at least from feeling good about it. Guns may not kill people but they are part of the equation. Republicans need to realize that the gun lobby is never going to support Democrats. They can afford to pass laws that protect citizens better without infringing on their 2nd amendment rights. It’s hard to argue that women don’t have rights over their own bodies but everyone has rights to all manners of weapons. It’s easier to argue that both parties should limit their rights that could deny other people life.

Widen Base

The Republicans need to take steps in the next 4 years to widen their base. Again, I think a concilatory approach is what is needed here. I think the Republican party can be a party of inclusion by showing that they can meet the needs of their constituents. I think by making some of the changes I have listed here a priority in the future they can add to their base without losing their historic identity.

Reform Immigration Compassionately

There are few places where walking back Trump rhetoric and actions is more important than immigration. Immigration is an important issue in this country. It is not going to get solved in a tweet or a debate. It is one of those issues that I believe needs to be solved on a bi-partisan basis. The reason why I say this is because otherwise it will just change from election to election depending on which party is in power. If Republicans want to build a multi racial base, they can do so by helping Democrats solve immigration permanently.

Reestablish Sound Foreign Policy

I know very little about foreign policy. What I do know is that Donald Trump’s approach was far different than the historical Republican approach. I believe the foreign policies of Trump should be abandoned and the old approach brought back.

Appeal to Independents.

I don’t think most Americans are 100% red or 100% blue, I think we are red, white and blue. Republicans living in a post Trump society should go forward trying to craft their message in a way that independents and the undecided can relate with. They should listen to their constituencies and meet needs and embrace change.

Now, none of these 10 things talk about free market capitalism or small government or many of the other Republican fundamentals. Other peoples’ lists may look totally different than mine. In fact, some peoples’ items might be opposites of the ones on my list. But that’s okay, I think the most important aspect of this exercise was not the examination of the Republican Party but the examination of my values to see how the political parties line up to them. I also have a list of things I’d like to see the Democrats do in a Biden administration.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned how Lindy Scott ended his most recent post talking about other posts he is working on. I’d like to do the same.

Other subjects I would like to address in the future would be …

Sizing up the 16 other Republican Primary candidates in 2016 for a run in 2024.

Why Bipartisanship is so important in the early days of the Biden Presidency.

Why a Trump 2024 candidacy would be a step in the wrong direction.

Those are just the political ones, I also have several chili recipes I’d like to spill the beans about.

The Politics of Christianity

*** If you are stopping by from the a to z road trip, click here to get links for all my 2020 a to z posts. If you want to see what the blog looks like post a to z challenge, feel free to read this post prior to clicking***

Dave Handles the Tough Issues

The other day I overheard my wife Amy ask the following question:

“How come all the people I know who are protesting the stay at home order are Christians and the people I know who are defending the order are not?”

It is a great question, one that she’s going to ask our small group leader when we meet next. It got me thinking not only about that question but about some broader questions that her question made me ponder. One of these was: Is american evangelicalism becoming more about politics and less about following Christ?

Wikipeidia defines Evangelicalism as

Evangelicalism (/ˌiːvænˈdʒɛlɪkəlɪzəm, ˌɛvæn-, -ən/), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, solely through faith in Jesus’s atonement.] Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God‘s revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.

Wikipedia

That simply is what I mean when I say that I am a Christian. I’ve been saved by God through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that I am called to share this good news to all. “Christian” may mean other things to other people, but this is what I mean by it. Also, since we are doing definitions, when I say “Church” I mean the world wide group of Christians per the above definition.

My concern is that evangelicalism at least in America seems to be adding to the Wikipedia definition. Which leads us back to Amy’s question. Why was all the support she was seeing for the stay at home order coming from those who believed differently than she does and everything she was seeing in opposition to the stay at home order coming from “like minded” believers.

Now it doesn’t surprise me that there is a political divide in this country about the response to the corona virus. There seems to be a political divide in this country about everything these days. We all seem to have been transported into a Seussian childrens’ book entitled “Red State, Blue State.” I get that. What I don’t get is that the evangelical church seems to have picked sides.

