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Opinion: What reasons do independents have for voting Republican?
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Rep. Andrew Clyde, in his guest column published May 15, makes many valuable points. He is right to imply that the Republican Party is at a historic crossroads. He is accurate in describing the events of Jan. 6 as “horrendous” and as a “riot.” He is correct in saying that “we need to move forward to save our republic.” Most importantly, he is right to invoke his oath to defend the U.S. Constitution.

I would dispute a few of Rep. Clyde’s points as well — he thinks, for example, that Reagan’s 11th Commandment (“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”) still stands. This is untrue. The current GOP has amended the commandment to say instead “Thou shalt not speak ill of Donald J. Trump.” That was the party line while Trump was in office, and with the exception of a few weeks following Jan. 6, 2021, it still is up to now.

I understand the desire for party unity. Republicans can decide who they do and don’t want in positions of leadership. I also understand the dilemma of Republican politicians who want to move on from Trump but still keep Trump’s voters. These are strategic concerns that politicians can worry about.

However, as a voter and as a citizen, my concerns are deeper: What does the Republican Party stand for? Where is the Republican Party going? What does the Republican Party believe in?

What precedents are being set for our future? Are we now only going to accept the results of elections we win? Are we going to respond to all criticisms by attacking the other party and claiming that “it’s OK because they do it too?” 

Are we going to sink further and further into petty drama while serious problems go unsolved? Are we going to alienate young leaders from public service, as they look at our politicians and conclude that running for office is proof of insanity?

Is the best rationale you can give for supporting your party that the Democrats are so bad that there’s no choice but to vote Republican? What about independent voters who have seen Republican politicians cave in so many times to Donald Trump that there now seems no choice but to vote Democrat or not vote at all? These independent voters are your constituents, too, Mr. Clyde.

Given that there are only two feasible parties to choose from, and at any given time one or the other party will be in charge for the foreseeable future, I as a citizen need to know that whatever party wins future elections, our country is governed by people of basic character, competence and good judgement. To my mind, Donald Trump is the antithesis of these qualities. 

Why should I vote for Republicans in 2022 or 2024 when they cannot get their own house in order?

I do not want to know why I should vote against Democrats but rather why I should vote for you. Numerous independent voters like me are open to persuasion.

Kit Walker

Gainesville

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