I am Republican, and voting for Campa-Najjar

Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running against Rep. Duncan Hunter, speaks to reporters outside the San Diego Federal Courthouse during Hunter’s arraignment hearing on August 23, 2018/Sandy Huffaker

I am a lifelong Republican from El Cajon.

That’s why I’m supporting Ammar Campa-Najjar against Duncan Hunter in the 50th Congressional District contest Nov. 6.

Republicans Must Return to their Principles or Lose Women Voters Like Me.

It’s been a long, strange trip downward for the Republican Party. Today, the values we once championed are overshadowed by finger-pointing and yelling. Public debate has shifted from important issues facing the nation to ridiculous arguments about whether it’s presidential to call a woman “horseface” on Twitter.

Some are enraptured by this sensationalist turn, but for the rest of us, it’s been a string of disappointments.

The Republican Party’s objective no longer seems to be electing leaders who govern in the spirit of their faith, nor fighting for the freedoms America holds dear. It’s not for limiting federal power and intrusion into our lives. Instead, Republicans appear to care mostly about triggering all those “liberal snowflakes” with increasingly outrageous comments.

Our public officials no longer act as if they were sent to Washington to represent those who elected them, but rather to play some power game in which democracy itself may be the loser.

Along this path, Republican voters have been asked to accept ever-more flawed candidates, for no other reason than they’re not Democrats: An Alabama man with a history of stalking teenage girls at the mall, a Virginian with extensive white nationalist affiliations, and a New York Representative under federal indictment for insider trading. These all are good choices, we’re told, for our diverse and proud country.

Rep. Duncan Hunter outside the San Diego Federal Courthouse during Hunter’s arraignment hearing on August 23, 2018/File

Perhaps the worst example is here in California, where we’re expected to swallow our bile and back Congressman Duncan Hunter.

A so-called leader who boasts no legislative accomplishments, Rep. Hunter has been credibly accused of siphoning campaign donations to pay for family vacations, video games, and tickets to Riverdance.

In a most craven show of disrespect, our sitting congressman allegedly bought running shoes for himself and attributed the expense to a wounded warrior’s organization. He later did the same when he needed golf balls.

Yet, Republican leadership is actively encouraging us to go to the polls in support of a man whose grift involved leveraging other people’s sacrifices to enrich himself.

Have we no shame?

Rep. Hunter’s response to the indictments? Blames his wife.

And here we come to yet another egregious trend in the Republican Party—the disparagement of women.

The right currently is awash in reactionaries who malign us, ignore our concerns, defend our attackers, and treat us as objects. And this isn’t just the dark underbelly of the internet we’re talking about.

Republicans might distance ourselves when men caught grabbing sleeping women on planes protest that the President says it’s okay, but how do we explain that a Congressman who publicly bemoaned his inability to call women sluts at will retains the support of the GOP?

If we also refuse to accept that outright corruption is disqualifying for higher office, what have we become?

No longer stay silent

I can no longer stay silent as the party I’ve believed in for so long reaches these depths, no longer guided by basic standards of decency. This moment in history is too important to expect so little from those intended to represent us, and I, for one, demand more.

San Diegans, we cannot allow Rep. Hunter — or any official acting with blatant disregard for their constituents — to remain in office.

As Republicans, we must go back to our roots and stand firm against those who besmirch the name of the once Grand Old Party. 

We must—or rather they must.

Because until there is visible change, I no longer support the Republican Party, and Duncan Hunter.

(Elizabeth Niemann is a local, concerned citizen from El Cajon.)

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