In the upcoming presidential election, Americans face a choice between two highly partisan candidates who have at least one thing in common: They share the highest unfavorable ratings of any major party candidates in the history of presidential politics.
Lisa Murkowski, my opponent for Alaska's U.S. Senate seat in November, has stated that she intends to vote for Donald Trump despite the fact that Trump appears to have none of the traditional qualifications to be president. If Sen. Murkowski is not simply voting for Trump because of naked party politics, she should tell Alaskans why she believes that Trump has the knowledge, skill, temperament and judgment to guide this nation to a better future.
To date, Murkowski has avoided the responsibility of political leadership by issuing vague, cryptic statements about Trump, such as "I have always supported the Republican nominee for president" and "Hillary Clinton is not my choice."
As an independent not bound by party rules and allegiances, I have found it remarkable that Trump's statements and actions did not end his candidacy many months ago. Trump is being sued for his scam "Trump University." Trump's business model includes using the bankruptcy courts to avoid paying valid debts. Trump is the first presidential candidate in modern history to refuse to disclose his tax returns — would they show he declares little or no income through numerous tax dodges? Trump has announced he will authorize the use of torture in violation of laws passed by Congress. Trump has characterized Mexicans who come to the U.S. as killers, drug dealers and rapists. Trump has said that a federal judge hearing one of the many lawsuits against him should step down because of the judge's Hispanic ancestry.
Trump has also called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Trump mocked a disabled reporter. Trump has peddled the fabulist conspiracy theory that President Obama was born in Kenya. Trump claims climate change science is a "hoax." Trump has promised to somehow round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants — apparently without allowing them any court hearings — despite the fact that the vast majority came here during decades of lax immigration enforcement, have no criminal record, and now have citizen spouses and citizen children. Trump has made disparaging remarks about women, divorced two wives and attacked the looks of Ted Cruz's wife. Trump has held no consistent political views over the years and has little apparent interest in policy matters.
And let's not forget that years ago he claimed to be mentally or physically unfit to serve in the U.S. armed forces and therefore was able to avoid being drafted.
In light of these facts, the Republican Party's last presidential nominee, former Governor Mitt Romney, labeled Trump a "fraud." Republican Senator Ted Cruz, the runner-up in the Republican primary, described Trump as a "serial philanderer," "utterly amoral," a "pathological liar," a "narcissist" and a "bully." Republican Sen. Marco Rubio described Trump as a "con artist" who has made "a career telling people lies," and who is "dangerous," "unqualified" and should "not have access to the nuclear codes." Even Trump's announced running mate, Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, opined last December that Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from the United States was "offensive and unconstitutional."
Political leadership involves addressing difficult and controversial issues with as much transparency as possible. Why is Lisa Murkowski voting for Mr. Trump? Alaskans have a right to know.
Margaret Stock is a retired Army Reserve officer who has taught constitutional and national security law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A graduate of Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School and the U.S. Army War College, she is running as an independent in the November 2016 election for the U.S. Senate in Alaska.