Today for the first time in my life I voted for a U.S. presidential nominee that I really didn't want to win in the general election. I live in Ohio, one of the "super Tuesday" states, and the Republican nomination hinges on who can win in Ohio, Florida, and a few other key states. This is a winner take all state, with all 16 electoral votes being awarded to whomever wins in the final presidential contest, no matter what the margin is.
So I had to make a strategic decision. I am of a working class background and my parents and grandparents were democrats. My grandparents on my mother's side were European immigrants who came to the U.S. to find a better life. On my father's side, my grandparents were poor country folk who worked at sawmills and in steel mills. My father's middle name was Roosevelt. He was born during the Great Depression, and apparently his parents had a great fondness for FDR and the social programs he put into place to help the working class.
I'm also married to a man who has worked in unions all his life and has almost always voted Democrat. So have I. But this year I voted Republican. Here's why:
I can live with either of the Democrats Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as president. Both are good decent people who have spent their lives in politics trying to make things better for normal citizens like you and me. Bernie seems like a kind hearted, sincere, logical man. He dreams big. He wants to put college within reach of all and raise the minimum wage. He wants to clean up the environment and restore jobs. I'm afraid he's a bit too idealistic and might not have the stamina to stand up to the Republican's fiercest attacks in the general election. But if he were elected President I could live with that.
As for Hillary Clinton, one can't spend their life in politics without getting a bit smeared and dirtied. Republicans have always questioned her trustworthiness and put her entire life under a microscope, but she hasn't withered yet and has probably only toughened under the scrutiny. She has lots of foreign policy experience as Secretary of State, has served as a senator, and spent time in the White House as first lady. She has always been an activist for health care reform and women's and children's rights. She's highly intelligent, thinks before she speaks, and is compassionate and rational. She would make an excellent president.
But in these 2016 Ohio primaries I voted for a Republican. Why? Without telling you exactly who I voted for, I cast my ballot for the Republican candidate I thought had the best chance to win Ohio and keep Donald Trump from winning the state.
I trust the Democrats will make a rational intelligent choice between Bernie and Hillary, and both will live to fight on another day. But I can't trust the rest of America to make a rational choice where Donald Trump is involved. He appeals to people's emotions and baser instincts, and rationality goes out the window. He stirs up people's hatred against outsiders and encourages a "me first" mentality. If he were to become the Republican nominee, I think he could rally a lot of support from those who were angered by the election of Barack Obama. The seeds of racism and bigotry are never far under the surface in America, and Trump's putrid rhetoric is enough to get a new bumper crop of ill will and hatred growing. I'm afraid of what this country would become with a president like Donald Trump and I'm willing to use my vote in the primary to prevent that from becoming a reality.
I'll save my Democratic vote for the general election. That choice will be an easy one.