High are the walls that guard the old, the tried and secure ways of yesterday that protect me from the dreaded plague, the feared heresy of change. For all change is a danger to the trusted order, the threadbare traditions that are maintained by the narrow ruts of ritual. Yet how can an everlastingly new covenant retain its freshness and vitality without injections of the new, the daring and the untried?

Edward Hayes

Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

A lot of Republicans and center-right moderates won’t vote for Trump in 2020, including some who voted for him last time. Even with 80 percent approval among Republicans in polls, that’s still 20 percent who don’t. Trump was an unknown quantity in 2016. Voters wanted to shake things up. I get it. But now he’s a known quantity and many don’t like what they see and hear and can’t justify voting for someone of such corrupt character who is an embarrassment, at home and abroad.

Republicans and center-right moderates who did not vote for Trump last time, on the other hand, and voted for a third-party candidate in 2016 instead, may be tempted to do so again, considering it a principled protest. Or they may be so disillusioned by what the Republican Party has become, they may not vote at all.

To all those center-right voters who feel they no longer have a political home, I hope you will consider voting for the Democratic candidate — no matter who it is.

For many, that’s a difficult thing to ask. They may never have voted for a Democrat and can’t imagine doing so. How could they choose someone who doesn’t share their small government/free market philosophy? How could they vote for a Democrat with whom they strongly disagree?

Here’s how: Because patriotism is deeper and stronger than party affiliation. Every American claims to put country before party. Now is the chance to prove it. You may never get another. 

Some might be thinking, “Easy for you to say. Have you ever voted Republican?” Yes. In 2007, I refused to vote for Rod Blagojevich for a second term as Illinois governor. Too sleazy. I didn’t vote third party either, or write in “Yosemite Sam” in protest. I voted for the Republican, the late Judy Baar Topinka. I disagreed with her politically, but I knew she would be a much better governor than Blago. And she wouldn’t have ended up in prison.

Trump is infinitely sleazier than Rod Blagojevich. Will you disagree with whoever the Democrats end up nominating? Of course — perhaps on everything. But there is no doubt you’ll be voting for a better person who will be a better president.

No one needs to know. That’s the beauty of a secret ballot. And you won’t be violating your principles because you’ll be adhering to a higher principle — love of country. Loving your country means, first and foremost, rising to the occasion, making sacrifices when your country needs you. It needs you now.

Not voting for Trump isn’t enough. We need every vote possible to un-elect him. If Trump wins, you can be sure he’ll seek a third term. Our system of government, however you feel about it, would never survive that.

No one is asking you to convert. No one is asking you to surrender your convictions. Once we have a new president, you can be as vocal a critic as you like. And if the Republican Party ever gets back on the rails, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your vote helped bring your party to its senses. In fact, voting for a Democrat may be your only chance to even have a Republican Party to come home to in 2024 and beyond.

But those reasons are secondary. The primary reason to vote for the other party, if only this one time, is that every patriotic American should be willing to do so when their country is in peril.

The election is one year away. It may take that long for Republicans who can’t vote for Trump to embrace the idea of voting for a Democrat, so I’m planting the seed now. 

Conservative columnist David Brooks wrote last week (“If it’s Trump vs. Warren, then what?” New York Times): “Warren represents a policy wrong turn, in my view, but policies can be argued about and reversed. Trump represents a much more important and fundamental threat — to the norms, values, standards and soul of this country. 

“If it comes to Trump vs. Warren in a general election, the only plausible choice is to support Warren. Over the past month, Donald Trump has given us fresh reminders of the unique and exceptional ways he corrupts American life. You’re either part of removing that corruption or you are not. When your nation’s political system is in danger, staying home and not voting is not a responsible option.” 

Neither is voting for a third-party candidate. Crossing over and voting Democratic in 2020, however, would be nothing less than heroic, a huge step toward healing our partisan divide — a bi-partisan rejection of a dangerous person, unfit to be president, one who violates every principle Americans should hold dear. It will be the most important and meaningful vote you ever cast. I’m proud I didn’t vote for Blagojevich. Imagine how much prouder you’ll feel if you help vote out our worst president.

You will likely never be in this position again, but you are in that position now. 

And your country has never needed you more.

Join the discussion on social media!