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No, Republicans don’t have to vote for Democrats to rein in Trump

In late summer and September, an epidemic of self-identified (and mostly no-longer active) Republican political consultants and ostensibly Republican pundits declared their intention to “save the Republican Party” by voting straight-ticket Democratic this November. This action, they say, will hold President Trump and his enablers to account because the Democratic Party is, as former John McCain presidential campaign adviser Steve Schmidt said in June, “right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic.”

Or, as Tom Nichols put it in The Washington Post, “Those who claim to oppose Trump and Trumpism can’t, at the last moment, back away from voting to strip power from the party enabling him.”

Ah, but they can — and in many cases should. For in the scenario being pushed by these disaffected Republicans, only the most Trumpy candidates would be safe.

By way of establishing credentials, I’m just concluding my 11th House of Representatives two-year cycle as a Republican political consultant. We’ve represented over 50 clients in 31 states and Puerto Rico, raised over $72 million for GOP House and Senate candidates during that time period and won about 80 percent of our elections.

Yet I didn’t vote for Trump, and I do not intend to vote for my party’s nominee for Virginia governor, as he seems determined to continue fighting the Civil War — on behalf of the Confederacy.

Election by election, voters can and should make up their own minds. Asking voters to reject a representative who has delivered for them assumes it’s more important to “send a message” than to vote one’s best interests.
Consider: The average family of four will have $2,059 more of their own income to save, spend or invest as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Family Savings Act will help families pay for their education and retirement, reducing dependence on crippling student loans and providing a means to supplement Social Security.

House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act to put Americans back in charge of their own health care and protect those with pre-existing conditions by making it illegal to deny them health insurance and empowering states to create pools to cover them, as Maine successfully did. The Senate should pass this legislation.

In addition, House Republicans have finally put the necessary funding behind our military and veterans and passed a landmark bill to fight prescription-drug abuse.

What about the claim that congressional Republicans refuse to pull the reins on Trump? Nonsense: The House and Senate passed tough, mandatory sanctions against Russia in 2017 over his objection and have refused to submit to executive demands to lift them. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations continue.

Plus, should center-right and independent-conservative voters listen to these pundits, the Republicans more likely to be defeated are the independent and centrist representatives from swing districts, like Rep. Carlos Curbelo in south Florida, another strong Republican Trump critic. Trump’s loyal supporters in overwhelmingly Republican districts aren’t in danger of losing general elections.

And such a strategy should not only examine what Americans would be voting against, but what they’d be voting for as well.

A straight-ticket Democratic vote means support for the vacuous would-be socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Queens. It enables and advances the casual anti-Semitism cloaked in anti-Zionism through candidates like Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania and Leslie Cockburn in Virginia. It would mean overlooking the admitted spousal abuse committed by Archie Parnell in South Carolina. He remains the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 5th Congressional District.

Democrats now want to bring us “Medicare for all,” the cost of which will bury the middle class and lead to the rationing of care.

Neither party has been serious enough about the national debt, but Republicans have controlled the House for 19 of the past 23 budgetary years and the average deficit as a percentage of GDP in those years is 1.89 percent. The average deficit as a percentage of GDP during the last 19 budgetary years of Democratic control, dating from 1981 to 1995 and again from 2008 to 2011, is 4.49 percent.

I do not advocate a straight-ticket vote for any party. I am confident that the philosophy, character and accomplishments of most Republican nominees are a better fit for supporters of limited government than what most Democratic nominees offer. Responsible consultants and pundits should offer information and state their arguments, but then advocate that voters make their own rational decisions.

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