October 12, 2016

KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The GOP’s Perilous Gamble on Trump

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Courtesy of Wikipedia

If there was ever a time for the Republican Party to regret nominating Donald Trump, it would be now. The Washington Post’s release of video tapes that include Trump’s abhorrent remarks about women in 2005 underscore not only his immoral character, but also his weakness as a candidate. And following the second presidential debate, there is little sign that Trump is going to change the tone of his campaign. According to Election Betting Odds, a website that uses political betting markets to compute odds, Trump’s current chance at winning the election hovers at an abysmal 16 percent, down from 26 percent from before the video tapes were released, and down from 36 percent from before the first presidential debate. It’s safe to say that Trump would get crushed if the election were held tomorrow.

Aside from his unelectability, Trump’s views sharply diverge from those of the Republican Party. Trump supports heavy tariffs that would stifle free trade, a policy that would be at odds with what was traditionally at the core of the GOP platform. He also wants to initiate a massive new government program for paid maternity leave, which directly goes against the notion of small government. Trump has also donated money to Democrats throughout his life, including Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, and Hillary Clinton. He is the least conservative nominee the GOP has ever seen and betrays the core principles of the party.

On a fundamental level, Trump is unfit to be president because he has shown no interest in learning about the issues that our country faces and has demonstrated that he does not have the temperament necessary to lead the most powerful country on earth. His whole campaign is based on vague promises and platitudes, with few concrete policy prescriptions to bolster his platform. He routinely spouts falsehoods and perpetuates rumors (Obama birther myth, Muslims cheering on 9/11), makes inflammatory and offensive statements either in public or on social media (John McCain not being a war hero, mocking a disabled reporter, insulting Gold Star family) and has refused to reform his behavior or apologize for his actions. He flirts with racists in order to appeal to his alt-right base, he refuses to cooperate with his party’s leadership and he recklessly suggests ideas such as not respecting the NATO alliance. His inability to behave, or at least try to behave, in even a mildly courteous or polished manner is deeply troubling. There’s little reason to believe that this 70-year-old man will suddenly change these bad habits should he become president.

Even from the Republican Party’s point of view, the problems caused by Trump are far greater than simply handing the White House over to a Democrat. Trump’s campaign is hemorrhaging the GOP’s chances at maintaining a Republican-majority Senate. Seven Republican-held seats are considered tossups by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Democrats simply need to win 4 more seats in the Senate to regain a majority. Many of these elections are taking place in states that voted for President Obama in 2012 and “have a history of voting across party lines,” according to the New York Times. Moreover, Trump is less popular than incumbent Republican senators in these tossup states vying for reelection. What these statistics indicate is that Senate GOP candidates have to distance themselves from Trump’s campaign in order to win reelection, since their electorates aren’t supportive of Trump. Several Republicans up for reelection in the Senate have had to routinely disavow comments Trump has made, and some have completely revoked their endorsement of Trump. In other words, Trump is dragging down Republican Senators running for reelection with him. If the GOP surrenders the Senate and if Clinton wins the White House, there will be little stopping Democrats from implementing their policies.

What makes Trump’s nomination even more frustrating to many Republicans is that the Republican Party had a good chance of defeating Clinton and regaining control of the Executive Branch. Clinton is an extremely unpopular and defeatable candidate. She has been involved in a slew of scandals, she is distrusted by most of the public and she is reviled by large segments of the Democratic Party. Previous GOP candidates such as Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich have shown their ability to appeal to large swaths of the electorate, garnering broader support than Trump could ever attain. In addition, these candidates would be able to adhere to established GOP party positions and conduct themselves in a thoughtful manner, something Trump has been unable to do. The GOP had a real chance of overtaking the White House, but blew it by standing behind Trump.

November 8 is not looking pretty for the Republican Party. Trump will lose not because Republicans didn’t do enough to help out Trump. Trump will lose because he’s a charlatan who lacks the disposition necessary to be president and perverts conservative principles for his own gain. Hopefully, the GOP can regroup over these next four years and win back the White House by ditching Trump’s toxic populism and embracing conservative values. The party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt deserves better.