Tuesday Jul 19, 2016
Tuesday Jul 19, 2016
Tuesday Jul 19, 2016
I am a radical moderate. I have voted for non-RepubliCrats of several political parties as many times in my life as I have voted for Democrats and Republicans combined. The last two times I voted for anyone from the duopoly, those votes went to Republicans. The first two times I ever voted, I sided with Democrats. My track record, though, is shunning both.
This year, it is very tempting to shun both again. I voted for Jill Stein in 2012, and I would vote the same way again if given another chance in 2012. I'm not inclined to vote for her this year, though. This is not the place to post my reasons.
Libertarian-leaning candidates do not interest me, and I see friends with that mindset veering toward Gary Johnson. Too often, Libertarianism becomes all about the "ism" as if the political philosophy matters more than anything else. Ron Paul, for example, personified this in the last election cycle by suggesting that people who didn't buy their own health insurance should be left to die -- no coverage, no treatment.
So, I am either stuck with "major party" options, or I need to dig deeper and find a candidate who, unlike Stein or Johnson, truly qualifies as fringe. Or do I?
The least attractive presidential candidate I can recall in my lifetime is Donald Trump. I say this as a registered Republican. He is not the only problem with the GOP today, though. Probably the biggest issue is Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate refusing to give Judge Merrick Garland a hearing or vote to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court from Antonin Scalia's death in February.
February. When the SCOTUS term begins in early October, almost 8 months will have passed. The Constitution requires the Senate to advise and consent on judicial nominees. There has been no advice, no consideration, no hearings, and certainly no consent. Our Constitution is being violated by people who have sworn to uphold it.
I'm not naive. I understand the point of this anti-Constitutional obstruction. Political conservatives revered Scalia and don't want a more moderate judge sitting in that spot. Facile arguments have been made about mid-term election results and "the will of the people" requiring that the seat be left vacant until after a new president is inaugurated. None of this is Constitutional. Throughout our history, sitting presidents have filled judicial vacancies regardless of changes in majorities in either part of Congress.
Remember, the Constitution has nothing to say about political parties holding majorities. What it speaks of instead are concepts like advise and consent, the president's power and responsibility to appoint judges, and the importance of fair and speedy trials. All of these things are in jeopardy, and we are likely facing a genuine Constitutional crisis.
What does this have to do with my vote in 2016?
I'm putting a decision deadline on the first Monday in October.
As a Republican who has, frankly, long ago written off Trump as potentially presidential, I am hesitant to vote for Hillary Clinton. I didn't vote for her husband at either opportunity, so why would I vote for her?
Of course, as a moderate my political views are far too complex for any Either/Or proposition like conservative v. liberal or Republican v. Democrat. And, as I've noted, the choices this year are not particularly compelling examples.
That said, the only way Trump can get any serious consideration from me is the Senate doing their job and filling the SCOTUS vacancy before the beginning of its term. Our Constitution says that, in this year, a Democrat sitting in the White House will appoint the next Supreme Court justice with the consent of the Senate. Do it. Do it now. Come back from recess in an emergency session if necessary.
There is an Else to this formula.
If Obama is not going to be the sitting Democrat who fills this vacancy (by the end of September, since it hasn't happened in the 2-3 months it normally takes), then I will do everything in my power to correct this Constitutional abomination by striving to put another Democrat into the White House to right this wrong.
That doesn't just mean voting for Hillary Clinton. It means a straight ticket of Democrats across every level of government. Both the Senate and House openings on my ballot at the national level, but also across every state, county, city, and other jurisdiction. People within my party who don't respect the Constitution enough to rise up and fix this cannot earn my vote for their current or sought seats either. Who knows, in the five crucial weeks between the first Monday in October and the second Tuesday in November, I might even make financial donations (for probably the first time since college) to Democrat candidates within those elections.
This isn't as extreme as it may sound to some. I am a radical moderate, and I'm approaching this from that perspective. All I am asking is for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to perform their Constitutionally-mandated duty in a timely manner that respects the importance and functions of the judiciary. If they cannot do that by the first Monday in October, then none of them deserve my consideration, or their jobs.
Right this wrong, though, and I will wipe the slate clean and spend the month of October re-evaluating candidates for every office on my ballot from a fresh perspective. That is my job as a citizen. Unlike far too many of my fellow Republicans, I am doing my job.
Do yours or let someone else do it. Simple as that.