I remember 30 to 40 years ago when the republican party was courting the evangelical vote, but since then it seems like they’ve got engaged to it. Why is the church getting engaged to the republican party when we are supposed to be the Bride of Christ?

My political beliefs tend to originate from my Christian faith. A better way to say that is my faith informs my political preferences. I do vote republican much of the time, but there have been many instances where my faith has informed me the better candidate was not riding on the elephant. I have received much grief, even ridicule over the years for this practice. Some people it seems, have their political preference inform their faith. A few years ago a young man who had just moved to our near Chicago suburb from downstate Illinois visited our youth group. While introducing himself he said something to the effect of “Of course I’m a Christian I’m a Republican.”

Over the years I have seen a growing tendency to think the exact thing. This kind of thinking has had many evangelical leaders promote Republican dogma like it’s a tenet of the Christian faith. One of my heroes, the late Billy Graham, has 3 very instructive quotes regarding the mix of politics and religion.

…  it would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.

Billy Graham – Parade Magazine 1981


“I’m just going to preach the gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues. If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the gospel.”

Billy Graham 2005 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

“I’m trying to stay out of it and just keep preaching the gospel, because there’s nothing coming out of Washington or any of those places that are going to save the world or transform men and women. It’s Christ,”

Billy Graham 1987 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

I think that Graham’s quotes are even more instructive when you consider in his lifetime he met and prayed with every president from Truman to Obama.

Unfortunately not everyone agrees with Graham on this. I have been embarrassed and outraged by how unchristian much of the political rehtoric I see by fellow believers. Our President had his share of rants during the early days of his daily co-vid briefings. On at least 2 occasions he went off on journalists who were asking valid questions. In both cases, I saw on Facebook people I respected saying the reporters deserved those attacks and not one apology for our President’s behavior. One person referred to one rant as one of the best things he ever heard him say. The main gist of the commentary was that the left deserved everything the President was doling out.

As a Christian I believe that the only thing I deserve is a Christless eternity as a result of my own sins. I also beleieve that my salvation comes from God through Christ and is taught in the Bible. Nothing else is needed. When evangelicals defend unchristian behavior because they like the politics behind it they are not showing an understanding of Christ’s redemptive love to a watching world.

I am very passionate about political involvement. I have written many blog posts, letters to the editor and letters to my elected officials regarding my beliefs. I have had many politically charged conversations and firmly believe that I have a duty and a responibility to share my convictions with my representatives.

Another passion I have is my passion to shower the world with the love of Christ. If I had to choose between passions I hope I’d choose the passion mandated in the Bible. Jesus states this passion very succinctly in the book of John …

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

As I come to an end of my thoughts about Christianity and politics, I will try to circle back and answer my wife’s question. The Christian response to the Covid 19 situation, or any situation for that matter, should be the response that speaks in the economy of God rather than man. Man’s economy may be all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. God’s economy is about experiencing Christ’s love, sharing that love and putting others needs ahead of your own.

President Trump can only have it both ways when people let him

Before I get to the heart of my post, I want to clarify some of my positions on things from the outset. I am a conservative pro-life Christian who has predominantly voted for Republican candidates for 35 years. Also, I think that Donald Trump is by far the worse President this country has ever had.

There are many people who agree with my conservative beliefs and there are certainly many who agree with my estimation of our current President. However, the amount of people who meet in the center of that particular Venn Diagram is much much smaller than those in one end or the other,

For some reason this still surprises me. The reasons why I feel like I do about President Trump are too many to go into in one blog post. However all of them to me are very logical and in my mind should make sense to just about anyone. Almost all of my objections come down to his character and his seeming lack of any virtuous attributes.

In short, I have never been able to trust the man and anything he says or does is very easy for me to see the falsehood, hypocrisy or manipulative attempt in.

Last week John Dean , who was White House Counsel under Nixon, testified before Congress comparing The Mueller report to the Watergate hearings which eventually led to multiple criminal convictions including his own and Nixon’s resignation.

Trump’s “substantive” response when asked about Dean, while celebrating with the Indy 500 winner at the White House, was that “John Dean has been a loser for many years,” he then continued to say “he’s been a loser for a long time. He went to prison, he was disbarred but besides that he’s a great guy.”

