NEW HAMPSHIRE Democratic voters are looking at this upcoming presidential primary differently than primaries past.
Voters always have been serious about the First In The Nation primary, but this year they are as focused on who will be the best general election candidate as they are on who they like the best. There is a genuine fear that if Donald Trump is reelected, the character of the United States will be irrevocably altered, and not for the better.
Iit is not a baseless fear. Trump’s lack of core ethical values has been on full, sordid display the last few weeks. He agreed to pay $2 million in damages for using his charitable foundation for the benefit of his 2016 campaign, a violation of fiduciary obligations and tax laws.
A right-to-know request revealed the White House lied about the process that selected a Trump resort to host next year’s G-7 conference. The Doral Resort was not, as claimed by White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, one of a group of 10 that was narrowed to four finalists. It was added after four other finalists were chosen, at Trump’s “suggestion.”
The Doral selection was too much even for the most Trumplican of Republicans, who understood that Trump’s self dealing reeked.
Then there was the shameful “bro show” of Trump and Turkey’s tyrannical leader, Recep Erdogan. Just last month, Trump threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy over its attack on our Kurdish allies. But this month Trump hosted Erdogan at the White House, declaring he was a “big fan” of the strongman, who has stifled dissent in his own country by jailing thousands of political opponents, and used his army to slaughter Kurds.
Add to that the revelations coming out of the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives, and the need for a new President is clear.
Trump’s dangerous use of military assistance as a club over Ukraine’s head to force an investigation of a whacky, discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked into Democratic National Committee computers, and to force an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden, crossed the line. It confirmed, yet again, that he has failed the test of whether he is fit to serve another term.
And that is without considering all the other controversies of this administration that have erupted month after month, year after year, or his ever more shrill, hysterical attacks on anyone who dares to disagree with him.
Small wonder that New Hampshire Democrats and independents are asking themselves a lot of questions while weighing their choices carefully.
Is it time for a candidate calling for big change or one promising a stable, no drama four years? Is it better to select a candidate from a new generation or to go for experienced leadership? East coast, mid-America or a western state? Pay attention to the polls, or ignore them?
Picking a candidate is always a bit of a Kierkegaardian leap of faith, because we can never really know who will be the best candidate. Let’s say a prayer that we get it right, because our country desperately needs a new President.