I begin by confessing that I voted for Donald Trump last year. I did so for three reasons. First, I could not in good conscience bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton. Second, I held out hope that despite his many obvious shortcomings, both personal and experiential, that once elected, Mr. Trump might grow into the job and exhibit both the temperament and the leadership that we as voters expect from our president. And third, and most importantly, I felt it was absolutely imperative that the Scalia vacancy on the Supreme Court be filled by a nominee who was a true judicial conservative in order to maintain the existing ideological balance on the Court.
On this third point, I was delighted when Mr. Trump delivered up Neil Gorsuch, and frankly hold out hope that over the remainder of Mr. Trump’s first term he is presented with the opportunity to name a second justice to the Court.
As to my second point, over the past 10 months I have been profoundly disappointed in Mr. Trump. He has not, as I had hoped, grown into the job. He has shown a disturbing lack of consistency on almost every policy issue facing this country. He makes pronouncements that hours or days later he contradicts. His personal attacks on perceived enemies, even within his own party and his own cabinet are demeaning to the office, and do nothing to advance whatever agenda he claims to have. To describe his behavior as mercurial is being generous. And at this point I hold out little hope that this state of affairs will change.
I just finished watching Sen. Jeff Flake deliver what I believe was a very heartfelt and very necessary speech on the Senate floor. It is time that more Republicans take a stand on the coarseness of the political discourse coming out of this White House, and I applaud Sen. Flake for the courage of his convictions. As I listened to the Senator explain why he would not be running for re-election, I was struck with several different emotions.
First, I was disappointed by his decision, because I believe him to be a man of considerable integrity who has served our state and our country well during his time in Congress. Second, I found myself agreeing with virtually everything he said. Third, I immediately began hoping that he would spend the next two years building an organization to run for president in 2020, since he embodies the kind of honorable politician who would make a good Chief Executive. And finally, my thoughts turned to the upcoming 2018 race to fill his seat.
I will remain in the Republican Party until then, so that I will be able to vote for someone other than Kelli Ward to be the party’s nominee. But if Republican voters in Arizona choose to nominate her, I will certainly do everything I can to help get Kyrsten Sinema elected.
I have no doubt that our country is strong enough and resilient enough to endure Mr. Trump for three more years, but in 2020 I think it will be time for a change.
Paul Border is a resident of Prescott.