Michael Ginsberg (45) of Centerville, VA, an attorney and aerospace engineer, is vice president and deputy general counsel for CACI International, an information technology company that contracts to federal defense and intelligence agencies. He is a leader of the Suburban Virginia Coalition, which aims to improve Republican standing in suburban communities that have “taken a hit over the last several cycles.”
What personal traits matter to you in a presidential candidate?
I’m not looking for perfection, but there’s a basic standard I’d like to see people maintain. I don’t want politics to be a circus. I would prefer a level of seriousness, rather than flippant behavior with tweets and those sorts of things. I’m turned off by somebody who is personally abrasive. I would support someone who is polite and behaves appropriately in public. It’s a minimum standard, but I don’t expect much more.
What issues concern you most?
The economy and taxes, the cost of living. Foreign policy is important to me, both from a professional and personal standpoint. I’m disappointed with everybody in regard to the national debt. That is a great concern to me. I don’t think anybody’s talking about it, and I fear it’s not a public issue—but it’s a lurking issue. I think about it every day. I really do.
Does religion affect your political views?
I think it certainly plays into my views about Israel. It plays into my sensitivity about what I view as growing anti-Semitism, on both sides. Maybe I’m an outlier, but I feel like it’s more prevalent on the left than the right, maybe because some of the voices are more mainstream within the Democratic Party, whereas in the Republican Party, they really are fringe types. I’m very sensitive to those sorts of things because I view them as the canary in the coal mine.
Is Israel an important issue for you?
I’m a very strong supporter of Israel and of the Benjamin Netanyahu government. I think it has done a great job of keeping the country and citizens secure. I worry greatly about the pinprick attacks that they get from Gaza and Hezbollah buildup and the Iranian encroachment in Syria. I have a lot of concerns about Iran and its nuclear program. That worries me a great deal.
Is politics a source of tension among friends and family?
To a degree. I think it’s happening more, to be honest. I’m very careful. I’m not sure I’ve had a deep discussion in, say, the last six to twelve months, with somebody whom I wasn’t sure I agreed with. I’ve had some disagreements with my parents, who lean conservative. I think these are tactical disagreements rather than deep philosophical ones.
What do you think about the Democratic field?
I feel like they’re catering to the loudest minority within their party and are trying to out-left one another. I don’t get the feeling that they are thinking ahead to a general election. Maybe this is true of the Republican Party as well, that they think they can get by on their base alone and really the most extreme portions of their base. I think they’re doing themselves a disservice. I look at Biden trying to navigate this carefully and not let himself get pulled too far to the left. But he almost inevitably has to, because of everybody else.
How do you feel about Trump’s presidency?
I voted for him last time. A big basis of that was I thought he was the lesser of two evils. I was uncomfortable with the notion of a Hillary Clinton presidency. He’s done a lot of things that I support. The tax cut made sense, although I would have preferred it coupled with spending cuts. He is generally supportive of our military. He’s a mixed bag on foreign policy, but is very supportive of Israel. I don’t see a Democrat that I could get behind and I think he’s done a decent job. Unless something changes, I will probably vote for him again.