06 May 2016
No one said Republicans were a democratic party
The news media are now reporting every endorsement of Donald Trump by a Republican elected official or celebrity like a milestone. You understand why, since just as much attention, if not more, is paid to Republicans who as yet refuse to endorse Trump, from the retired Bushes to Speaker Ryan and Senators McCain and Graham. The resisters suppose that they're standing up for the integrity of the Republican party, but they could just as easily be digging its grave deeper than they feared it would go. The question of whether or not Republican eminences will endorse their party's presumptive nominee for President should not be a matter of suspense. Trump, like it or not, is the winner. He may not have won a majority of votes nationwide during the primary season -- I haven't checked the stats, but I presume they're out there -- but he has stayed the course while Cruz has imploded and Kasich has chickened out. By the rules of the game, the people have spoken, and no matter what die-hards say about the convention serving as a "deliberative" body, the whole point of these exercises in the modern era is for the rank and file to determine, through the selection of committed delegates, who their candidate will be. What does it mean if the eminences of the party don't consider themselves bound to endorse the popular verdict? The answer has less to do with Trump than people think. The remaining dissidents may not realize it, but they're revealing as much of what they think of the rank and file as they have of what they think of Trump. The rank and file probably assumes that to be a Republican means to do your utmost for the candidates chosen by them,but it's clear now that many leading Republicans think otherwise. If they're unwilling to endorse and work for Trump, the only honorable option for the resisters is to bolt the party and form a new one. If Speaker Ryan is unable (even temporarily) to endorse by name the nominee of his party, he should resign his speakership. I won't go so far as requiring every dissident elected Republican official to resign, since each earned his or her spot personally, but none of them should seek a Republican nomination again. As for Trump, wherever local schedules permit he should put up someone to primary any congressman who doesn't endorse him, on the understanding that Republicans who don't profess personal loyalty to him now won't treat him much differently after Election Day, should he win, than they did Barack Obama. Yes, the cynic in me wants the Republican fratricide to continue, and not for their own good, but the small-d democrat in me is disgusted, regardless of my opinion of Trump, by the contempt Republicans are showing for democracy itself.