Never thought I’d say this, but I feel for the Republican Party. Over the years there have been many Republican candidates for president who were anathema to me, but never before have there been more who are anathema to other Republicans.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently said about Republicans’ choices, “Nominating Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could prove fatal for this party. It’s like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter?” More recently Mitt Romney, the last Republican presidential nominee said, “If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished.” He added “Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities: The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as ‘The Donald.’ He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.”
Members of the Log Cabin Republicans in D.C. are running as delegates to the Republican National Convention on an uncommitted slate. They clearly have a hard time supporting any of the candidates who collectively are a disaster on LGBT issues.
Huffington Post reported, “Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) who is in his first term, put up a lengthy Facebook post Sunday night, going after the Republican Party frontrunner for the fact that his “relentless focus is on dividing Americans and talking like he’s running for king.” Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said, “While I certainly don’t want four more years of another Clinton administration or more years of the Obama administration, I would take that over the kind of damage I think Donald Trump could do to this country, to its reputation, to the people of this country.”
I don’t remember this kind of dissension within the Republican Party in the past and if it occurred it was behind closed doors. There is a palpable fear in Republicans I know who believe if Trump is the nominee the Republican Party will not only lose the White House and the Senate but possibly even the House. According to a New York Times report on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.), “Mr. McConnell has begun preparing senators for the prospect of a Trump nomination, assuring them that, if it threatened to harm them in the general election, they could run negative ads about Mr. Trump to create space between him and Republican senators seeking re-election. Mr. McConnell has raised the possibility of treating Mr. Trump’s loss as a given and describing a Republican Senate to voters as a necessary check on a President Hillary Clinton, according to senators at the lunches. He has reminded colleagues of his own 1996 re-election campaign, when he won comfortably amid President Bill Clinton’s easy re-election. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has said, ‘We’ll drop him like a hot rock,’ according to his colleagues.”
Although I hope this will lead to the election of Clinton, the country is always better off when there are two rational political parties that discuss and debate the issues of the day intelligently, with respect for each other and the people they are trying to represent. Trump is neither respectful nor displaying any signs of intelligence. His ranting against Mexicans and Muslims; his anti-LGBT, racist and misogynist rhetoric, all used to denigrate anyone who disagrees with him is pathetic. His use of foul language and innuendo typical of a schoolyard bully should embarrass all who hear it.
There is much discussion about who is to blame for the condition of the Republican Party today. Some believe it is the rise of the Tea Party; others blame the racism incited by attacks on President Obama. Some blame the party elders for doing nothing and stonewalling all legislative efforts to move the country forward.
It will most likely take years, and some question if it can ever be accomplished, to bring the party back to a point where rational conservatives and moderates who made up the GOP in the past can once again take it back.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.