Opinion

Opinion | Nathaniel Rakich

Liberal independents in N.H. should vote Trump

New Hampshire is poised to decide whether a renegade like Donald Trump is a serious threat to win the nomination or whether GOP voters will wise up and support someone more electable.
Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency
New Hampshire is poised to decide whether a renegade like Donald Trump is a serious threat to win the nomination or whether GOP voters will wise up and support someone more electable.

Say you’re one of the thousands of New Hampshire voters who want Hillary Clinton to be the next president. You could do the straightforward thing and cast your ballot for Clinton in next week’s primary. But if you’re a registered independent, you have a better option: Infiltrate enemy lines. Vote in the Republican primary. Hand victory to Donald Trump.

Welcome to Operation Chaos 2.0.

Like most states, New Hampshire doesn’t restrict GOP primaries to registered Republicans. The 43 percent of Granite State voters who aren’t registered with a specific party can choose which primary to participate in on Tuesday. While Bernie Sanders leads in polls for the Democratic contest in New Hampshire, nationally, Clinton maintains a seemingly insurmountable advantage in polls and endorsements; your vote as a New Hampshire resident won’t change that.

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But New Hampshirites of either party can make a difference in the Republican race. The state is poised to decide whether a renegade like Trump is a serious threat to win the nomination or whether GOP voters will wise up and support someone more electable. For unaffiliated but left-leaning voters, this is a golden opportunity to wreak havoc by helping the Republican nightmare scenario come true.

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Participation in the opposing party’s primary with the goal of taking it down from the inside has a long track record. In 2012, for instance, Democrats intervened in the Republican Missouri primary for a US Senate seat to boost “legitimate rape” crank Todd Akin, who famously went on to lose to Democrat Claire McCaskill.

With his litany of character flaws, Trump — like Akin on a larger scale — would be by far the easiest candidate for Democrats to beat in November. Further, as de facto leader of the Republican Party, his controversial statements would alienate millions of voters, damaging the party’s brand nationwide.

Many Democrats might worry that Trump actually could be elected president. But his dismal 33 percent approval/58 percent disapproval rating makes that improbable. Besides, liberals actually have more common ground with Trump than more plausible alternatives like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. Trump supports Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, and affirmative action, and he opposed the Iraq War and Citizens United. Contrary to popular belief, Trump simply isn’t all that conservative — he just acts that way.

In New Hampshire and wherever else they can, liberal independents should vote Trump for now to guarantee a Clinton victory in the fall. Do anything else, and you’re not doing everything you can to help Democrats win.

Nathaniel Rakich is a politics and baseball writer based in Boston. Follow him on Twitter @baseballot.