Dear Editor: Editor Paul Fanlund is correct in calling "Main Street" Republicans to task for their unquestioning support for our sociopath president. It is bad for the country and bad for the planet that anyone — Trump fanatic or Trump codependent — gives support to such a profoundly harmful being.

Unfortunately, it is naïve to think any followers of Trump are going to channel their better angels. The better angels metaphor has gotten hackneyed and useless. The decline in our body politic has been going on for decades, Trump being the end product of a long line of malevolent presidents. It started with Richard Nixon, intensified with Ronald Reagan, then both Bushes, and likely hasn’t reached bottom yet. Republican voters have been fine with all of them.

Where have Democrats been during all of this? Nowhere, really. At best they have been playing catch-up ball, presenting themselves as lighter versions of their Republican counterparts. The philosophy of “conservatism” has been a scam from Day One, but where’s the Democratic philosophy? Bernie Sanders articulated somewhat of a philosophy, but he was blocked by party establishment from being nominated. Instead, we got Republican-lite and tainted candidate Hillary Clinton, who promptly lost to Republican-dark Donald Trump.

So maybe Democrats can start by providing an alternative that resonates. Candidates who call conservatism for what it is — a phony “ideology” of bigotry, crony capitalism and hate-mongering. In tandem with calling conservatism for what it is, they can express a system of beliefs. Hint: Start with the word distributive. Follow it with the word civilization. Include somewhere the notion of sanity. Revive the concepts of society and citizenship. Truth. Justice. The American way.

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John Hamilton

Madison

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