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Longtime Ohio conservative commentator: 'In 2018 I will vote for Democrats'

Longtime Ohio conservative commentator: 'In 2018 I will vote for Democrats'
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A longtime conservative commentator and former Republican politician says he's voting for Democrats in this year's midterm elections. 

Phil Heimlich, the host of conservative talk show "Hard Truths with Phil Heimlich" who served on the Cincinnati City Council from 1993 to 2001 and the Hamilton County Commission from 2003 to 2006, wrote in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday that, despite being a Republican for decades, he's casting his vote for Democrats in November.

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"I’m scared — scared of losing our rights to free speech, fair elections and the rule of law," Heimlich writes. "You see, we’re witnessing a dangerous trend in which dictators come to power in once-promising democracies and crush dissent."

Heimlich says President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE lacks respect for democratic values, and pointed out how Trump admires people like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, two leaders who have cracked down on independent media in their respective countries. 

Heimlich then lays out his objections to many of the things Trump has said about the press in recent years, such as calling for toughening the libel laws and labeling the media the "enemy of the people." 

But his strong criticism isn't pointed just at Trump. He admonishes GOP lawmakers in Congress, saying they're not being patriots, but "partisans willing to sell out the country rather than stand up to the Republican base." 

"I lived through the Watergate era in the 1970s and know that if cowardly Republicans like [Reps.] Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy Senate Dem: Trump's 'fake, hyperbolic rantings' an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients MORE, Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanMeadows calls on Rosenstein to resign 'immediately' Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE and Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Memo: Saudi storm darkens for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE controlled Congress then, there would have been no investigation into Richard Nixon’s crimes and no threat of impeachment," he writes. 

"That’s why in 2018 I will vote for Democrats in U.S. Senate and House elections."

Democrats hold a 6-point advantage over Republicans on a generic House ballot ahead of November, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday.