Peter Wehner: What I’ve gained by leaving the Republican party
So now what? While I agree with many Democratic House members that Trump deserves to be impeached, I doubt we agree about much else. If next year’s Democratic Party platform is anything like the last, count me out on the overwhelming majority of it. No thanks.
On the other hand, it’s not like Trump is the reincarnation of Bill Buckley or Milton Friedman either. Quite the opposite: He’s a carnival-barking reality-television star who’d never really contemplated conservative principles until he was in his 70s.
On some important policy issues, such as trade and immigration, he is diametrically opposed to core free-market principles. On the other issues, he’s done better—for instance, he’s had success in nominating originalist judges who respect the Constitution. But how long will that last? He’s been open about his disdain for former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who was credited with channeling a conservative perspective to the president on judicial nominations.
If the Democratic Party is smart enough to nominate a moderate candidate who is respectful of Republican ideas, voters like me will have an opportunity to become an important part of the coalition that gets a candidate elected to replace Trump. And if we do, we will have a seat at the table throughout the first term.
Jay Caruso: I’m not leaving the Republican party
As I consider voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time in my life, I also take heart in the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to remain in charge of the Senate after the 2020 election. This is the part where many readers who share my criticism of Trump might grow frustrated. But I’m a Republican. Or, more to the point, I’m a libertarian who identifies more with the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party.
I do not see any inconsistency between my support both of McConnell and his Republican caucus in the Senate and of a moderate Democrat such as Vice President Joe Biden for president in 2020. I believe in the vision of the Founders, of three equal branches of government serving as checks on one another, which is limited when one party controls both the White House and the legislative branch.
McConnell would actually have more freedom to push for spending reform with a Democrat in the White House, liberated from Trump’s free-spending ways and the need to help his caucus ride his electoral coattails.
It appears that the majority of Republican primary voters remain enthralled with the cult of Trump. While I’m tempted to cast my vote on a third-party candidate or a Republican primary challenger, the history of such efforts, particularly when mounted against a sitting president, suggests that would be a complete waste.
Republican swing voters could be a formidable force in the 2020 elections, much like the “Reagan Democrats” who helped push President Reagan to victory. According to the Roper Center, only 6 percent of Republicans voted for Barack Obama in 2012, but 9 percent of Republicans voted for Obama in his historic election in 2008. I was certainly not among the Republicans voting for a Democratic candidate in either of those elections, but I might be in 2020.