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The Unapologetic Geek

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The GOP Needs to Denounce Trump (Before It's Too Late)

Donald Trump
He makes an infant look like the adult in the room

As the primaries approach, it is clear that there is a very real chance that the distant frontrunner for the Republican nomination will win. That frontrunner, against all logic and reason, is Donald Trump. This is an astounding turn of events, as the Republicans were poised to seize on majority dissatisfaction with the eight year run of Democratic control of the Oval Office and win in a veritable landslide.

In general, the majority polls favorably with the Grand Ol' Party on issues of fiscal responsibility, national security, foreign policy, and the economy, while the Democratic Party has become fixated on comparably unpopular issues of class warfare, gun control, racial divisiveness, and straightforward socialism. On top of that, the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is the first presidential candidate in American history to be running while under active investigation by the F.B.I. for irresponsibility with national security secrets. In theory, it used to seem very doubtful that the Democratic Party could win the White House in 2016 if they were up against a quality Republican candidate.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
She has proven to be pretty good at making sure her competition is crazier than she is

But now the Republicans have as their frontrunner a man who is openly calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, who is unapologetically insulting and crass, who has used racial and sexist slurs with glee, who has been caught in lie after lie, who has changed his positions on pretty much every major political issue, whose policy proposals--if one can tease out anything in them that is even remotely serious--are unrealistic at best and incredibly dangerous at worst, who cites FDR's internment camps as a reasonable response to national security threats, and whose supporters are so rabid and so intransigent that every civil attack on Trump is met with the most uncivil of responses.

It is maddening in the extreme to realize that over thirty percent of Republicans polled actually believe he should be president, and it is therefore not surprising that serious conservatives are entertaining conspiracy theories that he is a plant for the Democratic Party. Indeed, he is the best thing that could have happened to the Hillary Clinton campaign. He is a walking, talking gross charicature of everything Democrats claim is wrong with Republicans. He is a racist, xenophobic, unsophisticated, egotistical, chauvanistic, unprincipled clown who makes arguments that used to be popular straw man positions thrown around by the left.

Ross Perot
They still haven't forgotten this guy

The bottom line: if Donald Trump becomes the leading spokesperson for the GOP, then the Republican Party will crumble. Republican leaders and fellow presidential candidates need to not only denounce Trump's terrible policy proposals, but they need to denounce the man himself. They need to make it abundantly clear under no uncertain terms that the Republican Party does not stand for the same things that Donald Trump does. If there is a way to excommunicate him from the party, they should do it. Now.

I know the counter-argument, that exorcizing Donald Trump from the party would disenfranchise his supporters and pave the way for a third party run that would spoil the entire election. This is an undemocratic position, and the simple response should be, "We would rather lose an election than lose our core principles."

Paul Ryan
To be fair, the new Speaker of the House has already followed my advice

Trump, simply because of his bombast and his celebrity, is hogging the spotlight, and every minute he has that "R" by his name is another minute for people to equate him with the party. Long-term, severe damage is being done to Republicans' credibility, and if Trump is allowed to continue much longer, it will take decades for the party to get back to where it was a year ago. Trump supporters don't see this--they refuse to see it--so it will take drastic action from prominent Republican voices to shut him down. It is a matter of political survival.

Maybe you think I'm exaggerating, but if anything, I think I'm underselling it. Truthfully, I think the bulk of the damage has already been done, and it will take a miracle for Republicans to get in the good graces of a majority of American voters. Even if another candidate wins the primary, the party will still be wounded by the stain of Trump unless that candidate repudiates Trump over and over again in crystal clear, unequivocable language. That candidate would have to say, "Donald Trump is not a Republican," or else they might as well just concede to Hillary and get it over with.

The reason for this is simple: Donald Trump is not a Republican, by any principled definition of the term. He does not believe in limited government. He does not believe in constitutionalism. He only believes in Donald Trump, and that is not a legitimate platform on which to run the country.

[POST SCRIPT: It came to my attention after writing this that The Washington Post published an eerily similar editorial this morning.]

-e. magill 12/9/2015

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