- - Thursday, February 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I have always believed the people of Iowa to generally be good-natured, decent individuals who make up the heartland of America. That image has sustained a hard hit with the stunning and sad selection of Republican candidates Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump as front-runners in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

Although the finish of the top two contenders was forecast by polls, I did not want to believe that it would happen, hoping that when the ‘browsing’ stage was over, the voters would not act recklessly. It is particularly tragic that evangelicals could offer widespread support for those with fatal character flaws, individuals who act in a manner which is anything but godly.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump represent the forces of anger, hatred, intolerance, and the scapegoating of immigrants, gay people and minorities. Additionally, Mr. Trump is known as one who commands attention and headlines by crudely and coarsely insulting anyone who dares to cross him.

Contender John Kasich, the experienced, accomplished, dignified and cheerful individual in the race who might be able to save the Republican Party from itself, finished in eighth place in Iowa, taking in a paltry 1.9 percent of the vote. It would appear that in this, the era of rage, someone in Mr. Kasich’s mold does not stand a chance of bringing his talent and skill in governance back to the national stage.

I would ordinarily be inclined to vote for a third-party candidate for president, but if this year’s contest finds Hillary Rodham Clinton facing an extremist Republican, I will rally to her side and cast my ballot for her with the hope that America will not become a laughingstock of the world.

Donald Trump likes to refer to his many foes as “losers.” America would be the greatest loser of all if it were foolish enough to place Mr. Trump in the Oval Office.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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