Northwest Iowa, USA (TFC) –David Johnson becomes the first elected Republican in the nation to abandon the Grand Old Party due to Donald Trump.
Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan, Iowa has suspended his membership to the Republican party in protest. Recent comments made by the presumptive GOP nominee towards a Judge overseeing three class action lawsuits involving fraud allegations. This, Trump’s latest of over 3,500 lawsuits that cover the span of 3 decades. the aforementioned comments were made in multiple interviews soon after the judge made defining decisions in regards to the lawsuits and Trump University.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, presiding over the litigation involving Trump University, is an Indiana native and the son of Mexican immigrants. Ingressing in Arizona as a laborer in the 1920s, Curiel’s father, Salvador, eventually obtained citizenship and became a steelworker. Salvador married Curiel’s mother, Francisca, in Mexico in 1946. She became a citizen after joining her husband in the United States. I’ll note that Donald Trump’s mother didn’t come to the America until the 1930s, and she became a citizen just as Curiel’s mother did, by marrying a man who was an American citizen, which makes his bigotry even more unwarranted.
Earlier this week Judge Curiel denied a motion to resolve the Trump University lawsuit on summary judgment. Also, much to the dismay of the Republican Presidential Nominee, he ordered a mass of documents to be released which essentially exposed Trump University for what it was, a predatory scam.
Trump University, as it were, is not a university as the name suggests. In fact, Trump university isn’t an actual school or university at all, it’s more of an elaborate, hyped up, and late-night marketed version of what’s usually referred to as a bait and switch scheme. In advertisements for Trump University, ‘The Donald’ himself makes claims like: “At Trump University we teach success, that’s what it’s all about. It’s going to happen to you.” Yet, the people who invested their time and money into` Trump University strongly disagree. In court filings, former employees of Trump University allege that it preyed on the insecurities of its students, selling them courses they did not need or could not afford. Which many, if not all applicants, discovered to be useless in the future.
The inevitable interviews that followed these proceedings revealed much about Trump’s interpretation of how Judge Curiel is handling the cases against Trump University. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump stated that Curiel could not adequately preside over the Trump University cases due to his “Mexican heritage” being an “absolute conflict.” He added “I’m building a wall, it’s an inherent conflict of interest,” and “we’re building a wall.”
Trump released a statement that was put a bit more eloquently than his typical verbal retorts and rhetoric:
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent. The American justice system relies on fair and impartial judges. All judges should be held to that standard. I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”
Court records show that during the ongoings of this case Curiel has ruled in favor of Trump more often than he hasn’t, confirming there is no personal bias, What’s more, if indeed Judge Curiel was bias towards Trump, he could have significantly disrupted the remainder of his presidential campaign simply by forcing the Trump University case to go to trial, but he didn’t. Curiel granted the motion to continue at the request of Trump’s lawyer and postponed the proceedings until after the November election.
The idea that a Judge of any ethnicity is unfit to do their job based solely on their heritage is unacceptable. In my view, what Judge Curiel did was do his job leniently and enforce accountability. Accountability that should be applied to anyone committing an injustice, regardless of race, creed, political status, or crime committed. The Judges’ choices to release documents revealing evidence of fraud and denying Trump a summary judgment were both justifiable decisions. To suggest otherwise is irrational and narrow-minded. Trump has been accustomed to bigotry in the past, but for him to insinuate these decisions were a personal attack essentially confirms his ignorant, guiltless, and egomaniacal persona.
Now it seems that one audacious Senator from my local district has had enough of Trump. Senator Johnson became the first political official in the nation to cut his ties with the Republican Party in protest of Trump’s bigoted ideals. On Tuesday, Senator Johnson announced he was discontinuing his affiliation with the GOP and changing his voter registration. In an interview with KIWA Radio he stated:
“I’ve change my registration to ‘no party’ or ‘independent’ in protest to what seems to be a growing disaster with Donald Trump. Who is now embroiled in another controversy. A controversy that was the last straw for me. -What I considered to be his racist remarks and ‘judicial jihad’ against a federal judge.”
He went on to say:
“…There’s no room in the Republican Party for someone who questions the ethnicity of an American citizen..and to think that the party of Lincoln, the Party that freed the slaves, could be led by someone as bigoted as Donald Trump is unimaginable.”
Personally, I find the Senator’s decision to abandon the Republican party to be an admirable one. As the first elected official in the entire country to make a stand against the current downward spiral that is the GOP, Johnson is no doubt sending a strong message. A message capable of reverberating through the entire Republican Party. The question is, in this current political climate are others likely to follow suit and rethink their political convictions in order to see a better candidate elected? Furthermore, in this era of extreme party politics, are more prominent political figures even capable of compromising their positions at this point, or would actions such as these be considered career suicide?
