Trump's time should be up; but is Biden the solution?

  • Ed Murnane

    Ed Murnane

Posted7/10/2020 1:00 AM

For only the second time since I've been an eligible voter -- and this will be my 14th presidential election -- I do not plan to vote for one of the major party candidates for the office of president of the United States.

In fact, this will be the second consecutive presidential election in which I have not voted for one of the two principle candidates (Democrat or Republican).


The first time was four years ago when I wrote in "Mike Pence," knowing full-well that the Republican Vice presidential candidate would not -- (and could not) -- be elected president but just as I could not vote for Hillary Clinton, neither could I cast a vote for Donald Trump. The only options I had were to vote for one of the two candidates, or to not vote for president, or to write someone else in as my personal protest. That's what I did.

This year is just as bad, probably worse, since after almost four years in office, Trump has confirmed (at least for me) that he should not have been elected president. I suspect there are many (millions, at least) American voters who now feel the same way. It's possible that there are quite a few -- perhaps millions also -- who are thinking they wish they had made that decision in 2016.

I grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago, near Midway Airport, and just one precinct away from Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Michael J. Madigan's precinct. My father was a Democratic precinct captain in the adjacent precinct.

As Irish Catholics, my father (and Mike Madigan) were jubilant with the election of John F. Kennedy as president in 1960. At the age of 16 in 1960, I couldn't vote but that didn't prevent me from having a "JFK For President" bumper sticker pasted on my school notebook. I wasn't the only student at Brother Rice High School, a Southwest side high school operated by the Christian Brothers of Ireland who sported "JFK For President" stickers or buttons.

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By the time I was old enough to vote (in the 1968 election) the presidential candidates were Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. I was loyal to my Democratic upbringing and voted for Humphrey, even though I had the excitement of meeting Richard Nixon (and his daughters) at the Republican Convention in Chicago where I was working as an Andy Frain usher.

Nixon, of course, was given an "early out" pass from the White House when he resigned in 1974 and by this time I had finished five years at the Daily Herald and had moved from Arlington Heights to Washington, D.C., on a Congressional fellowship program. Then, I went to work for one of Illinois' new congressmen, Republican Philip Crane.

Crane, who died several years ago, was a staunch conservative and it was through him that I got involved in the successful campaigns for Ronald Reagan, and then for George H.W. Bush.

Working for both Reagan and Bush and getting to know both of them and to learn what they believed and stood for, solidified my conservative Republican philosophy, which I believe is still intact.


And it's because of that philosophy and the beliefs and principals that go with it that I could not vote for Donald Trump for president in 2016. I couldn't tell what Donald Trump stood for, other than Donald Trump. Other than making, or inheriting, a lot of money, I saw none of the qualities I could see in other candidates, Republican or Democrat. Nor could I see the leadership qualities that could lead our country forward.

But Joe Biden is not an acceptable alternative. He is too old (as I am) and while there were some Democratic contenders who were more tolerable than Trump, the Democratic Party is much too far to the left and would (and quite likely might) lead the country in a terrible direction.

Trump, as bad as I think he is, is better than any of the Democrats as president because a Democrat-controlled Congress will keep him under control. The Democrat-controlled Congress would not keep any of the Democrats under control, including Biden who, if elected, will have a stack of IOUs a mile high.

So, this year, the 14th time I'll have the opportunity to vote for president of the United States, I once again cannot vote for Donald Trump and I'll likely write in the name of someone who would be more qualified.

That field is large but the current prospects -- mostly patriotic Americans -- will bide their time until the current pandemic is over. In fact, perhaps we are going through two pandemics; hopefully both will disappear by early to mid-November.

Illinois will go solidly for Joe Biden, so my vote for president really won't matter, regardless of whom I write in. But it will be someone who would be a better president of the United States than Donald Trump has been or ever will be.

Ed Murnane,, of Arlington Heights, is retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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