As RepublicanNativistConvention.Com Makes Clear, Broader GOP is Enabling Trump, With All Kinds of Negative Consequences
Since his campaign announcement last year, Donald Trump has engaged in a fact-free, anti-immigrant campaign that feeds off of racial anxieties and peddles a dark vision of an America in decline. He has used the national spotlight to attack Latinos, immigrants and people of color—and has only doubled down on these attacks following the tragic shooting in Orlando. Throughout Trump’s rise, Republican leadership has for the most part has fallen in line.
As Michael Gerson underscores in a recent column at the Washington Post, the bigger picture is not about the one-off comments of a loose cannon candidate, but the character of the party that enabled his rise. To those Republican leaders like Speaker Ryan or Leader McConnell who have denounced or refused to comment on Trump’s latest attacks on Muslims, but continue to support him for president—that is no longer enough. Gerson notes:
…the main problem with their presumptive nominee is not his lack of basic knowledge or his inability to stay on the script of sanity for 10 minutes at a time. The problem is Donald Trump’s public character, which no amount of last-minute coaching can change.
Trump’s instincts were on full display in his reaction to the Orlando terrorist attack. There was a pronounced lack of empathy for victims. There was a resort to insanely partisan conspiracy theories — including insinuations that President Obama is the Manchurian Muslim. There was an almost gleeful credit grab in asserting that his accusations about the violent nature of Islam were vindicated
Trump’s resulting pronouncements — doubling down on immigration restrictions and raising questions about the loyalty of American Muslims — are counterproductive to the task of counterterrorism, undermining domestic cooperation on homeland security and complicating relations with allies and proxies. This is just terrible policy. But it is Trump’s moral worldview that results in terrible policy and promises worse to come. He believes that events always vindicate his instincts, which involve racial, religious and ethnic prejudice. He believes that any political tactic — including accusing your opponents of being enemy agents (as Joe McCarthy did) — is justified to further his interests.
As Gerson makes clear, “character counts” and the Republican lawmakers who have endorsed Donald Trump and his policies have a choice to make—not just about the candidate they’d like to nominate in 2016, but the party they’d like to be a part of for years to come.
This is why America’s Voice created a new web site, RepublicanNativistConvention.com, to keep track of each Republican governor, Senator, and Congressman who is publicly asked about his support for Trump’s candidacy, and refused to disavow him. We’ll continue to update this resource as more leaders go on the record, so that constituents know where their leaders stand.
For now, Republicans such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are content to criticize the candidate they have endorsed. But a party convention is an up-or-down moment. Will they allow the balloons to drop on a leader with a broken moral compass? Or will they try to change the convention rules — perhaps to require a supermajority in picking a nominee — in an act of desperate resistance? Either way, Republicans are learning the hard way that character counts.
The new America’s Voice site—RepublicanNativistConvention.com—also chronicles instances of hate and violence inspired by Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric. As more and more crimes are carried out in Trump’s name, Republicans need to reckon with this sad consequence of their failure to stand up to him.
Visit the site here.