From my perspective, by defecting Johnson is setting an example and essentially saying that as a nation, this is not the best we have to offer. Nor do any one of us have an obligation to support a lesser of two evils.
The political landscape of the United States is, and has been dominated by a two‐party system since (and arguably prior to) the election of 1824 when Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party split into Adams’ Men and Jackson’s Men. Since then, the overwhelming majority of elected officials have been aligned with either the left or the right. Elections today are anything but “free and equal”. In conjunction to America’s “wasted vote” mentality, third-parties and their candidates are often undermined by the media who support the two-party system. In fact, in 2012 the Congressional Elections yielded not a single third-party victory. In some states, third-party candidates aren’t even present on the ballot at all, and the process to get on the ballot is an unnecessarily difficult series of hurdles. So with the odds stacked in favor of mules and pachyderms,why would comparably smaller parties even try to get on the ballot? Jim Clymer, a longtime Constitution Party official, responded honestly to that question:
“If I had remained a Republican… I probably could have been elected to some office and be holding some office and be, by most standards, successful in the political world. But I firmly believe I would have had to abandon my principles to do that and become part of the problem.”
So what kind of actual viability does a third-party candidate have in modern politics? I do find David Johnson’s decision to be commendable, although I’m skeptical about the overall effectiveness of his switch unless his message takes hold and many others follow his lead. Though a successful candidacy as a member of a third-party may seem improbable within the current system, it’s not impossible. With fewer and fewer people identifying themselves as a member of either major party the potential for a following is definitely there. If third-party candidates ever want a decent shot at being elected, they should seize the opportunity now and in the future to take advantage of the anti‐partisan sentiment in America. A good third‐party candidate should implement the already existing infrastructure of independent voters across the nation, as well. In order to more votes in individual districts, an underdog candidate needs to focus more support in smaller areas with high population densities. In theory, it can be done. I genuinely believe a third-party candidate can be viable. A voice for the little guy, and a threat to the corruption plaguing the establishment.
I believe the that the mere notion of having a broader selection of representatives to choose from would be in the best interests of most Americans. To achieve that, more of our congressional leaders need to follow Senator Johnson’s example and make a stand against unfit officials and the corruption of this system masquerading as a democracy. They need to step up and realize that simply because a candidate’s name is preceded by a (D) or (R) does not mean they or any of us are obligated to support them.
If there were any morsel of doubt that the two-party system is politically and morally bankrupt, that doubt by now has been expunged by the events of the past year. Republicans and Democrats always seem to work proficiently when it comes to passing legislation in their own best interests, which is contradictory to their job description of representing the people’s best interests. Both parties too often appear to be bereft of ideas, principles, or even a cursory understanding of what the American people desire or how to efficiently represent them. A third-party candidate, I’m sure, would be a welcomed breath of fresh air to many skeptical Americans who have lost faith in the Democratic system.
Johnson’s decision to disassociate himself from the republican party just may pick up steam, though. There are indications that Senator Johnson may have just set a trend and opened the door for other perturbed Republicans to distance themselves from Trump and the GOP. Although he’s not defecting, a day after Johnson’s decision, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois rescinded his endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy claiming Trump’s “belief that an American-born judge of Mexican descent is incapable of fairly presiding over his case is not only dead wrong, it is un-American.” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, who’s typically been a Trump supporter throughout the election process, refused Tuesday morning to answer the question of whether the real estate mogul was “fit” to be president. By Tuesday afternoon, Corker had set a timetable for Trump to change his ways stating in an interview : “He’s got this defining period that’s over the next two or three weeks where he could pivot, can pivot, hopefully, will pivot to a place where he becomes a true general election candidate,” Speaker Paul Ryan is even distancing himself from Trump after this most recent controversy, mere days after giving Trump his endorsement.
Perhaps there is a faint light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m afraid that even if Republicans formed a mass call to action against Trump and Democrats demanded that Hillary be indicted, charged, and jailed tonight— it may already be too late for both parties to redeem themselves from this mockery of a presidential selection process.
So for now, although I know unequivocally that we as a society deserve better than this and can undoubtedly do better than this, I’ll just leave you with a quote nearly every American utters following the evening results of our quadrennial presidential elections: “Welp.. There’s always next time, right?”
This article written by Clint Peterson for The Fifth Column.