I hammered John McCain and Mitt Romney so brutally during the GOP primaries that I was blackballed from the 2008 and 2012 Republican conventions in retaliation, but when the time came in the general election, I did vote Republican. I will never be a fan of John McCain or Mitt Romney, but I could at least embrace Reagan’s my “80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy” mantra and support them.
I cannot say the same about Donald J. Trump.
He’s not a good man, a Christian or a conservative and he doesn’t care about the Constitution, the country or as far I can tell, anything other than making money and hearing his name repeated as often as possible. If Matthew 7:16 is right and, “By their fruit you will recognize them,” what fruits has Donald J. Trump borne into the conservative movement? He’s managed to turn longtime allies against each other, good people are approving of despicable behavior they would have unhesitatingly condemned a year ago and the way he behaves is so childish and disgusting that 35% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents want a third party if he’s the nominee. Many Donald J. Trump fans assume these people who detest him so much are “establishment” Republicans. While it’s true that many members of the GOP establishment dislike Donald J. Trump (And others, like Chris Christie, Rick Scott and Scott Brown have endorsed him), the majority of people who oppose him are grassroots conservatives. Donald J. Trump may have more backers than anyone else in a divided field, but so far roughly two-thirds of Republicans have picked someone other than him as their candidate.
I don’t insult people for supporting or endorsing Donald J. Trump, I haven’t called for any blacklists, I’m not calling for the nomination to be taken from him at the convention and I’m not encouraging anyone to start a third party. In fact, I know there are many good conservatives who support Donald J. Trump. Unfortunately, when a third of the Republican Party rallies behind an unelectable, unstable, misogynistic, authoritarian conman who says any stupid thing that comes into his head, there is no escape for the rest of us from the ramifications of that decision. Maybe there could have been, if another third of the party didn’t just as stubbornly refuse to unite around Ted Cruz, the only candidate who could have gotten more delegates than Donald J. Trump, but it is what it is.
Barring a miracle – and I doubt if God is helping out a phony Christian who says he’s never asked for forgiveness – Donald J. Trump is going to lose the general election. I could give you a detailed explanation of why that’s going to happen, but if you’ve taken the time to look at any election data at all, you already know Donald J. Trump is highly likely to be defeated. If you believe he’s going to win despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it’s certainly not logic or poll numbers that are convincing you of it.
The reality is likely to be even worse than the current numbers because there will be some Republicans actively campaigning against him and a conservative third party campaign is a genuine possibility. Do you think Donald J. Trump wins if a Republican like Tom Coburn runs third party? Do you think he wins even though, Mitt Romney, our last presidential nominee has publicly written that, "Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these." You can like Mitt or not (and I don’t), but if you’re telling yourself that it won’t be incredibly damaging in a general election that he has said that publicly about Donald J. Trump, you’re kidding yourself.
Just to give you a little taste of how hopeless it would be if Trump is our nominee, the last time Utah went for a Democratic president was in 1964. McCain won the state by 28, Romney won by 48 and Cruz is winning in a head-to-head matchup with Hillary by 28 while Donald J. Trump ….is losing 36/38. Yes, it’s one poll and yes, Donald J. Trump could still win Utah, but when he’s struggling in a state that should be one of the easiest gimmies in the general election, it suggests a level of potential weakness approached by candidates like McGovern, Dukakis and Mondale. So, you can say that the millions of Republicans who won’t vote for Donald J. Trump in a general election are helping to elect Hillary, but the real truth is that the people who are insisting on nominating Donald J. Trump are the ones who are practically guaranteeing that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.
It’s also fine to say, “We the people” want Donald J. Trump, but so far, more of “We the people” don’t want him. Millions more of “We the People” won’t be able to vote for him in a general election because we don’t blindly love him to such an extent that we can overlook the fact that he’s obviously unfit to be in the Oval Office. I can certainly understand liking some of the things Trump has done and said, but I don’t get the Reaganesque hero worship of a loud mouthed, cowardly braggart who has yet to do anything to help the Republican Party, the conservative movement or the country. At least Reagan earned his adulation by proving himself as a principled conservative leader who turned out to be a strong governor and one of the best American presidents in history.
On the other hand, Donald J. Trump is like a grown up version of King Joffrey from “Game of Thrones.” He is like a mean-spirited parody of a Republican on “Saturday Night Live” come to life. Donald J. Trump is a walking, talking Internet meme who seems to be spouting off shallow slogans half the time and lying the other half. He's also a creepy, thin skinned authoritarian who has made it clear he cares nothing about free speech for anyone but himself and has publicly encouraged political violence at his rallies. Moreover, aside from some tough talk about immigration, trade and unworkable, over-the-top attacks on Muslims, his entire campaign has been centered on mean tweets, third grade insults and campaign promises that sometimes change from day-to-day or even from hour-to-hour. It’s difficult to know what Trump would really do if he were in power. His real views could range anywhere from liberal to conservative to South American dictator on just about any issue. So, if you’re a conservative who believes in God, country and the Constitution, how do you fall in line behind someone like that?
When I see the way Donald J. Trump’s campaign treated Michelle Fields, when I see him falsely claiming that Cruz was behind an attack on his wife, even as he threatens Cruz’s wife and attacks her looks, when I hear him promising to force our soldiers to commit war crimes, mocking the handicapped, smearing POWs and saying he may pay the bail of thugs who assault people at his rallies while he bizarrely obsesses over Megyn Kelly and his hand size, I can only conclude that he’s not a good man, he’s not mentally stable and he’s not someone who should ever be trusted with our military, the DOJ, the FBI, the DHS, and the IRS or nuclear weapons.
At the end of the day, if the goal is to say “screw you” not just to the establishment, but to millions of grassroots conservatives and committed Christians, then it’s almost “mission accomplished” time. However, if the goal is to beat Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump is not someone who can make that happen. To do that, the Republican Party would need to unify and that’s not possible with human poison like Donald J. Trump as the nominee. If, as expected, Donald J. Trump becomes the GOP’s candidate, the Republican Party will splinter, the GOP will be decimated down ticket, and millions will leave the Republican Party, at least until its infatuation with Hugo Chavez Jr has run its course. If Donald J. Trump is the cure, the Republican Party would be better off with the disease.