This past Saturday, President Donald Trump gave a speech that essentially reflected how he presents himself to the people of this country each and every day: without dignity or morality. Ironically, this speech was given at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), an organization that espouses the same “family values” that the Republican Party as of late seems to have all but abandoned. Values like fidelity to your wife and, perhaps using less profane-laden language or racist caricatures of your own former Attorney General. All these things have fallen by the wayside in the Republican Party, and so it is my belief that the Democrats must try to secure the higher ground.
The basis for this is for this simple fact: for years through commercials floating through the airwaves, Democrats are attacked for having no values. The best example of that is the infamous “Godless” ad filmed in 2008 accusing Kay Hagan, a then-Senate candidate of North Carolina, with accusations of having no values. If Republicans now wish to cede this moral authority, Democrats should act to take that high ground, and show people that they will uphold such values to win our votes.
The Democratic party needs a candidate with a clean slate because if they are to truly compete in the hard-fought swing states that Democrats lost in the prior presidential election, we must select a candidate who has the kind of bona-fide homegrown values that represent America at its best. We certainly do not need to elevate and re-elect a candidate who reflects an America losing her moral compass.
To make this clear, in no way is this meant to brush over some of the wrongs other presidents have done, such as Bill Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal and Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy in their infidelity to their wives and sexual misdeeds. But something must be made very clear: the Republican Party has claimed not so long ago to stand for the America that still cared about its values, and that party has all but ceded that credibility with their explicit toleration of a president who seems to spend more time cultivating a Twitter feed denigrating political opponents and scoring partisan points rather than trying to really lead us in a moral direction. The President currently holds above 90 percent approval among his own partisans, thus making it impossible for the Republicans, for the time being, to say they care about their values.
It is my belief, then, that the abandonment of values from one party gives the other side the opening to occupy the moral high ground in a way no one has since Jimmy Carter more than 40 years ago. We need a return to a presidency where the incumbent commands respect in his or her moral character, not a talking head that will merely deliver a policy prescription with a mile-long scandal-prone presidency to boot.