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Elected members of Team Trump should raise hands

September 16, 2018

In the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” the seminal moment comes when the hard-boiled newspaper publisher tells Jimmy Stewart’s character, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” That’s difficult to do, since wise people know that there are no “alternative facts,” and that each fact conveys just one truth. Unfortunately, when it comes to today’s Republican Party we print the legend; that the Party stands for conservative, patriotic values designed to protect the common man. We do, because the truth is oftentimes too grotesque to contemplate.

There’s an election coming up and all over America, Republican candidates and incumbents are hoping, praying that you won’t ask them about Donald Trump. Too bad. Because that’s the first, last and possibly only thing you should be asking them about. Do you stand with the president; do you support him; do you agree with his policies and behavior?

Why does this make them nervous? Because the president is a liar, a crook, a traitor and a racist with no moral compass and no desire to unify our country. His policies cater to America’s oligarch class, his grifter appointees are tasked with wrecking the environment, public education, and nearly anything else that can be considered “for the common good.” And top to bottom, throughout Congress and in statehouses, Republican politicians have uniformly decided they are either actively or passively OK with this, abandoning their supposed values for greed and power.

Now, I’ve been barbecued over the years for having the nerve to question the true intentions of Greenwich’s Republican state legislators. I’m always being told how nice they are, how much they care, and so what if they don’t actually accomplish very much. It’s enough that they’re Republicans, facing down the eeevil Democrats. Well, that’s simply not enough anymore.

Our Connecticut Republican nominee for governor, the one who won’t answer questions, whose proposed economic plan has failed everywhere it has been tried, has officially aligned himself with Trump. At least he has the courage to say so. But how about our Superfriends? That all-Republican cadre of local legislators we keep sending to Hartford for what seems like no other reason than because electing Republicans is just the way things are done in Greenwich. Several publicly anchored themselves to Trump even before the 2016 Connecticut primary so yes, we have every right to ask: Where do you stand now, and why?

I’m not sure, but it makes sense that the Superfriends want to keep that information a mystery. When they talk about Trump at all, they like to poo-pooh being linked to the president, his policies and behavior, saying he has no bearing on their district. Which sounds reasonable, except it’s hogwash. We have seen the brutal “Trump effect” on statehouses for the last two years and every single voter in Greenwich this fall must know: if we send these guys back to Hartford and there is a Republican governor or Republican legislative majority, will these guys toe the worst of the Trump line or not?

These are fair questions because the current Republican Party legend has cracked and been exposed as an opportunist vehicle for delivering wealth and power to a class of one-percenters at the expense of everyone else. A cynical collection of two-faced moral scolds who will tolerate any sort of reprehensible behavior, any supremely unqualified candidate, as long as it delivers tax cuts, privatizes services, murders the social safety net, deregulates industry and helps perpetuate white privilege.

I believe that if the people who represent us in Hartford are OK with Trump’s policies, his cronies, his tweets, his statements and his lies; OK with cozying up to dictators, incoherent foreign trade practices and criminal behavior; OK with abandoning America’s humanity and standing in the world, then those people do not represent the majority of Greenwichites.

So, until such time as the members of the Superfriends can state unequivocally that they are not OK with those things, that they do not reflexively support their gubernatorial candidate simply because of that R next to his name, then we all should treat them like they are OK with being on Team Trump. And that makes them unworthy of your support and your vote.

David Rafferty is a Greenwich resident.

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