When will the leadership of the Republican Party do their duty to the nation and disavow the candidacy of the wannabe dictator known as Donald Trump?
That question has in fact been looming over them for months, every since he used all the tricks of demagoguery to destroy the supposed “deep bench” of Republican current and former officeholders in the primaries.
Now, it’s staring them – and us all – directly in the face because over the past several weeks Trump has proved he’s not just unfit for the presidency (and any public office) in conventional terms. That was clear long before he began his campaign last June.
No, Trump is now showing the world that he really is something new in American politics. He’s a political monster the likes of which we’ve never seen before as a major party’s candidate for the presidency. He’s shown all those Republicans who’ve taken refuge in cynical calculation and tortured logic to endorse him that there is no bottom to his pathological narcissism, no limit to his amorality, no loyalty to the interests of the Republican Party itself, and not a shred of commitment to following time-honored traditions of American politics, the rule of law, or the principles of the Constitution.
Trump’s only commitment is to himself: to avoiding facing Hillary Clinton in one-on-one debates during the general election campaign in order to conceal his compete ignorance of policy issues; to obscuring the damning evidence media outlets have been uncovering about his terrible record as a businessman, especially that involving his “Trump University” scheme of a decade ago; and to seizing the reins of power so he can establish his vision of the United States of America – a police state.
So, Instead of discussing his policy differences with Clinton, he implies he’ll be making charges of scandalous behavior against them.
So, as law enforcement begins to investigate the mass murder in Orlando and the nation grieves, Trump publicly congratulates himself for having predicted another terrorist attack would occur in the U.S., and then proposes closing America to all Muslims outside of its borders – and, in effect, stripping Muslim-Americans and Muslim nationals inside the U.S. of their rights.
So, still haunted by President Obama’s humiliating destruction of his “Birther” gambit of five years ago, Trump re-arranges the elements of Birtherism to declare Obama sympathizes with the terrorists who would do America and the world harm.
But, in fact, it is Donald Trump who is the traitor in our midst. When you accuse the first Black president of the United States of “sympathizing” with America’s enemies, you’ve made common cause with the Ku Klux Klan, and the neo-Nazi, White racist militia and White Christian Identity groups that have been peddling that line since Obama took office.
It’s no wonder those treasonous groups have flocked to Trump’s campaign, and have no doubt helped stoke a fierce racist, anti-Semitic and sexist harassment online of journalists who’ve written critically of Trump. In much the same way violent White racists “enforced” White supremacy at the ground level of the South during the Jim Crow decades, these people will be the vigilante enforcers of a Trump administration’s war against the media and war against Muslim Americans and other “undesirables.”
In fact, a small but growing number of Republican office-holders and conservative pundits have, in so many words, acknowledged Trump’s betrayal. They’ve condemned his practicing a politics of “trickle-down racism” and staining the public discourse with this and that “textbook example(s) of racism.”
But, now that polls have clearly indicated voter reaction to Trump’s rhetoric is threatening the GOP’s hold on Congress, pressure is growing for party leaders to attempt a radical course of action Washington Post conservative pundit Jennifer Rubin suggested in her June 15th column.
Rubin, wrote that Republican leaders should first “explain why as Americans, as conservatives and as Republicans they have concluded Trump is unfit to serve and incapable of improvement. Second, they should demand that the convention delegates be entitled to vote their conscience on the first ballot, and/or demand Trump’s tax returns. Third, they should make clear an independent center-right candidate who is qualified and has a competent operation would be a savior – either as an alternate, independent candidate or a substitute at the convention for Trump.”
Rubin went on to say she thinks this scenario possible only if “someone of stature” – such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – calls for it. And she ends her column with these words: “If not, Republicans, please proceed to panic. The election and possibly your party is going up in smoke. And you have only yourselves to blame.”
It is, of course, highly unlikely such an unprecedented open revolt against the party’s presumptive nominee will occur at next month’s Republican Convention, or that it would succeed if it did. What is important, however, is that some with impeccable conservative credentials are suggesting it be tried. That sense of desperation underscores the fact that many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, realize Donald Trump, the would-be dictator, represents a terrible presidential-election first: America’s first treason candidate.
Lee A. Daniels, a former reporter for The Washington Post and the New York Times, is also a former editor of The National Urban League’s The State of Black America. He is a keynote speaker and author whose books include Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. He is writing a book on the Obama years and the 2016 election. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org