By FRANK MIELE
There once was a time when a principled voter would declare, “I vote for the person, not the party,” but today that is a fool’s errand.
As a half-dozen Senate races in 2018 prove, voting for party first is voting for principle. Pay attention to what the Democratic Party or the Republican Party says — because once elected, your candidate is going to fall in line with every other elected member of his or her party.
It doesn’t matter how good a person your candidate is, he or she is not going to check in with you before casting a vote on tax cuts, or health insurance or Supreme Court justices. They are going to check with Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi if they are Democrats, and they are going to check with Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell if they are Republicans. If you think that Senate candidates are telling you the truth about how they will vote once elected, I encourage you to visit the undercover reporting of Project Veritas, in which campaign supporters admit that Democratic candidates will say whatever is necessary to get elected.
A Republican who votes for a nice-guy Democrat is just giving Minority Leader Schumer an extra bullet to use in the firing squad that is lining up against Trump, his judicial nominees and his band of deplorables. The situation isn’t quite as perverse for Democrats who want to cross over and vote for “nice-guy Republicans” because many Republicans aren’t reliable Republican votes. Just look at Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, who are more interested in their own approval rating at MSNBC than in representing their constituents.
Even so, a committed Democrat who votes for a Jeff Flake type is going to be disappointed more often than not when it comes to votes, despite the senator’s willingness to take cheap shots at a Republican president.
Face it, we live in a deeply polarized nation, and the two great political parties exist at this point in time as polar opposites. If you voted for Donald Trump as president in 2016 because you wanted change, and then vote for Democrats Claire McCaskill or Jon Tester or Joe Manchin to remain senators in 2018, you aren’t just confused, you are drowning — you’ve been overwhelmed by The Swamp.
Let’s talk about Tester since he’s the senior senator from my home state of Montana.
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