The rhetoric of this Presidential election cycle is easily one of the most divisive and negative in recent electoral history. While Hillary Clinton has her fair share of controversies surrounding her, ranging from her emails to the turmoil amongst the DNC, it has been Mr. Trump that has garnered the brunt of media attention due to his inflammatory language. Still reeling from the aftershocks of his poor handling of the Gold Star Muslim family following the DNC Convention, score of Republicans are now abandoning their nominee, claiming that he is not what their party stands for. The result has been a Republican Presidential nominee that has been vilified by his own party members and completely savaged by rank and file Democrats from former CIA directors to the President himself.
This is where my incomprehension comes into play. I most definitely understand why Democrats loath Donald Trump, that part is self-explanatory. My confusion lies with the way Republicans have treated their Republican Candidate. A candidate that ran away with a primary process that clearly favored party establishment figures such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and did it while beating the next closest candidate by 5.6 million votes. What is so different about Donald Trump that has prevented the Republican brand and members from embracing their chosen leader in the same that they embraced Romney, McCain and Bush?
To better try and answer that question, let’s take a look at Trump’s policy recommendations and some of the language that Republicans claim will cost them the election. First, there’s the proposal to build a wall between the United States and Mexico in the hope of ending illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Trump has pushed this as a staple of within his foreign policy and domestic agenda. Yet, we forget the 2006 Secure Fence Act, signed into law by George W. Bush and introduced by Republican Congressman Stephen King of New York. This idea is neither new nor is it Trump’s unique plan.
Let’s turn to Trump’s supposed alienation of minorities, ranging from African Americans to Latinos and everything in between. The Republican establishment is furious over many of Trump’s comments on race and on the way he is hurting the expansion of the Republican brand to minority voters. Yet these same establishment figures actively support the most unconventional gerrymandering practices that actively seek to limit the influence of minority voters and increase the share of Republican votes among traditional White Republicans. These figures are furious at Trump for his rhetoric, while they themselves are actively enacting and adopting Voter ID laws in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas that U.S. appeals courts have continuously struck down as “racially discriminatory”. Currently, Republicans across these three states are fighting to push through their new laws even though judges have stated that “the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision”. So, what exactly is Trump doing wrong? He is simply verbalizing the party’s agenda. There’s no need to turn your back on him for being your voice.
One last policy worth looking focuses on the topic of immigration. At the forefront of that debate within Republican circles is the deportation of undocumented immigrants from the United States. Those policies include opposition to the Dream Act, opposition to undocumented immigrant students receiving in-state tuition at public colleges, deportation of arrested undocumented immigrants without a trial, and creating extremely limiting conditions that help force self-deportation. Sounds like Trump, right? Wrong. All of the above were proposed or supported by both of the last two Republican Nominees for President, Romney and McCain. They didn’t receive the backlash that Trump has received for his immigration policy, which seems peculiarly unfair. On the other hand, some are criticizing Trump for backpedaling on some of his comments in regards to immigration, calling him a liar due to his softening stance. How quickly Republicans forget that McCain authored a bill in 2007 calling for a legal path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.
So to all Republicans disowning Trump in the wake of all the negative media he is receiving, I ask: what’s so different this time around? Why are you appalled by the verbalizing of your own policies and agendas on the national stage? Trump is the culmination of all of your hard work and dedication as you held majorities in the Senate and House for the past five years. Bear the fruits of your labor, and embrace the single person that has been able to consolidate and embody the full extent of your values, policies, agenda and opinions. This is no time for hypocrisy, Republicans, as there is no need to distance your selves from your leader and standard bearer. Get on the Trump private jet, buckle up and enjoy Washington DC while you’re still there.