Columns 2016

An uncomfortable embrace

Not since Al Gore tried to kiss Tipper onstage at the Democratic National Convention have I seen an embrace as uncomfortable as the one happening between Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It reminds me of dancing with boys for the first time at an 8th grade mixer where neither the boys nor the girls have a clue how to actually dance. Couples clumsily wander across the floor with absolutely no synchronicity. That, in a nutshell, defines the embrace between Republicans and Donald Trump.

It’s actually hard to decide which is more appalling. Is it the Republicans who say they will vote for Trump but won’t actually come out and endorse him? Or is it the Republicans who have come out in support of Trump and then announced their disagreement with just about everything the man they are endorsing proclaims?

Our congressional delegation is doing this dance. They are supporting their party’s candidate with some “reservations”. I’m assuming those reservations include questioning whether a presidential candidate should be issuing thinly veiled threats to the judiciary that he will come for those judges whom he deems unworthy. I’m hoping those reservations include concerns about handing over nuclear codes to a man so thin skinned that he takes offense at someone pointing out that he’s been married three times.
I’m assuming the Christian conservatives who are clumsily embracing him also have some concerns about how tight the embrace should be. For a party that claims to represent family values, Republicans are endorsing a man who twice divorced his wife to marry his mistress while bragging about cheating on all of them. That simply doesn’t sound like a Christian value to me. And where is that obligatory picture, expected of every other candidate, showing the candidate and his or her family leaving Sunday church services at their regular parish. I’m guessing Trump would have trouble pointing out just which New York City church is where his family regularly worships.
So as the campaign season progresses, it will become more and more interesting to watch Republicans twist themselves into knots swearing they support their nominee while simultaneously disclaiming just about every position he takes. At some point they will have disavowed so many of his positions that we will finally have to point out to them that the emperor has no clothes on. Then they will have to explain their continued support of someone whose positions they can neither adopt nor embrace.
Many Republicans say the only reason they will vote for Trump is their hatred of Hillary. That might be an acceptable statement if Trump was any kind of viable candidate. If there was any chance that once in office he would surround himself with people who actually were qualified to run the government, supporting him might be acceptable. If there was any chance this was all just bluster and show and once in office he would actually grow into being a statesman, supporting him would have at least a modicum of viability. But this is a man who will take orders from no one, who is petty and vengeful, who has no concept of foreign policy, who would compromise our judiciary’s independence, who would – according to economists on all sides of the political spectrum – destroy our economy with his policies. Supporting this man is supporting the destruction of all that once made America great.
So how long can the Republican establishment endorse this man while running as fast as possible away from everything he stands for? How much more outrageous does his Twitter feed have to become before they step back and wonder if betraying their morals and principles to support him is truly a viable option?
Oh wait, that’s right, these are politicians. They have no morals or values that they won’t stomp on to get power, to get re-elected, to make sure their nest is nicely lined for the future. If you’ve spent any time wondering how low politicians will go in order to retain their power, money and influence, I think this election will clearly show us that low spot.
I once again have to wonder… is this really all a plot by the Democrats to destroy the Republicans? Are we sure Trump doesn’t have an offshore account somewhere being filled by Democrats? Sometimes I think that can be the only logical explanation.