Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Donald Could Get My Vote

In my last post, I discussed reasons why I could see myself voting for Hillary Clinton. Today it's Donald Trump's turn.

I have been critical and even dismissive of Donald Trump's candidacy from the start.  But during the Republican National Convention, I figured it would be a good time to refresh my perspective, give Trump a second chance, and hear him out. I didn't watch the entire convention, but I caught the highlights and sat through Trump's entire (75-minute) speech.

I want to give Trump a fair chance.  When composing posts for this blog, I try to be as objective as possible and reconsider my biases, making sure I'm not falling in line with the herd.

And so, while listening to Trump's speech, I asked myself, what would it take to get me to vote for him? What would he have to say or do to change my mind about him?

Trump has made a litany of insensitive or offensive remarks that are unbecoming of a presidential candidate. But I'm going to ignore all that for now and focus on policy and qualifications.

Trump has many positive attributes that would make him a unique and effective executive for this country.  He is a master at the art of the deal.  He is persuasive, not in the sense that he changes minds, but in that he can get his way.  That is exactly what you want when it comes time for the leader of your country to sit down at the table with competitive or even hostile foreign nations.  And domestically, I have no doubt that he could effectively push through red tape to get things done.

The question is, what does he want to get done?  What is his agenda?

In some ways, he is a blank slate.  He doesn't seem to have specific policy positions, and even when he has made statements regarding such issues as taxes or health care, his ideology is not consistently liberal or conservative.

But there are two issues where he has been crystal clear, and which are absolute deal breakers, preventing me from ever voting for him as long as he holds these positions:

1) Deportation of illegal immigrants

I am moderate, and even perhaps left of center, on the issue of immigration.  I support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and think we should keep our borders relatively open.  By all means, build a checkpoint at the border crossing, but if someone wants to crawl through the desert or drift over the ocean to get in to our country, I say let them stay, wherever they came from, as long as they are not violent criminals.  

But I have stayed in the Republican Party through the last decade, even as the building of walls and the exclusion of amnesty have become mainstream positions, because there is room in a "big tent" party of free-thinking individuals for diversity of thought.  I can respectfully disagree with someone who thinks that in order to protect our country from terrorism it's necessary to build a wall.  It is not unreasonable to require English language classes or payment of back-taxes to obtain the full rights of citizenship, even if I wouldn't necessarily advocate for such measures.

But mass deportation is beyond the pale.  The very idea is abhorrent to me.  I have written at length about this topic previously and won't retread the same arguments. But suffice it to say that this is not a trivial issue to me.  I can think of no other serious policy proposal in my lifetime that has made me as angry, as terrified, or as mobilized to action as this one.

2) Banning of all Muslims

Along the same lines as deportation, banning people of a particular religion from entering our country, even temporarily, is not only un-American, it is morally reprehensible.  I can forgive those misguided Republicans who have called for a ban of immigrants from a particular country due to terror threats, such as Syria (shout out to my home state of Utah for bucking the trend).  But I cannot forgive or forget Trump's statements which have painted all Muslims with a single brush. There should be no religious test to enter our country or to gain any other right or privilege, either as a citizen or a guest.

To be fair, Trump has backpedaled (or as he put it, expanded) on his proposal to ban all Muslims. But he hasn't convinced me yet that he understands why the proposal was wrong in the first place, or that he wouldn't bring it back if elected.

To repeat, these two issues are deal breakers for me.  They can't be resolved by a press release or a speech.  I see too many similarities to the brown shirt bullying of Nazism in the 1920s and 1930s.  Invoking the Nazis in a political post is cliche but unavoidable in this instance. Donald Trump is sowing racial, ethnic, and political discord. Whether it ends in concentration camps and gas chambers is irrelevant.  This kind of racial profiling and scapegoating is bad in and of itself.

No one should fear for their safety or comfort because of their religion or ethnicity. No traveler in a hijab should be trembling, passport in hand, as they approach the U.S. Customs desk at the airport. No American with brown skin should fear being asked for proof of citizenship when they are pulled over for a routine traffic stop or wonder if their nosy neighbor is going to call the authorities on them if they play mariachi music on the radio.  These are the types of things that differentiate a free country from a police state.

Can Donald Trump change my mind?  Is there still time?

Maybe.  My mind is still open.  I'm not getting my hopes up that he'll even try.  But one thing is for sure - as long as he holds these two positions, there is no way I will ever punch the ticket for him.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I'll definitely be back. google mail sign in