“The Republican Party is made out of sugar, and it’s raining.” Rachel Maddow
Here’s one of the places where an MSNBC commentator gets it right. Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. He rallied a small but tight group of frustrated, angry voters, most of whom have no concept whatsoever of a republican form of government (which is ironic considering the name of the party they joined) and succeeded in exploiting the cracks, divisions and weaknesses that existed in the Republican Party in order to secure the nomination. Yes, his percentages of the vote grew as the primary season progressed, but the numbers really didn’t. The percentages went up because more and more Republican voters stopped showing up as each succeeding candidate dropped out of the race.
The Republicans will not unite or coalesce behind Donald Trump’s leadership. That’s crystal clear. Too many of them have burned that bridge with statements they have made during the campaign. One of the Clinton campaign PACs is now running a commercial which features nothing but disparaging, damaging remarks made by the GOP field against Trump during the campaign. Oh, yeah, a few of the candidates in the field, like Chris Christie, and Ben Carson, turned around and endorsed Trump when they dropped out, but I don’t think those endorsements helped much. By the time they dropped out of the race, they were getting close to single digits in terms of number of supporters that they had. But most of the rest of the field has distanced themselves so far from Trump that there will be no coming back. And the fact of the matter is that most of them, and many of their supporters in the Republican party, won’t support Trump. Period.
Is this the effect of reality television? I think that’s had something to do with it. People seem to want to live in a state of pseudo-reality, a fantasy world that flits in front of a camera and gives us sound bytes and flashes. What’s remarkable is that just about everything involved in his candidacy is diametrically opposed to the principles and values that the Republican party has adopted and has been promoting for decades.
I joined the Republican party in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was running, much to the chagrin of my Dad, who had been a lifelong Democrat, going back to Roosevelt, and a union member. There were a lot of reasons for that, among them the patriotism and the apparent embrace of Christian values which I shared. I believed we needed a change, and Reagan, while certainly not perfect, looked like he could pull it off. And he did, using compromise and negotiation, with bipartisan support, to build a strong consensus around the key issues that he wanted to address. Donald Trump is about as far away, and as much of an opposite to Ronald Reagan as you can get.
The “lesser of two evils” rationale usually means I’ll just vote along partisan lines and excuse my party’s guy for its sake. That doesn’t necessarily have to be your option. There will be several third party candidates who are running, who have a high level of integrity but are simply not endowed with the kind of money and notoriety it takes to win a national general election. And I don’t buy the rubbish that if you vote for an independent, you’re simply voting for the favorite, which is in this case at the moment is Hillary Clinton. It is a cherished American right to cast a ballot for whomever you choose, and doing so means that you are not casting a ballot for anyone else. That’s simple enough to figure out, and it trashes the garbage about what such a vote means or does. But there’s another reason for that. It is only the electors who actually cast ballots for the Presidential candidates. The popular vote is only taken to determine, state by state, who gets those electoral votes. So a vote for the candidate of your choice is not, in any way, shape or form, a vote for someone other than the person whose name is beside your X. That’s just political rhetoric from people who think other people are dumb enough to buy it.
It’s hard to say where this will go. Clinton has a lot of baggage from years in the political establishment, and politically initiated investigations into Benghazi and her email server keep the radio disc jockey talk show hosts in material, though there is obviously not anything in either investigation to warrant an indictment, if you thought one might be coming. But Trump is a liar, a xenophobe, a religious bigot, a racist, an adulterer, and there’s no guarantee that he will keep any of his promises, given his record in that department in his business dealings. He can’t release his tax returns because they are being investigated by the IRS. He’s run up a cost into the multiple millions of dollars to the taxpayers for bankruptcies. Is this a guy you want to have control of the nuclear codes? The IRS? And are these the values you want associated with your party? Because if Republicans roll over and accept this as politics as usual, and those who have been moving heaven and earth to stop his run to the nomination decide its just time to support the party nominee, then they will wind up owning everything that is corrupt and bad about Donald Trump. Everything.