Dear Governor Kasich,
I write to you on 12/10/16 with a sincere plea that I hope will not fall on deaf ears. My hope is based on the integrity you showed throughout the 2016 Presidential campaign as well as the simple fact that, like me, you understand what our President-elect is and what he is capable of doing to this country. Your fundamental decency was fully on display the day that you refused his offer of the Vice Presidency, unwilling to hitch your wagon to that of a rising demagogue. You knew what the GOP was getting in its nominee and you wanted no part in it.
Sadly, Gov. Kasich, we have had him foisted upon us in one of the strangest elections this country has ever seen, one in which a foreign power openly intervened and yet your own party did nothing about it, one in which the FBI blundered its way through the final ten days, and one in which eighty thousand votes in three states canceled out a nearly three million vote popular majority (larger that in all but 18 previous US elections). And that doesn’t even touch on the unprecedented ugliness we all witnessed and, because of his campaign of hatred, are continuing to witness across the country.
Governor, you knew the problems that this man could create were he to rise to power. I am sure that you have been watching carefully as his transition reveals that he fully intends to bring them all to pass. Each day’s news of a new cabinet post is worse than the previous one’s. He appoints people who are totally unqualified (much like himself) or determined to bring their departments down or both. These are the most cognitively dissonant appointments in history, and by themselves they threaten America in ways we could not have dreamed a few months ago.
In addition, there is the absurd matter of his lack of diplomatic aplomb. The Taiwan call was only the beginning. He is receiving only one of every seven Daily Briefings, and he knows nothing about what problems we face in the world and what our allies and enemies are doing. That he has caused only one or two incidents at this point is a kind of minor miracle. Give him four years. There will be many, many more.
Add to that his incredibly thin skin. He has demonstrated again and again that he cannot hold back on the 3AM tweets. Well, if his target is Hamilton or Alec Baldwin or the New York Times, they can take it. But what happens when his target is the Chinese government? Or any government? Then there is the matter of the press, which he has many times threatened to shut down with lawsuits or lack of access. It’s incredible to watch him make all the same moves a strongman dictator would make to consolidate power, even to the point of arranging his current unprecedented victory tour to cement his cult of personality. And it’s not hard to believe that, the way Congress kowtows to him because it can finally do what it wants, he might well be able to solidify his hold on power to the extent that he may, with the help of his legion of fans, try to keep it forever.
I could go on, but I’ll mention only one more thing: his refusal to divest himself of his financial holdings. This is a dangerous situation: a US President who can be bought for the price of a hotel easement. We are about to enter into an era we have hitherto never imagined.
Governor, you may be one of the few people in this country who could stop all of this from happening.
I am a progressive. I do not share your politics, but I, like most other Americans, have come to respect you as an honest politician who puts the country ahead of himself. You must know, having read accounts in the news, that there are electors who are wavering in their support for this autocratic leader. Their problem is that they have no one to vote for. Their only alternative is Hillary Clinton, and (being Republican) they just can’t go there. So in nine days we’re going to be stuck with President Trump.
Give them that alternative, Governor. But do it in a very specific way. Create the GREAT COMPROMISE OF 2016, a bipartisan means of honestly rescuing American politics from the mire it has fallen into. This idea does not originate with me, but I may be the first to take it to you directly. It starts with a few phone calls from you, and it goes like this:
- Talk to Hillary Clinton. This does not work without her assistance. But she, like you, is a patriot, and she, like you, knows precisely what our Demagogue-Elect is setting up. She must release all of her electors with instructions to vote for you.
- With her help, recruit a Democrat to serve as your Vice-President in a truly bipartisan ticket with the honest intention of consulting him or her on policy matters.
- Both of you make pledges not to run in 2020. This is not supposed to set up a future campaign. Starting to campaign in 2018 gets in the way of the task at hand: righting the ship of American politics.
- Over the next week, campaign loudly to recruit 39 electors to jump ship and vote for you. Given what is going on in Washington, it may not be that hard if they had a real alternative.
- If (once) you win, work with your VP-elect to choose a truly bipartisan Cabinet, making it clear to everyone that this is not going to be business as usual.
- Re-appoint Merrick Garland. We all know that he is a moderate choice, fully acceptable to the GOP, and that he was legally President Obama’s choice to make. The Senate should not be allowed to get away with what they did.
Governor, you know what Trump is about to do to America. You knew it last spring; you can see it yourself right now. In your heart, you know that the best case result of his inauguration would be an impeachment trial, and that is hardly a good thing. Find it within yourself to do what it takes to save the country.