Mark Goldhaber (67), a Republican from Raleigh, NC, is active in the Jewish Federation and AIPAC. He previously worked for a Republican member of Congress and the National Republican Congressional Committee, and he was a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. His wife is a Democrat and he’s a Republican, which they’ve “dealt with happily for 35 years.”
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
What are your reactions to the protests occurring across the country? The killing of Mr. Floyd was unacceptable by any standard of law and the police officer must be prosecuted to the most serious charge permitted under Minnesota law. The peaceful protests were appropriate, though I am concerned that it will further spread Covid-19 which we have worked so hard as a nation to flatten the curve. As someone who worked for a major corporation where black colleagues described to me over 30 years ago their experiences of being stopped by police on a regular basis, I have long recognized that as a white male my experiences are dramatically different. We need to fundamentally change that. To achieve that change we are going to have to change the amount of legal protection police unions have negotiated to hide past complaints filed against individual officers, and the court decisions that give too much protection to public employees for complaints filed against them.
What are your reactions to the looting, curfews and the police response of pepper spray, rubber bullets and arrests? Peaceful marches are a core part of our American freedom and should be encouraged, but violating the law, destroying businesses (often black-owned businesses) should be aggressively prosecuted. As to individual tactics of both the police and the protestors, how the police respond is based on individual circumstances which unless you are there it is exceedingly difficult to judge.
What do you think about the call to “defund” police departments? I think it is extreme and ill-advised and will have the most negative impact on African American communities and low-wealth communities in general. Upper-income neighborhoods will always find a way to be protected. However, I am in favor of paying police officers more so we get a higher quality of candidates and reforming police union contracts so the public can see violations and we can get rid of the bad officers.
Have you participated in any demonstrations? No. Even if COVID-19 was not a concern, it’s unlikely that I would participate in any demonstrations.
How do you think the president has handled this crisis? How has Joe Biden handled this crisis? Poorly, as has always been my concern with this president as he is often tone-deaf. Even though his administration has many policies that I agree with, the tone of a president is extremely important to me. Joe Biden’s tone has been better than the president’s, but he has not called out violence in a very clear and definitive manner which is very disappointing.
Have the events that have taken place over the last week changed your views on the upcoming Presidential election? First, it has made it much more likely that Joe Biden will be elected president and probably result in a Democratic senate. As to my views, it has made it very unlikely that I will vote for President Trump. The question is how will Joe Biden reach across the political landscape to encourage me to be willing to vote for him.
Do you think recent events will push people to one candidate or the other? As I noted above, I believe that these series of events will help Joe Biden unless the reaction to defunding the police goes so far as to scare the great middle of the American electorate.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us? I wish the media didn’t work so hard to inflame people and push them into greater division and ever more extreme political camps.