This column probably marks the end of a friendly professional relationship that spanned almost two decades — if a politician can really have such a relationship with a journalist.
I have come to the painful decision that I cannot vote for Kevin Yoder for a fifth term representing Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. I have always voted for him in the past. But casting a ballot for Yoder in the Nov. 6 election would feel like I was aiding and abetting President Donald Trump.
Many of my Republican friends strongly disagree with my decision. They argue that Yoder has been a real asset to his district, made up mostly of Johnson and Wyandotte counties. They believe our Republican congressman deserves to be re-elected on those merits.
But the way I see it, Yoder represents not only his congressional district, but also his country. While he may be doing a service for his constituents back home, Yoder has been doing a disservice to his country by aligning himself with Trump. It’s understandable, but not forgivable, that Yoder is part of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that follows Trump like lemmings.
With Republicans in control of both the House and Senate, Trump has enormous power and can push through his latest whims. That power must be broken up, even if it means flipping Congress to Democrats, which admittedly is a high price to pay.
I may be in the minority of Republicans, but I am with the vast majority of Americans who say they do not approve of where Trump is taking our country. Our democracy, our cherished institutions and our leadership of the free world are all at stake. If you are a Republican and approve of the direction Trump and Congress are taking America, then by all means vote for Yoder.
I disagree vehemently and would sacrifice Yoder to stop Trump.
I still consider myself a Republican. But the party has abandoned the very principles that convinced me to become a Republican in the first place. Among those basic GOP ideals that have been prostituted under Trump are insisting on a more balanced budget, reducing wasteful spending, promoting free trade and encouraging state and local control. Where did all of those principles go? They were handed over to Trump, who has discarded them.
Trump has infected the Republican Party, and Yoder is not immune. How else to explain Yoder leading the way to spend $5 billion to partially fund an asinine wall along the Mexico border? Yoder, like so many Republicans, has gotten off track by trying to please the president. He has become an unwitting accomplice to Trump’s irresponsible behavior.
Taking the Republican majority away from the House would put a big dent in Trump’s power. That alone is enough reason to vote against Yoder. Many of us would like to send a strong message to Trump that we are staunchly opposed to what he is doing to America. A vote against Yoder would do just that.
Make no mistake. Trump can almost always count on Yoder’s vote. He has become a reliable, loyal Trump ally. And he happens to be part of a Congress that is almost totally compliant in carrying out Trump’s wishes.
My decision to withhold my vote for Yoder has been tortuous and emotional. Indeed, were Trump not president with Congress under his thumb, I likely would be making a different choice. But as things stand, I could not look myself in the mirror knowing that if I voted for Yoder, I would be voting against the best interests of the country.