Statement Regarding Donald J Trump

              I am running for the Vermont state senate. My campaign is focused on local issues, especially those concerning Washington County. Yet inevitably I am asked about the Republican nominee for President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Do I support him? The short answer is no. The more nuanced answer follows.

 

            When I became a candidate for the senate, I was chair of the Washington County Republican committee. Our job is to get Republicans elected. In the primary I supported John Kasich of Ohio for President. When I was nominated, I stepped aside from my role as chair of the party in our county.

 

            As a candidate I have been reluctant to “dump Trump,” partly out of deference to the party which nominated him in Cleveland and the many millions of people who voted for him, partly because of my belief in the issues which party has historically stood for (especially limited government) and the stakes in the election at the federal level, and partly in the hope that Trump, like me a newbie to electoral politics, might learn from his mistakes and become a better candidate.

 

            But it has become abundantly clear that I cannot “stand with Trump” and will not vote for him in November.

 

            The Presidential campaign has derailed into the gutter. No self respecting parent could let his child watch last night’s debate. Though Clinton is partly responsible for this (she has not taken the “high road” suggested by Michelle Obama as demonstrated in her attacks last night and her continuing TV commercials), the person most responsible is Trump. Ever since the primaries he has engaged in a demeaning, personal style campaign which has corroded the political process and in so doing endangered the American experiment. His threat to jail Clinton if he becomes President bespeaks of South American politics. If we continue down this road a military coup is not beyond question.

 

            As a government major at Dartmouth College 50 years ago we discussed the issue of ends versus means, that is, did the goal of achieving a particular end justify any means. Trump believes it does, which is why many of his supporters love him. (Incidentally, I think Hillary Clinton does as well.) While I think the problems of our nation and state are great, winning at any cost is in the end no victory at all. 

            One further comment. Republican office holders in Vermont, such as George Aiken, Dick Snelling, Jim Douglas and Phil Scott, have always been a breed apart from the national party. That has led to their election in this state. For me,  being at odds with the national party is not comfortable but sometimes it is necessary. Most of the elected leadership in our state party now does not support Trump for President. Count me among that group.

Oct 11, 2016