All indicators suggest that this year’s presidential contest will generate record numbers of voters—a good thing in and of itself—a large percentage of whom can’t wait to evict Donald Trump from the White House, and in no uncertain terms!
I am admittedly in that group. But I am writing to urge you not to stop there. Republicans have consistently positioned themselves quite successfully to occupy “down ballot” seats, especially state senators and representatives, by focusing strongly on those governing roles and not ignoring them.
That’s why states whose leadership tries to combat voter suppression, can’t because they are faced with State Houses packed with Trump supporters and conservative sympathizers. How did that happen? It happened because too many voters didn’t pay attention to down ballot races when they should have. It happens when voters turn out at 15 percent to 19 percent rates in “off years” from the big races (that’s three out of every four years).
Celebrate the eviction of President Trump, and the beginning of restoring the Republican Party to the Grand Ol’ Party it was for so many years. But don’t stop there. Look at the down ballot races. Are there contestants who openly wrap their arms around President Trump at every turn? Probably not good choices if we want to restore our political system to a point where we again have true statesmen from both parties contesting for our support. Definitely not good choices if you see those candidates have no solutions for our real problems, or worse, don’t even believe we have problems that need addressing.
An example is Steven Xiarhos, candidate for state representative from the 5th Barnstable. Mr. Xiarhos has publicly declared his full support of the president. He also has declared his full support for the machine gun range project. He says he sees, for example, no environmental problems with the range because the project organizers said so. What? As someone observed, we were given similar environmental impact assurances in the past, and here we are; a Superfund site.
This isn’t to say the project can’t be executed safely. It does say that we need a state representative, senator, county commissioners who think better than that; who does his or her homework on complex issues before drawing any conclusions. We need to take the time to go down ballot this year and elect Jim Dever as our new state representative, re-elect state Senator Su Moran, and elect both Mark Forest and Sheila Lyons as our commissioners.
William J. Fleming