Our view: Trump’s visit a chance to set higher standard

October 3, 2018

The planned rally by President Donald Trump Thursday at Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center is another indication that national leaders and political parties increasingly view Rochester and southeastern Minnesota as an important political battleground.

Starting with President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, major party leaders have seen the value of a campaign stop in Rochester. This corner of the state might be the ultimate swing district, voting for both Democrats and Republicans on national and state levels, with neither party having a monopoly.

Reagan, by the way, merely held a news conference in a cramped room at the Rochester airport when he came to campaign for Republican candidates. More recently, presidents and major candidates have booked the much larger UCR Fieldhouse or Mayo Civic Center for their appearances.

President Trump will be here to stump on behalf of Republican candidates in November’s mid-term election. Two U.S. Senate seats, a governor’s race and all of the state’s seats in the House of Representatives, as well every seat in the Minnesota House, will be on the ballot in November. The various candidates will have to decide for themselves if it is to their benefit to be seen on stage with a president who has low favorability ratings, but down-ballot candidates of either party rarely pass up the chance to be photographed with a sitting president.

The rally will bring the national news media to Rochester, which in turn will provide coast-to-coast coverage of what takes place here.

In that regard, we have a wish for everyone involved: Be civil. Please, no violence, no ugly taunting.

Too much to ask? Maybe, given the nasty partisanship of the current political situation. But we’d like to think people in this region are better behaved, more respectful, than the crowds we’ve seen inside and outside recent Trump rallies. By all means, cheer until you’re hoarse, or protest until you’re exhausted. But bullying and demonizing are beneath all of us.

We were taught to respect the office, even if we disagree with the holder of that office. The same can be said for honest citizens on both sides of any issue. We can disagree without being uncivil.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the way people conduct themselves these days. It’s time for Minnesotans to set a higher standard, and this presidential rally is our opportunity to do exactly that.

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