Wednesday, June 22, 2016
STARK CO. PUBLIC OFFICIAL POLITICAL PARTY LOYALTY: A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING?
Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton is a "no bones about it" committed Republican.
Most of the time, Stark Countians would have no problem with that.
For such is the fundamental political base upon which our democratic-republican form of government rests.
But the likelihood is that she will vote for Republican presumptive presidential nominee come the November general election is very high. So thinks The Stark County Political Report.
While in a conversation that The Report had with Creighton yesterday, she would not say forthrightly that she will be voting for Trump, one thing is clear: she will not be voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Which in a way is surprising to me.
As a Republican woman, Creighton at the onset of her political career (her run for and election as Stark County recorder) experienced political rough housing at the hands of some Stark's leading Republicans seemingly because she was a woman making her way in what to this very day is deemed by all too many to still be primarily a man's world.
As the father of three highly successful professional women (a high ranking military officer, a lawyer and a doctor), I have seen first hand the hurdles women have to overcome to achieve leadership positions in American society.
Some see Trump as the pinnacle of "woman as object" in his basic take of the female gender and generally not persons who possess prized unique leadership qualities.
Trump can and does point to specific women as being worthy of leadership roles. But his overall record indicates to the SCPR for one that such women the exception and not the rule.
Commissioner Creighton is Stark County's foremost Republican politician.
The only blight in her political success record is her 2011 mayoralty loss (running for a second term) to William J. Healy, II in heavily Democratic Canton.
That she might be voting for Trump in the name of party unity come November is more than a touch ironic inasmuch as many of us see Trump and Healy being of the same political ilk.
Creighton has demonstrated her leadership prowess as Stark County recorder, auditor, mayor of Canton and now Stark County commissioner. Moreover, she has a stint in the George W. Bush White House to vouch for her being a top flight leader that her gender is irrelevant to.
I like to think that were the Democratic nominee were anybody other than Hillary Clinton, Creighton would cast aside her political party allegiance and support a woman who is trying the break through the ultimate American glass ceiling.
Clinton's high negatives (and yet significantly lower than Trump's) attest to the political reality that many of us wish the first viable female candidate for president in Hillary Clinton.
Like her or not, Clinton is a highly competent person whom polls show that Americans generally rate her as having traits that make her more qualified to be president than Trump on several key issues. (see this CNN polling report)
A Republican woman nominee for president, no problem!
But a Democrat?
It is this kind of stuff that turns many of us off about partisan politics.
Primary justification for Creighton's likely position of "holding her nose" and voting for Trump is political party unity as a critical stabilizing factor on American politics and government.
And there is a case to be made for such.
But to the SCPR, just not a persuasive point.
Democratic Canton Councilman Edmond Mack (Ward 8) used the same tack in supporting fellow Democrat William J. Healy, II for a third term as mayor of Canton in the face of a challenge from former Democrat turned political independent Thomas M. Bernabei in the November, 2015 general election.
The SCPR holds Edmond Mack in very high regard. He is far and away the best Canton City Council has to offer in terms of through and through quality as a representative of the Ward 8 people of Canton.
Mack has not told me this, but my take away from conversations with him post-mayoralty-election is that he now sees that Bernabei is vastly superior to Healy in leadership skills which likely, over time,will translate into an authentically rehabilitated Canton as one of Ohio's premier urban areas.
But had Mack had his way in denying Bernabei political independent status, Canton would be stuck with Healy and his self-serving ways which translated into his using Canton for his own political enhancement.
To me, Creighton is doing much the same thing in hanging on to the political party loyalty thing in her apparent, if reluctant support of Trump.
In discussing with Creighton the movement among Republican National Convention bound delegates (which Creighton is one of as pledged to Republican John Kasich) to deny Trump notwithstanding his clear mandate by Republican primary voters (some 14 million votes, more than any Republican ever), she says, and the SCPR can see the logic of her analysis, that to deny Trump the nomination could well lead chaos, rioting and the like and in the end spell the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
Given Trump's over-the-top (like Healy) "its all about me" stance, she could be be correct in her analysis.
A "care about the future of my political party" and "care about the going forward stability of the nation" candidate for the nomination for president, who—unfairly (i.e. changing the rules and thereby negating 'the will of Republican voters')—denied the nomination would step aside from the personal devastation and accept the unfairness in furtherance of the greater good.
But few expect (certainly not the SCPR) that the bombastic, "how-great-I am, just ask me," name-calling, fear mongering, xenophobic Trump has that capacity.
So the answer to the Creighton's concern about the consequences of not nominating Trump, while realistic given the "Donald Trump first" mindset of the presumptive Republican nominee, is not a satisfactory answer in our democratic-republican system of government.
Creighton has many admirable qualities of having political spunk.
But if she follows through with her—apparent to the SCPR—support of Donald Trump in the general election and he gets elected, then she and those fellow Republicans who think of the welfare of the Republican Political Party as being more important than the well being of the nation will collectively bear the burden of having had the wrong priority.
Edmond Mack escaped the consequences to Cantonians of his supporting William J. Healy, II in November, 2015 with the Thomas M. Bernabei victory.
Janet Creighton and those all Republicans who have pronounced reservations about Donald Trump as president of the United States of America, but as a matter of political party loyalty support Trump, may not be so lucky.
With Trump at the head of the Republican ticket, the prospect for wholesale losses down ticket which might cost Rob Portman his U.S. Senate seat. Moreover, Republican Stark County commissioner candidate Bill Smith (who Creighton is politically close to) and Republican Ohio House of Representative candidate Dan McMasters might also be victims of Trump being a the top the ticket.
Creighton pointed out to me yesterday the positive effect for Republicans of Ronald Reagan being the top of the ticket in the 1980 election, to wit:
It could be, as conjectured above, that Trump at the top may result in a reversal of the political fate of local Republicans in 2016.
If elected, Donald Trump likely will undoubtedly go to work to remake the national Republican Party and national governance over in his own image.
One can only shudder at what kind of Republican Party and federal government a Trump election would entail.
There is a time and place that reliably Republican and Democratic elected public officials to jettison party loyalty, no?
Posted by Martin Olson at 8:30 AM