Ron, I’m Not a Pretend Republican

Hi, Ron

I was a little surprised to see your Facebook post last night, and frankly, I was a bit upset. I figured I’d respond this morning after I had a chance to think things through, but I see you’ve blocked me, so I thought I would respond here.

We go back a ways in the Republican Party. I’m a past vice chairman of my county party, have worked on many campaigns, both local and statewide, and was awarded our party’s Volunteer Award last year. You are currently the Georgia GOP’s 80,000 and under counties chairman, and before that, the Second Vice Chairman. You’ve donated a lot of time as the chairman of the Georgia GOP Veterans Committee. I’ve spent much of the last six years working with our College Republicans and Young Republicans, trying to grow the party by getting them more involved.

This week, Donald Trump became the presumptive candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the presidency in November. His victory exposed a divided party. I don’t want to get into specifics, but there are plenty of Republicans who are unsure that a first time candidate with a history of moderate to liberal political leanings is the right person to lead our great nation. There are others who, after supporting one of the losing candidates, are still in shock, a pretty common reaction when your candidate loses.

And that brings me back to your Facebook post. In it, you tell anyone who is not fully committed to vote for Donald Trump in the fall that they aren’t real Republicans. You don’t show any interest in finding out their concerns about him, and indeed insult their intelligence by calling them idiots. This is not the way to win friends and influence people. And, may I remind you that millennials use Facebook and other social media to get their news. They will hear your message loud and clear. And they might just decide that the Republican Party doesn’t want them, and they should look elsewhere.

Donald Trump is at the top of the GOP ticket, but there are many down ballot races that will be contested in November, from Georgia senator to county commissioner and school board seats, and everything in between. If people don’t show up at the polls because they don’t like the top of the ticket, they won’t vote for the down ballot races either. Your thoughtless insistence that one isn’t a real Republican unless they are immediately willing to fully support Donald Trump will discourage GOP leaning voters from participating in the November election. Your comments may drive away many of our College Republicans and Young Republicans who were planning to go on express trips this fall to go door to door for down-ballot Republicans in seriously contested races.

Here’s some advice, for what it’s worth. First, give everyone some time. No one is voting in the presidential race until early voting begins in October. Second, think long term. If we drive out everyone who is not 100% faithful to our controversial candidate, we will be a much smaller party. Finally, let’s not base our campaign for the presidency on fear and loathing. Instead of telling voters to vote GOP because Hillary is going to be awful, tell them how their vote for Republicans will benefit them and their children.

Oh, and what about me? Last July, I was asked on Facebook, “Question of the day: Suppose Trump wins the nomination, do you vote for him over Hillary?” My friend and I had a long conversation, and came to no firm conclusion. As summer stretched into fall, and then to winter, I thought every so often about that conversation. Trump would make what seemed to me to be an absurd promise, like banning all Muslims from entering the country, and I thought about that conversation. Trump began to win primaries, and I began to realize In would have to take the “vote for Trump or Hillary” question more seriously.

Tuesday evening, I messaged my friend:

“And so here we are, Trump is the nominee. And at this point, I can’t vote for him.”

“I’m extremely sad at this point,” he said. “My options for president are a woman who has voted for partial birth abortion and a man who has promised war crimes.”

Will I eventually decide to vote for Donald Trump? I still don’t know. It’s a long way until November. Sadly, though, I won’t be able to talk about the issue with Ron Johnson. Not only did he say he wasn’t going to listen to my opinion, but he blocked me.


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