At 18 years old, I proudly voted in my first presidential election in 1980 for Ronald Reagan, back when the United States was respected around the world. Those were the days when the United States could be described as a great nation. It was great because we were all united, no matter what our political beliefs were. We felt safe living in the United States. We were one nation, indivisible.
Those were the days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill got along famously even though they disagreed on many policies. Those were the days when Senators and Congresspeople on each side of the aisle worked together to make things happen even though they disagreed on many points during the process.
My father, a Republican like me, used to tell me that the older you get, the more conservative you get. My mother disagreed — she was a lifelong Democrat. In fact, when my father got older, he changed his tune and became fairly liberal — and a big reason for that was Donald Trump.
My dad passed away in July and I know he was sad that he didn’t make it to this next election to vote because he absolutely despised Trump. He used to tell me he couldn’t stand to even look at him. Had his mother and stepfather been alive to see our country in this predicament, they would’ve undoubtedly been horrified; they were Republicans themselves.
They would’ve been aghast when Trump said he could “grab women by their pussies”. They would’ve been appalled that a reality TV con man is our president. They would’ve been disgusted about how he treats people. Because when they were alive, in order to be President of the United States a person had to have a good character. A strong moral compass. Empathy for their fellow man. A great love of this nation. Intelligence.
As I watched last night’s debate, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Donald Trump acted like an elementary school playground bully. He has no couth, no class, no intelligence. He refused to condemn white supremacy and racism and gave the Proud Boys permission to continue terrorizing innocent protesters. These are the people who came to my hometown of Tulsa in June and scared the hell out of me because my 18-year-old son was out protesting. I’ve never been so scared in my town.
Additionally, Trump’s rally in Tulsa caused Covid to spread here and many people have died. He and only he is responsible for those deaths. Last night, he lied again about the coronavirus and acted like it’s no big deal. He said they’ve done a great job, that his rallies “aren’t a problem” for virus spread.
My career took me to places where I was lucky enough to meet the likes of Republicans like John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These were good men with character and a great love of country. But I recall working at the 2008 Republican National Convention and thinking to myself of the Trump-like characters: “These people are going to hijack the Republican Party.” Later, I told my boss that exact thing. The fear was there, even then.
It is beyond comprehension what has happened to the Republican Party. As someone who has spent a good amount of time producing videos and ads for Republican political campaigns, I always tried to get into the voters’ minds and see their points of view. I’m totally lost on this one. I cannot fathom how they can almost worship Trump, to the point of acting like members of a cult. It baffles and frustrates me beyond measure. I have many Republican friends who I love dearly, and it breaks my heart that they have bought into Trump’s con act. I just don’t understand why they can’t see what he is doing to our country.
I’m very honored to be one of many ad producers working with the Lincoln Project, and I am so proud of the work they are doing. I had the opportunity to work with Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Reed Galen on former campaigns, and these are true patriots who are dedicated to taking back our country.
As Barbara Bush once said, I don’t know how any female could vote for Trump.
In fact, I don’t know how anyone could vote for him. If you’re a Republican, I suggest you take a deep look into your heart before you vote for this President — because whatever some might say to the contrary, character does matter.