If you oppose Trump, you should support Pence
This may sound insane, but hear me out. It’s something I’d rather not do either, so please tell me if my logic is off.
I, like many others, have taken his election very badly. I went to my first protests, I have made my first calls to politicians. I have joined my first civil rights NPO, being the ACLU. Many others are doing the same.
But why is this different to 2008, when Obama was elected and the Republicans had to deal with a Democratic President after eight years? Why should Republican supporters listen to our protests and take them any more seriously than we took Tea Party protesters? To them, we just look like people protesting because “we lost”. So why is it different?
Yes, there are policy differences. Yes, women’s rights are in jeopardy. Yes, LGBTQ equality is in doubt. That makes me angry. It makes me incredibly angry. But Trump terrifies me.
Trump is a different politician. We are not currently able to debate policy because we’re QUITE LITERALLY DEBATING THE DEFINITION OF A FACT. Less than a week in, we were being told to not believe what we see in photos. We’re being told 3–5 million illegal votes were filed, where there is zero evidence of such. We have a President with zero transparency, immeasurable conflicts of interest, with a history revoking press credentials or dismissing reporters when they publish anything unfavorable. A President who feels he’s too smart to attend daily security briefings.
I could go into the total unpredictability of policy that changes daily, incompetent or hostile cabinet picks, Twitter attacks, let alone the number of people he has intentionally offended, but we don’t need to go into that. The Press Secretary is told to tell bare faced lies. How long before someone is told to doctor a photograph to evidence it? What about facts that we can’t determine independently, like Russian troop movements in Eastern Europe? How long before laws are introduced to take voting rights away from millions of people? How long before there is a security breach because of these missed briefings and we are killed? What sort of draconian laws will he look to push through then?
The key point is this:
Pence, and the hardcore wing of the Republican Party may threaten rights of many. I have yet to see a policy of his that I don’t strongly disapprove of. Trump, however, threatens America’s democracy.
Now yes, you could say that we should fight for those in the US without rights. We should. But there are a couple of paths that this could take.
1. You can fight against the Republican party as a whole. Fight against all their policies that you agree with. They will remain unified, those who are loyal to Trump will see this as a partisan issue and ignore it, and we will have four years of instability: if we’re lucky.
2. You can make a statement that this opposition is about the country, and not the party, and that you would support Pence over Trump. Make a statement that you would even choose the person who stands against everything you stand for, provided that he or she is a reasonable adult that respects democracy. And with enough support, Trump could be removed from office. And then you can fight on policy.
Trump is already more than likely in breach of the Emoluments clause in the constitution. He is clearly mentally unwell. Both these facts gives ground to remove him via impeachment or due to disability via a majority vote in Congress and support of the Vice President. So effectively: Congress has the ability to remove him, if they know they have the popular support to do so. There are many Republicans who would be more than happy to see him go, so let’s provide them the support.
We need to come together to make a change, and that means reaching across the aisle and finding common ground with those with opposing political views. One thing we should be able to agree upon is the integrity of the system. Glenn Beck did this when he supported Clinton over Trump, as he saw the danger in Trump. Despite Clinton being a sworn enemy, despite his rhetoric over years, despite the damage it could do to his public image, he knew he should grit his teeth and do what he could to protect democracy. If he can, we can too.
Saying Pence is no better than Trump is similar to Republicans saying that Clinton is no better: it’s simply wrong. Clinton and Pence are both mature adults who respect democracy, albeit with significantly different views on policy. This is not about policy with Trump: this is about demagoguery, a disregard for democracy, and mental health.
So support Pence, and encourage your representatives to do so and explain why. Tell your Republican friends you would support Pence. With the right support, we may have a chance to stop discussing the freedom of the press and what defines a fact, and we can get back onto discussing and debating policy, and fighting effectively for rights for all.