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Guest Opinion

Dear independent and moderate Republican voters...


I believe President Biden has been an excellent president, who has accomplished a lot for the American people in his first term. However, you may disagree with his policies or be reluctant to vote for him because of his flaws. But his flaws are not, qualitatively, like the flaws of his opponent, who will not hesitate to throw our democracy under the bus.

If you sit out the election, or if you vote for a third-party candidate, in effect, you would be helping to establish an imperial presidency. Would our democracy survive a second Trump term? Possibly. But do we really want to take that chance? A vote for Joe Biden this year is an act of true patriotism.

I recently watched the Apple TV mini-series “Masters of the Air,” which tells the story of the 8th Air Force and the courageous American pilots that flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from their bases in England in World War II. They experienced horrific losses, yet mission after mission, these men climbed back into their cockpits because they believed, correctly, that they were striking a decisive blow against Hitler’s fascism.

I thought of my late father, himself a World War II B-17 pilot, not with the 8th but with the 15th Air Force that flew out of Foggia, Italy, and his 50 harrowing missions over targets in Nazi-occupied Europe. He suffered from nightmares for years after the war. The other image that crept into my mind was of Donald Trump standing in front of a huge American flag with his rapt MAGA followers chanting “USA, USA.” And I could feel my blood pressure rising.

Frankly, that image revolted me, and I knew it would have revolted my late father. From the Greatest Generation we have descended to a former president and GOP candidate who strenuously sought to block the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation’s history, who incited a mob to attack the Capitol, and then watched for hours as the mob battered law enforcement officers and hunted Trump’s vice president and members of Congress. The former president refused repeated appeals by advisors and family members to call the mob down and end the violence.

In recent days Mike Pence finally acknowledged he could no longer in good conscience vote for the person with whom he served. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and extremist rhetoric continue to poison our discourse.

Yet, it’s not only about 2020 election denialism, his cozying up to authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin, and his disrespect for Gold Star families and genuine American heroes like John McCain. Put all that aside.

What about our American future?

The former president has said that he should be able to do whatever he wishes. Already he and his supportive cast have been hard at work mapping out a strategy to gain a free hand by replacing senior professionals in all federal departments, including the Justice Department, with people who will do whatever he insists that they do, Constitution be damned.

Would federal employees be protected? No.

Toward the end of his term, Trump signed an executive order that would have given him the power to dismiss as many as 50,000 federal employees who have faithfully served both Republican and Democratic administrations and replace them with loyalists to his extreme agenda. After the 2020 election, Biden quickly rescinded the order. If elected to a second term, Trump reportedly would reimpose it. This is just one of many tools Trump is expected to use to consolidate power in his hands.

Our Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick declared January 6 to be an “attempted coup.” I wonder what he is thinking now.

Will he join Mike Pence and others from his party, including many who worked in Trump’s White House, in rejecting Trump’s fitness to serve as commander-in-chief for a second term? Or just keep quiet so as not to alienate the MAGA base?

I know this. His continued silence means history will not think kindly of him.

Martin J. Raffel, resident of Langhorne, is a board member of Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania.

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