Open Letter from Former U.S. Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-CA)

My family have been active Republicans in California since 1860 and the election of Abraham Lincoln. I was privileged to serve in Congress for 15 years, as a Republican, between 1967 and 1983, co-chairing the first Earth Day in 1970 with Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, co-authoring the Endangered Species Act and other landmark environmental legislation, and I was the first to suggest Richard Nixon should be impeached. In those years, Republicans favored balanced budgets, women’s rights, limiting presidential war power, civil rights, tax reform, and protection of the environment.

No more.

The 2016 Republican platform calls for transferring federal lands, including several national parks and national forests, to the states, and for denying women the right to choose. It also ignores our obligation to address global warming. And it moves to limit the voting rights of minorities and opposes campaign finance reform.

And then there’s Donald Trump.

But defeating Trump is not enough. If Republicans are allowed to continue to control the Senate, the next president will be hobbled, as President Obama has been. Only if the Senate has a Democratic majority will the next president be able to appoint reasonable Supreme Court justices, protect women’s rights, and preserve the environmental progress that has been made over the past 45 years.

We have the opportunity to elect Democrats in several too-close-to-call races, including Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Ted Strickland in Ohio, Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, and Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania. Each of these Democrats can win if we act to balance the enormous financial contributions of the Koch brothers and multinational companies, now unlimited under Citizens United, to candidates who support big business.

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