The Repubilcan baggage
After next Tuesday, perhaps they’ll come to their senses—or at least be more honest about why they’re choosing to support a misogynistic, racist man with the maturity of a middle school boy as our country’s next president.
Although it would be refreshing to see more Republican candidates and elected officials separate themselves from Trump and his incredibly sophomoric and ridiculous platform, maybe they’re worried that doing so might create problems for them in next Tuesday’s primary. Better to avoid offending any of the small number of partisans who actually vote in the primary by hiding behind statements of “I will support the party’s nominee.” Better to show loyalty to a party that has chosen a charlatan to lead them than to declare an unwillingness to help elect someone uniquely unfit to hold any elected office, much less the presidency.
After Tuesday, however, Nevada’s political world shifts to the general election season when everyone can vote, and Republican candidates running in tight races will have a different calculus to make. If they continue to support a bully and a demagogue whose Twitter rants are more suited for an over-the-top Saturday Night Live parody than a presidential campaign, they will run the risk of losing droves of independents and Americans from all parties who will increasingly reject Trump and those who support him.
It will be fascinating to see what Republican candidates do. When will they draw the line and abandon a ship sinking under the weight of unprecedented unfavorables from women, veterans, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and rational people who believe in traditional American values of honesty and decency?
Will they denounce Trump’s whining that “Mexican” Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was actually born and raised in Indiana, is too biased to oversee a lawsuit involving Trump University because of Trump’s plans to build a multi-billion dollar wall on our border with Mexico? Or his declaration on last Sunday’s Face The Nation that it's possible that a Muslim judge would be unfair in deciding any lawsuit involving Trump, since someone who practices Islam could not possibly be objective towards a man who wants to ban all Muslims from entering the country?
It may be foolish to predict that Nevada’s Republican candidates will reconsider their support of Donald Trump as he blusters toward an ignoble end, flailing wildly for traction as Hillary Clinton and a newly energized media focus on his lies, his nonsensical contradictory statements, and his lack of vision for the country beyond “making it great again.”
As Clinton focuses more of her attention on contrasting her decades of public service and experience at the highest levels of government with a man whose temper tantrums on Twitter display an almost unfathomable lack of restraint or self-awareness, it’s going to get harder for Nevada’s Republicans to stay on board the Trump train. So far, just a few have jumped off, notably Jason Guinasso running for Assembly in District 25 and U.S. Senator Dean Heller, who hinted he may avail himself of Nevada’s unique presidential ballot choice of “none of the above.”
After Tuesday, I’m hoping other Republicans will choose a moment of Trump insanity to say “enough” and publicly reject his candidacy. In doing so, they’ll avoid five long months of public questioning at candidate forums and media interviews about why they’re supporting a cartoonish, incompetent bigot for president.
Voters must insist all candidates demonstrate they have the courage to stand up for what’s right for the nation, despite the risk of being rejected by extremists in their own party. This could be the moment in our history when politicians shift back to a focus on what’s best for the country, instead of partisan gridlock.
Who knows? That may be Donald Trump’s redeeming legacy.