I live in California, so the disposition of my state's Electoral College votes is not in question. But, as I've noted before, I live in a tight district. It went to Democrat Scott Peters by just 3 points in 2014. It is not likely to be so close this year, because the Republican is not as well known as the Republican in 2014 was. But it is not generally a safe seat.
I am a registered Democrat, and almost always vote for the Democrat, but in the past, I have always at least looked up some information about the Republican, and checked that yes, indeed, my views do still align more closely with the Democrat. In fact, San Diego city politics are such that on occasion, I've voted for a Republican for a city office. And I sure as hell signed a petition to recall Bob Filner, the Democrat we recently elected as mayor only to learn he is a serial sexual harasser. I did that knowing that it was likely a Republican would take his place in the special election that followed, and that indeed is what came to pass. And I feel good about that decision.
Basically, I'm a partisan-leaning voter, but I try to give the other party a fair hearing.
Except this year, I didn't. I didn't learn a single thing about the Republican challenging Scott Peters. I think Peters has done a decent job, and I was a little proud when he was the congressman who knew how to use Periscope to broadcast the sit in over gun control laws when Paul Ryan cut the official TV feed. But that isn't why I didn't bother to learn about his challenger. I didn't bother to learn about his challenger because I have gotten to the point where there is no way I'd vote for a Republican for a national office, no matter who they ran.
I am just fed up with the obstruction and the mean-spiritedness of the Republican leaders in Congress. I'm sick of pointless Congressional hearings into anything and everything. I'm sick of the refusal to approve reasonable appointees and judges. I'm sick of the refusal to negotiate on policy. I'm sick of the high stakes threats to shut down government if they don't get their way. I'm sick of the active and unabashed attempts to shrink the electorate and make it harder for people to vote. I'm sick of the lies about why they're doing these things. I'm sick of the alternate reality they help support, one that allows large numbers of my fellow citizens to believe astoundingly untrue things and feeds dangerous conspiracy theories.
This election has taken all of the things I'm sick of and exploded them all over the news along with nauseating levels of racism and misogyny. And I've watched the leaders of the congressional Republicans not only refuse to condemn this crap, but double down on some of it. I've watched them twist themselves into pretzels, presumably because they fear Trump's voters.
And then this, today:
Trump: If HRC elected, it would create "constitutional crisis" and "the work of government would grind to an unbelievable, unglorious halt."— Sarah McCammon NPR (@sarahmccammon) November 1, 2016
A party that will sign onto this statement does not deserve any power. Losing an election is not grounds for grinding government to a halt. It just isn't. I will not consider their candidates any more.
So that made me think, what would it take for me to consider them again? I started a list, but realized it boiled down to just three things:
1. Rejoin the real world.
Stop denying climate change. Stop shrugging at conspiracy theories and Birtherism and crap like that. Stop pretending they can just invent new facts when the ones in the real world are too inconvenient.
(And yeah, we have some fantasists on the Democratic side, too, but they aren't generally the ones in charge. If the Democrats ever embrace anti-vaxxers the way the Republicans have embraced climate change deniers, then I'll have a problem.)
2. Stop trying to disenfranchise people
This is not an acceptable thing to be doing in a democracy, and until they stop trying to disenfranchise people of color, I won't believe that they are ready to stop relying on pandering to white supremacists to win. And until they can stop doing that, I don't want them in power.
3. Start negotiating
Stop tantruming and threatening to burn it all down when they don't get everything exactly their way, and come to the table and negotiate with the rest of us like opposing parties used to do.
Now, if they do these three things, I'm probably still not going to vote for them. Like I said, my views currently align more with the Democrats. But if they do those three things, I will start reading about their candidates again. I'll go back to trying to give them a fair hearing.
And you know what? I really, truly hope that the Republicans can do this. Because the current situation is not healthy for our democracy. If the Republicans can't reform themselves, then I'm rooting for the Never Trumpers to break ranks and start a new party, and leave the Republicans to wither into irrelevance. They will have thoroughly earned that fate.