DE KLOTZOregonians’ primary votes in the presidential race are of particular consequence this year. The rhetoric in this cycle is reflecting our growing frustrations and divisions, and I am fearful that we risk turning to an individual whom I think has neither the character, temperament nor knowledge to serve as president.

I implore fellow Republicans to vote for an alternative to Donald Trump.

The complex crises facing our world today, domestically and abroad, do not have easy solutions. A politician who tells us that he can fix everything, if only he is elected, is lying to us. Mr. Trump pledges to “make America great again.” What he seems to mean by that is that America will “win” — we won’t make bad trade deals; there will be more good jobs; other countries will no longer get a free ride off of American military might; and, presumably, many other great things.

But I disagree with the premise that American greatness is determined by whether we “win” and, by implication, others “lose.” I firmly believe that this nation’s greatness is determined not by our wealth and power, but by our principles: that all women and men are created equal; that a people ought to be free to govern itself; that an individual ought to be free — to pursue one’s dreams, to exercise one’s religious beliefs or to have no religion at all, to speak out for or against government action (or anything else) and not be punished by the government for doing so; that no person is above the law; that government’s legitimacy stems from the consent of the people it serves; and that our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. We must remain vigilant if the greatness of America is to be preserved.

Mr. Trump’s threats of lawsuits have a chilling effect on free speech. His rhetoric toward Muslims impedes the free exercise of religion. He has encouraged violence at rallies. He has praised authoritarian leadership. How is it possible that a man who shows such disdain for a free society — the foundation of our Republic — can make America greater?

His inflammatory rhetoric towards Mexicans and Muslims has already made it impossible for him to serve as a president who can help to bridge our divides. His offensive statements toward many women — Megyn Kelly, Michelle Fields, Carly Fiorina and Rosie O’Donnell, among others — reveal a character far from what we should expect from the man who believes he is up to the responsibilities previously discharged by individuals as great as Lincoln and Washington.

Finally, in interviews and debates, he shows not only a lack of knowledge about policy, but a lack of interest in learning about it.

Mr. Trump is correct in concluding that our societal ills include an economy that leaves people behind, cronyism and a political correctness that obscures our ability to address problems, but he is not the remedy. I strongly believe he will make our politics more bitter, and our problems more intractable.

We don’t have to choose divisiveness; we can work together as Americans to address our problems. I will be voting against Mr. Trump in the primary, and should he win the Republican nomination, I will not vote for him in November. I urge all Oregonians to do the same.

Patrick De Klotz, the Republican candidate for House District 38, formerly served as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and now works as a business attorney. Learn more about his campaign at

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