News & Politics

GOP Rep. Hanna Says He Will Vote for Clinton

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

As Donald Trump continues his argument with the family of a dead war hero, the backlash against him in the Republican Party is growing.

Even Trump toady Chris Christie called his actions “inappropriate.” Nervous Republicans around the country are reassessing their support as the criticism of Trump intensifies across the board.

The controversy has caused one Republican congressman to go all the way and proclaim his support for Hillary Clinton — the first sitting GOP lawmaker to do so. Rep. Richard Hanna of upstate New York wrote in a letter to the Syracuse Post-Standard, “While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton.”

I have long held the belief that the Republican Party is becoming increasingly less capable of nominating a person who is electable as president. The primary process is so geared toward the party’s political base, which ignores the fact that we have largely alienated women, Hispanics, the LGBT community, young voters and many others in general.

Thankfully gerrymandering does not protect candidates in a national election.
If I compare the life stories of both candidates I find Trump deeply flawed in endless ways. A self-involved man who is worth billions yet is comfortable — almost gleefully — using bankruptcy laws to avoid the consequences of his own choices. A man of character would not defend his actions but rather display shame and or at least regret. He is unrepentant in all things. Think about those average people who paid for his choices.

In his latest foray of insults, Mr. Trump has attacked the parents of a slain U.S. soldier. Where do we draw the line? I thought it would have been when he alleged that U.S. Sen. John McCain was not a war hero because he was caught. Or the countless other insults he’s proudly lobbed from behind the Republican presidential podium. For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.

Secretary Clinton has issues that depending on where one stands can be viewed as great or small. But she stands and has stood for causes bigger than herself for a lifetime. That matters. Mrs. Clinton has promoted many of the issues I have been committed to over the years including expanding education and supporting women’s health care.

While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton. I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing. I trust she can lead. All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate. Our response to the public’s anger and the need to rebuild requires complex solutions, experience, knowledge and balance. Not bumper sticker slogans that pander to our disappointment, fear and hate.

Republican politicians, especially at the federal level, should either support the leader of their party or leave the party. In Hanna’s case, he should be booted out of every caucus, stripped of his committee assignments, and forbidden to sit in any GOP meeting where strategy will be discussed.

Hanna has benefited from his affiliation with the Republican Party to the extent that it is likely he would not have been elected without them. How much money has the party given his campaigns? What kind of help has the RNC extended? You cannot accept that kind of assistance and then turn around and stab the party in the back by proclaiming your allegiance to the other party’s presidential candidate.

I feel Hanna’s pain. Trump is a national embarrassment who has gone off the rails, raising questions about his mental health — not to mention his intelligence in criticizing a Gold Star mother. But if Trump’s actions have become so unbearable that you feel you must support the Democratic nominee, why remain a Republican at all? Why not just resign your seat and allow another Republican to represent the constituency?

Hanna wants to assuage his conscience and keep his seat in a Republican Congress at the same time. The two simply aren’t compatible.