GOP should watch out
As Donald Trump moves nearer and nearer to winning the Republican nomination for president, many Republican officeholders, foreign policy experts, and party advisors have been asking if they could support Trump as the nominee.
To be fair, in every presidential race the candidates argue that their competitors are not good enough to win or to serve, so this is hardly new ground to explore.
But in the case of Donald Trump, the price of standing beside Trump as the nominee has lines some may be unwilling to cross.
Can you stand beside Trump when Trump let the racist dog whistle hang in the air before denying the support of the KKK?
Can you stand behind Trump when he says the U.S. should behead our enemies and torture them and their families, in violation of our laws and treaties?
Can you stand behind Trump when he demands the end to all Muslim immigration to America, when the price of that position alienates all of our Muslim partners in the Middle East and over one billion Muslims worldwide?
Can you stand beside Trump when he says he will attack the First Amendment, to reduce the media criticism of himself?
Can you stand beside Trump when he threatens the Speaker of the House, saying the Speaker would pay a high price if not working well with Trump?
Can you stand beside Trump when he praises Vladimir Putin?
These are but a sampling of the positions one would be asked to support in order to stand with Donald Trump as president.
Equally importantly, could you trust that the volatile, narcissistic, demagogue, misogynist, would conduct himself as a leader of the United States?
Could you trust that Trump, who will boldly lie when challenged, could abandon that tactic when holding the highest office in the land?
For Republicans these are the questions they must answer before standing with Trump as their nominee. And it makes for a troubling problem in their own 2016 campaigns.
If a candidate accepts this Trump baggage, they offer their Democratic opponents a broad ground to attack their values and ethics. “Mr. Republican candidate, would you murder the families of terrorists when it is against our laws and treaties?”
Then too, what will it mean to be a Republican when the cornerstone of foreign policy strength is at risk, the conservative values of pro-life are ignored, and the hated Obamacare is embraced by Trump?
If Republicans find themselves unable to stand with Donald Trump they will need to act fast. Rubio must defeat Trump in his home state of Florida; Kasich must win his home state of Ohio; Rubio or Kasich must win in Michigan.
Their single and best strategy is to unite to deny Trump a clear majority going into the July convention in Cleveland. And, even then, it may be too late to prevent a Trump nomination.
If Trump wins the nomination, is it then better to step back and lose the presidency than to put a demagogue in the White House?
And how does the Republican party survive a divided convention going into an election where Democrats will be united?
To be fair, Republicans brought this upon themselves. When the Republican party first embraced the Tea Party, it invited the camel into the tent. And now the price for that invitation is coming due.
The Tea Party has never been Republican. The Tea Party has always been singularly dedicated to the destruction of effective governing.
It may be time for the split of Republicans from the extremists in their tent. 2016 may bring about that inevitable division.
From the outside, looking in, it is the best hope for America.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.