For years, I’ve called myself an Independent. I voted for Democrats about 75% of the time, but I tried to evaluate each candidate on the ballot and sometimes crossed over to pick a Republican or (more commonly) a Libertarian. I even voted for Ross Perot – twice.
I am an Independent no longer. There comes a time when you have to pick sides, and this is that time for me. I haven’t yet figured out what it means to “register as a Democrat” in Michigan, but I have a couple of yard signs, and I’ve changed my profile in Facebook (isn’t that what makes anything official these days?) … my son even put Hillary stickers all over his go-kart. It’s as official as I currently know how to make it: I’m a Democrat.
There’s one ongoing issue that started me down the path to picking sides: voter rights. For several years, the Republican party has actively been trying to make it harder to vote for poor people and people of color. I can’t stand on the sidelines while that is happening. It’s just wrong.
Suppressing voters isn’t an accident; it’s a pervasive Republican strategy. During the primaries, the least offensive Republican was John Kasich – he had the distinct advantage of appearing sane – but he presided over some of the most explicit efforts to prevent minorities from voting. I can never support him or his party.
I trust voters, which is precisely why I can’t tolerate voter suppression efforts. In the past, I’ve been disappointed when some Republicans have won, but I trusted the results (with the possible exception of 2000, but that was a wacky year). I even made a point of voting in the Republican primary when Justin Amash first ran for his current seat (my congressman), because I knew the Republican would ultimately win, and he’s my favorite Republican.
This year is obviously different. Trump is not a reasonable candidate. He would be terrible for our country (and the world), and I can’t stand by and let him be elected without doing everything I can to prevent it. In fact, I can never support a party that would nominate him.
In addition, I actually like Hillary Clinton. I always have. She’s not perfect, for sure, but she’s wonky and hardworking. I think she’ll be a great president. I’m going to do everything I can to see that she gets elected.
So I’m picking sides. Hell yes, I’m a Democrat, and I proudly support Hillary Clinton for President.