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Column: Norman’s affinity for Trump good reason to back Parnell for House

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On June 20, the citizens of South Carolina¹s 5th Congressional District have an opportunity to send a message to the country.
Are the people of this district content to sit silently by and watch a president embarrass himself and the nation, undermine our most important alliances, level unsupported charges against a former president, make baseless claims of voter fraud, and continually tell lies to the press and the public?
Are the people of this district prepared to send a new Republican to Congress who, in a WFAE radio interview last week, expressed wholehearted admiration for Donald Trump and his policy choices, without expressing any reservation about his conduct of the nation’s affairs?
Electing Democrat Archie Parnell to fill the current vacancy in Congress would send a clear message to the Republican Party that “safe” districts do not remain safe when the GOP acts as a lapdog for the occupant of the White House.
It is not only the GOP’s subservience to a shaky president that deserves a message from the ballot box. In its only substantive act so far, the Republican Party demonstrated that it had absolutely no idea about health insurance policy when the ball dropped in its lap.
For seven years, the GOP clamored for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The party claimed to have a better idea all ready to go, though no one would go on record with details. Now the Republican Congress has embarrassed itself by flailing about trying to find a health-plan formula on which they can agree. The end result in the House is a bill that will bring chaos to health insurance if enacted and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would result in millions of Americans losing access to health insurance. And after they passed it, the GOP congressmen went to the White House and had a champagne party to celebrate. Appalling.
The choice of Mr. Parnell as the 5th District congressman has little to do with a determination that Mr. Parnell is clearly a superior person to occupy the seat, though as a matter of policy he would be the better choice. Ralph Norman, the Republican candidate, may be a fine man, but by his own statements he would be a rubber stamp for more of the same from both the White House and Congress.
Moreover, Parnell’s election would not significantly change the makeup of the Congress. It would still be ruled by the GOP, not thrown over to the Democrats. But make no mistake, a change in this one seat would be a clarion call to the Republican Party.
The Republicans in Congress have been mostly silent while President Trump has wreaked both domestic and international havoc in his first five months in office.
And perhaps most disturbing, they sit quietly while he thumbs his nose at the American people by refusing to release his tax returns (which would allow us to know where his financial interests may intersect with his policy decisions), by refusing to separate himself from his vast business empire while in office, and by attacking the nation’s press institutions individually and collectively as purveyors of “fake news,” while telling baldfaced lies from the White House.
Anyone paying attention knows that nearly everything that the nation’s press has reported about the Trump operation has proven true. Further, Trump thumbs his nose at the Constitution when he denigrates the nation’s courts, a key part of the checks and balances built into our system.
Thoughtful Americans have been waiting for experienced senators and congressmen to express their disdain for Trump’s personal conduct and for his chaotic approach to both domestic policy and international affairs. But Republicans in the House have not distinguished themselves with expressions of statesmanship.
The June 20 election fills a seat in that House, and it would be better filled at this time by a Democrat, if for no other reason than to send a message to a meek GOP that the people expect better of them and we cannot be taken for granted.
As Lincoln (a Republican) said, ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is a chance for the people to speak loudly to and for their government.

Joseph DelMaster is an Indian Land resident.