On Tuesday night, we will gather in the Whig Senate Chamber to watch the midterm election results trickle in. Unlike the mock Senate debates held here, this election will have real consequences.
In the last two years, Republicans have cut taxes for the rich, separated children from their parents, advanced the careers of those credibly accused of sexual assault, and taken away healthcare protections from the most needy. As Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said “these are all things that come from the darkness.”
There is evil on the ballot. And I will not apologize for using moralistic language when there is no other substitute.
When one party aids, abets, and elects white supremacists, partisan clashes shouldn’t be cast aside as “bickering.” There are fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans, not only on policy and governance, but on what our country ought to aspire to be.
Whether it be the massacre in Squirrel Hill, the murder of two African Americans in a Kroger parking lot, support for Neo-Fascists in Brazil and Europe, or the bombs sent to prominent Democratic leaders, President Donald Trump and his Republican Party have enabled racist and anti-Semitic violence. Sowing distrust in the media and labeling it the enemy of the people, advocating for political dissidents to be punched in the face, and promoting anti-Semitic and racist conspiracy theories have brought us to this moment of bloodshed.
Anything short of total opposition to the Republican Party is dangerous because there is no meaningful opposition within it. As Never Trumpers have either exited the Republican Party (e.g. Steve Schmidt) or fallen in line (e.g. Sen. Lindsey Graham), this has only become more clear.
“Moderate” GOP Senators, Congresspeople, and Governors have, at best, dissented on Twitter and delivered speeches on civility, but, whenever push comes to shove, they fall in line and vote party over country (see: Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Bob Corker). The American people cannot afford to do the same.
White, educated, affluent voters in the United States’s suburbs all too often treat November like a game, splitting their ballots between Democrats and Republicans, as if politics has no concrete ramifications. But it does, especially for the working class, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, and women.
Excuses like, “I don’t want to give one party too much power,” or, “at least they’ll lower my taxes,” are nothing short of immoral. Whatever self-righteousness one experiences by criss-crossing all over the ballot is outweighed by the fact that the Republican Party is morally corrupt.
Deep blue states like Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maryland are, pathetically, all primed to re-elect Republican governors. Charlie Baker, Phil Scott, and Larry Hogan, self-described “fiscal conservatives” but “social liberals,” are not, by any stretch of the imagination, liberal or even moderate.
You cannot be an ally of disadvantaged people if you are dedicated to depriving the government of funding and chipping away at the social safety net; fiscal conservatism and social liberalism are antithetical to each other. Baker refuses to raise much needed revenue and supports the death penalty. Scott vetoed the state budget three times to prevent an education property tax. Hogan refused to let Syrian refugees settle in Maryland and continues policies of voter disenfranchisement.
I recognize that some Republicans are less evil than others, but there is not one Republican on the ballot in 2018 who is better than their Democratic opponent. If you are unwilling to vote for Trump, then don’t vote for his lackeys.
There are 25 districts represented by a Republican in the House of Representatives that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 election. Every single one of them ought to flip. In states with Democratic majorities, there is no reason for Republicans to be in governors’ mansions.
As the leaders of the civil rights movement often said, “voting is a moral act.” Let us heed their call this November and vote evil off the ballot.
Zachariah Sippy is a first-year from Lexington, Ky. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.