On Tuesday, Rep. Richard Hanna became the first Republican in Congress to not only refuse to endorse Donald Trump, but actually throw his endorsement behind Hillary Clinton. At first glance, this may not seem all that significant as the congressman is retiring, and after all, he is just one in a House Republican caucus that numbers 247.
However, upon unpacking Rep. Hanna’s announcement, three important factors come to light that make his endorsement significant:
First, in his endorsement, Rep. Hanna cites Trump’s most recent attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a fallen army captain who was killed when he asked the soldiers in his command to pull back and himself walked toward a suspicious car which then blew up. It was not just citing Trump’s attack on the family, but a very important question that Hanna proposed regarding Trump’s behavior: “Where do we draw the line?” In doing so, Hanna challenged all of his fellow Republicans on their continuous rebukes, yet refusal to withdraw their support of Trump.
Second, in his official endorsement of Clinton, Rep. Hanna does not just cite Donald Trump’s behavior and the fact that he is unfit to be president. Hanna actually goes farther and specifically states that Hillary Clinton is a true leader. “I trust that she can lead. All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate,” he said. In this single sentence, he again, challenges his Republican brothers and sisters that this election, unlike any other in many of their lifetimes, involves a candidate who demonstrates conclusively, over and over, that he is unfit to lead; that it is no longer about party loyalty, it’s about love of country.
Third, Rep. Hanna makes a very important point. He notes that he does not agree with Clinton on every issue, and does not feel that he has to agree with her on every issue to vote for her. “Our response to the public’s anger and the need to rebuild requires complex solutions, experience, knowledge and balance. Not bumper sticker slogans that pander to our disappointment, fear and hate.” This is a very important point as it gives says that Republicans are picking between someone who has no values, no policies, nothing more than buzzwords and someone who at least has substance, and yes, much of that substance, Republicans can work with.
It remains to be seen whether Rep. Hanna’s defection from his caucus will be just that, a long anomaly, or the breaking of the dam.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.