J.R. Romano’s recent resignation as the state’s Republican Party chair has brought into focus the need for a viable opposition party in Connecticut. It is not healthy politics when everything is totally controlled by one party:  the legislature, the governorship, and most of the major municipalities in our state.

The Democrats have more than working control of the legislature and, obviously, have the governor’s office.

So, who will have control over the Republican Party in Connecticut?

Romano was a down-the-line person supporting President Trump. His strong support for Trump, in my view, helped make the GOP more of an extreme party rather than the conservative Republican Party of decades past. One would hope there are 17 Republican votes in the U.S. Senate to find Trump guilty and prevent him from holding any further federal office.

With at least those 17 votes needed to supplement the strong Democrat support for a Senate conviction, the entire Republican Party may have a greater chance, opportunity really, to return to relevancy with a mixture of moderate and serious people with more conservative views.

The person that comes to mind when you talk about a strong two-party system is Len Fasano, Jr., who presented well thought out arguments as the Republican Senate Minority Leader. He is not an extremist and he understands how to further a conservative agenda without alienating everyone with different views.

Len would make a great Republican chairman and would skillfully move away from “Trumpism.” Fasano believes in telling the truth. He does not view the news media as the enemy. I might not agree with many of his positions, but he is someone all can trust.

A strong party requires that a chairman can speak, raise money and be able to deal with the media. Unfortunately, other current candidates for Republican State Chair have all been locked into Trump for the past four or five years and are easily identified as Trump supporters.  I believe that this would make it impossible for them to be chairman of a more traditional – a more rational — Republican Party.

Ben Proto, for example, a Stratford lawyer is certainly able to do the job, but he would have to cleanse himself from involvement with Trump.

We, as a society have a bumpy road ahead. We are really lucky to live in Connecticut where politics are still essentially a game of words and we do not have, at least to my knowledge, active militias. Democracy is precious and all must participate to be certain that the democracy we know and are proud of continues to the next generation and generations thereafter.

Edward L. Marcus is former chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee in Connecticut and former State Senate majority leader. 

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