Ross Douthat has a suggestion for Republican voters who don’t like President Trump: Go ahead and vote Republican in any Senate races — but vote for your local Democratic House candidate, as a check on Trump. He explained his thinking on this week’s episode of our podcast, “The Argument,” and we invited listeners to tell us their own thoughts. The responses have been fascinating, and I want to share a few here:
Mary Beth Hunt: “I am a lifelong moderate Republican despairing over the current situation. I am appalled by Trump and fearful of his authoritarian rhetoric and behavior. The lack of checks and balances that should limit presidential authority deeply concerns me, as does the undermining of institutions (the free press, for example) that support a healthy democracy.
“I voted in 2016 but was unable to vote for either Trump or Clinton. In the midterms, I will vote for Democratic candidates for House, Senate, and governor. I’m holding my nose to do it, but I hope there are enough like-minded people to check Trump’s power. I fear we are watching the demise of our democracy, and desperate times call for desperate measures!”
Richard Wright: “I am a former lifelong Republican (became independent after Trump’s nomination), a Burkean conservative reader of National Review and Commentary, and Ross, along with David Brooks, are two of my current ideological guideposts. I have already mailed in my [Florida] ballot in which I did exactly as Ross proposed: Dem for the House, Rep for the Senate, and a write in of Jeb Bush for Gov. since Gillum is too far to the left and Desantis is too much a Trump sycophant.”
Eric Morgan: “I am a lifelong Republican, having voted with the party in every presidential election since the first Reagan term. I was never a [Bill] Clinton fan and in the current #metoo world we live in his legacy has not aged well in my opinion. So it was with a clothespin upon nose and a very heavy heart that I pulled the lever for Hillary in 2016.
“So, I count myself among the Never Trumpers who has taken the previously inconceivable action of voting for not only a Democrat but one of the most deeply flawed candidates in my lifetime. Here is the good news — I live in Utah and will vote for Mitt Romney who has shown the courage to speak out against the most flawed President since Nixon. I hope he doesn’t let us down.”
Lynn Schmidt: “I am a Never Trump former Republican. I live in Missouri where we have Senator McCaskill running against Josh Hawley. Josh is a Trump lackey. I will be voting for and even have donated money to several Democratic campaigns. As a mother of a child with a disability, I got off the Trump bandwagon when he made fun of the reporter with a disability. I was a delegate to the 2012 RNC but would not even attend our state convention if that meant supporting Trump. I am no longer a Republican if the G.O.P. is the Party of Trump. I am disappointed every day by our president. There are currently no checks and balances. That is what I am voting for, checks and balances.”
For more on this topic, you can read some of the conservatives who have grown disillusioned with the Republican Party, including: Jay Caruso of The Dallas Morning News, writing a piece in The Atlantic called “I’m Not Leaving the Republican Party;” The Washington Post’s George Will urging Republicans to vote against their party; Mona Charen, about an on-stage encounter early this year; Max Boot, on quitting the G.O.P.; and Jonathan Chait on the importance of Boot’s attack on the party.