Save the Republican Party by voting Democrat

By Karl Bickel

Of course, this is admittedly self-serving since I am running for sheriff as a Democrat. But this needs to be said and I am doing so as a former Republican. Yes, a Democrat now but I was a Republican for over 30 years and believe in a strong two-party system. I have now been a member of both parties, neither of which is perfect.

We have extremists in both parties as well as in some of the fringe parties like the Green Party, Constitution Party, Alliance Party and so on, but extremism is taking over the Republican party in the era of Trumpism. Political extremism is dividing our country and is beginning to threaten the welfare and safety of all of us.

Many prominent Republicans have left the Party, many from the Reagan and Bush eras as well as leaders from the John McCain presidential campaign. Some have created organizations like The Lincoln Project to push back against extremist elements in the Republican Party. All have urged true conservative Republicans to vote for Democrats in order to send a message, to right the ship so-to-speak, to save the Republican Party from extremist elements within its ranks.

Here in Maryland, and even Frederick County, we are seeing political extremism infecting the Republican Party. We saw political extremist Dan Cox defeat right of center Republican Kelly Schulz for the gubernatorial nomination and a right out of high school youngster with no experience other than some sophomoric extremist views defeat Republican Council Vice President Michael Blue. Though I did not agree with Schulz and Blue on many issues, I respect them, I did not see either as a threat to the future of the Republican Party our county, or our democracy.

Cox is following in the footsteps of our county’s poster boy for political extremism, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. He has "vowed to use Maryland state resources to "stand against" the federal government if he’s elected in November." This mirrors what Jenkins stated in prepared closing remarks during a 2016 debate: "I really believe that the sheriff, the office of the sheriff is the last line between government and the American citizen. And when the government fails — and it is failing — that obligation to protection falls to the sheriff."

The sheriff has publicly stated in a recent radio interview that "Every Democrat in America is trying to destroy this country. I really believe that."

These are not the words of a sheriff who serves all the people. These are the words of a political extremist, an insurrectionist if you will, who has publicly stated the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. He has said the COVID pandemic, which killed over a million people in the U.S. and was the most common cause of death among law enforcement officers for over two years, was a fraud. They are the words of a sheriff who so extreme in his political views that the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security objected to the renewal of his coveted 287(g) agreement in 2016.

Jenkins has even attacked the credibility of Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Larry Hogan and said "whatever he runs for in the future, he gets no support from me."

The sheriff is an active member of both The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) and Protect America Now. CSPOA leader, Richard Mack was a founding member and former director of the Oath Keepers who have been charged with various crimes associated with the Jan 6 insurrection. Both organizations are made up of a small group of extremist sheriffs.

Protect America Now is a small group of sheriffs who are poised to begin investigating "Election Fraud" in their counties so they can ensure extremists win. Sheriff Jenkins is not only a member, but his picture is prominently displayed on their webpage.

The Republican party is currently associated with Trumpism and violence, and that is pushing many fiscal conservatives out. In order to save the Republican party, it will take thoughtful Republicans who disagree with the MAGA extremists that threaten the party’s very existence to take action. That action is to stand strong and vote against radical extremism.

The dangers of political extremism start locally. Casting a vote for a Democrat in November sends a message, a message that the political extremism that is infecting parts of our country will not take hold here in Frederick County.

To learn more about Karl Bickel visit his Website at

Originally published in Emmitsburg News-Journal:

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