The Republican Party can still walk away
August 3, 2016 2 Comments
Not long after Donald Trump clinched the nomination, I wrote a blog post encouraging Republicans not to support him. I wrote:
There have been a lot of Republican leaders who go on and on about how unacceptable Trump is, what a disaster he would be as president. But, then, when asked if they’ll support him if he’s the nominee, they meekly say yes.
If Donald Trump actually becomes the nominee, that has to stop. Republican congressional leaders — who know how awful Trump is — should refuse to endorse him. The party apparatus should refuse to support him. Super PACs loyal to the party should refuse to fund him. Take the lead of the Koch brothers, who have indicated they’ll pour their resources into trying to blunt the down-ticket damage of a Trump candidacy.
Apparently, the Republican establishment is beginning to understand why I suggested that. Trump has proven to be every bit the steaming dumpster fire of a candidate that many predicted. He’s insulting the parents of a war hero who gave his life to save his men because they had the gall to speak out against his unconstitutional policies. He’s refusing to endorse Republican Speaker of the House in a fit of pique worthy of a three year old.
He kicked a baby out of a recent rally. He suggested “Second Amendment people” might be able to do something to stop Hillary Clinton’s judges. He accepted the Purple Heart medal offered by a supportive vet, then said, “I always wanted to get the purple heart. This was much easier.”
In other words, Trump has been Trump: Thin-skinned, narcissistic, petulant, childish, boorish, dangerous.
Republicans are actually starting to hope he drops out, though as Josh Marshall pointed out, that wouldn’t really improve the situation all that much for the Grand Old Party.
But some party allies are reportedly trying to stage an intervention to get Trump back on track.
That’s a foolhardy endeavor. Trump is Trump, and he isn’t going to change now. He’s tried before to pivot to the presidential. Each attempt lasts a day or two, then he is compelled to let his inner Trump screaming out on stage.
So I come back to my pre-convention advice: Republicans may be stuck with Trump as their nominee, but they don’t have to endorse him. The party apparatus doesn’t have to support him. Super PACs don’t have to fund him. Trump has said he could do this on his own. Let him try. Salvage what’s left of the Republican brand and sever all possible ties. Paul Ryan can return Trump’s favor and unendorse him. Other Republicans who have bemoaned Trump’s words but begrudgingly maintained their support of the nominee, like Sen. John McCain, should sever their relationship. Let Trump stand or, more likely, fall on his own.
Yes, there will be collateral damage to the party. But that’s inevitable at this point anyway.
The Republican Party is locked into an abusive relationship with Donald Trump.
It’s time to walk away.