He doesn’t even address the question, just dismisses Dean as a loser because he’s a disbarred felon.

I found it very easy to see inconsistencies in Trump’s comment. I immediately thought of Charles Colson, who like John Dean, was heavily involved in the Watergate scandal. Colson has long been one of my heroes. He had a conversion to Christianity in prison. After his release from prison, he started an organization called Prison Fellowship that has had profound impact on prisons and society at large world wide. Colson died in 2012 and was revered in the evangelical community that has been so supportive of Trump.

After I heard Trump’s Dean quote, I googled “Trump praises Colson” and found a transcript from the a speech Trump made at the National Day of Prayer earlier this spring. In the speech, Trump praises Colson and the work he did for Prison Fellowship.

So I was thinking, why didn’t Trump just say, “Colson was a loser for a long time, he went to prison, he was disbarred, but besides that he was a great guy?”

The answer is obvious, Dean gave an unfavoeable opinion of the President. Many of Colson’s followers support Trump , so there was no need to dismiss him. The truth is that Colson and Dean both went to prison and were both disbarred. If we take Trump at his word that Dean is a loser because he went to prison , then shouldn’t Colson be one as well? And for that matter shouldn’t Prison Fellowship just be called loser fellowship? Why would Trump support a group that only helps losers?

By characterizing Dean as a loser, Trump is able to dodge legitimate questions about what Dean said. We should not let him do that. Trump’s inconsistency cannot be ignored. He needs to be held accountable for his comments and his actions. As I used to say, if someone is off base, we need to tag them out. Trump has been hovering between first and second base since he announced his candidacy and very few seem willing to do anything about it.

But what can we do about it? First of all, we should always seek the truth in a matter. If someone says something , we should check it out. We need to develop discernment. We need to operate between the extremes of accepting and believing everything we hear and accepting and believing nothing we hear. We also need to be far less partisan about things. I often challenge Trump supporters who attempt to defend any of his undefendable behaviors by asking how they would feel about that behavior if it was done by a Democrat or if Trump himself was a Democrat. If I ever get a reasonable response I’ll let you know.

He’s doing better than Hilary would have is not a defense. The economy is good is not a defense. He’s putting in the right kind of Supreme Court Justices is not a defense. Neither Trump nor any politician should be given a free pass especially by his own party when being inconsistent in their responses. Most of us feel we deserve better representatives but I’m not sure that we expect better or do much to insure better. Holding our politicians responsible for what they say and do is a needed step in that direction.

What Republicans need to know if they want my vote in November

Six Word Saturday

My Six:

I’ll never vote for Donald Trump.

Let me bullet point it for you.

  •  Back in August of last year I ranked the 17 republican candidates for president. the Donald came in 17th.  
  • The only reason why he comes in 6th now is that 11 of the candidates have since dropped out of the race.One of the 16 other candidates was a pro choice republican.  I am on the record of stating that I would never again vote for a pro-choice republican.  I would be hundreds of times more likely to vote for that candidate than Trump
  • I don’t hate Trump.  I just don’t trust him.
  • I don’t trust anyones whose go to answer is I’ll be great at it.
  • I don’t hate Trump.  I just don’t respect him.
  • I cant respect anyone whose answer to those who disagree with him is to deride them.
  • I get very upset when any of the other candidates when trying to frame the discussion back to Republican versus Democrat state that any republican candidate would be better than Obama, Sanders or Clinton.
  • It only takes watching 1 debate (and I have watched all but 1 of them) to see that Trump does not have the character to lead this country.
  • When he is booed which is often. He assumes  The people booing are wrong.
  • In the last debate he took a pot shot at Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who had been out of the race for some time.  When booed he attributed it to donors who back Jeb Bush.  The truth is he was attacking Graham in a debate in South Carolina, a week before the primary there.  
  • I feel there are many people like me who will never vote for Trump.  
  • But I am afraid there are more people who are willing to go along with who ever secures the nomination.
  • I will not be among them.

For more six word saturday click here.

Also posted at HSD #YBD=HSD