I used to have spirited debates with Republicans. We had issues.

There are three kinds of Republicans these days. First are those who have gone independent, have quietly left the party, and are voting their conscience and often for Democrats.

Second there are those who will timidly not state their real opinion about what has happened to their party and to the candidates it puts forth.

Lastly you have the party base, which has gone over to the dark side of alternative facts, conspiracies, and screwball science — just for starters.

The base decides who gets to run for office. If a Republican would have the courage to say President Joe Biden won the free and fair election, women and families should make their own health care decisions, COVID is real: get vaccinated and follow the guidelines, that person would not stand a chance of being nominated, much less get elected in a primary.

What does this say about the Republican candidates on the ballot this year? They are one of two things. True believers: Donald Trump won, the election was stolen in a rigged election, women and families should not make their own health decisions, and COVID was a massive hoax. Or they are timidly keeping their head down and changing or avoiding the subjects that matters to Americans.

I wish we could go back to debating real issues that matter to everyone. Until the Republican Party gets back on the track and steps away from the radical fringe, I urge people to vote as if our world depended on it. Vote for truth, personal rights, and science. The candidates who stand for these will not be Republican.

Mike Hurley

Belfast