Editorials

Editorial

Massachusetts voters must stop Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event in Atlanta on Sunday.
David Goldman/AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event in Atlanta onSunday.

Stopping Donald J. Trump is imperative — and not just for his fellow Republicans. In Massachusetts, which votes next Tuesday, unenrolled voters may also vote in the GOP presidential primary. The Globe has endorsed John Kasich, the highly qualified governor of Ohio, and urges unenrolled voters to cast a Republican ballot for him instead of voting in the Democratic primary on the same day.

The Democratic race features two credible candidates, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. For registered Democrats, who cannot take a GOP ballot, Clinton is the better choice. But for everyone else, the GOP primary is where their vote can really make the biggest difference.

Each vote counts — moreso here than in some other states. One feature of the Massachusetts Republican primary is that it’s not a “winner-take-all” race. The Commonwealth’s 42 GOP convention delegates will be allocated in proportion to each candidate’s statewide total, even if they don’t win. So voters needn’t fear that their ballot against Trump will go to waste: No matter who actually tops the field — and a new poll suggests it could be Trump — the more people vote for one of Trump’s opponents, the fewer delegates he’ll receive from Massachusetts.

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Trump’s campaign has revived some of the ugliest traditions in American politics, including the scapegoating of religious minorities and immigrants. He has yet to put forth a serious platform of ideas about how he would govern or what a Trump administration would seek to accomplish. Just his nomination by one of the nation’s major parties would be an international embarrassment.

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Kasich, a mainstream conservative, was overwhelmingly reelected in 2014 — a real accomplishment in a battleground state like Ohio. Some of his conservative positions, especially his opposition to abortion rights, understandably make many Massachusetts voters blanch. But he has to be judged against the other Trump opponents.

The other remaining candidates for the Republican nomination are Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Dr. Ben Carson. Cruz and Carson are far more right-wing than Kasich on social issues, while Rubio is less experienced and less prepared for
the presidency.

Some Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, meanwhile, seem to be rooting strategically for Trump. According to many pundits, Trump would be the weakest candidate against Clinton or Sanders, and for that reason some Democrats hope he wins the nomination. Some may even cast a mischievous vote for him on Tuesday, seeking to help the eventual Democratic nominee.

That’s playing with fire. Just remember how few pundits believed Trump would ever make it this far.

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The best way to stop Trump is to stop Trump now. Thanks to his landslide victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina against divided fields, that’s already an uphill battle. But as the race turns to Massachusetts, the answer to John F. Kennedy’s question — “ask what you can do for your country” — has rarely been clearer: unenrolled voters should pull a Republican ballot and vote for John Kasich because it’s a vote against Donald Trump.